The Slug Who Came to Dinner

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).

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4 Responses to The Slug Who Came to Dinner

  1. cristina61 says:

    I found another reason to “love” these guys when I learned they will happily eat poison oak!


    • gingkochris says:

      Yes! I did not mention in this post that banana slugs eat poison oak. But as someone that only has to think about poison oak to come down with a massive case, I appreciate slugs.


  2. tonytomeo says:

    Hey! It is the mascot of the University of California at Santa Cruz!


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