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Once the rain stopped this afternoon, I went out for a wander, looking to see if there were any new fungi after the dampness of recent days. What I found were shell-less terrestrial gastropod molluscs, big fat slippery slimy slugs that had at least partially devoured many of the tasty-to-them, newly sprouted mushrooms.

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Isn’t it interesting that we use a lot of ‘slug’ idioms and expressions in the English language? If we are fighting, we are also slugging it out. If we’re working hard at a task, we’re slugging away at it. If we’re having a shot of alcohol, we’re having a slug of the drink. Well, today I saw many literal illustrations of the word sluggish: all those terrestrial gastropod molluscs, like the Leopard slug (Limax maximus) in my photos, were looking decidedly sluggish as they sleepily digested the hefty portions of fungi they’d consumed for their lunch.

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In case you’re a gardener and think I should have killed this creature, this slug is actually one of the good guys. It won’t damage healthy living plants, preferring fungi, rotting plants and even other slugs, and it recycles nutrients, helping to fertilise the soil.

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