Unlikely Garden Hero — Eating Slugs in the Garden

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An unlikely hero saves the day by eating slugs.

Slugs in the garden? Stop poisoning them with beer and salt. There’s a less time and labor intensive way to deal with this pest. Simply invite a special guest to hang out in your yard.

If you’re having trouble with slugs in the garden, you may have heard some of the typical strategies for getting rid of them. Read on and this may be your first slug-free year. Few have heard of the garden hero that you can invite into your yard.

Do you have any neighbors trying to find a new home for an opossum they think is a problem? (I’m not kidding!)

During a recent trip to a botanical garden, a guest told me that opossums do not cause any problems to homes, yards or gardens. On the contrary, they keep your space clear of pests such as rodents and slugs.  Although they may try to raid your trash, carefully securing the trash will likely keep opossums out. Raccoons are more likely to persist at tearing open the trash container. Incredulous, I did some digging to confirm these claims.  I soon was encouraged to discover that these are true facts.

A warning for mobile home owners: opossums have been known to mess with the insulation around the heating ducts under the mobile home to make a nest. Providing more suitable nesting for the possum might encourage him to stay out from under the home.

According to the National Opossum Society, our odd looking little friend also does not carry diseases such as rabies. In fact, rabies cases in possums are extremely rare. They usually get along fine with cats, and are not known for attacking humans. They are docile animals by nature. They’ve shared the food my husband and I leave out for feral cats and just look up briefly as we pass by.

Warning: dogs may kill possums. Since possums are nocturnal animals, keeping your dogs inside at night might prevent your guest from his untimely demise.

We have always relocated our possum friends and unknowingly sent away the answer to our slug problems. Possums are easy to capture. When brought to a new location, they don’t run away from their captors and usually must be coaxed out of the trap.

So, don’t bother with all the work involved in salting your cabbage plants, picking off slugs or creating a slug trap with beer.  Why do all that work when a possum will gladly do it for you? Need extra money? Why don’t you charge for possum removal?

Taking care of pests isn’t all that your garden needs. But you knew that already. The possum will work for you on top of the soil. How about adding some magic to the soil? Something that will keep giving as long as your plants have roots? Unlike compost, these microscopic friends (myccorhizae) will replicate themselves. Find out how and why they help your garden.

National Opossum Society: Discouraging Opossums From Your Yard

The Opossum Society of the United States

National Geographic: Opossum

* Photo by freeimages.photos.com

About Christiane Marshall

Christiane Marshall is a freelance writer/copywriter and special education teacher living on 173 acres in Southeast Ohio. She is a minister's wife, mother of five grown children and a grandmother of one new baby girl. Christiane specializes in copywriting but also enjoys writing articles on many subjects including organic gardening, education, special education and advocacy, faith, travel, and animal rescue.
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One Response to Unlikely Garden Hero — Eating Slugs in the Garden

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