Sunday, 20 October 2013

Killer Slugs?

First we had Killer Shrimps and now we have Killer Slugs; probably.
2 Pictures by Marilyn Barlow
Note newts in background.

David Cobham is the volunteer who makes all our lovely way-marking signs. He lives on the edge of the Reserve, so anything that turns up in his garden is likely to appear on our patch as well. This week he reported a large cream slug with an orange edge was slowly sliding across his back step. Rather than throw it over the fence to get it off his vegetables, David sat and pondered it for a while and watched to see what it would do. It ate a snail! 

Actually, most slugs are omnivores and mollusc cannibalism is not unknown, but David tried to identify his slug and came up with the Spanish Slug – Arion vulgaris.

The national press has reported on this beastie over the last fortnight because Dr Ian Bedford from the John Innes Centre in Norfolk has discovered them to be breeding in great numbers. He told The Observer
‘The Spanish slug is a voracious predator that can survive eating many of the slug pellets that are supposed to kill them,’ 
‘It eats crops spared by our native slugs, tolerates drier conditions, reproduces in greater numbers and even eats dead animals and excrement.’
He has now created a website – – for members of public to learn more about the species, find out how to create traps, and to post their unhappy experiences.
‘We want photos and sightings from members of the public to help build a picture of how widespread the Spanish slug is,’ he added.
Could you please look out for this slug and get me a good photo when possible?