Gigantic Slugs in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park
Ohmigod, ohmigod! Gigantic parasitic slugs feeding on elk! Ewww! Okay, not really. It's actually a slug, probably, maybe a Banana Slug crawling across an interpretive sign at the beginning of the Hall of Mosses Trail in the Hoh Rainforest of Olympic National Park. I'm on the road in the Pacific Northwest, and stopped into this wettest of places to have a look around. It was my first visit to the to this side of Olympic National Park. It's a fascinating place.
I couldn't help but start with slugs. I don't see them all that often back home in California. The slugs are related of course to snails, but don't produce shells because the soils in their extremely wet native habitat are too acidic. Instead of shells, they may utilize chemical defenses, i.e. they taste bad.
I actually saw far more of these Black Slugs (they happen to be called just that, Black Slug). Besides looking vaguely evil, they actually are evil in a sense. They are an invasive species from Northern Europe, and often out-compete the Banana Slug in this environment. I don't know what can be done about them. In Sweden, they were ground up to make a lubricant. Can you imagine a more disgusting job, grinding up slugs?
Anyway, if all this has grossed you out, here is a cute furry forest creature that I saw along the trail. Enjoy!