Slugs and Snails

Slugs and Snails

Slugs and Snails Facts

Common names: Slug or snail.

Scientific names: Milacidae, Deroceras and Arion spp or Cornu aspersum.

Slugs and snails will feed on many plants and vegetables.

Slugs and snails are active all year round; particularly when it is warm and wet.

Symptoms include:

  • Silver coloured slime trails 
  • Holes in leaves, stems and flowers
  • Long-keeled slugs will tunnel and eat tubers and bulbs

Slugs and snails are so common in gardens and on allotments.

Non-Chemical Treatment of Slugs and Snails may include:

  • Nematodes
  • Planting out more established plants than vulnerable seedlings
  • Encourage predators to the area, like birds, frogs, hedgehogs and ground beetles
  • Fruit or beer traps to be laid
  • Netting/mesh
  • Sharp, strong-smelling barriers, like egg shells or copper tape 
  • Evening collecting

About Slugs and Snails


Snails are hermaphrodite and take up to 2 hours to mate. They lay a batch of about 80 spherical pearly-white eggs into crevices in the topsoil or sheltered under stones. In a year it may lay six batches or so. That's nearly 500 young snails, which will take one or two years to reach maturity. 

Although snails hibernate during the winter months, slugs can be found anywhere where there is a temperature in excess of 5°C. 95% of slugs are underground, nibbling on seeds and roots and laying eggs – they lay 20-100 eggs multiple times every year.

Slugs use their mucus as a navigation system, as it helps them to follow the trail back to their tunnels and feeding sites.

Slugs and Snails are gastropods; single-shelled, soft-bodied animals in the molluscs group of animals. Snails, along with slugs, use their rasping tongues to eat holes in leaves, stems and flowers of many plants. There are many control options available for slugs and snails but despite this they remain a persistent pest.

Most slugs and Snails feed at night, and the slime trails, if present, can warn you about the level of activity. Damage is usually most severe during warm, humid periods.

Snails can reach a speed of one metre per hour, enabling them to travel through an average British garden overnight. Snails range from a few centimetres long to up to twelve inches long and can carry up to ten times their own body weight.

Some snails carry lungworm (angiostrongylus vasorum), a parasite which affects dogs’ heart-rates and breathing and can cause fatalities.

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