Slow worms aren’t worms – or snakes!

And there’s a good chance your gar­den has a thriv­ing pop­u­la­tion – with­out you know­ing

Garden News (UK) - - About Now - With Ju­lian Rollins

The warm spring seems to be suit­ing slow worms. What has to be our most over­looked wild gar­den char­ac­ter thrives when it’s warm, and this sea­son seems to be shap­ing up nicely weath­er­wise.

Rep­tiles aren’t to ev­ery­body’s taste, but if you get the chance to take a close look at a slow worm I’d say there’s some­thing very ap­peal­ing about their bright lit­tle eyes and smooth, glossy skin.

There’s a good chance that your gar­den, or al­lot­ment, has a slow worm pop­u­la­tion with­out you know­ing about it. That’s be­cause slow worms are largely noc­tur­nal, spend­ing day­light hours asleep un­der a flat stone, or some­thing sim­i­lar. At dusk they ven­ture out to hunt for small slugs, worms and in­sects.

The slow worm is of­ten mis­taken for a snake. How­ever, Bri­tain’s most com­mon rep­tile is a lizard that evo­lu­tion ‘de­cided’ could get along very well with­out legs.

Given their ap­petite for slugs, en­cour­ag­ing slow worms to spend time in your gar­den makes prac­ti­cal sense. And it’s fairly easy to do as all you need to do is pro­vide shelter.

Firstly, it helps to al­low grass to go un­mowed some­where in the gar­den. Then, close by, cre­ate shel­ters – some­where where slow worms can feel safe and com­fort­able dur­ing the day.

All you have to do is to put some­thing flat onto the ground some­where where it’s in sun­light some­time dur­ing the day. I use small squares of cor­ru­gated iron strate­gi­cally placed here and there around the gar­den, close to boundaries.

They make ex­cel­lent slow worm refuges be­cause the rusty iron warms up nicely when the sun is on it, and stays warm when the sun moves on.

Slow worms are leg­less lizards, are very sleepy and harm­less

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.