Ew, slime!

Ew, slime!

Slime is slippery, sticky and pretty disgusting. Bleurgh!

What is slime for?

When animals make slime, it's called mucus. Lots of animals make slimy mucus. Have a look at our top 5 slimy species.

Opossum

Opossum_120887111

Ugh, can you smell that? There must be an opossum in the house! Don't be fooled by its cute looks, opossums have a slimy defence against predators.

If an opossum is threatened by a bigger animal, the opossum pretends to be dead. It falls to the ground, foams at the mouth and makes a horrible, smelly green liquid from its bottom. Would you want to eat something that smelled like that?

Hagfish

Even without the slime, hagfish are a bit disgusting. Hagfish burrow into dead animals on the ocean floor and then eat their way out. Does that sound like a tasty meal to you?

If a bigger animal tries to eat a hagfish, the hagfish makes lots of slime. The slime chokes the bigger animal and the hagfish escapes. Have a look at this video of hagfish slime. Wait until the end when it's all over the person's hands!

Slugs

Slug_96315077

You've probably seen the slime trails that slugs make on a night. This slimy mucus helps stop the slug from slipping on vertical surfaces. It can also help slugs to find a mate.

Slugs cover their body in a different type of slime, which stops the slug drying out. It also makes the slug less tasty to predators.

Parrotfish

Would you sleep in a bed of slime? That's exactly what some parrotfish do. Before they go to sleep, parrotfish burp out a layer of slimy mucus to cover themselves in.

Scientists aren't sure exactly why parrotfish cover themselves in bedtime slime, but it's probably to protect themselves from parasites or predators. Have a look at this parrotfish in its slimy sleeping bag:

Us!

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Have you seen how much snot a two-year old can make? Lots of our cells make slimy mucus, but the mucus you see most often is snot.

We make snot to protect the inside of our body from infection. Bacteria and viruses could get through your nose into your throat and lungs, but your snot traps them. Hooray for snot! You produce around one litre of slimy mucus a day. That's a lot of slime.

Did you know? Some people are afraid of slime. This is called blennophobia.

Go to Make your own slime to create gloopy, flubbery slime.

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