Slow Worm Audit

During a recent informal nature survey, many examples of birds, plants, butterflies and insects were identified, at a later date we spotted a common lizard too and when we spot new examples we add them to our nature survey list– but to date we have not spotted a slow worm.

The RSPB website describes slow worms: “With long, smooth, shiny, grey or brown bodies, slow worms look very similar to tiny snakes. In fact they are legless lizards and are quite harmless.”

Slow worms are frequently found in local gardens – but (as of Sept 2020) we have not seen any in the old cemetery – which is surprising as their natural habitat is meadows and woodland areas, hiding under rocks or logs – and there are plenty of hiding places in the old cemetery.

To find out if there are any slowworms in the old cemetery F&HDC has put special slow worm friendly mats in various places around the cemetery. These mats will only be there for a short time – and if any slow worm does venture under the mat to sleep in a warm place – when the mats are checked the slow worms can be counted to find out how many, if any, there are in this place.

This exercise will be done again in spring – and if no slow worms are detected – then a ‘slither’ (not sure what the collective word is for slow worms) of slow worms removed from another site, which is undergoing development, will be introduced into the cemetery.

It is being done this way because if you bring new slow worms into an area already populated by slow worms – you would end up with one group attempting to eliminate the other group.

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