There is still a lot that people do not know about slugs, specifically about the structure of their bodies. We all know they’re slimy. We all know they’re slow. But how do they smell and sense? Do they have noses? And how many noses does a slug have?
Slugs do not have noses like other animals. Instead, they have tentacles that each have different sensory functions.
A slug’s tentacles let them smell from afar. People are often mistaken that slugs have four noses. Slugs actually have four tentacles.
Two of these tentacles let them smell, while the other two located right above the front of their bodies are the eyes that let the slugs see.
Do All Slugs Have 4 Noses?
No, slugs do not have 4 noses. All slugs have four tentacles which they use to see and smell. All slugs do not have a traditional nose. Instead, they smell with organs that are in the form of tentacles.
Why Do Slugs Have 4 Noses?
People refer to the two pairs of tentacles which slugs have as noses. Slugs do not have actual noses like humans and other animals but they have tentacles.
Slugs use the first pair of tentacles to pick up information about their environment. The pair of tentacles have a black spot at the top and can detect darkness and light.
The other pair of tentacles enable the slugs to recognise chemical smells and function as a nose. These tentacles are quite sensitive to touch. Slugs use all four tentacles when searching for food.
Do Slugs Have a Strong Sense of Smell?
Slugs rely heavily on their sense of smell, and their tentacles are equipped with olfactory sensors.
Slugs can swish their tentacles around and pick up chemicals in the air and ground. This enables them to smell food from a distance. Slugs can smell fungi, rotten animals, plant matter, and even other slugs.
One of the reasons why slugs are attracted to gardens in the first place is through their sense of smell. Slugs also find their way back to their hiding spots because of their impeccable sense of smell.
How to Use a Slug’s Sense of Smell Against It
Slugs having a strong sense of smell means that they can easily find their way into your garden if you have planted something they like. On the other hand, it can also mean that you can use their sense of smell against them.
Slugs like or dislike certain plants because of their texture, but mainly because of the way they smell. There are certain plants and herbs which slugs do not like. A way to use these plants is to create a border around your garden, so slugs do not pass through.
Some herbs that slugs do not like include rosemary and lavender. Rosemary has a strong and fragrant smell which drives the slugs away. In addition, lavender also has powerful smells which slugs hate.
Another smell that slugs do not like is of pet hair. Pet hair will make slugs think that there are predators around. Slugs will avoid coming into your garden out of fear. You can get some of your pet’s hair and sprinkle it in your garden, among the flower beds.
However, there are certain disadvantages to using this method. The wind sometimes can blow hard and disperse the hair. Rain is also likely to fall and eliminate the scent. It is not a long-term solution and will work only with reapplications.
Another smell that slugs do not like is coffee grounds. Using coffee grounds is an effective way to deal with slugs, and it is also easy on the pockets.
The strong smell of coffee keeps the slugs away, and some people believe it is also the slug’s ability to sniff out the caffeine that does the job.
Slugs have four tentacles, which many people mistake for four noses. Slugs do not have traditional noses like humans or other animals. Instead, they smell through organs, known as tentacles.
The first pair of tentacles are on their tops, enabling them to sense their surroundings and detect chemicals. The second pair of tentacles help the slug smell. Slugs use both pairs of tentacles to help them look for food.
As slugs have a strong sense of smell, you can use it against them. You can grow plants that slugs do not like, like lavender. In addition, you can use pet hair or coffee grounds in your garden to repel slugs and keep them at bay.
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Ryan is a keen gardener from the UK who’s spent years dealing with countless, common pests over the years so knows the ins and outs of how to deal with pests in the garden