Hatchling slow worm

Today I found this hatchling slow worm (Anguis fragilis) on our patio. It can’t be very old because it’s less than 100mm in length, it’s strong evidence that the adult slow worms we see in the garden are breeding.

Young slow worms develop inside the female and when they are born they are enclosed in a thin membrane. They quickly break free from the membrane and are fully mobile.

The edge of my lens cap is shown for scale:
Hatchling slow worm with lens cap for scale

The slow worm was very quick and it was difficult to get any close-up shots.

Close-up of the slow worm

I scooped up the slow worm on a sheet of paper and carried it to safety further down the garden.

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2 Responses to Hatchling slow worm

  1. Nikki says:

    What exactly is a slow worm?!

    • Kieren says:

      Slow worms are actually leg-less lizards (not snakes as some people think). That is, they are lizards that have, over the millennia, lost the use of their legs and these have become so reduced that they can’t be seen. The vestigial legs can still be seen when looking at the skeleton of a slow worm though.

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