Slow worms aren’t worms – or snakes!
And there’s a good chance your garden has a thriving population – without you knowing
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