Hey, Little Slow-Worm!

Ruddington is quite fortunate to have a number of places where slightly more unusual wildlife can be found – with volunteers such as those from The South Notts Local Group of the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust helping it to survive and thrive.

Since 2008 there has been a smattering of grass snake records from around our village at Rushcliffe Country Park, Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve and Ruddington Grange Golf Course.  Grass snakes are Britain’s largest (and non venomous) reptile – not to be confused with the adder, which reportedly (and unusually) did give someone a nasty bite at our Country Park last summer.

Wilwell Farm Cutting Nature Reserve

Gordon Dyne – Reserve Warden at Wilwell Cutting Nature Reserve – told us: “This year there has been an organised survey on the nature reserve to see if grass snakes are resident. But, whilst there have been no grass snake sightings so far, what was actually found is a previously unknown population of slow-worms {a legless lizard – top photo by Tim Williams}. So far the tally is at least severn different adult and three juvenile lizards (including one 40-45 cms in length, suggesting an established population on the reserve. Slow-worms can grow to 40-50 cms in length, live 20-25 years and have the useful trick of being able to discard their tail to confuse predators (but can regrow a fresh stump)!”

The group is also interested in building up a picture of the wider distribution pattern around Ruddington. So, if you see any grass snakes or slow-worms, they would love to hear about them. “Grass snakes, for instance, will visit garden ponds to hunt for frogs and both grass snakes and slowworms will lay their eggs in compost heaps. In addition we would be delighted to receive records about frogs, toads, smooth newts or great crested newts (or their young) seen in the area” says Gordon. “A record should consist of a date (day or month), species, number and location (Post Code or Map Ref if possible) to gordon.dyne@gmail.com.”

For information on identifying species in Ruddington’s Reptile Community you can take a look at: http://www.southnottswildlife.org.uk/content/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/ARC-reptile-ID-Guide.pdf.  If still in doubt, you’re asked to send a photo.


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