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How to Care for a Pet Garden Slug

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Livingsta is a writer who focuses on anything that fascinates, provokes or interests her. She always puts forth her best efforts and focus.

Get advice on caring for a pet slug, from housing to feeding to handling!

Get advice on caring for a pet slug, from housing to feeding to handling!

How to Keep a Slug as a Pet

First of all, before finding a suitable slug, you need to make sure you have the requirements for your new pet.

  • Housing: You need a home for your slug. It can be a container with a secure lid which has enough substrate for your slug to move around.
  • Food: You then need to have food to feed your slug. They eat decayed leaves, fungus, fruits, decaying vegetable matter and some plants.
  • Moisture: You'll need a spray bottle to spray water into the slug’s home.

Where to Find a Slug

Once you have these ready, you need to find a slug (preferably in your garden) to grow as your pet. You can look for them in wet places, under logs, leaves, plants, under flower pots, etc. They can also be seen in areas where you collect materials for compost or where you have stored compost, especially outdoors.

This slug is eating a cucumber slice.

This slug is eating a cucumber slice.

Where to Keep a Pet Slug

The container you use can be a small aquarium or another spacious container at least 20 cm by 20 cm with a lid that has tiny holes for ventilation. Make sure that the holes are not too big, as your pet can escape through bigger holes.

Substrate

Then comes the substrate—the material you place at the bottom of the container for your pet to move around. Look around the area where you found your pet, and collect soil, leaves, decaying plant material and some gravel. You can put small twigs inside the slug’s home so it can climb up and feel at home.

The substrate has to be moist as slugs live in a moisture-filled habitat. Change the substrate once a week or once every two weeks to maintain a clean habitat for your slug’s health.

Moisture

In order for your slug to be happy, moist and healthy, spray the container with enough water from time to time. Without this, your pet will dehydrate, become dry and eventually die.

How to Feed a Pet Slug

  • Plant Food: Slugs mostly feed on leaves, decaying plants, fruits and vegetables. Do not feed them too much fruit, as too much sugar might kill the slug.
  • Pellet Food: You can also get pellet food from pet stores to feed your slug, as this contains all the nutrients needed for your pet.

Place small amounts of these foods inside the container for your pet and make sure you change the food every day to maintain cleanliness and avoid bad odors.

How to Handle or Touch a Slug

When handling your slug while cleaning its home, you need to hold him very gently. Do not let any sharp edges come in contact with the slug's body. Clean your hands before holding your slug. It's preferable to handle your pet with wet hands, too. Do not keep the slug in direct sunlight.

A Slug

A Slug

More About Slugs

Now that we have looked into how to care for a slug that you will be raising and looking after as your pet, let's explore all the basics about slugs, such as what they like, what they do, what is dangerous for them, etc.

Fun Facts About Slugs

  • A slug is a gastropod mollusk that does not have a shell (or has a very small one).
  • They belong to the Kingdom Animalia, Phylum Mollusca and Class Gastropoda.
  • They are found on land, in freshwater, and in the sea.
  • The term "slugs" in general refers to the ones that live on land. The ones found in freshwater are called freshwater slugs and the ones found in sea are called sea slugs.
  • Slugs are very similar to snails except for the shells.
  • Slugs have two pairs of tentacles: one long pair with eyes for seeing, and another shorter pair for sensing smells.
  • The foot of the slug is muscular.
  • Slugs move by secreting a slimy fluid on which they travel to reduce friction and prevent damage to their body tissues.
  • A few species of slugs hibernate during winter when the temperature is lowest.
Different types of slugs.

Different types of slugs.

  • A slug’s body has a high moisture content, which makes it hard for this creature to survive in dry weather.
  • They can often be seen after a rain or in damp, moist areas like damp wood or cardboard, flower pots, or any place that retains moisture.
  • Slugs come out during the night, so if you need to find one, the best time is after sunset.
  • Slugs can burrow into the earth to moist regions during droughts.
  • They can be slippery to hold due to their mucus secretions. This helps them escape when they're attacked by predators like birds and other animals.
  • Slugs are hermaphrodites.
  • Slugs can be pests in horticulture and agriculture as they feed on crops, plants, fruits and vegetables, making them not fit for sale in the market.
The long tentacles on top are for seeing.

