Friday, 21 May 2010

Slow But Smart!

Uberawesomecool! I came home on my bike and as I pulled up, I noticed what looked like a glittery gold strip of plastic or something. I hopped off and took a closer look. I just met my very first slow worm! Let me explain. Slow worms look a lot like little snakes, but these odd English reptiles are actually lizards with no legs and rather rare in the rest of the country. Since moving down South, I have longed to meet a slow worm; we don't tend to get them back home, but they're said to be prolific in Somerset - yet I'd never seen one of these shy, elusive animals. Today was my lucky day!

It seems I'd encountered a youngster, possibly two years old as he/she was still bright gold and had a black striped belly, trying to hide on the rough gravel. Poor thing seemed to have a real struggle getting over the concrete and stones, so I carefully picked it up with my bike gloves and brought it into the garden. (I kept the gloves on, because I understand these creatures have a powerful bite!) I popped him/her on the grass for a moment whilst I picked up my big chunk of slate (originally for Kyle to bask on, but she never bothered with it) and popped it under the rhubarb next to the onions. Image - Jonas Bergsten's from Wikicommons.

When I turned round to encourage the slow worm to go towards the rock, it took me a moment to find it - they literally SWIM through the grass! I didn't want to accidentally step on it - they're a protected species, so I tugged my gloves off and got him/her by the middle (thankfully I'd guessed right, that they can shed their tails) and gently pulled it out. S/he didn't need extra encouragement, and wriggled underneath the rock I'd provided.

div>It appears I've done the right thing, as a quick peek a moment ago reveals the little "worm" is still tucked under there. I won't take a photo, as we don't want to upset it but I do hope s/he decides it's a nice place to stay, because I've just discovered they're voracious slug and small snail munchers! And we've got plenty of those here...

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