A slow worm, which is not slow, found in our grass compost. We put corrugated sheets of iron over our grass heaps. On hot days, the cry will go up, “I’m going to check for snakes”, and the children will rush from every corner to be there. Then we lift the sheets.
If we’re lucky, we’ll see grass snakes or slow worms. Sometimes both. Either adults or babies, enjoying the warmth of the metal sheet.
Most slither away quickly. Always we cover up again, after our curiosity is satisfied, to reduce disturbing them. Very occasionally we pick them up. The grass snakes give off a foul smell. The slow worms play dead, then curl themselves around our hands.
(The slow worms are not snakes. They are legless lizards and eat our slugs, among other things.)
We love seeing them. They may not be cuddly or everyone’s cup of tea, but they are part of the picture that makes our garden and surrounding area. It’s a sign of a healthy food chain. It shows the diversity in our garden and they are welcome.