Scientific name: Anguis fragilis
Despite appearances, the slow-worm is actually a legless lizard, not a worm or a snake! Look out for it basking in the sun on heathlands and grasslands, or even in the garden, where it favours compost heaps.
Average lifespan: up to 20 years
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981. Priority Species under the UK Post-2010 Biodiversity Framework.
When to seeMarch to October
AboutThe slow-worm is neither a worm nor a snake, but is, in fact, a legless lizard - its identity is given away by its abilities to shed its tail and blink with its eyelids.
Slow-worms can be found in heathland, tussocky grassland, woodland edges and rides where they can find invertebrates to eat and a sunny patch in which to sunbathe. They are often found in mature gardens and allotments, where they like hunting around the compost heap. However, if you have a cat, you are unlikely to find them in your garden as cats predate them. Like other reptiles, slow-worms hibernate, usually from October to March.