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24 September 2014
Inside Out: Surprising Stories, Familiar Places

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   Coming Up : Inside Out - East: Friday January 26, 2007
Slugs
Slug sexscapades - Leopard Slugs reproducing

Slugs

Slugs have got to be the most hated creatures on the planet.

These slimy creatures are viewed by most of us as pests and we feel no guilt in employing any method to destroy them.

But do they deserve their reputation? Or are they just misunderstood?

Garth Coupland is a slug enthusiast who thinks we should learn to hug the slug.

He loves them and their habitats. Old damp underpasses and patches of wet mossy grass at car lay-bys are his favourite locations.

Love your slugs

Garth tries to persuade die hard gardeners not to kill the slugs in their gardens.

He offers alternative ways of controlling them.

Slugs
Amorous creatures - two slugs entwined

Garth suggests avoiding using slug pellets that make a garden into a 'poisoned desert'.

His alternative is nothing more than old salad.

The slugs prefer the rotten leaves and are distracted from any precious plants.

Garth Coupland also rescues a Large Black Slug, Arion ater.

He points out, not only its innocence in the crimes against plants, but the real benefits that this creature brings to his garden.

Slugs also eat dog and cat poo.

Slug encounters

We also go in search of the most exciting slug encounter in Garth’s informed opinion - the bizarre and twisted sex life of the Leopard Slug.

But we have to be patient - it only happens on one night a year around two in the morning and it’s not easy finding them.

Slug sex
Exploding passion - two Leopard Slugs get frisky!

Only after a second year, of torchlight searching, did we find a couple of Leopard Slugs in the mood.

And they didn’t disappoint.

On a tree trunk they circle each other forming a pad of slime.

They both entwine, dropping together from a bungee rope of mucus.

Hanging there, upside down their genitalia explode out of their heads.

These also entwine and develop into a throbbing flower-like structure.

Inside they exchange sperm - the culmination of a beautiful mating ritual.

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