Wednesday, 30 April 2014


A stealthy presence on the lawn beside the moth trap - a slowworm which had been minding its own business in the long grass nearby when I came clumping along. It was either too startled, scared, tame or fearless of predators to slither off so I managed to get it to pose for some reasonable pictures.

Snakes' tongues are a source of fascination with their flickering V-shape which is one of the images of evil associated with them and less probable creatures like devils, along with fangs, a cobra-hood and the ability to coil and strike. The slowworm has none of the latter and is neither poisonous nor inclined to bite; but it does have a good tongue as you can see.

You sometimes read about people swallowing their tongue or having one so large or swollen that they cannot talk properly. Slowworms don't talk but if they did, such problems might affect them unduly.

With my keys, for scale. Not terrifyingly large

I find snakes interesting and used to collect them when I taught as a student in Zimbabwe. I even reached sufficient proficiency to skin puff adders to make interesting souvenirs for the folks back home. Do you know which country features a snake on its national flag?  Here it is, and you can read the snakey story behind it here.

Meanwhile, a quiet moth trap as the temperature falls, with a couple of Brimstones showing their hesitatnt habit of settling nearby, rather than entering the trap.


worm said...

don't want to be a horrible pedant but slow worms are lizards not snakes! Wonderful creatures

Banished To A Pompous Land said...

Terrific slow-worm photos Martin. I saw a couple when I lived in Gloucester but never when I had the camera to hand. Particularly like the tongue shot, which fat little organ is so much more typically lizard than snake as worm says.
Problem over here is that its so warm that lizards or snakes everything moves too fast most of the time for any decent pics. Plus of course there are several snakes that will quite happily bite you with little encouragement and severe consequences.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi both and thanks v much Worm. I'm very happy to be corrected by a fellow reptile. Or is a worm a reptile?

Banshee, their tongues are indeed amazingly fat. As for US snakes, I wouldn't dare go anywhere near one

All warm wishes as ever