Slow worm

Anguis fragilis


Despite common beliefs, the slow worm is not a snake but rather a lizard without legs. The slow worm can reach between 45 and 50 cm in length. Adults show significant variation in color (brown, gray or yellow with black dorsal stripes). Dorsal coloration of juveniles is silver or slightly yellowish with a black dorsal line. Slow worms inhabit a variety of habitats including broadleaved forests, glades, hedges, natural gardens and parks. They are mainly dependent on the occurrence of plant cover and the sufficient density of prey species such as snails and earthworms.

Did you know?

Although slow worms are sometimes called blindworms they are actually not blind.
Three months after reproduction, which occurs between August and September, females give birth to a maximum of 26 offspring, initially covered by a membrane which is immediately torn after birth allowing the young slow worms to be immediately independent. Slow worms have a number of natural enemies including foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, cats, wild boar and a several bird species. Upon attack at its rear end, its tail can eventually break off at particular spots. Unlike for lizards, only a rudimentary new tail will eventually grow back.
Slow worms can become remarkably old, reaching the age of 46 years in captivity.
Slow worms are still widely distributed in Luxembourg. Like all other reptiles it is a protected species in Luxembourg.

Slow worm
Foto: Roland Proess