The other day my wife, the wonderfully inquisitive women that she is, asked me where the slugs go for winter. I informed her that the answer to that particular question was fascinating and complex. I then preceded to tell her this…
Slugs are in fact far more advanced than most people know. To the average person in slug inhabited areas, they are just gross, slimy creatures that one must avoid stepping on and that eat plants and are generally a nuisance. To those that bother to stop and ask, a slug will in fact present that person with all manner of interesting tidbits and gems regarding the life of slugs. Admittedly, most of the talk centers around the consistency of their mucus or a bit of particularly tasty cabbage they had just finished off early that morning. If one is patient, and asks thoughtful questions, the slug will let on about the underground civilization of slugs.
You see, slugs are actually quite intelligent. Granted they only live a short time, but they have learned to pack a lot of living into that time. You must remember that slugs have been around for many millions of years, and have not changed much in that time physically, so they evolved mentally… They have also become quite adept record keepers, meticulously storing the things that they learn, so that future generations can carry on the work. As a result, the slugs rival us in many technological advances. In others, they surpass us. Slugs maintain small, but highy automated cities deep in the crust of the earth. During the summer, the baby slugs and the old timers (those that have lived one year already) travel through secret passages worn smooth through eons of polishing by slug mucous. They then spend the season lolling about the surface, eating and mating and going about their sluggy business as we expect from them. Then, as suddenly as they appeared in the spring, they are gone. They make the trek down those long tunnels, pulling cocoons of eggs with them and return to their cities.
In the warmth of those underground cities, they tend their machinery, ensure the young hatch and are tended to, and say the final farewells to those that left the mortal coil. They spend the winter warmly nestled away, waiting to emerge into the sunlight of the surface.
I will not describe the details of the cities as they were described to me. I will leave that to you. Remember, just because a creature appears gross, or icky, or hairy, or disgusting, does not mean that it does not have a fascinating story. Stop and ask them.