a tale of two bananas

A couple of days ago, while hiking to Endert’s Beach near Crescent City, we came upon many Banana Slugs wandering about on the wet grass following the heavy rains of the previous night. Sometimes, it’s useful to include an object for size reference when photographing small creatures. Musing over what to use, I came up with what seemed to be an appropriate object — a banana.

Setting the banana on the ground beside the slug, it soon became apparent that the banana was of interest to the slug. It immediately slithered over for a better view. After a few tentative pokes with its eye stalks, it began what can best be described as a Vulcan mindmeld as it pressed its radula (rasping mouth parts) against the banana. By the way, that’s the open pneumostome (breathing opening) on the slug’s right side.

As you can see from the above photo, within seconds, the Banana Slug had chewed a goodly sized hole in the banana skin. The lesson in all of this — don’t leave your bananas unattended while traveling in Banana Slug country.


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14 Responses to “a tale of two bananas”

  1. pablo Says:

    I remember seeing those when Libby and I made a trip to Seattle some years back. I didn’t have the presence of mind, however, to put a banana beside one for the photographic possibilities.

  2. Mary Carlson Says:

    Hi Bev – that was a great comparison. Those critters are so gross looking, yet they are fascinating, too. I can’t believe that I have lived in the Silicon Valley for 34 years and have never yet seen one of these slugs. I realize they are probably located only on the beach side of the state, and I live on the other side of the Santa Cruz hills. Nonetheless, I have visited several beaches, but just seem to never be in the right place at the right time. ;o) It sure looks like you have enjoyed your visit to California, and I enjoy reading about your adventures while here. Thanks for sharing.

  3. bev Says:

    pablo – Well, I happened to have a banana in my coat pocket, so that did help to suggest a possible object when I began looking around for something for my comparison shot. I found it particularly interesting to see how quickly the slug took an interest in the banana — almost instantly!

    Mary – Actually, it’s surprising how many people here in the PNW don’t seem to have had encounters with Banana Slugs. I’ve seen them just about every time I’ve hiked somewhere over the past two years during my travels. They are most often seen just after a rain, so we saw a lot of them during hikes in the Crescent City area over the past week.

  4. robin andrea Says:

    What fantastic photographs! I would not have thought to put a banana in the pic with the slug. The banana slug is the mascot of UC Santa Cruz, my former employer. They were everywhere on campus. Quite a fine looking critter.

  5. bev Says:

    robin – That’s so cool about the UC Santa Cruz using a banana slug as a mascot — How progressive! Invertebrates rule! (-:

  6. Cathy Wilson Says:

    Great whimsy here, Bev. Great idea and fun photos.

  7. barbara Says:

    Just discovered your blog thanks to D L’s blog list, and I am fascinated. It’s a bonanza, and I love your banana/banana slug. I’m also a big fan of the Santa Cruz slugs, even though I’m in Wisconsin. Who wouldn’t love a football slug?

  8. bev Says:

    Cathy – Glad that you enjoyed them!

    barbara – Welcome to my blog. A football slug seems rather novel to me. Seems more appropriate for a baseball team!

  9. Jennifer Says:

    That cracked me up.

  10. Andrée Says:

    Fascinating post, great photos. I never saw any of this before.

  11. Joyce Says:

    At 5th grade camp in the Santa Cruz mountains we were served banana slug pudding. Probably not really, but it was a fun gross out for us kids. Another gross out: I have seen slugs respond similarly to dog droppings along a trail.

  12. bev Says:

    Jennifer – Well, I must admit that we did this partly for the visual humor!

    Andrée – If you haven’t had a chance to see banana slugs “in person” you really should some day. They’re quite amazing.

    Joyce – Yes, I can see how it would be easy to whip up a relatively convincinb banana slug pudding using banana pudding mix and the colour would be pretty close to the same. Slugs and snalls and even butterflies are often attracted to the scat of various animals. I guess the oddest thing I’ve seen was slugs (not banana slugs) feeding on other crushed slugs that were in some tall grass that had flopped down on the road and been run over by car tires. I don’t think they are particularly discerning in their food sources. Organic matter is organic matter to them!

  13. Jake Says:


  14. Pieter Says:

    It made me cry! xD
    of laughing xD don’t leave your bananas unattended while traveling in Banana Slug country.
    i think its funny xD and the slug is cool :D