Sunday, 13 May 2012

Where have all the slugs gone?

I have a small compost bucket outside the kitchen door where I put out all the peelings, egg-shells, toilet roll middles and any other bits and pieces that will go into our compost system up in the garden. At this time of year, in fact even in the winter unless it's really frosty, when clearing out the scraps last thing at night I expect to meet a whole host of slimey and slithery creatures - slugs and snails of all colours and sizes. I also see toads and frogs who come for a meal of slug or two. (Isn't the food chain wonderful!). But this year there's hardly any slugs, a few snails only. I haven't seen many in the vegetable garden either, although the pak choi have a few holes.
It was a very dry winter, athough mild, so maybe they didn't over-winter well. As a gardener I should be pleased, but I'm concerned about the creatures that rely on these slimey invertebrates for food - hedgehogs, toads, frogs even foxes when pushed. We don't get many hedgehogs here but we usually get loads of frogs and toads (clue in the name of our cottage!). There are very few this year and despite the early courtships (http://froggartscottagegarden.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/spring-has-sprung.html) I haven't seen any spawn in the pond, although a neighbour saw some in the stream a few weeks ago.

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