EN: Slow worm, Blindworm
FR: Orvet fragile, Orvet commun
Although these limbless lizards are often mistaken for snakes, a number of features differentiate them from snakes. The most important one is that they have small eyes with eyelids that blink like lizards'; this feature is not found in snakes. They may also have visible ears as do lizards, which snakes do not have. They shed their skin in patches like other lizards, rather than the whole skin as most snakes do. Slow worms also shed tails (autotomy) by breaking one of their tail vertebrae in half, as a defence mechanism to escape predators, as lizards do. Also, the pattern of their ventral scales is totally different from that of snakes. These reptiles are mostly active during the twilight and occasionally bask in the sun, but are more often found hiding beneath rocks and logs. They are carnivorous and, because they feed on slugs and worms, they can often be found in long grass and other damp environments.
Image: Schilde (BE) - 27/08/2014
© Johan Dierckx
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