Do slugs freeze in winter?

Your wild question answered by Jake Stone - a terrestial mollusc expert at the John Innes Centre.

Slug crawling on a path in a garden. © TT/Getty

Some do, but slugs are surprisingly adept at surviving freezing conditions – very low temperatures do not have a particularly negative impact on overall numbers for the following year.


In winter, slugs seek out thermally buffered hibernation sites where temperatures rarely dip below 0°C. These are usually underground and provide protection from the worst winter frosts.

Close-Up Of Slug
Slug. © Achille Salerni/EyeEm/Getty

Studies also show that even if slugs are directly exposed to frost crystals, both juveniles and adults of most species are able to withstand the formation of extra-cellular ice in their tissues for a limited time.

Slug eggs also overwinter in large numbers, probably surviving the chill by ‘supercooling’ – lowering their normal freezing points.

Slugs are seriously underappreciated creatures – check out our feature Why we should love slugs to find out why!

Or maybe you’re more interested in identifying a slug that youv’e found? Then take a look at our guide for that here – How to identify slugs and snails

Photo © Marcus Fortune/Getty

Slug in grass

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