Have You Ever Licked a Banana Slug?

I have, at least I think I did in the sixth grade during Outdoor Ed. Those nasty little slimy mollusks.

I never thought I would actually enjoy finding them, until a parent suggested that I take my first graders to look for some. You know what that means: time to learn about banana slugs (yuck)! I tried to find a good book about them to read with my class, and I actually found NOTHING! Believe me, I searched. If I missed something, please let me know in the comments below.

I did find a lot of information online, reading a little here and there. I taught my students all about their habitat and why they need to hang around redwood trees. We drew sketches of the things we would find on our hikes. I gained a whole new respect for them; they are actually totally cool! (Ignore their reproductive cycle to keep it G-rated!)

At one point, I confess, I unintentionally I told my class a big lie. I said that banana slugs don’t camouflage at all. OOPS!?! I took them outside with my fake banana slugs and had a whole brilliant lesson planned. Then some bright SIX YEAR OLD says, “Oh look! They do camouflage!” I paused and quickly changed my lesson. YOU WOULD THINK that a little, slimy, fluorescent slug wouldn’t be able to hide at all, but they can. They can hide really well! I always love it when some smarty pants kid is more observant than I am. It makes me feel like I’ve done my job and they learned something!

On our field trip to Purisima Creek Redwood Reserve we found over 200 banana slugs as we hiked. It was a lot of work to find them, but a lot of fun to count them! I completely recommend taking your people on a hike to find these beautiful and interesting creatures under the cool canopy of redwood trees.

This is in honor of the awesome kiddos in my class that really wanted to squish one and didn’t on our hike -at least I don’t think they did!

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