Photo by Melody

Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus)

Order: Pulmonata
Family: Limacidae
Genus: Limax
Species: maximus (MAKS-ih-mus) (Info)


8 positives
1 neutral
4 negatives


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama
Bear, Delaware
Duluth, Georgia
Gainesville, Georgia
Warwick, Georgia
Boise, Idaho
Washington, Illinois
Bloomington, Indiana
Indianapolis, Indiana
Peru, Indiana
Moulton, Iowa
Melbourne, Kentucky
Lusby, Maryland
Charlotte, Michigan
Kalamazoo, Michigan
Roseville, Michigan
Springfield, Missouri
Southampton, New York
Watertown, New York
West Islip, New York
Charlotte, North Carolina
Hickory, North Carolina
Jamestown, North Carolina
Cleveland, Ohio
Zanesville, Ohio
Salem, Oregon
Narberth, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Quakertown, Pennsylvania
Jackson, Tennessee
Athens, Texas
Rutland, Vermont
Kalama, Washington
North Sultan, Washington

By GardenGuyKin
Thumbnail #1 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by GardenGuyKin

By GardenGuyKin

Thumbnail #2 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by GardenGuyKin

By GardenGuyKin

Thumbnail #3 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by GardenGuyKin

By GardenGuyKin

Thumbnail #4 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by GardenGuyKin

By kennedyh

Thumbnail #5 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by kennedyh

By kennedyh

Thumbnail #6 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by kennedyh

By kennedyh

Thumbnail #7 of Spotted Leopard Slug, Giant Leopard Slug (Limax maximus) by kennedyh

There are a total of 21 photos.
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Member Notes:

Negative renwings On Oct 21, 2006, renwings from Sultan, WA
(Zone 8a) wrote:

Everytime I see one of these guys, I want to scream. They are horrifically disgusting.
They devore my seedlings and my marigolds down to the soil. They love my strawberries. They eat the chicken feed too.
They are huge and unstoppable, they laugh in the face of slug repellants.
I actually had one crawl UNDER my front door, across the floor and up a wall before I discovered it in the morning. I thought they were scary OUTSIDE . . .
The chickens won't even attempt to eat them, they are so huge. I have found them sharing hiding places with salamanders.

Negative Gabrielle On Oct 2, 2007, Gabrielle from
(Zone 5a) wrote:

For several years our neighborhood battled these. Neighbors would be out every evening with the salt shakers, trying to get them under control. The would climb up the walls of the house to mate, and leave their slime all over ... of course it made them easier to find and salt. They were everywhere! Once I accidentally brought one in on a pair of shoes and it made a mess in the kitchen ... the slime does not wash off easily! I wonder if ammonia would kill them as easily as it does other slugs?

Negative jenewton On Apr 3, 2008, jenewton from Peru, IN wrote:

I agree with everyone else..these slime guys are of no use to me at all! I had never seen such large slugs until I moved to Indiana. This is the furthest south I've ever lived. I always find them hiding under leaf litter or under landscaping timbers.

Neutral thethorinator On Apr 17, 2008, thethorinator from Clinton, MA
(Zone 5a) wrote:

Although destructive pests, I know of one very sure way to kill them and be rid of the eggs or young which they carry...Sodium...that's right, simply shake a couple of dashes of table salt on the digusting things and watch them dry up and die before your eyes! Especially rewarding if done while they are stuck together mating!! The same method rids of snails as long as their bodies/feet are exposed, as even squishing them doesn't guarantee destruction of the eggs which I believe, but am not certain, that they carry. I've never tried the other forms of sodium like sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) but it could work, try it and re-post, please! RID THE WORLD OF SLUGS...ACK!

Positive morrigan On Jul 14, 2008, morrigan from Craryville, NY wrote:

You know, every creature has their role to play. The more we mess with the balance in our own little microcosms, the larger and larger the imbalance everywhere. Yes, they are slimey, and awful to step on in bare feet in the dark! BUT, aside from some nominal damage to leafy lettuces and such, what harm are they really doing? I enjoy their presence, and know that they are just making a living, like everyone else in the cosmos!

