Slow worms are not snakes, they are legless lizards and not always slow as documented in many books. They can disappear quite quickly when they want to, especially if warmed by the sun. Care has to be taken when handling these gentle creatures or they will shed their tail, this is a natural defense mechanism to confuse or make its predator chase the tail, as it carries on wiggling violently for some time. It does grow back but it is never the same more like a slightly pointed shortened stump. Many of the larger Slow worms I find in the wild have shortened tails, which shows they have had to use such a defense to avoid a predator in the wild. I prefer not to photography such poor specimens, maybe just a close up of the head.
When filming them close up its always there friendly-looking eyes that fascinate me, they even have eyelids. They hibernate during the winter in tree roots, leaves, compost heaps, from October to February/March. Slow worms are very long-lived and a lovely animal, now protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Andy Newman© 19/06/10