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Slow worms were once believed to be poisonous. There is an article in the Proceedings of the Royal Society from 1761 (Observations on noxious Animals in England; by the Rev. Richard Forster) where he discounts this commonly held belief -
"In June 1751, I had a woman, Jane Seymour, of this place, helming of straw, i.e. laying it straight . . . The woman squalled out, all of a sudden, that an adder (viper) in the straw had stung her by the finger . . . The woman's husband . . . found a slow-worm, and killed him directly. . . During this bustle, the woman's ailment was quite forgot, and she fell to work again, as if nothing had happened."
The full article can be found on Google books.
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