The long tentacles on top are for seeing.

What Eats Slugs?

  • Some carnivorous slugs feed on other slugs, snails, and even dead slugs.
  • Slugs are eaten by frogs, toads, snakes, rats, some birds, beetles, etc.
  • Their mucus has a bad taste, however, so some animals will avoid feeding on them.
Slug on a leaf.

Slug on a leaf.

Quick Facts to Remember About Slugs

  • A slug is basically a snail without a shell.
  • Most slugs are herbivorous, but there are a few carnivorous slugs, too.
  • Slugs eat decomposed and rotting vegetation.
  • Slug eggs can remain dormant for years and hatch when conditions are favourable.
  • Slugs are hermaphrodites.
  • Slugs can live up to six years if conditions are good for their survival.
  • Slugs can stretch their body a lot so that they can squeeze through even very small openings.
  • Slugs can grow their tentacles back if they lose them.
  • Slugs do not have a backbone.
  • Slugs will dehydrate and die if you put salt over them.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

Comments

Nice life on August 08, 2020:

This helps

Grace on July 25, 2020:

Thank you for teaching me how to care for my slugs

hayhay on June 23, 2020:

i am glad i have a pet slug but i feal like it might getmy other slug

Velda B. ( 10 years of age) on June 11, 2020:

I have a slug named Catriona.

Kylie Jenner on June 02, 2020:

so i found a slug and its BEAUTIFUL

kiki on June 01, 2020:

I found a slug too he's name is olive he eats a lot of fruit and veggies he docent like broccoli and he loves carrots

Someone who really likes slugs on May 28, 2020:

My slug eggs just hatched!! :) Only thing is, I'm having trouble keeping track of the babies. Any ideas?? Please help!

Alyssa on May 21, 2020:

I just found a slug in my grandmas yard. This article helped me a lot. His name is Pinto middle name Bean.

Slug lover on May 20, 2020:

Thank you for the information. I have three slugs named Jorge, Betty, and Christopher. Jorge laid eggs and im not sure how to take care of them or if they are even fertilized. Can you help me?

Chara on May 16, 2020:

Hi.

I just found a slug, A tiny one. I was getting grass outside for it to live inside a shoe box, Do they live on a shoe box or no? I just read this article it was helpful. Thanks for the information but I don't know if it will live for long. I will try to care for it

Alina on May 15, 2020:

I just got a slug from my backyard and now it's my pet!

Layla on May 11, 2020:

I loved it told me all about how to care for a slug I used my old fish and spraying the tank three times a day

Matt on May 10, 2020:

Hi. This article was really helpful, thanks. I have 2 pet slugs. They 74 laid eggs a few weeks ago, and they are about to hatch. (I know because I can see the babies inside the eggs). I got the slugs from a drainage pit, but recently when I had a look into it, there was a Gippsland Black snail in there. I plan to put 71 of the hatched babies in there as that is where I found their parents. Am I putting the babies at risk by putting in there? Is this a bad idea? Pls let me know

Xavier on May 08, 2020:

I found a slug

zoe on May 05, 2020:

i have 3 slugs and this was really helpful! thx!

Lorie on April 27, 2020:

Thanks

Alex on April 25, 2020:

My slugs name is junior and my brothers slug is fusion we got fusion today and junior yesterday

me on April 24, 2020:

This was a good article.

Sean bell on April 20, 2020:

Thank you for all your help it’s very nice of you.

whitney 9 years old on March 28, 2020:

thank you for the informaion i found a slug in my back yard and i am now caring for it.

