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(Also known as blind worm, deaf-adder)

In the New Forest slow-worms are found throughout the damper and more heathy areas. They are also common in grasslands and gardens within villages, but are not often seen. In the UK they are found throughout lowland England, Scotland and Wales.

Unlike other British reptiles they do not bask in the sun, but share with amphibians a fondness for cool, damp places, such as open woods, damp heaths, rough grassland and meadows with hedges and scrub. They are also found in gardens, especially compost heaps, and their fondness for slugs and snails makes them the gardener’s friend. You are probably just as likely to see one in your garden as in the New Forest.

Slow-worms are thought to be the longest-lived of all lizards – the age of 54 years has been reliably recorded, although the normal lifespan is around 15 years.

ID Tip

ID Tip

They are 30-40cm long and have bronze, brown or grey shiny skin with a metallic appearance. They are not usually marked with any spots or stripes. Occasionally the males have blue spots and females have a black vertebral stripe and dark sides. Slow-worms are often mistaken for snakes but they are actually legless lizards. The easiest way to distinguish a slow-worm from a snake is to look for the presence of eyelids - they are absent on snakes.

Lead Ranger


'To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of August.'

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