Backyard Buddies
Leopard slugs

Photo: Doug Beckers

Leopard slugs

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In February you can witness a spectacular event in your backyard.

Mating Leopard Slugs must be one of the most bizarre and fascinating displays of animal behaviour you can ever observe. The male and female become entwined and lower themselves from their branch on a thread of mucus to exchange sperm. Then they return to the branch via the mucous thread, eating it as they go. Like all slugs and snails, they are hermaphrodites - they have both male and female reproductive organs.

There's no need to worry about your veggies if you see large Leopard slugs around your garden beds. They are mainly carnivores that will clean up any dead animals and even pet feces and they usually leave your cabbages alone. They are particularly fond of cat food, so you may find them in your pets bowl if they have an outdoor feeding area.

The Leopard Slug lives in the south and east of Australia and is common in urban areas. It grows to 20 cm long and has distinctive dark spots on a lighter brown body, giving it its name.

It is not a native species, but was introduced to Australia in the 1800's. They dry out in the heat so are only active in damp weather, when you may suddenly find hordes of them all over your backyard and even in your house.

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”I am a proud Backyard Buddy, doing my bit for our wonderful wildlife, I encourage you to get involved!“

James – BYB Supporter & Homeowner, VIC

Photo: OEH