Slow Worms

Anguis fragilis - Slow Worm
The slow worm was an unexpected sight, as they are usually hiding under the compost bins or somewhere similar and as soon as I lift the cover off they shoot away, anything but slow. This one however was on the foot path just taking the world in and did not seem in the least bit concerned by my presence and allowed me to get quite close for the photos.

Length 20-30cm

Slow worms are leg less lizards and not snakes and like all lizards they have eyelids which snakes do not.
They have the ability to lose the end of their tail which will grow back again but not fully.

Males vary in colour from grey to light brown or bronze and have a pale under belly. Sometimes when found near the coast there are blue spots along the sides usually on males but not always. Females are typically browner than males and have a darker brown flank, dark belly and a black stripe running along the back.

They prefer humid or damp places such as long grass or compost heaps in the garden where they eat slugs, snails, worms, spiders and insects. They mate in April or May but the female does not concieve until June and normally gives birth to 6 to 12 young approximately 4 months later. They usually hibernate from october to February, sometimes alone or sometimes with other slow worms or reptiles.

They are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 from being killed, injured or sold as they are far less common than they used to be.

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