Slow Worms (Anguis fragilis) at Shapwick Heath

July 16, 2012  •  2 Comments

Just for a change from the Great White Egrets, I had a morning looking for insects and spiders yesterday.  Unfortunately the pouring rain meant that the white admirals that I'd been hoping to photograph were very sensibly in shelter somewhere and I didn't find anything else in the arthropod world posing nicely.  That didn't stop the arthropods showing an interest in me of course and I have a maddening mozzie bite on my thumb as a reward for my efforts.  Tim's tip of the day - remember to use the insect repellant before entering the woods!

All was not lost though as I checked for reptiles before leaving the reserve and got a couple of pictures of slow worms.  These large adults both seemed to be working up to a moult.  You can see the build up of milky fluid under the skin on the head in particular.  An advantage of catching them in this state is that they just lie still and pose for the camera rather than wriggling away.  An interesting thing that I hadn't noted before happened with a younger slow worm which pretended that its tail was its head, using it to apparently seek for an escape route while keeping its head still before making a rapid dash for a hole head first.  This is a useful survival tactic as a predator would naturally make a grab for the wiggling tail which would then come off while the business end of the critter escaped.

Slow worm - Anguis fragilis Slow worm - Anguis fragilis


Comments

WildImaging
Cheers Rob.
Rob Chace(non-registered)
Interesting behavioural observation Tim. Well done.
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