Facts About Spotted Leopard Slugs

By Naomi Millburn

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Leopard slugs (Limax maximus) are big slugs that live all throughout the globe, including Australia, the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe. The "leopard" component of their moniker is a nod to the conspicuous black blots that adorn their mostly brownish or gray physiques. Giant garden slug is another oft-used handle for the species.

Physical Appearance

Mature leopard slugs typically get to almost 8 inches in length. Their heads are equipped with four tentacles, two of which are small and the other two are markedly lengthier. Their spotting starts by their head and travels all the way down their body.

Living Environment

Leopard slugs, for the most part, inhabit cities. They gravitate toward man-made establishments and even frequently appear on the edges of roads. Some of them also reside in open lands and forested environments, however. They're drawn not only to settings with ample shade, but also to extremely moist ones. In the daytime, these predominantly nocturnal slugs typically hide out below logs or stones. They occasionally venture out during daylight, but usually only when it rains.

Typical Diet

As far as feeding goes, leopard slugs aren't overly choosy. Some of the diverse things that leopard slugs frequently eat are fungi, stool matter from pets, pet food, fellow slugs, plants and garden crops. They also occasionally feast on the carcasses of previously killed animals. Leopard slugs search for their meals when it's dark out.

Common Predators

A wide array of animals regularly prey on leopard slugs. Some of the most prominent predators of the species are turtles, toads, birds and beetles.

Reproduction

Like all slugs in general, leopard slugs are hermaphrodites, which means that all specimens possess the reproductive organs of males and females alike. Mating leopard slugs twist their bodies together while on tree limbs. Then, they both dangle from the limbs on the strength of mucus strands. Leopard slugs deposit transparent eggs in substantial numbers.

Nuisances to Humans

Leopard slugs are often classified as being invasive nuisances because of their feeding habits. Since they have penchants for munching on cultivated crops, they can wreak a lot of havoc when many of them are together in the same area. On the bright side, they sometimes dine on pesky invasive weeds, too.

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