richard's picture

Slow worm

Observed: 13th June 2009 By: richard
iSpot team
richard’s reputation in Amphibians and Reptiles

Seen whilst out walking along a road through woodland

Species interactions

No interactions present.


miked's picture

Yep very nice

Yep very nice

Martin Harvey's picture

legless lizard?

Great photos. The other day someone asked me what it is about slow-worms that makes them lizards rather than snakes, and I didn't know the answer. Is it something to do with the internal structure/skeleton?

Entomologist and biological recorder

Vikram's picture

The Reason

I think it is because they have eyelids like other lizards. Why they are not 'snakes with eyelids' rather than 'legless lizards' is another question entirely.


Andrew Goodall's picture

Slow-worm photos

Hi These are really great shots.



the naturalist man's picture


Wonderful photos.

You are right, the most obvious difference that makes the slow-worm a lizard rather than a snake is the presence of an eyelid - snakes never have them.
Slow-worms shed their skin in patches rather than in one piece as in snakes.
They can also shed their tail when threatened, a lizard trait.
Unlike snakes they have external ears though these are usually very difficult to see.
The tongue is short and notched rather than long and forked.
Most snakes have rough, overlapping scales; slow-worms and other lizards have smooth, non-overlapping scales.
The head, like skinks, is the same width and shape as the body, snakes always have a distinct head.
Finally, they have vestigel limbs, pelvis and shoulders.

I hope this helps

Graham Banwell

Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'

Martin Harvey's picture

lizards and snakes

Thanks Graham and Vikram, I am now well-prepared for the next time someone asks the question!

Entomologist and biological recorder

richard's picture


Thanks for the praise of the photos, I only wish I'd figured out how to properly use the macro mode on the camera before I took these :-)

Richard G - iSpot technical team

Wise Old Owl's picture

Well spotted!

Great pictures! What a beautiful slow worm!

From the wise old owl!