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Slow Worm

Slow Worm Facts

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassReptilia
OrderSquamata
FamilyAnguidae
GenusAnguis
Scientific NameAnguis Fragilis
TypeReptile
DietCarnivore
Size (L)20cm - 50cm (8in - 20in)
Weight20g - 100g (0.7oz - 3.5oz)
Top Speed0.5km/h (0.3mph)
Life Span10 - 30 years
LifestyleSolitary
Conservation StatusLeast Concern
ColourBlack, Brown, Tan, Yellow, Grey
Skin TypeScales
Favourite FoodInsects
HabitatGrassland and woodlands
Average Clutch Size8
Main PreyInsects, Slugs, Worms
PredatorsCats, Dogs, Birds
Distinctive FeaturesLong snake-like body and small eyes

Slow Worm Location

Map of Slow Worm Locations

Slow Worm

The slow worm is a long species of legless lizard found throughout Europe and in parts of Asia, that is often mistaken for a snake due to it's appearance.

The slow worm inhabits warm, moist and shaded areas across the European continent and is also commonly found in gardens throughout the United Kingdom, as well as meadows and farmland.

Despite it's snake-like appearance, the slow worm is in fact a lizard but without legs and instead uses the muscles in it's body to move itself around. Slow worms have smooth and shiny skin and a small head in comparison to their body.

As with other reptiles, the slow worm has a forked tongue which it uses to sense smells in the air. Slow worms also have eyelids which is the main indicator between lizards and snakes (as snakes are commonly known to not have eyelids but lizards do).

The slow worm is a carnivorous animal meaning that the slow worm only feeds on other animals in order to survive. Slow worms primarily feed on small, slow-moving animals like worms, slugs and snails as well as insects, spiders and other invertebrates.

Due to it's shiny skin and elongated body, the slow worm is prey to numerous predators within it's natural environment. Cats, dogs, weasels and birds are the most common predators of the slow worm.

After mating, the female slow worm produces up to 15 eggs which are incubated in her body for a few months. Once developed, the slow worm babies hatch inside their mother meaning that the female slow worm ends up giving birth to live young.

Today, the slow worm population appears to be thriving in parts of Europe, particularly in Britain where the slow worm is commonly found in back gardens across the country.