Positive nononoall On May 23, 2010, nononoall from Athens, TX wrote:

Last night my small dog got me up to go for a walk to do his business. My yard has been under siege by voles, the vegetarian cousin of a mole. I have a new Kiwi vine started and it has been struggling so I expected it was under attack by the voles. Being dark, I led the way by flashlight to near the Kiwi plant. There on the pine bark was a darkish brown to tan spotted thing. I thought perhaps the cat had left a bad present. I got up to it real close anyway sensing it was not the other. Then I noticed how big it was. It was about 2--3 inches wide by roughly 4--6 inches long. I still was not sure what it was but I am the curious sort, so I picked it up with my bare hands. Wrong number one. Slime and it was coming out profusely as a milky or chalky colored fluid. When I got to the house, I got the creature into the light by the sink and rinsed him off with water. Wrong number two. They need unchlorinated water or old water, distilled is fine too. My well water will be used from here on out. I put the creature in a see through clean and empty pudding cup and taped another on top. I poked air holes in top and went to bed.

This morning and the rest of the day I tried to find out what I had found and made the thing comfortable. Finally after several hours of looking I came to Wikipedia which had an excellent picture of a Limax maximus. Hooray, this is the creature I found! I found him very interesting to observe and watched him closely while pages loaded on the computer. I now have him in a large vase usually used for raising beta aquarium fish. He now has sandy, humusy soil and a sprinkling of calcium rich grit from Hartz that my bird never used. I set up a big smooth rock, a clean piece of iron leaning up for him to climb on and hide behind. I got some window screen and cut it to fit the top. I got a heavy duty rubber band and squeezed the screen and rubber band to tighten and shape it to the top. That was not tight enough to suit me, so I made a length with bread ties and put it around the top too. That made it tight enough by twisting tightly. It is usually pretty cool in my house due to excessive desire for air conditioning so I hope my Leopard slug, otherwise known as Limax maximus, will be comfortable with his new mama, me! With max in his genus and species his name will naturally be Max!

When I go see my oldest grand-daughter graduate in June, I expect one or all of my seven grandchildren will be trying to take over ownership of this interesting little guy. I have been thoroughly entertained and fascinated by this particular member of the slug and snail family.

With all the movies and series out there talking about shape-shifters and morphing into something else, this creature fits the bill as a true shape shifter. The size I found him in originally became, under threat, a mere 2 inch by 3 inch fat blob. It shrinks itself into any number of shapes. Long and skinny, short and fat, curvy, straight, bent double, and on and on in an infinite variety of poses.

I recommend those who hate them to offer them to neighbors, children with permission of their parents, and fools like me who love a new scientific subject to learn about. Send them to me. I am hooked and want more! As a postscript, Dollar Tree sells critter keepers for a dollar. Can't beat that! I give the Leopard slug a positive and thumbs up for being of immense interest to the curious.

Positive hulkflower22 On Jul 9, 2010, hulkflower22 from Boise, ID wrote:

My friend and I were outside talking one night and she freaked out because she thought she saw a snake!! It actually ended up being a huge slug! We freaked out and took pictures and jumped up and down like crazy people but were quite amazed by how large it was. We found this site and discovered what kind of slug it was and also read comments left by other users. We found it quite offensive to hear that people are getting such a thrill out of pouring salt on these poor helpless slugs. I am glad to hear that we are not the only ones who were excited to see such an amazing creature. We, however, left him alone in the garden rather than making him a new home...and would never pick something that slimy looking up. BUT AMEN SISTER!! If the bugs are in nature they should be left alone.

