British Columbia

'Cute' slug unlikely star of viral timelapse video

A gobbling gastropod is winning new respect for slugs, thanks to a video filmed on Gabriola Island

Slug

A Pacific banana slug on Gabriola Island, B.C. eating dandelion greens. (R. Jeanette Martin)

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As viral animal videos go, slugs may not appear strong contenders alongside furry classics like sneezing baby panda or massaging kittens.

But they clearly have their fans — as demonstrated by the 2.1 million views a munching B.C. slug has garnered on Facebook in the past few days.

"I really love them," said R. Jeanette Martin, who took the timelapse video of a Pacific banana slug gobbling dandelion greens in her Gabriola Island backyard.

"Even though they're all slimy and blobby, they're pretty cute."

Martin, a longtime news photographer in Toronto who moved to Gabriola a couple of years ago, was picking up after her dog when she spotted this one.

This type of slug is common in the rainforests of coastal B.C. — and the trails near Martin's cabin — but she'd never stopped to watch one eat before.

It had a part of a leaf in its mouth, so she set up her phone for a timelapse, and kept checking back on the molluscan's progress.

It was, as you might imagine, slow.

But about 30 minutes later, the slug oozed away, and Martin was left with 36 seconds of a gobbling gastropod — and a new view of her garden invaders.

"You're sort of passing them by and you don't see these moments," she said. "It also showed me what slugs do to my vegetables every night."

Jeanette Martin

R. Jeanette Martin used to work as a news photojournalist in Toronto, but now finds herself studying nature through the lens from her cabin on Gabriola, B.C. (Shutterjet)

'So freaking adorable'

Excited by the slugs-eye view, Martin posted the video to Facebook Friday.

"This is potentially the best thing I've ever filmed," Martin wrote to what were then just 593 followers for her photography page, Shutterjet.

As of Tuesday morning, more than 23,000 people around the world had shared the slug's lunch, remarking on the decisiveness of its dandelion selection, and debating defense against slugs in their own gardens.

"Who would have thought a slug could be so freaking adorable?" wrote Facebook user Juanita Gayle.

"It seems odd to say, but I like the personality of slugs and snails," wrote Nevin Thompson.

Martin said she's used to publishing photos and getting some response, but "not to this magnitude."

"When I started seeing people commenting in other languages, then I'm like, 'whoa, I think the reach of this is going pretty far."

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