All reptiles are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, making it illegal to intentionally kill or injure a common reptile, including the slow-worm.
Where can you find the slow-worm?
The slow-worm can often be found in gardens/allotments, heathland and woodland and have two key requirements for where they live; access to sunlight and thick vegetation.
How can I identify a slow-worm?
Slow-worms are legless lizards, often mistaken for snakes due to their appearance.
Unlike snakes they have eyelids and are able to blink, have a flat forked tongue and can drop their tails if attacked. Slow-worms are much smaller than snakes, adults growing up to 50cm in length.
Males are greyish, brown in colour. Females are often golden brown with dark sides and often have a dark stripe running along their backs but both have shiny, smooth skin.
What does their diet consist of? Who are their predators?
The slow-worm has many predators including birds, adders, hedgehogs, badgers and cats. Slow-worms consume a range of garden pests including snails, caterpillars and ants.
Is the slow-worm venomous?
No, the slow-worm is not venomous. However, the adder is – click here to read more about the adder.
Ecological consultancy services:
Our ecologists have experience in undertaking reptile surveys where slow-worms have been found and well-practised with handling slow-worms as part of road, rail and development projects. Surveys typically comprise 7 survey visits undertaken between April/May and September in suitable weather conditions and involve installing artificial refuges in the form of squares of bitumen felt or corrugated tin under which slow-worms congregate to warm up. If slow-worms are found to be present, mitigation solutions can include:
- Installation of temporary or permanent reptile exclusion fencing this is often combined with translocating reptiles to an alternative site either off site or in a designated area on site
- Habitat manipulation by way of reducing the habitat e.g. grassland to encourage reptiles to disperse to the boundaries or a designated site
Talk to one of our experts about reptile surveys for your project
Contact us today