E.J.Wilkins

10 Sep 2010 661 views
 
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photoblog image Can I eat it?

Can I eat it?

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis).

These little snake-like creatures are quite rare in Britain, so are protected "... from being 'sold or killed or injured ..." under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countrysude Act 1981 (as amended) 

 

This picture was taken in our garden. It was pure luck, pure chance - and very much a, "Quick, get the camera and take a photograph before it vanishes," minute or two

 

I had no idea 'some-sort-of-tiny-fly' was also in the picture until I transferred it to the computer.

 

Slow Worms look like snakes but are actually lizards. Their skeleton includes leg bones etc, but they're inside the skin. The animals have no visible limbs.

 

If you can manage to pick up a Slow Worm they wriggle like mad and try to wrap themselves round your fingers. If they're caught by, say, a crow, which tries to carry them by the tail they can safely shed the end with no ill effects - but the tail never regrows the pointy bit. That's how they get the Latin name - Anguis fragilis means "Fragile Snake".

 

We most often find them in the compost heap or, occasionally, tucked behind a flower pot. The largest Slow Worm I've seen in our garden was about a foot long and perhaps half an inch across. The 'across' bit probably sounds a bit odd unless you've seen one - their markings seem to make them look a bit like an extended cube rather than rounded like a more traditional reptile.

 

Slow Worms are not poisonous, so are harmless to us huge humans, but they're much less friendly if you happen to be a worm, slug, snail, beetle or, maybe, as this picture suggests, a fly.

 

(P.S. On this page you can see a Slow Worm's teeth. Yes, really. There are also pictures which give you an idea of how small they are.)

.

Can I eat it?

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis).

These little snake-like creatures are quite rare in Britain, so are protected "... from being 'sold or killed or injured ..." under Schedule 5 of the Wildlife and Countrysude Act 1981 (as amended) 

 

This picture was taken in our garden. It was pure luck, pure chance - and very much a, "Quick, get the camera and take a photograph before it vanishes," minute or two

 

I had no idea 'some-sort-of-tiny-fly' was also in the picture until I transferred it to the computer.

 

Slow Worms look like snakes but are actually lizards. Their skeleton includes leg bones etc, but they're inside the skin. The animals have no visible limbs.

 

If you can manage to pick up a Slow Worm they wriggle like mad and try to wrap themselves round your fingers. If they're caught by, say, a crow, which tries to carry them by the tail they can safely shed the end with no ill effects - but the tail never regrows the pointy bit. That's how they get the Latin name - Anguis fragilis means "Fragile Snake".

 

We most often find them in the compost heap or, occasionally, tucked behind a flower pot. The largest Slow Worm I've seen in our garden was about a foot long and perhaps half an inch across. The 'across' bit probably sounds a bit odd unless you've seen one - their markings seem to make them look a bit like an extended cube rather than rounded like a more traditional reptile.

 

Slow Worms are not poisonous, so are harmless to us huge humans, but they're much less friendly if you happen to be a worm, slug, snail, beetle or, maybe, as this picture suggests, a fly.

 

(P.S. On this page you can see a Slow Worm's teeth. Yes, really. There are also pictures which give you an idea of how small they are.)

.

comments (26)

