A post from one our Ranger Team

A post from one our Ranger Team

A post by Sammy Chaffey.

This summer has been exceptionally busy with School programmes, with ‘Habitat and Minibeasts’ and ‘Mud Monsters’ being some of the most popular. Both programmes involve searching for creepy crawlies hiding around the woodland floors. It’s a great way to allow children to explore and get stuck in! On an average day you’ll find ants, woodlice, snails and slugs. Over the past few weeks we have been lucky enough to spot not only toads but frogs, newts and even Leopard slug (Limax Maximus).

Not knowing much about slugs I found it fascinating to learn about the different types and their behaviours. Having since researched about them I can now say I have a new profound love for slugs (Leopard being my favourite).

I discovered that Leopard slugs are actually widespread across the UK and grow up to a whopping 16 cm. They can be brown or grey, with brown or black spots and blotches (thus giving them their name). Like other slugs they eat plants and fungi but are one of few slugs that actually eat other slugs.

Slugs live in very damp, dark habitats and can often be found under a piece of rooting wood. They prefer cooler places so that they do not get too dry. Slugs also produce sticky mucus that helps them to slide along the ground, crawl up trees and prevent them from drying out. Although many gardeners may not be so keen on slugs, they are an important food resource for many animals including birds, badgers and hedgehogs. 

You can help attract more minibeasts to your area by making small piles of rotting leaves and wood. Check the pile over the next few days and I’m sure you’ll have your own little community soon enough.

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