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Facts About Spotted Leopard Slugs

Updated April 17, 2017

Out of the many species of slugs in the world, the spotted leopard slug is perhaps one of the more easily recognised thanks to the black spots that decorate its body. These spots bring to mind the patterns on the fur of the leopard, hence the name. Spotted leopard slugs live in the U.S., among other countries, and are known for their interesting mating habits as well as their appearance.

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Spotted leopard slugs are a greyish yellow or brown in colour, and are characterised by the black spots or bands that cover their mantles. These black spots, or stripes broken up by dots, can also be found on their foot. The underbelly of this species is white. Spotted leopard slugs have smooth bodies and tend to grow to about 4 inches in length. These slugs possess four tentacles on their heads, in common with many other species of slugs. Two of these tentacles are long while the others are shorter in length.


Spotted leopard slugs can be found in locations such as woodlands and fields, as well as in park lands and in the gardens of people's homes. Within these areas, they tend to gravitate to dead trees or rotting logs, or else hide under rocks, since these offer the damp conditions and shade a spotted leopard slug requires. Since the slug needs to retain dampness at all times to survive, it can't stray far from such places in daylight.


Thanks to their need to remain damp, spotted leopard slugs typically disdain sunlight and emerge only at night, though they will venture out on rainy days when conditions are more in their favour. This species of slug is known for its particularly sticky mucus slime, which enables it to travel across the ground. The slime left by the slug helps it to find its way back to a specific feeding spot on subsequent nights.


The spotted leopard slug is noted for its copulation habits. Two mating slugs will encircle each other before becoming physically entwined and hanging from a branch or other surface, literally suspending themselves in mid-air by utilising their mucus slime. After mating, both of a mated pair of slugs are able to lay eggs because these animals are hermaphroditic, which means the slug has male as well as female sexual organs. Their clear eggs are laid in bunches of around 100 in hidden, damp places, and they hatch in the spring.


Spotted leopard slugs have a diet that's a mixture of flowers, fruit and meat. They take the leaves and fruits from plants but also watch out for the bodies of animals, which they consume. These slugs often eat others of their kind, too.

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About the Author

Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.

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