Slow worms are widespread throughout the Chilterns. Yet despite being our most common lizard, they are hard to track down.
Most of the time they live out of site in underground burrows or under rocks and logs, emerging to prey on slugs and worms. The best time to see them is between March and October warming themselves in early morning sunshine perhaps on an anthill or nestled amongst tussocky grass.
Slow worms are incredibly well camouflaged. They blend in so well with the earth, twigs, bracken dry leaves and grass that it’s really only when they are out basking that you have a chance of seeing them. On the plus side they are, as the name suggests, rather slow at first before they are disturbed and quickly wriggle off or ‘worm’ their way underground.
Like all native reptiles its numbers have been in decline and the Chiltern area is no exception. Whilst it can be found in gardens, if you want to see a slow worm in the Chilterns the best bet is to try the local nature reserves first, especially those with chalk grasslands and woodland rides.