Clegg's Blog

Snail or Slug: Which One is Eating My Plants?

Now that spring has sprung, and the weather is warming up, many in North Carolina are planning their landscaping and planting their gardens. As you go on through the season, you might find that some of your plants have irregular holes in them, that the edges of the leaves are getting eaten, or your fruit, like strawberries, are being eaten away. You might also see shoots and stems being eaten. All of these can be signs that you have slugs or snails, perhaps even both, in your garden.

Other Signs of Slugs and Snails

SnailIn general, slugs and snails will do the same type of damage in your garden, and in either case, you may notice other signs, as well. Both of these creatures live underground much of the time, so though you might not see the snails or slugs, but you might notice the distinctive slime trail that they leave in their wake. This slime trail can be seen for several days, assuming it doesn't rain.

Another sign that you might have slugs or snails in your garden is that the plants they love the most, like hostas or delphiniums are all but destroyed. If you don't have these plants, you will need to rely on the other signs.

Slugs, Snails, or Both?

SlugWhen you see this damage, you might be wondering if you have snails or slugs. The truth is, you could have snails, slugs, or both. There isn't a lot of difference when it comes to the damage that snails versus slugs bring to your garden.

Instead, you will find that the main difference between them is how they look. Snails, of course, have a shell on their back. Because they have this shell, snails will need to eat foods that are higher in calcium.

Slugs don't have the same dietary needs. You might find, if you have snails over slugs that calcium rich plants like kale, collards, garlic, turnips, and okra are all targets for snails. Slugs just like plants of all types, so they likely will not focus on one plant over another.

If you notice that you have damage from slugs or snails in your garden, you should contact a professional pest control company like Clegg's Termite & Pest Control, LLC for assistance, especially if other home treatments have not worked. Though other pests could certainly cause similar damage, slugs and snails often are more destructive than others.

Images via: and

Sign up to receive tips, promotions, events, and news updates.

Follow Clegg’s