Saturday, September 09, 2017

Coastal BC Animals: Banana Slug

Banana Slug

Banana slug on Stella Lake Road.
During summer, Wayne and I took our quads over to Vancouver Island to ride on logging roads and trails. We camped at Stella Lake northwest of Campbell River.

One evening while taking a walk along Stella Lake Road near the campsite we stumbled upon a large Banana Slug (Ariolimax columbianus) making it's way slowly along the shoulder of the logging road.

While some are yellow, they also come in brown, black and mottled colours. In fact, they get their common name from their shape rather than their colouring.

Banana slugs are large, up to 25 cm (10 inches) long. Wayne used his foot to give a reference point. This one looks about 8 inches in length.

The forward part is called the mantle. On the right side there's a large circular opening. This is the pneumostome.  The slug breathes through this opening.

The head has two upper optical tentacles for vision and two lower sensory tentacles for feeling and tasting. The mouth on the underside has 27,000 teeth called radula. Banana slugs eat plants, decaying matter and animal feces. They digest all of these things and return the nutrients to the soil.

The back portion is called the foot.  Undulating motion and mucus (slime) allow the slug to move across the forest floor and over vegetation.

While I don't appreciate slugs in my garden, this particular variety provides a needed service in the ecology of the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

References: "Banana Slug" on Sierra Club BC (online), "Banana Slug" on Tryon Naturalist Notes (online), and "Banana Slug Diet" on (online),

Thanks for visiting my post this week. I'm linking up with Camera Critters and Saturday's Critters. Check them out for more great animal pictures. -- Margy


  1. Okay, Margy, I've given it some thought, I've tried to be open-minded, but I can't get myself to say I like slugs, even banana slugs, whose name sounds better than they look. So, do I get A for effort (I did try) or do I fail the slug test? (smiley face here)
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous

    1. Before you decide check out the Banana Slug Mascot for the University of California, Santa Cruz. He's kinda cute. - Margy

  2. I suspected slugs were good for something! That's why I told my friend to leave them in his yard as they might devour the cat poop he keeps getting in his yard! Of course, they may be the culpits for mowing down his lawn thyme!

    1. They do eat a prodigious amount, and one this size could do some real damage in a garden. Fortunately they stay in the forest, at least as far as I know. Not sure cat poop sounds all the appetizing, but a slug's got to eat. - Margy

  3. Hello, cool shots of the slug. I like the up close shot of it's tentacles. Interesting info on these slugs. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Sunday, enjoy your day and new week ahead!

    1. Thanks. You never know what you might discover on a hike.

  4. Hi fellas,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful article really!
    If someone want to read more about that British Columbia I think this is the right place for you!

  5. Hi Margy nice article on the Banana Slug. Native slugs are good for scavenging in the woods. Guess what happened to my Mason Bees houses. I saw a Hairy Woodpecker cleaning them out. By the time I saw the pesky devil he had cleaned out both bee houses. First time that ever happened. Dang!!

  6. great micro shots. Used to hate slugs with a passion when I had a garden.