Two females and a male, I think, from under a refuge - posted in answer to Blewet Boy's query
No interactions present.
Sorry, sorry, sorry. Got the sexes the wrong way round first time. Well, it is Saturday night.
It is hard to be certain, but I think you have three females here. Females have a dark stripe down the side of the body and more scale patterning. Males are very plain. Your three animals appear to have dark stripes.
Visit the iSpot Yorkshire forum for information on events, issues and news relating to 'God's own country'
Thanks for posting this info. I should be able to sex the ones I find in my compost heap now. Do you know how big they can grow, length wise I mean?
Slow worms grow to around 40-45 cm in length.
I have seen at least one confirmed male (in Wyre Forest)with a (faint, compared to confirmed females) dark marking. But I suspect you are right.
Wyre Forest male adders are also generally a little odd in colour - not as "contrasty" as the classic black and almost-silver colours of (say) Kinver Edge males, even when freshly-sloughed. It may be that isolation is causing small differences? Once you get your eye in (having the guidance of the local expert Sylvia helps), you can still tell them apart.
Isolation does often lead to unusual colourations, it is often due to interbreeding because of the small population. A good example are the rabbits on Skomer Island. They come in all sorts of colour patterns and sizes, there are very few predators and it is imposible for new stock to enter the gene pool without human intervention. Ronald lockley studied the population and wrote the classic book "The Private Life of Rabbits" used as the basis for "Watership Down".
However, back to slow worms. The young males often have markings which are lost as they mature. A small number of males keep some of these markings into adulthood. Your sighting in the Wyre forest could have been one of these males or it could have been an imature.
Lat/Lng: 52.9, -2.8
OS grid ref: SJ4937