Giant slugs could be on their way to devastate a garden near you.

Experts have warned the mild winter has seen a big rise in the slug population.

Wyevale Garden Centres, which has two outlets in Huddersfield, is warning gardeners to prepare for an increase of supersized slugs this spring, thanks to the unseasonably mild winter.

Due to a lack of hard frost, our slug population is booming. Unlike snails, slugs are active above 5°c and Britain’s mild winter means they’ve been awake for a longer season than usual and therefore able to reproduce all winter – at a much faster rate than usual – the result of which is a population explosion.

The Green Cellar Slug, which can grow up to 10cm in length
The Green Cellar Slug, which can grow up to 10cm in length

The sleepless slugs are laying between 20 and 100 eggs a time, so one cubic metre of garden could contain up to 200 slugs, with the average UK garden home to up to 20,000. The number isn’t the only problem – mild weather also means a better food supply and with the lack of sleep meaning more time to eat, they are bigger than ever before.

Wyevale Garden Centres expert Duncan McLean said: “Thanks to another unseasonably wet and mild winter with few hard frosts, our slugs simply haven’t hibernated as they usually do.

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“They’re grazing constantly on prematurely budding plants, getting larger and larger in the process (up to 40 times their body weight), whilst also having the time to breed more, adding to existing colonies and spelling disaster for our gardens.”

Gardeners are urged to take preventitive measures, with slug pellets and other chemical products, or by encouraging wildife such as birds and hedgehogs who feed on slugs.