Slow worm

  • Scientific name: Anguis fragilis
  • Type: Reptiles

Key information

With long, smooth, shiny, grey or brown bodies, slow worms look very similar to tiny snakes. In fact they are legless lizards and are quite harmless.

Although found throughout mainland Britain, they are most common in Wales and south-west England. They are absent from Ireland.

Slow worms like humid conditions and emerge from their hiding places at dusk or after rain to hunt for food. They spend the winter hibernating under piles of leaves or within tree roots.

If attacked by a predator, a slow worm can shed its tail to escape, although it never grows back fully.

What they eat:

Slugs, snails, spiders, insects and earthworms.


Up to 50cm

Identifying features:

Natural habitats: Bog garden Compost heap Hedge Log pile Meadow area Rock/stone pile Shed Shrub Woodland area

Where and when to see them

In the meadow and woodland areas, or hiding under rocks or logs. Also in grassy meadows, farmland, woodland margins and open fields.

You can see slow worms from March to October.

  • jan
  • feb
  • mar
  • apr
  • may
  • jun
  • jul
  • aug
  • sep
  • oct
  • nov
  • dec