Giant Slugs In The Cascade Mountains

North Bend, Washington

Along several trails in the Cascade Mountains east of North Bend

I moved to Seattle in 2002 and soon began hiking the trails in the Cascades, especially in the area just east of North Bend, Washington. That's when I discovered in the damp springtime hiking conditions that the local temperate forests are home to some of the largest slugs I've ever seen. Some sections of the trails are especially popular with the local slug population.

The photos here are from a handful of hikes. I've found slugs along most of the trails I hike although usually just at the lower elevations. The slugs are a lot harder to find once the dry season hits.

compare slug to quarter

Compare Slug Size to Quarter (Z05A0005)
I put a quarter on the ground near this slug to provide some perspective on how large the slug really is. Unfortunately the slug grabbed my quarter and slid off with it.

large slugs

A Gathering of Slugs (Z05A0004)
This may have the appearance of some slug social event, but I have sometimes come across slugs eating other slugs. If you happen to be a slug, accept dinner invitiations from other slugs with a bit of caution.

large slug with mantle

Slug Playing Peekaboo (Z04A0001)
When I got close to this slug, it covered its eyes with its mantle. But after a short time it took a peek. I was ready for it. I was using my first digital camera, so I was practicing with its close-up feature when I took this photo. Note that the camera did a good job preventing red eye.

slug crossing a road

Slug Crosses a Road (Z05A0003)
Why did the slug cross the road? I don't know. It was moving at a snail's pace, so I didn't wait around to find out.

More About The Giant Slugs

During springtime in particular the slugs are common enough on parts of the trails that you will want to watch your step if you don't want to step on them. If you do step on one, the painful moan they make will haunt you for weeks.

Most folks think of deer or bears when they keep an eye out for wildlife when hiking in the woods. But the small things that often go unnoticed are actually pretty interesting in their own right.

And I was kidding about the moan slugs make. :-)

Nearby Sights

While you're in the area, check out these sights:

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