Anguis fragilis (Slow-worm)
With a long elongated body and no limbs the slow-worm is often mistaken for a snake, however, it is a lizard.
The males are uniform grey or brown in colour, whilst the females usually have a dark stripe down the back and dark sides to the body.
It is the only terrestrial reptile recorded in the islands.
Emerging from hibernation in March, slow-worms may be seen to bask in the early morning and evening sun, as the animals come into condition for breeding, which occurs in May.
The young take 4 - 5 months to develop, being produced in late August to early September. Slow-worms are ovi-viviparous, i.e. the young are born in an egg membrane that breaks soon after birth.
An average of 8 small (70 and 100 mm) young are produced.
Bern Convention Appendix 3
Scottish Biodiversity List of species of principal importance for biodiversity conservation
Males and Females show a marked difference in colour when fully grown.
Females very often have a dark vertebral (back) stripe, the flanks are flecked or striped with dark brown or black, the ventral surface is nearly always uniform black.
Adult males are more uniform in colour dorsally and on the flanks, the belly is usually mottled black or dark grey, they also have proportionally larger heads. Occasionally males have very distinct blue spots.The upper parts of the body vary from light or dark brown, grey, bronze or brick red. Length: 40 - 45cm.
The young of both sexes are a pale golden-brown or greyish silver above, the sides and belly are pitch black. A small spot or blotch on the head leads to a continuous black stripe down the entire length of the back. It is usually only the males that loose this stripe marking as they reach sexual maturity at around 3 years.