Saturday, December 8, 2012


For as long as I can remember, I've kept pets. All sorts of pets, ranging from the typical to the bizarre. Unlike most parents, mine were exceptionally tolerant of my hobby, but they often got as much enjoyment out of the animals as I did. My father, who repeatedly claimed that he'd shoot any snake or tarantula I brought into the house, quickly warmed up even to these beasties.

Despite the enormous variety of critters that graced my menagerie, however, few have been as fascinating as the average terrestrial mollusk. Specifically, slugs and snails. Most people feel that there couldn't be a pet more boring, but I beg to differ. Anyone who spends even a little time quietly watching them would be in awe of the complexity of their slimy little lives. Rest assured, they do much, much more than just gobble your garden plants and leave slime trails everywhere.

It is my intention to document my personal observations of these amazing little animals so that people might understand them better, and perhaps even react to them without wanton cruelty. I hope that the information in this blog will also serve to further the snail and slug-keeping hobby as a whole. Though there are a surprising number of people out there who keep terrestrial mollusks as companion animals, there isn't much information on their care, behavior or treatment of health problems. I want to change that.

These creatures are wonderful pets. They're fairly clean, eat a variety of foods, cost nothing to feed or house and have some of the most amusing and intriguing behaviors of any animal I've seen. I keep them in standard plastic storage bins with holes in the top, filled with soil, leaves, wood and other things that slugs and snails enjoy. If my living space allowed for it, I'd have more tubs just like this stacked floor to ceiling.

Currently, my collection consists of a handful locally found species:

Lehmannia valentiana, the three-banded garden slug
Deroceras reticulatum, the gray field slug
Discus rotundatus, the rotund disc snail (02/08/13 EDIT: This snail turned out to be Patera appressa)

I also have an Ariolimax columbianus, or banana slug, who isn't doing well, the poor, sweet thing. Plus, there are few other slugs whose identification is not forthcoming. They're small, probably still juveniles, and are black-brown in color like dark chocolate. As far as individuals go, I estimate that there are upwards of 40 in varying states of development, plus eggs that I expect will hatch soon. I also take pictures regularly, which can be viewed here.

I hope everyone who reads this blog takes away something valuable from it.

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