Perverted cannibalistic hermaphrodites haunt the Pacific Northwest!

Horrific sexual hijinks are taking place beneath the majestic redwoods of central California! I’m not talking about San Francisco – the Fulton Street Fair looks like a Bible Belt county fair compared to this. No, I speak of the unspeakable sexual habits of the lovely banana slug.

The banana slug, so called for its fetching yellow color with occasional black spots, is the second-largest slug in the world (and the mascot of UC Santa Cruz). For most of its life, it crawls about the Pacific redwood forest in the normal sluggy fashion, munching upon rotting leaves, mushrooms, animal droppings, and other detritus. But if a slug crosses the pheremone-soaked slime trail of a fellow slug, prolonged tantric slug-sex ensues…and ends in a most ghastly fashion.

Before we get to the juicy bits (slimy bits?), you need to know a bit about slug anatomy. Most slugs are simultaneous hermaphrodites and have both a penis and a genital opening, so that when they have sex they both fertilize and are fertilized. (They then both lay eggs somewhere damp and out of the way, and that is it for parental care.) Also, due to the vagaries of evolution, the genitalia and anus of slugs are located on the right side of their heads. This is because slugs are descended from snails with spiraling shells – the snails needed to move their naughty bits down in order to extend outside the shell, so they put them on their head. Even though slugs have since lost their shells, they have retained this feature of snail anatomy. So most gastropods actually poop on their own heads – ain’t nature grand?

So, slug-sex begins with head-waving and gentle biting of the other slug’s genital opening. Once they get to the Big Deed, the slugs both insert their penises into the other’s genital opening (remember, both are on the right side of their head) and go at it for hours and hours. And hours and hours and hours. And then…sometimes…one or both slugs will CHEW OFF THE OTHER’S PENIS. Yep, they rasp with their radula until the penis comes off. Then they slurp down the penis like spaghetti.

I bet your very first reaction was, “Boy, I sure hope there is a video of sexy slug cannibalism!” Of course there is, gentle reader! If you still want more, have some auto-apophallation (isn’t that a great bit of jargon?) – this is a video [warning: big file] of a slug chewing off its own penis.

Do not fear too much for the penis-less slug. While the penis does not grow back, the slug is not condemned to a lonely sexless life. It can still enjoy slug-sex as the receiving party. But perhaps the more educated banana slugs contemplate the theories of Freud and shake their tentacles in rage at the cruel hand of Fate. Or at least the cruel radula of their ex.

This post was inspired by the slugs in flagrante in the above photo, which I met near the Little Sur River this past weekend. (The openings you see are not their genitals, but their pneumatostome, which is how they breathe.) It is unknown if any penis-gnawing ensued, as the slugs were still making the sweet yin-yang of love amidst the flowers when I left.

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22 Responses to Perverted cannibalistic hermaphrodites haunt the Pacific Northwest!

  1. Eric Wolff says:

    Ye gods!

  2. nunatak says:

    Lovely. Really, I’m serious. Banana slugs are lovely. The obvious question is, if human penises were located in such close proximity to the mouth, wouldn’t some men maybe, just maybe, get a little too carried away too?

  3. Nafe says:

    My brother and I grew up in Northern California as you may recall, and as young lads we both went to the same summer camp. This camp hosted a certain club, somewhat unimaginatively referred to as the Banana Slug Club.

    To gain entry into this august body, all one had to do was to bestow three long, luxuriant licks to the length of a Banana slug. My brother joined, but I demurred. I feel my decision is now further justified. Thanks Mim!

  4. jebyrnes says:

    OK, so, they’re not ACTUALLY doing this, but, still, I couldn’t resist…

  5. NOM NOM NOM!

    (halp me! i iz trapped in lolspeak!)

  6. Jim Lemire says:

    “So most gastropods actually poop on their own heads”

    Ah yes…what lovely creatures those molluscs are…

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  8. Chris Orbz says:

    I found a passionate slimy slug yin-yang while camping at China Beach on Vancouver Island this summer, and your website was the place I found out about it. Then I made the whole experience into a music video.

  9. […] just fear for poor Miriam after reading she might have perverted, cannabilistic mollusks on her tail wanting to break the species barrier…. oh where is a lolz when you need […]

  10. […] were a junior or senior, you might, just maybe, be ready for things like sex-changing in fish, the intricacies of banana slug sex and other more lurid examples. I may be alone here, but I think that most high schoolers would […]

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  12. […] Slugs have fascinating sex lives. Most are hermaphrodites. There may be cannibalistic tendencies involved. I’m not kidding – go here for a fascinating article about the sexual behavior of banana slugs. […]

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  17. Friend of slugs says:

    I think you mean “Folsom Street Fair.”

    Ahem.

  18. L’intégralité des post sont vraiment pɑssionnants

  19. I dont like at all this kind of animals

  20. Encore un splendide article, j’en discuterai dans la semaine
    avec mes potes

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