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Slow Worm

Cath Wilson (July)

We spotted this slow worm making its way down a path in the Ogwen valley. Often mistaken for a snake, the Slow Worm is a legless lizard. The easy way to tell (if you're brave enough) is to have a close look at the eyes. Snakes don't have eyelids, lizards do.

A protected species in the UK, the Slow worm has a clever defense mechanism, under an attack they contract their muscles to shed their tail if a bird attempts to eat them they 'play dead'. If the bird starts pecking they will continue to stay completely still, whilst their tail which wriggles about for up to 15 minutes. The bird will then fly away with the tail, leaving the tail-less slow worm alive. They can grow a new tail within a few weeks.

Perhaps their cunning survival technique is what keeps them alive for up to 15 years in the wild?

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