Tag Archives: slow worm

Slow Worm Mating sequence

This is a first for me. Slow worms (Anguis fragilis) are one of our most common reptiles and there are always a few lurking in the corners of the garden. They are lizards (not snakes, despite being ‘legless’): they have eyelids (snakes don’t) and ear openings (snakes don’t have those either). Usually they are fairly static, and you can often find them underneath pots or stones (they like the warmth, being lizards). They are quite keen on compost bins as well (warmth).

This morning I popped into the garden and spotted two of them on the corner of the patio. And then I realized what was going on. This was the slow worm mating ritual. I dashed inside and grabbed the camera.

Slow worms at the start of mating

Slow worms at the start of mating

The male bites the female on her neck as they begin to entwine

The male bites the female on her neck as they begin to entwine

slow worms mating

Here they both seem to be having a nibble!

slow worms mating

More biting!

Pair of slow worms mating

Quite a tangle

slow worms mating

And finally they separate

The female will produce live young in late July or August. Apparently the young are born in their egg sac. I’ll be watching out for them, but the chance of seeing them at just the right time is remote.

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

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More Watts House Wildlife

I’m beginning to enjoy my new location. I’m not getting nearly so many photos, but I’m learning to be patient and it is paying off. These are few more sightings at Watts Bank, to rear of Watts House on the main Lewes Road going into Brighton.

First up is a slow worm. Now this did take some searching out and I only found it because I know the places they are likely to be lurking (clue: look under things).

Slow worm on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

Slow worm on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

That’s not a great shot (I only had the long lens, and the light was dreadful). This isn’t the best either, mainly due to the distance and a bog crop. It’s a female black cap in the wooded fringe to the bank. The location is pretty much inaccessible so I may well not get anything better, but it’s good enough to document the local species.

Female black cap on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

Female black cap on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

Third up is another small bird – a chiffchaff. I’ve already spotted these before. This one was just the other side of my window so was taken through double-glazing.

Chiffchaff on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

Chiffchaff on Watts Bank, University of Brighton

The star sighting though was a buzzard coming in low over the car park. I’ve seen them before, but not had a chance to photograph them here. The gulls soon saw this one off.

Buzzard over Watts House, University of Brighton

Buzzard over Watts House, University of Brighton

Buzzard over Watts House, University of Brighton

Buzzard over Watts House, University of Brighton

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

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Spiderlings and Slow Worm

Another garden post, but not for those who don’t like spiders (or even baby spiderlings). This seems to be the time of year when the common garden spider babies are making their presence known. A host of them have appeared scattered across the garden hedge, in small balls hidden in fine webbing.

spiderlings

The clumps are varied in size, but all of them are home to a thousand eyes and at least a thousand legs. 😉 These (or a small number them) will grow into the common garden spider (Araneus diadematus), the female of which is the large orb spider often seen sitting in a large classic web during the autumn months. In the galleries there’s a short sequence of their mating ritual.

spiderling

spiderling

spiderling

If spiders aren’t your thing, I suspect legless lizards (aka the slow worm) aren’t going to be either. But I could be wrong. This beauty was crawling across the patio yesterday afternoon.

Slow worm with tongue flicking out

Slow worm with tongue flicking out

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens, apart from the first photo which was taken with the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L USM IS lens.

Posted in Behaviour, slow worm, Spiders Also tagged |