The slow worm, a curious animal friend of the gardener

The slow worm is a curious animal from the lizard family that is commonly found in our gardens. Harmless to humans, the slow worm is a gardener’s friend since it devours all sorts of invertebrates.

slow worm
slow worm

The slow worm is often considered by the general public to be a snake but contrary to appearances, this animal is indeed part of the family anguidae which is in fact a suborder of the saurians… in other words, the slow worm, also called the glass snake, is a legless lizard!

From the lizard, he inherited the faculty of autotomy, that is, in the event of an attack by a predator, he can lose part of his tail.

Unlike the snake, the slow worm has the same scales over the entire surface of its body and can blink since it is equipped with movable eyelids. The eardrum is also hidden under the scales as in the lizard. This animal is commonly found throughout Europe as far as Russia, but also in some sunnier countries such as Iran, Algeria and Turkey.

The slow worm is characterized by a slender body that can reach 50 cm, legless, covered with tiny smooth scales ranging in color from gray to brown. The belly in the female is marked by dark longitudinal bands which makes her notably more beautiful than sir. Her life expectancy easily reaches 30 years !

The slow worm most often hides near a damp spot, under the leaves in a shady corner, or even in the tall grass, under boxes, sheet metal, in short anything that keeps a certain humidity favoring the presence of small invertebrates of which it is fond. His favorite menu consists mainly of snails, slugs, earthworms et other earthworms, of caterpillars, cloportes, spiders, various larvae.

In the garden, therefore, it is certainly a true friend of the gardener ! a cup of compost is for him a superb refuge to find food in abundance and a certain warmth in the cold season.

During the winter, the slow worm hibernates either in a hiding place or in a burrow that it digs on its own and closes with earth and moss.

Slow worm reproduction begins at the end of August. It is viviparous and gives birth to trained young.

Did you know ?

For a long time, official classifications showed only one species of slow worms in the world but on closer examination, biologists ended up correcting their error and today, two species of slow worms are listed: theSnakes fragilis and theSnakes cephallonica.

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Source: Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by

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