  • vintage
  • Brisbane Australia
  • 10 Sep 2010, 02:43
Great capture of nature
EJWilkins: Thanks, I was really pleased with this picture
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 10 Sep 2010, 02:46
Brilliant capture, Ellie...the Fly is in mortal danger.
EJWilkins: I think it might have been, but will never know what actually happened
  • Chris
  • England
  • 10 Sep 2010, 07:06
I love this image Ellie - it's actually looking at the fly!
EJWilkins: It is, isn't it! Do slow worms actually eat flies, or was it merely interested ...
  • zed
  • Australia
  • 10 Sep 2010, 07:16
Great link, those teeth are really ferocious
EJWilkins: They are aren't they. Who'd have thought such weapons were hidden beneath this benign 'smile'.
I don't know how you do it Ellie. This is marvellous.
EJWilkins: It really was just a lucky chance Chad, nothing more. I was delighted though, as I'm sure you can imagine
Oh wow, Ellie! You did so well to get this great image out of what I am sure was just a fleeting moment. Full credit to you. Really interesting text and link as well. (:o)
EJWilkins: It really was pure luck Roz, pure and happy luck. Pleased you liked the link too.
Marvellous photo Ellie, just look at that eye fixed on the fly.
Thanks for the web link - what an interesting site.
EJWilkins: The site I linked was another lucky find, I'm glad I linked it, there's so much interesting stuff to read on it.
Woh, will this little one stay alive
EJWilkins: I don't know Chantal, and I didn't know slow worms might be interested in eating flies.
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 10 Sep 2010, 08:06
It's really an impressive POV, Ellie. You can see it's almost surprised at seeing the fly and wonders what to do. Amazing eye-level shot.
EJWilkins: Damp knees from me Ginnie, I was at indeed at eye level with the little creature. Didn't seem to bother it though, it just carried on doing whatever it had intended to do and swiftly disappeared.
This is brilliant Ellie.
EJWilkins: Thanks Bill
That's a fantastic shot, Ellie - you should get it into a natural history photography competition!
EJWilkins: I wouldn't know how to Tom, but thanks a million for the compliment
Wow Ellie, what an amazing capture!!! I wish I had your luck!! I was staring at the picture and actually expecting a sticky split tongue coming out any second, to grab the fly.

The story is fascinating too, I never knew they even existed!! Thanks for the information!!
EJWilkins: They do indeed exist, and are alive and well in our garden, where they enjoy eating all sorts of little creature that they capture with their remarkably sharp teeth. They're members of the lizard family, not snakes although they appear to be remarkably similar. I presume they 'smell' through nostrils.
This is excellent Ellie. A likey for me!
EJWilkins: Oooh, thanks Richard.
  • Tracy
  • England
  • 10 Sep 2010, 15:57
Wow what a great shot Ellie
EJWilkins: I was very pleased with it Tracy
What a smashing shot Ellie, very well done indeed.
EJWilkins: Thank you
  • Fabrice
  • France
  • 10 Sep 2010, 19:19
Again, a nice instant!
EJWilkins: It was a nice moment
One crossed our path the other day on our coastal walk, I have not seen one in years, good shot smile
EJWilkins: We know they're in our garden, but we rarely see them. It's a treat when we do. Lucky you to have seen one on your walk
Best picture I've seen in a while.
EJWilkins: That's a heck of a compliment, thanks
A great capture Ellie, good timing indeed.
EJWilkins: Very fortunate timing, I was lucky
  • Brian
  • Australia
  • 11 Sep 2010, 12:06
In a word - Yes

well caught
EJWilkins: I have no idea if the fly escaped!
I second Tom Wilson's suggestion, Ellie. This is award-winning material.
EJWilkins: It'd be wonderful, but I wouldn't know how to enter a competition!
I wonder what this little snake has on its mind,yum yum I think,nice capture.
EJWilkins: That's what it seems to be thinking.
Beautiful! Ellie
EJWilkins: Thanks smile
I'm catching up and really enjoyed this liast weeks postings of natural history Ellie, this is excellent.
EJWilkins: Delighted you think so Brian, thanks smile
  • Alan
  • Vancouver Airport
  • 15 Sep 2010, 22:24
Superbly seen, Ellie! I love the look in the eye of the slow worm. Your title sums this up perfectly.
EJWilkins: It really was pure luck Alan, right place at the right time. I'll never know if it did eat the fly!
I understand the dificult to take at 250mm of focal length, but i think you could get some closer for a better focus (i realy dont know) and dont understand the origin of that strong digital noise sad, have you some software to fix it?
EJWilkins: Yes, I take your points and agree with them.

However, this creature wasn't sitting still and this is almost full crop. I don't mind the noise in the background, although I know it bothers some people who prefer the whole picture to be crisp. I do have software that could fix it, but ... well, if I ever get the chance to take another picture like this it might turn out differently.

Thanks for the constructive critique smile

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