Photographer: Paulina Barry

Photo taken: May 17, 2020, on Vashon Island

Photographer’s description: “Banana slugs are a common sight on Vashon trails, especially in the spring. The weather is humid and warm, the breeding time of these hermaphroditic animals. My family usually stops to gently move those who have found themselves crossing a trail. Banana slugs are no good for eating, by anyone. They produce a slime that makes the mouth go numb, and on top of that they eat plants and fungi that harbor natural toxins as well. The mushroom is an amanita, which is off the menu for humans, but happy eating for our iconic banana slug.”

Critique: “This is a fascinating tale of the forest floor. The colors are marvelous, it’s very well lit and your focus point is spot-on. I like how, as we look into the slug’s optical sensor, it’s looking back at us as if to say, ‘Stay away from my meal.’ If I have a criticism, it would be that we’ve missed a little bit of an opportunity to give our subject a little more impact. Squaring up the crop and coming in from the right might help accomplish that. Thank you for submitting, and thanks for the banana slug trivia as well. Good to know they’re no good for eating, in case any of our dear readers were curious about that.”

Below is a gallery of previous Reader’s Lens picks. Share your recent photo from around the Northwest. Submit online at Our favorite will appear in this spot next week. We judge the year’s best and award prizes in December.