He's a visitor from Europe and his coat is gorgeous. Tam and I walked over him several time until she noticed the little guy and said, "Whoa! Wow."
Blurry, but here he is (at right) in racing mode. He's not at all happy with bright lights, so when I went to get a better photo, he'd bulked up into Tough Slug, and was holding perfectly still, hoping to be taken for a stick or perhaps something the dog left. Ha! We haven't got a dog, pal.Known -- and complained about -- as the leopard slug, these big guys ("The Great Grey Slug!") have snuck out of Europe and can now be found just about anywhere. I've never seen one this size before. There was a tiny one in the basement when I bought Roseholme, which I "liberated" to the greater risks of the garden and for all I know this is the same critter, grown fat on cat food stolen from next door; it turns out they're mostly carnivorous.
And, yeah, they're gross ol' slugs. Still, that's one heck of a paint job. He was headed for the woodpile and I let him be. There's a storm rolling in and the clever slug seeks high ground. Besides, with a name like Limax Maximus.... C'mon, that's some gladiatorial-kewlness points right there, even before you learn they carry a shield!
And then there's this from Wikipedia, I should blush to repeat it but it's almost too good to be true: "This species has a very unusual and distinctive mating method, where the pair of slugs hang in the air, suspended from a tree branch or other structure, using a thick thread of mucus." And you thought the couple who got married while bungee-jumping were extreme? (Wikipedia, again, "mating habits...considered unusual among slugs." Oh, but when the neighbors do it, that's same-old, same-old?)
Our slug must be single; I'm pretty sure Tam or I would have noticed any swinging-from-chandeliers-type activity. (Alas, the rest of their mating habits are baroque and bizarre rather than high adventure). On the other hand, we have had a couple of trees fall over, under semi-mysterious circumstances. ...Slugs!? What have you been up to, anyhow?
They're also said to have a strong homing instinct. Homing slugs. Yeah. Paging Larry Corriea....
5 weeks ago