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Slugs!

Finding these

Snails without Shells





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Slugs - Giving them as Pet Food, and no we're not talking
about the despicable Jabba the Hutt






Slugs are basically snails without shells, and both are
mollusks. All slugs and snails move by excreting special
mucus (slime trail). Then pulling themselves along the slime
with their one muscular foot. Field, grey or white slugs,
(Deroceras reticulatum), are often used as food for pet
snakes (garter snakes love them), toads, and terrestrial
salamanders, as well as some birds. Slugs are common in many
parts of the world, and fairly easily found and trapped,
even in your garden or backyard, so they can provide a free
way to provide your pet with a more varied diet.

You can find slugs in the wild most often under rocks, logs
or garden debris. Here in the USA during the summer we can
go out in the early evening and watch a slug parade head for
our garden tomatoes, where they can strip entire branches of
leaves and tomatoes in one night, if we don't surround our
plants with a copper barrier.

When you go slug-hunting, wear gloves so you won't get
slimed, but wear washed or well-rinsed kitchen gloves to
avoid any chemicals that may hurt either the slugs or your
pets. Look in leaf litter or under rocks or boards, and when
you find a slug, either pluck it off whatever it is clinging
to and pop it into a jar, or if it is eating, pick the fruit
or vegetable that the slug is on and put both in your
container.

[Warning: If you live in snake country, be sure to make
plenty of noise before you turn over any branches or rocks
or disturb the leaf litter, and try doing the turning with a
long stick rather than your hands. If a snake is present it
likely will run for the hills when it hears you coming, but
it might stay curled up under its hiding place until you
frighten it, at which point it could strike you.]

If you have pets that seem to really love eating slugs, you
might want to try raising your own slugs. Here is how:

You will first need to set up your slug breeding tank. Slugs
will die if overcrowded, so choose at least a twenty gallon
aquarium for five or six average sized garden slugs. Be sure
to get a screen or glass lid that you can fasten well, slugs
are famous escape artists and can squeeze through a space
much smaller than seems possible. If you use a screen lid,
cover part of the top with glass to keep the humidity high
in the tank or your slugs may dry out and die.

Put down a substrate of activated charcoal, covered by a
layer of aquarium gravel to hold moisture for the plants you
will be adding. Cover the substrate with sterile, pesticide-
free potting soil and add non-toxic plants for snacks and
hiding places, planting them directly or sinking their pots
into the soil. Be sure, though, that they plants you use
weren't nursery grown and so possibly containing slug
poison. If possible use native plants from the same area in
which you found the slugs.

You'll need to mist the tank, plants, slugs and all daily
with a fine mist of non-chlorinated water, both for the
slugs and the plants, and you might want to cover at least
some of the top soil with moss to help hold the moisture and
provide humidity. But you won't need to add a water dish to
your slug vivarium, slugs don't really drink, they get their
moisture from the vegetation they eat. Be sure not to use
fresh tap water when caring for your slugs, as most
chemicals will kill slugs.

Use a wide, flat rock or board for a feeding platform so you
can remove it for cleaning and keep down the chance of mold.
You also need to think carefully about the food you feed the
slugs, since vegetables often have been treated with slug
poison and other chemicals. Try harvesting food from the
slug's natural habitat, or at least wash commercial
vegetables very well before feeding them. Slugs love
vegetable greens, strawberries, tomato leaves, and the like.
They will enjoy the parts of vegetables that are left from
your own meal preparations. Last but not least, provide a
piece of cuttlebone or a sprinkle of calcium powered on
their food to provide enough calcium.

Slugs and snails are hermaphrodites, so you don't need to
worry about finding the gender your breeding slugs, but you should
choose the largest slugs you can find. They will need
several inches of moist, loose soil in which to lay their
tiny pearl-like eggs. The eggs will hatch in anywhere from
ten to thirty days. The baby snails will eat the same foods
as their parents, and they will need plenty of food and
calcium for the best growth, as they can grow very quickly.

When you go to choose a slug to feed to your pet, spray the
slug with a little water and pick it up carefully with
freshly-washed and non-perfumed hands. Don't try to yank
them off a surface or you will injure them. Instead, slide
your hand gently under them and then transfer to a container
for transport to your pet's tank. Slugs are very nutritious,
so count yourself lucky if your pet enjoys a tasty, free,
slug snack.


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By: Tippy & Alfred who loved watching Star Wars.
They weren't too pleased with Jabba the Hutt, they thought he should
have been a lot kinder to Hans Solo, but slugs will be slugs.
they thought it was fitting that Princess Leia eliminated him.
Sorry bout his luck....




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