Sunday, 27 September 2015

Day 318 - Significantly Wriggily Slow Worms

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)
Hey everyone, today's Day 318 and I went out on a walk at one of my family's favourite places, Silton Forest in the North York Moors. We mainly went there because some of our friends have a Jack Russell (just the same as Esme) and they were going there too, they had a great time playing together. It was a lovely sunny day  and there was quite a lot to see. I saw a Speckled Wood flitting about, found three more Leucozona glaucia, as well as loads of other hoverflies and quite a lot of fungi! We were on one of the sides and I saw something curled up, looking bronze and metallic. Even though I'd only ever seen one in my life, also at Silton Forest, I instantly recognised it as a Slow Worm!

So, here are the facts on these:
  • I was going to call this post 'Certainly not Worms Slow Worms' because well, they aren't worms!..
  • From when I did some research the first time I saw one, I actually found out that they are technically a 'leg-less lizard'.
A worms eye view
  • These lizards are actually quite rare and are a protected species in the UK and it is illegal to kill injure or sell, them. It was a relief to find out that you are allowed to pick them up! 
  • This one was basking in the middle of a cycle track so I needed to put it somewhere safer! 
  • They are then, quite rare. There haven't been many sightings relative to the size of the UK and they are completely absent in Ireland.
  • They are found all the way from March to the end of November, they will, of course, be commoner the further into Summer they are. Like other lizards they will hibernate in the winter.
  • They live in Grassland, Heathland, Woodlands and even Towns and Gardens. This seems correct as where we saw it was a mixture between Woodland and Grassland.
  • Being up to only 40cm in length, they are much smaller than snakes, they usually weigh 20g - 100g.
  • The females incubate their eggs internally and then produce live young in the spring. The new born slow worms will be about 4cm long.
  • Females will produce between 3 to 26 young in a brood! The average is about 8.
  • Another statistic is that they can live for an absolutely huge 20 years! That is one of the longest lifespands that I have covered!
Close up while moving to safety
  • Even though these are lizards, their skin is surprisingly smooth. It actually wasn't at all wet, kind of like smooth metal.
  • Males tend to be greyer and sometimes have blue marks on their backs, Females are browner with a dark stripe on their back. I think ours may be a juvenile but it was getting towards being an adult as it was about 30cm / 1 foot long.
  • They are lizards and have flat forked tounges and are often mistaken for snakes, One way to tell they are lizards is that they can blink - snakes can't do this.
  • One weird fact to end off, they can actually drop off their tail to get away from predators. Even better, THEY CAN GROW IT BACK!
Here are a few links to some more information:

Hope you enjoyed,


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