Banana Slugs are one of our most important decomposers, one of the many organisms which recycle the nutrients of both forests and farms. One location at Hidden Villa where you can usually find them is a place we call Banana Slug Island, which is really just a rock outcrop that divides a small stream.
- What does “decomposition” mean?
- What do the three letters of the F-B-I stand for?
- Where are some good places to look for decomposers?
- What are some decomposers you might find in your garden?
- What are some decomposers in the wild?
- How do you think decomposition can help the ecosystem?
This video can tell you lots more about banana slug slime. It has more uses than just defense!
For a close look at some more banana slugs, check out this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9EVa8p5b58
Now let’s get creative! Here are a few activities to bring you a little closer to the slug world.
A) Make your own slime
You will need:
- 8-oz liquid school glue
- 1-2 tablespoons “saline solution” (a weak salt water you can get at the drugstore, or, you can experiment with mixing your own weak solution at home using just a small pinch of table salt in a cup of water)
- 1 tablespoon baking soda (not baking powder!)
- Food coloring (if you want a bright color)
To make, you must:
- Squeeze the glue into a bowl and stir in a few drops of food coloring, then mix in the baking soda.
- Add 1 tablespoon saline solution and mix. If it’s too sticky, add ½ tablespoon at a time. The less you add, the slimier it will be.
- Mix it all up! Use your hands to mix it until all the ingredients come together.
- When it’s all done, you can experiment with it, and maybe even try to pick up some leaves or other forest things that a slug might like.
B) Observe decomposition!
This is a way to see how dead things change over time.
- Go outside and find a leaf that has just fallen off of a tree. You can even pick one if you thank the tree afterward.
- Place the leaf in a box with no lid and keep it for two weeks. Predict what you think will happen to it.
- Notice how the color, smell, and feel of the leaf change over those two weeks.
- Compare the results to your predictions!
Print out the guide by downloading the PDF
#332 Student Guide