Friday, 29 April 2016

'Sleepless slugs' on rise, say experts

The slug invasion that could devastate your garden

Last year's wet summer, followed by one of the warmest winters on record, has helped to create a generation of sleepless slugs, wildlife experts have warned.

The weather has not been cold enough in recent months to send the creatures into hibernation.

Conservation charity BugLife said Britons could start to a see a slug population "explosion".

This could cause "devastation for our gardens", it warned.

'Devastation for gardens'

Slugs stay active when temperatures remain above 5C (41F).

Because of the warm winter, slugs have not gone into hibernation and have been eating and and breeding through the winter months.

Slug snippets:

There are about 30 species in the UK. Most are vegetarian but a few are carnivorous

Slugs have two retractable pairs of tentacles. The upper pair are for vision and smell

The lower pair are are smaller and are used for feeling and tasting

A slug's two eye-stalks can move independently and can be re-grown if lost

Slug pests cause an estimated £8m of damage to vegetable crops each year

But slugs also eat decaying vegetation and so play an important ecosystem role

The average British garden usually has as many as 20,000 slugs - with the gastropods laying as many as 200 eggs per cubic metre - but Buglife predicted that number could increase over this year by 10%.

It said a decline in populations of many of the slugs' predators, such as amphibians and hedgehogs, was also a factor.

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