TV presenter Chris Packham has urged gardeners to “put yourself in the mind of the slug” and become tolerant towards the creatures.

The Springwatch host, 56, urged people to stop killing the garden pests.

He told Radio Times magazine: “The slug’s been offered a free banquet. You have to expect it to eat it.

Chris Packham (Alex Britton/PA)
Chris Packham (Alex Britton/PA)

“If you’re planting a row of lettuces, you’re planting a free supermarket for molluscs.

“If you turned up at Sainsbury’s and they said, ‘And everything today is free’ you’d fill your basket, wouldn’t you?

“That’s what humans would do. So put yourself in the mind of the slug.

“You have to find a degree of tolerance, find ways of managing slugs without killing them.”

Chris Packham on the red carpet(Matt Crossick/PA)
Chris Packham on the red carpet(Matt Crossick/PA)

Packham, who has previously called for wolves to be reintroduced back into the British countryside, said that gardeners were also harming hedgehogs and song thrushes by clamping down on slugs.

“If you make draconian choices like ‘I don’t want slugs and snails to eat my plants’, then you’re doing yourself out of hedgehogs, slow worms and song thrushes and that’s a tragic loss to the garden,” he said.

“The song of the thrush is the closest you’re going to get to a nightingale in the 21st-century British garden.

“Gardens are an important environment for many animals and birds now because of the problems with the wider countryside. You don’t get intensely farmed gardens. There’s an enormous abundance of animals.”

Slugs (David Cheskin/PA)
Slugs (David Cheskin/PA)

Packham, who recently called the dismissal of assault charges while filming an illegal bird trapping documentary “one of the most satisfying days of my life”, said gardeners should cut holes in their fences to let hedgehogs walk through safely, build a pond and have a compost heap.

And he said that a messy garden was not always best for wildlife.

“If you just let your garden go it doesn’t top the list in terms of diversity”, he said.

“I put a lot of effort into my garden. I actively plant in my garden. I have nectar from the very beginning to the end of the year.”

:: Read the full interview in this week’s Radio Times.