Sunday, 24 April 2016

Organisms In My Garden - Slow worm


I was mulching a gardening bed with straw when I saw something from the corner of my eye. At first I thought it was a worm, but after looking closely I noticed it was a slow worm - Anguis fragilis


What is it?

Slow worms are legless lizards, spending most of their time hiding under objects. They are very helpful to gardeners, as they eat a lot of pests. One way of welcoming them to your garden is putting down black plastic mats or some type of metal sheet.We have done this and it works 100% for us. Like all lizards they can drop their tails when under threat so I would advise you not to hold them by the tail. These reptiles are mainly active during twilight. The females give birth to live young. You can often tell if it is a fully grown male, as they normally are much darker and normally have blue spots on their backs. Males also have bigger heads. A lot of people think that they are snakes but that is not true, there are a couple of ways to tell. The most important one is that they blink, just like all other lizards. Snakes do not. The other way of telling is that the tail falls of, just like all other lizards. Adult slow worms grow up to 50 cm long and are known to be one of the longest living lizards in the world!! Living up to 30 years in the wild and depending on how well you take of them,40 years in captivity!

What do they eat?

Slow worms eat lots of things, their main foods are: Snails, earth worms, slugs and insects.

This picture was not taken by me ;)

What eats them?

Snakes, birds, hedgehogs, badgers, foxes and cats. including our cat sad to say! 

Life cycle 

They emerge from hibernation in March, they young take 4-5 months to develop. They young are born in an egg membrane that breaks soon after birth. 

Fun facts 

As I was writing this blog I thought about a big mat we put down for slow worms, so I went to check it out, when I lifted it there were two huge slow worms. The longest to ever live in captivity was 54 years old!!!!!! 

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