Warning: Reptile Alert


On several warm days last summer I found a slow worm sunbathing on our lawn. When I say ‘lawn’ I use the term loosely. There’s not much grass in it, only many buttercups, dandelions and even some dreaded ragwort.  Nor is this so-called worm a worm, or even a snake. And for that matter it is not slow. If it doesn’t like the look of you it can slither off at quite a pace. At other times it may pretend to be a bit of old rope, not very convincingly I might say.

Slow worms (Anguis fragilis) are in fact legless lizards, although this is possibly no comfort for those of you out there with a snake phobia. (Sorry, if you viewed this by accident).

That they are lizards is apparently proved by the fact they can blink their eyes and shed their tails when attacked. They grow up to half a metre in length, and may re-grow a shed tail, although it won’t be quite as long as it started out. Provided they are not caught by the local cats, who do not know they are dealing with a protected UK species, they live up to 20 years. They like old gardens and to burrow in compost heaps. And best of all, they eat slugs.


Until the first Sunday in April, Jude is looking for examples of garden wildlife at The Earth Laughs In Flowers

And thank you Anna at http://unavistadisanfermo.wordpress.com for nominating me for the 7-day nature photo challenge. As I’d just done this post on slow worms, I thought I’d start with it. Anyone who wants to take up the challenge from me, please do. The actual M.O. is to nominate another blogger to take up the challenge on each of the 7 days you post a photo. But since every likely soul seems to have already been nabbed, I’m following Gilly’s lead and throwing it open. In fact I think I’ll just link back to Anna who got me into this – because she’s lovely and takes some great photos around Milan. Please do visit her.


33 thoughts on “Warning: Reptile Alert

  1. What a cutie and stunning shot as well Tish! I wouldn’t mind having Slow Worms here. Love the name as well and very interesting info too. Thanks for sharing. 😀 ♥

    1. Hello, Sonel. Lovely to hear from you. We seem to be a slow worm hot spot. I find them at the allotment too, mostly in the compost bins. They are very beautiful creatures.

      1. Oh, that is so nice and I see they found a friend in you for sure. I am very glad for that and they are gorgeous! I wouldn’t mind finding them here in the compost as well. Where are those teleports when you need them? LOL!

      2. Bwhahahahaa! Now that is something to think about. 😆 Well, I certainly won’t if I can just teleport anywhere I want without the hassle of checking in luggage and encountering lots of people. 😀

  2. Slow worms are beautiful, slinky creatures, I had them in my last garden but haven’t seen once for several years. Thanks for the ping, I’ll look forward to what else you come up with 🐝

  3. How lovely to see him in your garden, I haven’t ever seen a slow worm or a snake in this country, though I came c;lose to one once when out walking. Lovely shot Tish,

  4. Lovely pic, Tish. This brings back happy memories of having our allotment – we had loads up there. And on a holiday to Lyme Regis we found some under some plastic sheeting – my son loved handling them (gently, may I add). They are amazing creatures. Thanks for the happy memories 🙂

      1. He did love scrabbling round in muck once upon a time and loved bugs and reptiles. Still does when he can get over his pre-teen aloofness 🙂

  5. Such a beautiful creature – and wonderfully captured, allowing the viewer to see the great detail in the skin…..Love it, and the idea of basking in warm sunshine….even more:)

  6. Only ever saw one slow-worm in all the time I grew up in England; on a railway embankment in South Wales when dad was in the RAF and stationed there. I was about 8 I think?
    Nice shot.

      1. It was a small gauge train that ran behind the RAF camp. If the driver was in a good mood, we would occasionally be allowed to ride the footplate with him the last two hundred yards or so to the end of the line. Things were a lot more relaxed in those days!
        We, my bother and I and a couple of friends, came across the slow worm while waiting for the train one afternoon.
        ( there was a junction or crossing of some sort and the train would stop)

      2. We spent 2 years a St Athan. The camp was large but completley enclosed and thinking about it now a lot of it was like a real life Famous Five adventure.
        But by and large there never seemed to be that much to be afraid of.
        Some of the unsupervised things we did as kids would have had me climbing the walls when my two were small.
        How things change.
        Ooops … getting mugged down Memory Lane again. 🙂

  7. I would jump a mile high if I found him in my garden! 🙂 No offense- live and let live, and a superb shot, Tish. I’m pretty sure I’d have camera shake. But then, I usually do. 🙂 Hope all’s well at the allotment.

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