Jumping Slugs!

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Day 72

After another torrential downpour last night, with some more rain thrown in this morning for good measure, I managed to get to work without wading through too much traffic. In fact, I managed to get there early and as I was walking to pick up a coffee, I ran into the little guy above. Although you see a lot of slugs here because of the wet, temperate climate, you don’t see quite as many with shells. Anyway, it was unusual enough for me to stop and take a quick picture and then I moved on to my morning coffee and book.

At this point, you may think I’ve run out of happy things to talk about on my blog and am left with just a piddly snail on which to fly my happy thoughts. You would be semi right, but only because I spent some time looking up snails tonight. After taking the picture, I started getting curious about what the difference is between a slug and a snail. As far as my uneducated eye could tell, they both leave a slivery slime trail and they just look related (minus the shell.)

As I was clicking through a few links trying to find out more info on just Washington state ones, I came across this gem of an article on jumping slugs. Yup – jumping slugs. You can reread that sentence one more time if you want. At first, I read the article thinking “Maybe this is real. Nature does weird things…this could be real…” but by the time I made it to the bottom of the article, I was laughing so hard I was crying due to this quote (emphasis theirs):

It’s rare to see the jumping slug jump in the wild. In a resting posture, they curl their tail around to the side – appearing ready to jump. But you’d have to hold one in your hand to see it in action. “If you take one and put it on your hand it might just sit there a little while,” Burke said. “Once they get irritated they just start flopping and they’re off your hand in just a second, you know. More like they’re just writhing around like a fish out of water. They just flop around.” If they were trying to escape a predator on a piece of bark or log, that flopping behavior would allow them to lose their grip on the log and flee by tumbling away.

At that point, I was convinced it was an April Fool’s joke BUT there’s no date on the article. Wanting to see what all my crying was about, Josh came over and joined the hunt for jumping slug truth. After another quick internet search, we were left with a short but unsatisfying Wikipedia article that I’m convinced could be yet another arm of an elaborate prank put on by the group behind The Secret Lives of Jumping Slugs. While we may never solve this mystery, the tiny little snail made my day. And that’s what this happiness thing is all about!

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