Giant pink slugs have been found on a mountainside in Australia, a strange find that scientists think date back to ancient times when the region was a rainforest.
Park rangers in New South Wales, Australia, have found dozens of the giant pink slugs, which are descried as almost fluorescent. The slugs are about eight inches long and have been spotted only around Mount Kaputar, a 5,000-foot peak in the region.
“As bright pink as you can imagine, that’s how pink they are,” Michael Murphy, a ranger with the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “On a good morning, you can walk around and see hundreds of them.”
Scientists say the giant pink slugs have been in the region since Australia was home to rainforests. A series of volcanoes have since caused millions of years of geological changes, but somehow the slugs have remained.
“A series of volcanoes and millions of years of erosion have carved a dramatic landscape at Mount Kaputar National Park, creating a fascinating world with some very colourful locals,” the park service wrote on its Facebook page.
The volcanoes may have destroyed their natural habitat, but the also likely saved the slugs, wrote Ben Cubby. He said the eruption created a “high-altitude haven” for invertebrates and plant species.
The giant pink slugs aren’t the only unique find in the region. Scientists have also discovered a cannibal snail that has been known to eat vegetarian snails.
”It’s just one of those magical places, especially when you are up there on a cool, misty morning,” said Michael Murphy, who has worked as a ranger in the park for more than 20 years.
”It’s a tiny island of alpine forest, hundreds of kilometers away from anything else like it. The slugs, for example, are buried in the leaf mold during the day, but sometimes at night they come out in their hundreds and feed off the mold and moss on the trees. They are amazing, unreal-looking creatures.”
To protect the cannibal snails and giant pink slugs, Australia has labelled the region a ”endangered ecological community” and given it special protection.