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Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails…………

Home Forums Champions’ chat Slugs and snails and puppy dogs tails…………

  • This topic has 4 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 3 years ago by Nic.
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  • #17227

    So I thought that having the slugs and snails all hanging out in and around the feeding station was a good thing – however, the hedgehogs aren’t interested in them and I read today that if they have too many slugs they could get lungworm.

    So I need to get rid, today – when I was clearing out the food station, I the slugs and snails (the ones that were only in the station, left the ones outside of it) – and put them in my brown garden waste bin – as I realise if you put them elsewhere, they find their way back as Alan Titchmarsh once said they have homing instincts and can travel back ‘home’ from long distances.

    So I thought – just get rid completely. Only thing, is this too cruel?

    When I put the dog food out much later, all the slugs and snails that were outside, plus some more, were now inside the station, worse than any other night – so tmrw, when it’s light, if they are still there, in the bin they go.

    My mum puts them in the bin, and they survive and crawl all over it – and I guess if they survive, they will get taken away at some point and be placed on a huge compost heap by the council, and live happily ever after as they will have tons of leaves to munch on and not get eaten by hedgehogs.

    What do you think? I feel really cruel doing that, but they are invading and increasing in numbers daily, I don’t know what else to do.

    What does everyone else do?

    #17228

    RHS recommends putting them in your bin, but said to freeze them first – sorry but there is no chance I’m putting those ugly beasts in my freezer where my food is. However, they did say they they can be a valuable part of the composting process – so sorry slugs and snails, you’re all going in the bin.

    #17233

    Nic

    Hi Hedgie Lover

    Slugs, hedgehogs and parasites have been living together for a very long time. Hedgehogs build up a certain sort of ‘resistance’ to lungworm, etc. and it only becomes a problem if it gets bad enough to cause symptoms. Also, whether they get infected, at all, with lungworm, is not only dependant on how many slugs they eat, but on whether any of the slugs they eat are infected in the first place. I quote from Pat Morris’ book ‘Hedgehogs’ re. hedgehogs having lungworm parasites:

    ” …. It’s perfectly natural and hard to avoid. Sometimes infestations may be sufficiently severe as to result in death, but normally a hedgehog carries relatively few of these parasites and the only evidence is their microscopic eggs in the hedgehog’s droppings…..”

    In other words, normally hedgehogs may be carrying small amounts of lungworm parasite and still be symptomless. If a hedgehog develops symptoms, i.e. is wheezing etc. then is the time to consult a hedgehog carer, because that hedgehog may need treatment.

    In any event it simply would not be practical to remove all the slugs in one garden, let alone in a hedgehog’s entire range and the alternative may in the end be found to be worse for them.

    Hedgehogs main natural diet consists of beetles and caterpillars. Hence the shiny black bits in their normal poos. Slugs actually are a very small proportion of it.

    But if we are trying to have wildlife friendly gardens for the benefit of the hedgehogs, then who are we to say that a certain species should not be in it. All these species would have been quite happily co-existing before we came along and started interfering. Wildlife friendly gardens eventually achieve a balance and all species are necessary for that including and some may say, especially, slugs. Slugs are all part of nature’s rich tapestry.

    The slugs which normally visit food bowls are mostly the large ones. Those are also ones useful in the composting process. If we didn’t have slugs, we would probably be knee deep in decaying plant matter. They help to speed up the process. And I don’t only mean in compost heaps, but also when plants naturally drop leaves in the garden.

    The slugs the hedgehogs eat are the smaller ones, which are more likely to eat your plants. Good luck trying to find those to remove – many of them are quite tiny! Best leave it to the hogs. In my experience the hogs just ignore the large slugs which sometimes visit their food bowls (mostly when it is raining or has been) and seem perfectly happy to share a bowl with them.

    If you really don’t like them visiting the food station, perhaps you could put up some sort of slug barrier around it, which the hogs could easily get over. For instance slugs are thought not to like copper and you can buy copper ‘tape’ to put round flower pots, etc. – perhaps you could adapt something like that. They are also thought not to like travelling over sheeps wool.

    These are things which you could try before resorting to putting them in the bin.

    #17238

    what about egg shells, this would be easier and cost effective for me – as I like to have a couple of eggs for breakfast regularly, but would the shells hurt the hedgehogs feet?

    I think it probably would, so copper might be the next best option, I could get this from gardening shops, I don’t know where I’d find sheeps wool from near where I live.

    If I use copper, where would I put it? I’ve got a wooden square that fits inside the hole I use for the feeding station, so should I tape it to the square? and do garden centres sell them? I think that would be a good idea, and then use egg shells for the plants not in pots.

    #17240

    Nic

    Hi Hedgie Lover

    I don’t know where you feed the hogs, but I’m thinking eggshells may be a bit messy, although some people do claim they deter slugs, etc. But you’d need quite a lot and it’s possible the hogs wouldn’t like it – don’t know, never tried.

    If you have a wooden frame, that might work with the copper tape. Although I’ve never tried that either. I think you can buy it from garden centres, although I got mine from a catalogue. It is sticky and you peel some paper from the back to reveal the sticky side. Just make sure it is firmly fixed and none is protruding to potentially injure the hogs – it’s quite sharp – so be careful with your fingers as well whilst fixing it. Although it should be fairly easy on straight sides. If you put it on the vertical sides the hogs will probably just step over it and won’t need to tread on it themselves at all.

    I feed the hogs on a paved area and find that if it’s dry the slugs don’t seem to like the roughness of the paving, so it’s really only when it’s damp or raining that they visit. But you could use any material that they don’t like moving over, i.e. possibly sand. It might be a case of trial and error.

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