It has been raining in the Northwest non-stop since October. We realize that it rains a lot here. We take pride in the rain. The University of Oregon athletic teams are called the “Ducks” because everybody around here has “web feet.” Pretty clever.
Every year at this time people in the Northwest start getting really, really sick of the rain. But this year, we got sick about a month and a half ago. It’s too much of a good thing. Even the slugs are sick of it.
If you don’t know what a slug is, it’s a snail without the shell. They are everywhere here because – take a wild guess – they like moisture. When I go out my front door to get the mail, I’ll pass a minimum of 5,000 slugs on the way to the mailbox and back. You have to dodge them because you DO NOT want to step on them because they’ll stick to your foot and leave a permanent slime trail that soap and water, harsh chemicals, or even sandpaper can’t get off. You have to shed that layer of skin before the slime goes away.
How do I know that even the slugs are sick of the rain? Because I have found two slugs in my house. TWO!!! IN MY HOUSE!!!!
These guys are desperate to get refuge. It’s like some mass migration to find a dry spot somewhere…ANYWHERE. I found one on the carpet in the dining room – hundreds of miles (in slug miles) from any entrance. I think he got there by jumping on a passing shoe as it walked by, hoping to get out of a puddle.
I had seen the other one when I went out to get the newspaper earlier in the day. It was on the sidewalk, coming right straight for the front door, traveling at the rate of approximately 2 inches per hour. I stepped around it, but wondered what it would do when it got to the door. There is a small crack under the door, but surely not big enough for a slug to slide through.
A few hours later I found that same slug IN MY ENTRYWAY. I knew it was the same one because they all have different coloration and markings – just like different breeds of dogs. You’ve probably heard of the “banana” slug – the big granddaddy of them all that can grow to be 3 feet long in the Northwest and has been blamed for the disappearance of small dogs or cats. Then there are the finger-length slugs that are about as long as your arm and have brown spots on a tan body.
The slug in my entryway was grayish tan with spots AND stripes, which is an unusual combination. That’s how I knew he was the same one I’d seen earlier heading for my door. He had two little eyes sticking up, checking everything out and wondering where I kept my goldfish. Luckily, I found him before he could wreak much havoc and I scooped him up into a napkin and marched his little slug bottom right back outside and dropped him into the grass. Actually I tried to drop him but he was clinging to that napkin like he’d been super-glued to it. He wanted to stay in the warm, dry house. I shook and shook but he just stared at me with these big, pleading tentacles. At one point I think I saw a tear. Finally I just put the napkin on the ground. The rain pounded it into the earth and the slug slithered off, shaking his fist at me. He was headed straight toward the door again.
If I wake up in the night and that thing has crawled in bed with me and is about to chomp down on my throat, I’m going to be really, really mad.