slugging it out

(photo by ms. chin)

Fucking banana slugs. Who gave these noisome creatures the right to traipse about our forests like they own the place—getting all up on the rocks and trees and shit—leaving unctuous, glistening slime trails in their wake? Who permitted their maximum length at ten fucking inches, weighing as much as a McDonald’s quarter-pounder? And—it must be asked—what sort of depraved eye painted these things in shades of virid baby shit and rotten-banana brown? Some sick-minded motherfucker, that’s who.

The Pacific banana slug (Ariolimax columbianus) is, for whatever reason, a cultural icon in the Pacific Northwest, a species synonymous with the rain and verdancy so terribly commonplace in these parts. People see those slimy fuckers crossing the mossy, drippy trails and they say, “Oh, look! There goes a native banana slug, gastropodan mollusk emblem of our multitudinously-perfect region.” They bend down and take pictures, mouths agape—“Wow, magnificent! Look at it go! It must be cruising at least six inches per minute!”—positively adulating over a hermaphroditic booger with eyestalks and a gaping lung-hole. (This hole, always on the right side of banana slugs, is called a pneumostome—not that you fucking care.)

Banana slugs are disgusting because they literally eat shit. As in, the poop that comes out of animals’ butts. They also eat rotting flesh, mushrooms, and decaying plant matter, all with an appropriately revolting organ called the radula, which is essentially a rasp-like tongue for scraping shit (sometimes literally). Sure, slugs provide an invaluable service to the forest as decomposers of all things organic, but that fact doesn’t diminish their sheer odiousness—not one bit. In fact, it only heightens the odium. Banana slugs are slick little shit-eating scumbags, and if you touch one, you might as well amputate because that shit is nasty.

Some people say, “All life on earth has its purpose. All organisms—big or small, slimy or cuddly—play specific roles in their communities that deserve to be recognized.” What a bunch of hippie-dippy bullshit. Banana slugs are gross, and don’t you forget it.


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