The Slow-worm – the legless lizard

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Slow worm
Slow worms look like snakes, but are actually harmless, legless lizards.

Slow-worm (Anguis fragilis)

The slow-worm is widely distributed in Denmark.
Being a legless lizard, the slow worm is often mistaken for a little snake. However, there are certain features that separate the slow-worm from snakes, including the presence of eyelids and ear openings. The slow worm, also called blindworm, is in Danish called “stålorm”, meaning steel worm.

Adults slow worms reach 40 to 45 cm (16 to 18 inches) in body length.
The diet of the slowworm is made up of snails, slugs, earthworms, other soft-bodied invertebrates, and some vertebrates.
The slow-worm is a completely harmless creature and will not bite – even when handed!

Slow worm
Slowworms are completely harmless.

Able to lose the tail.
A feature of slowworms (typical feature of lizards) is the shedding of the tail when captured. The shed tail falling to the ground and thrashing makes a very effective decoy to predators, whilst the slow-worm makes for cover.

Sources: Arkive.org, inaturalist.org, NaturGuide.dk, herpetofauna.co.uk.

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