What Eats Slugs?

0
132
what eats slugs - hedgehog

What eats slugs? To us humans, slugs might not be the first choice for a meal, but to many different animals, like insects, small animals, frogs, birds, and snakes, slugs are a standard part of their diet. We’re going to look at the different animals that eat slugs.

Contents

A slug is a type of mollusk, and unlike its close relative, the snail, it doesn’t have a shell to protect it from other animals. Which makes slugs a firm favorite with most small mammals, birds, amphibians, and reptiles because it is quite easy to eat. For a lot of these animals, slugs make up a good portion of their calcium and protein sources.

What Eats Slugs?

Slugs usually hang out around plants, trees, ponds, piles of stones and leaves, and hedges. Any omnivorous or carnivorous animal that lives in these locations might consider chowing down on a slug occasionally.

What Insects Eat Slugs?

Despite being thought of as very small, there are a few insects that love to feast on slimy slugs.

Beetles

Right in the bottom of the food chain with plenty of animals that eat them, beetles still can eat living creatures themselves. Beetles come in all shapes and sizes, varying from the gorgeous little ladybugs to the hefty rhino beetle. Not all beetles eat slugs, but the common ground beetle is a known predator of slugs.

Not only do ground beetles eat slugs, but their larvae also find slugs are a nutritious food source that is vital for growth. You might worry about beetles damaging your garden, but not all of them are harmful and they are a friend when wanting to get rid of pesky slugs.

Fireflies

You might be surprised to discover that fireflies are carnivores. And one of the animals they prey on the most is slugs, especially when they are larvae. Fireflies usually catch their prey by using a numbing chemical that they inject into slugs.

What Birds Eat Slugs?

Lots of bird species have a varied diet, and many of these include fruit, nuts and small creatures like slugs!

Songbirds

titmice

Songbirds rely on forests to get proper nutrition, especially during their yearly migration from Canada to Central America and this means snacking on a lot of delicious and nutritious slugs and other insects living in the upper canopies of the trees.

Blackbirds

These members of the thrush family are omnivores and thrive off a diet of earthworms, berries, seeds and, you guessed it, slugs.

Ducks

duck names

You might not have noticed unless you have pet ducks, but they are one of the best animals at finding and devouring slugs. These fluffy birds are so good at seeking out slugs while still being super gentle with plants, so they are a fan favorite with farmers and avid gardeners to help keep control of the slugs without putting harmful pesticides on plants and vegetables.

They do their best foraging in wet conditions. So, when it’s raining is when you can typically find them rummaging around for slugs to snack on.

What Reptiles Eat Slugs?

Reptiles might seem like they’d enjoy larger prey, but several of them delight in a slug or two.

Turtles

florida box turtle

Slugs could be a turtle’s favorite snack. Turtles are opportunistic omnivores, so they try and eat anything they can, but slugs are a definite favorite. You’ll find that a hatchling’s diet consists of invertebrates, like the slug, because of the rich protein and an adult turtle will stick to a lot of vegetation.

Snakes

albino milk snake

Most snakes are not known for eating slugs, but rather smaller animals like mice and frogs, but the Garter snakes almost eat slugs. Garter snakes are usually found in both urban and rural gardens.

Lizards

gecko

Most lizards love to eat slugs but Slow worms, which look like snakes but are a type of lizard without legs, are one of the biggest fans of the nutrient-rich creatures.

Which Amphibians Eat Slugs?

Slugs are a mainstay of the amphibian diet, because slugs love damp and dank conditions too.

Frogs

frog names

Frogs make use of their long sticky tongues to catch their prey, and one of their favorite sources of nutrients comes from slugs. Slugs make up a huge part of a frog’s diet. You’ll usually find them snacking on slugs by ponds and other bodies of water. Despite their questionable diet, frogs can also make amazing pets.

Newts

A newt’s diet is largely dependent on whether they are in the water or on land. When newts are on land, then slugs make up a large part of their diet, as well as insects and worms.

Toads

Looking similar is not the only thing toads have in common with frogs, their diet also largely consists of eating slugs. However, a toad’s appetite is considerably bigger than your average frog’s.

What Eats Slugs In The Small Mammal World?

Plenty of small mammals love eating slugs, and they make up a large part of their diets.

Hedgehogs

african pygmy hedgehogs

Hedgehogs are small mammals whose short limbs position their body close to the ground and are known for their signature sharp spines that cover their rounded back.

They are so good at scouting out slugs, they can be thought of as natural pest control in gardens. You wouldn’t just assume so, but hedgehogs love to eat slugs. You can keep these cute critters as pets too!

Shrews

The shrew is, by nature, a very hungry animal and needs to eat at least 80-90% of its body weight to survive and will commonly munch on slugs to achieve this daily goal. One of the reasons they like to prey on slugs is because of how slowly they move.

Mice

Pet Mice - A complete guide

One of the mouse’s favorite things to eat is the slug. When you think of a little mouse eating, you’d usually expect to see them nibbling on some seeds and plant-based foods, but don’t be surprised if they take out some pesky slugs too.

Rats

rat names

Rats are medium-sized rodents, like the mouse, which make incredibly active, intelligent and friendly pets. They are notorious for eating almost anything that they can get a hold of. So, it should come as no surprise to learn that they also eat slugs.

They are opportunists and take full advantage of the slug’s slow pace and lack of protective shell to get a meal.

Squirrels

can you keep a squirrel as a pet

Yes, squirrels love to eat nuts, but did you know that they are omnivores and love to snack on slugs too? Unfortunately for squirrels, like other animals, eating slugs does come with a risk of getting a lungworm parasite. Pet squirrels are best avoiding these slippery treats.

Moles

When moles dig around under the ground, it’s common for moles to come across some delicious slugs, so slow-moving slugs are prime prey for the omnivorous mole.

Bigger Animals That Eat Slugs

It’s surprising to most people that some bigger mammals frequently eat slugs to supplement their diets. Let’s look at some of the bigger mammals that eat slugs.

Foxes

fox

You would think that the bigger the animals are, then the more they would look to other bigger sources of food, but foxes have quite a diverse diet and are omnivores. So occasionally

Opossums

As omnivores, opossums survive by eating a variety of different types of plant-based foods as well as small creatures, the slug being a firm favorite in their diet.

Are Slugs Safe To Eat?

Most slugs are safe for the majority of different animals to eat, however, some carry a common parasite called a lungworm which can be passed from the slug to the predator. Dogs and cats are very susceptible to being affected by this parasite so it’s important to make sure they don’t eat them as a precaution.

what eats slugs

What Eats Slugs?

There are so many different types of animals that eat slugs because they supply a strong amount of protein and calcium in diets. Slugs are notorious enemies to flower and vegetable gardens, so animals that feast on slugs should be welcome by anyone who prides themself on their beautiful garden.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here