Slow-worms are neither slow nor worms… they’re not even snakes, but actually a legless lizard and whilst gardening this weekend a few made themselves known to me.
I’ve had quite a few in my garden previously so it wasn’t too much of a surprise to find them in the overgrown raised-bed I was digging over which I’m sure has many a treat for them.
They love slugs and worms and I can tell you there are plenty in my garden!
Are they dangerous?
As you can see they’re very gentle and didn’t mind me picking them up so that I could rehome them to a more suitable area of the garden. They may look like snakes but they’re generally harmless.
This adult I found must have been around 30cm in length and will grow to around 50cm in length. It’s the average size of the ones I’ve seen before so I think they must get a lot more stealthy as they mature…. or there’s a lot fewer of them.
Throughout the afternoon I spotted two adults and this juvenile slow-worm and I like to think they’re enjoying the other undisturbed areas of my garden, munching away at those slugs, and keeping my veg patch a bit safer.
Some interesting slow-worm facts
For one of the more interesting animals to live in our gardens I don’t think people know a huge amount about them so here’s a few facts to “wow” your friends and family with.
- Average lifespan is up to 30 years
- The record age was 54 years in captivity
- Can grow to half a metre in length (50cm)
- Courtship may last for as long as 10 hours
- Females incubate the eggs internally, ‘giving birth’ to an average of eight young in summer
- Unlike snakes they have eyelids, a flat forked tongue and can drop their tail to escape from a predator.