Recently while tent camping at Mill Creek Campground in Del Norte Redwoods State Park CA a banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) was crawling around the picnic table as we ate. I noticed that the slug seemed to be eating a bit of cheese that had fallen on the table.
Curious if the banana slug actually ate the cheese or if it had only crawled over the cheese, I placed another small piece of cheese in its path and carefully watched. Sure enough, the slug actually ate the cheese. Then I offered the slug a grain of rice. The banana slug devoured the rice. To be certain the rice and cheese were not under the mollusk I encouraged the slug to move in another direction. Only slime remained in the spot where the food was eaten.
I knew banana slugs were primarily herbivores eating living and dead plants (leaves, flowers, roots, stems, seeds, fruits – any plant part) and fungi. To my surprise when I did a little more research I discovered that they would also eat animal feces and carcasses. I never previously considered cooked rice and cheese as part of a banana slug’s diet.
More information about this native of the Pacific Northwest can be found in my previous post, “Banana Slug” (08-17-12).