The Algan Slug, named after the man who researched them, is typically found in and around the Mithral Mountains in shady, moist areas where the sun will not easily dry them out. They are typically a brown colour that blends into their surroundings and helps them to camouflage themselves. They are interesting in their ability to produce an acid that will burn most predatorsí mouths.
Picture description. The Aglan Slug as it is found in the Mithrals with the unpleasant ability to spurt acid at attackers. Image drawn by Seeker.
Unless one is specifically looking for this slug, people may have some trouble
finding it. Its brown coloured skin, deceiving in texture, tends to be able to
blend into the colour of the ground and the bark of most trees. When on the
ground of the forests they often inhabit, they can appear like a little bump of
dirt or else a tree root sticking up through the earth. Although, like most
slugs, its skin is slimy, helping it to glide along the ground, its slime
doesnít catch the light as most slime do. This helps it to better camouflage
with its surroundings.
The Aglan Slug grows between one and two palmspans long, and is about 1 to 3.5 nailsbreadths diameter at its thickest point. The Slugs have their eyes propped up on two stalks on the top of their head. They also have two feelers on the front bottom of their head and a small hole in the center, near the top, which is used to spurt poison out at their enemies. Their bodies are very soft and they havenít much defense, so they dependmainly on their camouflage.
The Algan Slug is amazing in its ability to camouflage itself as a tree root or
as a bump of dirt on the ground. Their skin seems to be able to easily blend in
with their environment, making it hard to spot them and, with their soft skin
and slow movements, this blending is extremely important to their survival.
But their camouflage is not the only ability they have. When afraid, they are able to secrete an acidic substance that many animals cannot digest without terrible stomachaches or without burning the predatorsí mouth. The adult slug is also able to spurt out small amounts of this acid at predators within two fores of their head.
Territory. The Algan Slug lives in thick, dense forests in and around the Mithral Mountains. They prefer areas that are very shady and extremely moist as so their skin doesnít become dry. They are also sometimes found in the Auturian Woods, but they live primarily in the areas in and around the Mithral Mountains. Aglan Slugs are not often found in cities or towns unless there is enough moisture to sustain them.
Habitat/Behaviour. The Algan Slug lives most of its life alone, meeting only to mate. Like most slugs, they do not have the brain capacity for organized group hunting and do not have the need for such an ability given their diet. Algan Slugs are usually more active in the night when they do not need to worry about the sun drying out their skin. They typically eat and move around when the stars are out and find a shadowy place to sleep when the morning comes. They are also like other slugs in their way of movement. They produce a slime that helps to lubricate the ground so they can slide over it.
The Algan Slug also has an interesting defense mechanism. When they feel threatened or afraid, they are able to produce an acidic substance that they can secrete through their skin and shoot this acid from a hole on their head. This acid is fairly strong and animals who are not able to withstand it may suffer burns inside the mouth and may experience stomach irritation. Most animals stay away from the slug, though, and the slug will not often shoot acid at other animals unless the animal is being very threatening or it is mating season, during which time the slug can be very aggressive.
The slug tends to behave differently during different seasons of the year. They are most active in autumn, when it becomes moist from rainfall. Aglan Slugs usually mate during this period. In the winter they go into hibernation. In spring they are active again, and the hot summer season makes them slow and sluggish, and tends to drive them into shady places where they are safe from the dangerous sun.
Diet. The Algan Slug eats mainly plants, especially rotting grasses and fallen tree leaves. They will also sometimes munch on certain ground-growing mosses. However, an interesting thing about the Algan Slug is their ability to eat meats. They are unable to hunt for prey, given their slow movement, but commonly eat the meat of dead animals. They use the acid, which is often used for defense, in order to help them begin digesting the animalsí flesh before they even begin ingesting it.
They can eat just about any dead animal they come across, but have an easier time ingesting the meat of mammals such as deer and rabbits.
Mating. The Aglan Sslug usually mates near the middle of autumn when the weather has just started to get colder and wetter. The female slugs release a certain scent when they are prepared to mate. This scent can both be sensed in the air and in the slime the slug uses to lubricate the ground. The male picks up the scent, which only the species can smell, and uses it to find a potential mate. During this time, slugs are especially aggressive and should be avoided at all costs.
When then two slugs meet, they usually spend a moment experimenting and feeling each other with their antennae to make sure of gender. The male will then ride up to the female and deposit his sperm under her, into her body. A few weeks later, she will lay her eggs, usually in a shallow whole or in some other place that is moist and well hidden. The eggs tend to be about 0.75 nailbreaths in diameter and are a milky color. The female will leave the eggs to hatch and will not take care of them.
The eggs, if they last through the winter, will hatch in late winter or early spring into miniatures of their parents. They are only two or three nailsbreaths in length, but they will double their size in the course of a three or four week period. They will mate within the year. Algan Slugs tend to live three or four years.
Usages. The Algan Slug is sometimes eaten. Their bodies are usually boiled for ten minutes before they are even prepared to cook. This boiling both kills the slug and neutralizes the acid so that it wonít burn the mouth of those that eat it. The acid is also sometimes used as a weapon, as it can burn the skin or other organic materials. However, it can easily be washed away with water.
Researchers. John Algan (1287-1354) is the man for whom the slug is named and was a Helcrani wanderer who happened upon the animal and found great fascination in it. He watched and studied the slug in the Mithral Mountains for a year, sometimes sharing space with the dwarves in those mountains. He helped document its behavior and mating processes, and some of his sketches are still used to identify it.
Information provided by Rayne Avalotus