Slugging It Out

: Tracy Beckerman on

Living in the suburbs, I encounter lots of wildlife to keep me on my toes. I've had several run-ins with aggressive squirrels, a quarrel with a cranky woodchuck, an unfortunate encounter with a pissed-off skunk. But none of this prepared me for the monster thing I stumbled upon while we were on vacation in the woods. This thing was so big and so scary, I thought I might end up spending the whole two weeks indoors. It was gargantuan. It was behemothic. It was ...

A slug.

Now this was not just any slug. I've seen slugs in the past in my yard and on my deck that were your normal, everyday, garden-variety slugs. This was not that slug. This slug was the largest, slimiest gastropod I had ever laid eyes on in my life. It was brown with dark spots and probably about eight feet -- I mean, inches -- long, stretched across the middle of the front wooden stoop where I had nearly stepped on it. Surely, had that happened, it would have swallowed my foot; maybe even my whole leg, depending on how hungry a monster slug gets.

Fortunately, I noticed it just before I put my foot down and half-jumped/half-catapulted over it onto the grass below.

"Joel!" I shrieked to my husband inside. "Help!"

He came running out with the dog and a bat. We had heard on the news that there were bears in the area, and I'm sure the first thing that ran through his head was that I was under attack by an angry bear. I'm also sure the thing that didn't run through his head was that I was under attack by a giant slug. To be fair to the slug, it hadn't really tried to attack me. But I had no idea if slugs were territorial and might get aggressive when threatened. Was it possible to get slimed to death? I wasn't sure, but I didn't want to be the first person to find out.


Fortunately, my husband had lunged out the door and over the stoop, missing the giant slug entirely, which was a good thing because otherwise it might have eaten both of us, and I would hate for my kids to become orphans and have to tell people their parents died in a tragic slug assault.

He looked around for the black bear and obviously saw nothing. Then he looked down at me on the ground.

"What's going on? I thought you were in trouble."

"I was. I am," I said. "Look!" I pointed to Slugzilla on the stoop.


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