A slow worm is a lizard. In central Europe, it is one of the most common reptiles. Many people confuse it with a snake: the slow worm has no legs and the body looks like a snake. A major difference is that the slowworm’s tail can break off without harming it.
Despite its name, the slow worm can see very well. The animals are about 50 centimeters long. They have scales on the body surface. They are made of a material similar to our fingernails or cow horns. The color is reddish-brown and looks like copper.
Slowworms inhabit all of Europe except the southernmost and northernmost areas. They make it to altitudes of 2,400 meters above sea level. They live in all dry and wet habitats except swamps and water. In winter they fall into a cold torpor, often together with several animals.
How do blindworms live?
Slowworms mainly eat slugs, earthworms, and hairless caterpillars, but also grasshoppers, beetles, aphids, ants, and small spiders. Slow worms are therefore very popular with farmers and gardeners.
Slowworms have many enemies: shrews, common toads and lizards eat the young animals. Various snakes, but also foxes, badgers, hedgehogs, wild boars, rats, owls, and various birds of prey like to eat adult blindworms. Cats, dogs, and chickens also chase after them.
It takes about 12 weeks from mating to birth. Then the female gives birth to about ten cubs. They are almost ten centimeters long but are still in an eggshell. But they slip out of there immediately. They must live 3-5 years before they are sexually mature.
The slowworms are sometimes killed by humans for fear of snakes. The lizard is protected in German-speaking countries: you may not harass, catch or kill it. Their biggest enemy is modern agriculture because the slow worm loses its habitat as a result. Many blindworms also die on the road. However, they are not threatened with extinction.