Withheld by request on March 28, 2020:

I have a batch of slug eggs (8/10)

Elizabeth Girardot on March 14, 2020:

I just found a slug in my yard and I quickly searched up what to do with it I’m happy that you post this because I wouldn’t know what to do with my slug and it would probably die

ceci on February 18, 2020:

I just got a slug yesterday but it seems to be moving slowly and it looks like it's over wait (if it's possible) but i think it might die soon :(

Jade on November 03, 2019:

Hi,

My slug died earlier today for some unknown reason. I’ve been thinking back and I realised that his skin got darker over the weeks I had him. I’m not sure if you have the answer, but do you know if this is normal in garden slugs? Thanks!

Allison on October 30, 2019:

Okay, my slug Sludge has eggs, what do I do?

landyn on October 21, 2019:

mackenzie slug on hola hop

Amy ( a_m_y_x_o on insta ) on October 01, 2019:

Lol. I tried giving my Slug named Janet cpr. I don't know what I'm doing. Is it still alive?

Edit: RIP Janet.

Please help me still tho

Jessie on September 04, 2019:

I had 2 slugs for a couple hours they stopped moving what do I do

Benjamin wilde on August 19, 2019:

my friend found a verryyy small slug in a plant she bought and gave it to me, but i live in a very hot climate we have reached 122 farenheit, i am currently keeping it in a very big container i had for my turtles, it is indoors in my work table.

it is very smal, will it grow?

Sallie on July 25, 2019:

My 5 year old son has 3 slugz of varying size he loves them

Joanna on March 18, 2019:

I love slugs but animals can easily eat them

kasia haliniak on March 10, 2019:

Hi I have a slug called Virginia 2 because the first one got stepped on .I keep him in a small container with holes on top .I’m starting a slug collection and I have a big snail collection. He was found in my garden like all of my snail

Andrew Servinsky on January 02, 2019:

My slugs name is Gary sadly he’s dieing I don’t know why

Brooke on November 17, 2018:

My slugs name is Sam he like hiding under leaves

Kathzplayzgamez on July 19, 2018:

I have had snails for 1 or 2 years but untill today i havent had slugs. They are harder to find in my garden but i rventually found 2! I noticed snails seem to like company and even petsnails.com agree! I had around 100 snails as they were breeding like crazy and dad kept killing them so i released them somewhere safer in a foresty sort of place. I barely ever see slugs though and never really considered having one as a pet untill i saw 2 of the cuties! Sadly, my dad hates them even more than snail as apparently they are uglier smellier and eat more, but i put them in a plastic aquarium from pets at home with about 2 inches of moist soil, some apple peels left by my parents and put some bottle caps of water and sticks and stones to climb on! There called slim and slime!

Ava on May 18, 2018:

My slugs name is Sebastian I put him in a thin layer of dirt with some flowers and sticks I covered him off and made the remark bit dark and turn the temperature to a bit lower I found them outside under a log there are lots of little bugs there and I thought it would be cool to have a pet name Sebastian

Tess on January 23, 2018:

Does my pet slug need a companion, I spotted one outside. Or should I leave him alone in his cage? Please get back to me with yr advice. Thank you.

Chloie on March 28, 2017:

I'm looking for what to feed my slugs and what I need.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 20, 2013:

Hi Weekend Reader, I agree! Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts on this.

Cindy D Whipany on March 17, 2013:

My philosophy about bugs and critters is that I won't bother them (much) if they're outside, but they're dead meat if they come into my house. Slugs insist on pushing the envelope, never quite coming inside but climbing all over the exterior walls at night. Interestingly, the paths they leave aren't quick to grow green mold (shady side of the house), so I'm thinking of developing a slime-based home mold inhibitor ... or maybe just offering them to anyone who's interested in one or more as pets.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 16, 2013:

Hello Stephanie, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts and experience. I do understand what you mean. I do like watching the slugs and the snails in the garden and I have had snails as pets. I am quite not sure about the slugs as pets either and I haven't had one! My son would love to have one!!!

And yes, they can be serious pe(s)ts too :-)

Have a good weekend!