Positive lmarie357 On Jul 28, 2012, lmarie357 from Glen Park, NY wrote:

At first i thought it was a stick - then i realized it was moving. I must admit i was a bit creeped out, but also intrigued because I had never seen a slug this huge! It. Was late at night and i had my cell phone for a flashlight so it was difficult to coax this creature onto a big stick using a little stick and not dropping the phone! I had to bring it home and fins out what it was...and to watch it...i was just amazed and excited to learn about it.
so now Fred- since they are hermaphrodites i guess fred is as good a name as any -is residing in a moist habitat of coconut fiber and moss. (Just happened to have it since I recently took in the tinniest frog i have ever seen...but thats another post.
It is amazing to watch, once you get past the gross out factor of the slime! But i have no intentions of releasing him in my yard! When the time comes he will go back near the river where i found him...the last thing i need is tons of these huge slimy critters invading my yard! I can appreciate natures diversity and even its freakish beauty - from a distance & with a stick!

Positive mkhenricks On Dec 4, 2012, mkhenricks from Indianapolis, IN wrote:

I found one of these on my porch on a somewhat rainy day. A couple of pieces of dry cat food had become dampened by the rain. The slug made its way over and ate chunks of cat food! I took a couple of pictures before it slimed it's way back off the porch with a full belly. (Belly? Do slugs have a belly? Or are they like worms, just an alimentary canal?)
Tonight I found one again around some cat food that I put out for a neighbor. It is much colder now and this slug seemed to have a problem with the dropping temp.
I just checked on him and he seems dead. There was some kind of large bean shaped egg, something on one end.
I have seen their glistening trails on the sidewalks. I don't know why people want to kill them, since they share this Earth with us and seem harmless to me. And I agree with a previous poster that the more we introduce toxins and kill off creatures that belong here, we are asking for trouble in the future.
Get over the "eeew" factor and see them for what they are. I saw much bigger slugs in Scotland in the mountains. Much bigger than this one (about two inches long and half inch across) the ones in Scotland were black and three to four inches long and three fourth inches across.
I think they are fascinating. Somehow they know that cat food is there and they eat it.
Who knows what else is living around this house. I found camel crickets in the basement, but that is another story.

Positive alisondm On Aug 2, 2013, alisondm from Cleveland Heights, OH wrote:

I found this outside of my apartment building. I've never seen a slug this big before and it is SO COOL. I brought it inside and made a terrarium for it. Don't kill these! Nature is so interesting!

Positive sherriperri On Aug 6, 2013, sherriperri from Gainesville, GA wrote:

Found one today inside our water meter box, very interesting creature to watch, I had never seen one before, so I did some research. All the research I found says they can be beneficial by hunting other plant destroying slugs..some articles even say they can be a gardener's friend. Does anyone else know???

Negative flo9 On Jul 26, 2014, flo9 from Asheville, NC wrote:

You can add Asheville, NC to the list!!!!! I just posted a picture of it. It's been eating my baby albino peppers for weeks now killing all of the new ones on 1 plant in only 1 container so far, however, leaves the larger peppers alone on the plant.

About a month ago I saw a huge solid black one the same size of this one in picture on my patio near my garden. Anyone know what type that would be?? Then about a week later saw a leopard slug on the sidewalk and then made it's way to the grass... likely heading over to my garden. They can move really fast!!!!!! Since then I've noticed my peppers getting ruined.

I have dermatosis earth (sp) often on my plants and this doesn't kill them like they normally do for small slugs. I sprinkled some salt on it last night and didn't check back.. I see no sign of it anywhere except now have of the pepper plant is very wilted and doesn't look good.

Positive missyb1236 On Sep 2, 2014, missyb1236 from Moulton, IA wrote:

I have been seeing these slugs in Moulton , Iowa for the( first time ever) this summer. As I've seen in other posts, my mother thought it was s snake and freaked out. I have so far seen approx. 7-8 of them around my property as well as inside my home. I actually think they are really neat, but VERY slimy and it is hard to wash the stickiness off your hands after handling them. There pattern is really beautiful.

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