When leopard slugs make love

In journalism school, one of the things we learn to never do is start a story by asking readers a question that they could answer with a firm, "No." There's just no point in risking disengaging your readers before they even have a chance to become engaged. On the other hand, if you follow this rule strictly, then you never get a chance to write a sentence like this one, from Koen De Paus on Google+:

"Have you ever wondered how slugs get it on?"

What I like about BoingBoing's readers is that I KNOW the majority of you are at least tentatively answering, "Yeeeesss? Maybe?" If so, De Paus says, this video is for you.

Fact: The mating of the leopard slug is surprisingly tender and sensual. It is also, however, exactly as slimy as you might expect.

Video Link


  1. What a romantic video!  <3

    For similarly otherworldly footage sans-voiceover I very highly recommend the beautiful French film Microcosmos.  Here's the trailer:

  2. No matter how odd or disturbing I might find Japanese tentacle porn this is 10x more “eww”.  I mean this isn’t a cartoon or some make believe fantasy.  That’s real life, and you could be walking through a forest and smack right into a pair of slugs with their junk hanging out…  *shudder* the sliminess.

  3. Is there something like the BennyHillifier that plays Bolero instead of Yakkety Sax? And, yes, this was slimy, but not agitated hagfish slimy.

  4. One of a thousand such scenes in:
    If you haven’t seen it, rectify that now.

    “If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if [the invertebrates] were to disappear, the land’s ecosystems would collapse. The soil would lose its fertility. Many of the plants would no longer be pollinated. Lots of animals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals would have nothing to eat. And our fields and pastures would be covered with dung and carrion. These small creatures are within a few inches of our feet, wherever we go on land — but often, they’re disregarded. We would do very well to remember them.”— David Attenborough

  5. OMG Thats the craziest thing I’ve seen in the longest time. What other creature fucks at the end of an organic rope? And wtf were those things that came out of them? Entrails? Holy shit. 0.0

    1. Did you have the sound on? David Attenborough explains that their “male organs” emerge from behind their heads, then entwine, and each releases sperm into the other one.

      1) Slugs keep their penises in their heads. I know some people who keep their brains in their penises, but this is ridiculous.
      2) The Republicans are going to freak out about gay slug sex on TV. Yes, I know slugs are hermaphroditic. But some people will just see two penises and lose it.

        1. But if God intelligently designed leopard slugs, why would he make them have sex in such a gay way? I mean, God believes in one penis and one vagina, right? Sex involving two penises is clearly ungodly.


  6. I don’t have a chance to watch the video here at work, but if the video DOESN’T have marvin gaye as the background music i will be VERY disappointed.  :(

      1. “It jolly well isn’t!””It jolly well is!””It isn’t — all right then, what about volcanoes?” Wensleydale sat back, a look of triumph on his face.”What about ’em?” said Adam.”All that lather comes up from the center of the Earth, where it’s all hot,” said Wensleydale. “I saw a programme. It had David Attenborough, so it’s true.”-Good Omens, Neil Gaiman & Terry PratchettWhen I learn something from a wildlife/nature show narrated by David Attenborough, I now solemnly inform my husband “It had David Attenborough. So it’s true.”

  7. I can safely say that I have not ever wondered how slugs get it on, but once I read the question, I was quite curious.  Maggie, you bring us the most interesting stuff!  And, um, yeah, an hour of foreplay?  Sex swings?  Slugs got some kinky going on!

  8. heh.  already knew.  My wife and I have spent awesome quiet time watching banana slugs get it on.  And ladybugs.  They’re like little VW bugs rocking together.  For hours.  saw a slug penis-thing must have been more than a foot long,  once. I swear.  Hermaphroditic gastropods.  

  9. Ugg this was one of my favorite bits of esoteric knowledge!   I feel as if the meme has been devalued by being exposed to such a large audience.  That being said it is awesome, thanks for sharing :)

  10. This video was legendary at my (small, Calvinist, private) college. It was required viewing in the Diversity of Life class, and my classmates still joke that our Biology prof. has the world’s largest collection of slug porn. 

  11. Thanks for mentioning me! Praise the almighty FSM for the BBC and their insanely awesome documentaries. You should definitely check out his “Life in the Undergrowth” if you like the strange side of nature. Also check out “Private Life of Plants”. They sound boring but they will blow your mind.  Attenborough is always gold but those in particular made me see our beautiful planet as if it was an alien world.

  12. One winter* night several years ago, i returned to my apartment building to find what i thought was a strange, arty, somewhat out-of-season xmas ornament hanging about eye-level off of the large frame around the tall front door to the building from a piece of cellophane, or perhaps that rubbery, boogery stuff they use to affix paper-based marketing crap on products and magazines. The “ornament” itself was clearly a perfect spiral, and appeared to be some kind of stylized pine cone, twisting in the wind.It was not windy that day. As i looked closer, mesmerized by the sheer weird beauty of the thing, it dawned on me what it was.And now i know that sometimes, the line between horror and beauty is exactly as wispy as our perceptions.*i dunno, i guess it could have been spring or something

  13. The thing *I* love about BoingBoing is that it’s safe to assume a reasonable proportion of readers already know all about the mating habits of slugs, and another sizeable proportion are going to be learning it for the first time, and will be utterly enchanted :)

    This is the magic of reality that Dawkins spoke of.

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