Stephanie Henkel from USA on March 16, 2013:

Very interesting hub with lots of great information on slugs...but, sorry, I couldn't bring myself to be nice to them after I've declared war on all the slugs that have eaten my garden and flowers!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 16, 2013:

Great, thank you Mary, will do :-)

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 16, 2013:

Great! I'm linking this to my Compost Hub right now. I'd be happy to have you link back.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 16, 2013:

Thank you for reading Suhail. I am glad you found it useful. What you say is right too!

Have a great weekend!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 16, 2013:

Hello Mary615, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. You can sure link this hub, and I think it will be a good idea to link yours to mine as well if it's alright with you. Thank you for the votes and share!

Have a good weekend!

Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent from Mississauga, ON on March 16, 2013:

Never knew we can keep slugs as pets. I learn something new everyday on hubpages :-)

This is an informative hub on slugs. Learnt a lot, but I will let slugs flourish in my garden, where the forces of nature provide balancing act for their population.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 16, 2013:

I'm just not sure if I want a slug for a pet! I'm always happy to see them eating away in my compost. They can always have a home with me and my compost. Maybe I should link this Hub into mine about making compost in a garbage can. That way anyone wanting to capture a slug for a pet can find them eating away in the compost. What do you think about that??

Voted UP and shared.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 14, 2013:

Wow, Sharkye11, thank you for reading and sharing your experiences. That was useful information, returning them back to the wild. Thank you and I am glad you liked it.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 14, 2013:

Hello Jeannieinabottle, thank you for reading. I am glad this was of interest to you!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 14, 2013:

Hi Midget38, thank you for reading. I am sure you will enjoy watching them!

Jayme Kinsey from Oklahoma on March 13, 2013:

I love pet slugs. I've kept dozens. I even wrote an article about raising them on another site. They make pretty cool pets, and the best part is they can be returned to the wild if you decide you don't want them anymore. Great read!

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 13, 2013:

I never thought of having a slug as a pet until now. Perhaps I will try this instead of fish!

Michelle Liew from Singapore on March 13, 2013:

All creatures are interesting! Now, when I see a slug, I will be very sure to say hi. Thanks for sharing, Dahlia!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on March 10, 2013:

Thank you Vinaya for reading. You should share your experiences when you get a slug.

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on March 09, 2013:

I did not know people keep slug as a pet until I read this. Next time I see a slug, I will try to make it a pet.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 24, 2013:

Hi Unknown spy, you will for sure find them in areas where you find the snails. Have a look around next time when you see snails :-)

Life Under Construction from Neverland on January 24, 2013:

a snail without shell! i wonder if i have seen one... i don't know for sure.. i know snails but with shells..

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 16, 2013:

Thank you Nell, I do not know if I myself would have one as a pet anytime, but it was interesting reading all the interesting facts while researching for materials :-)

Nell Rose from England on January 15, 2013:

I would never have guessed that anyone would want to keep slugs for a pet, but after reading this they are pretty interesting little things, but I will pass keeping them though! lol! interesting hub livingsta, nell

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 15, 2013:

That's great to hear :-) I am sure if my son gets to know about this, he's gonna get one in. Interesting though. Thank you Lane Reno for passing by and sharing your experience :-)

Lane Reno on January 14, 2013:

I like snails and slugs, and tried to keep them as pets a few years ago. They fared well enough, but the inside of the terrarium glass became too quickly covered with their slime trails and I couldn't see into it from the sides. Slime or no, I think it is a good idea, and I like to see people think out of the "norm" when keeping pets.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 11, 2013:

Neither have I Kimberly before I actually started writing this hub. Thank you for stopping by!

Kimberly Vaughn from Midwest on January 10, 2013:

I have never heard of a slug as a pet before but there is something kind of cute about them!

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 10, 2013:

Thank you Melissa and thank you for the vote :-)

Melissa A Smith from New York on January 09, 2013:

Aww so cute. Voted up.

livingsta (author) from United Kingdom on January 09, 2013:

Aww, that's so sweet @Dragonflyfla. I can't imagine holding them in my hands. Thank you so much for reading and writing a few words.

Joy Campbell from South Florida on January 09, 2013:

This so reminds me of my daughter. Lizards and rollypolies were her capture for many years.

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