Image credit: Friends of Foots Cray Meadows
Slow worms and common lizards
Slow worm (left) and common lizard (right). Credit: Pixabay
Slow worms are legless lizards which are often mistaken for snakes, but they have eyelids, a flat forked tongue. They vary in colour from brick red to gold, grey and brown and reach a length of around 50cm.
These are likely to be present in areas with suitable vegetation, such as margins of scrub and hedgerows, rough grassland and areas of undisturbed vegetation and on many sites along the banks of the River Cray.
Slow worms are carnivorous and feed mostly small slugs, worms, snails and grubs. They pose no threat to humans. If threatened, they can drop their tail and will slither off unharmed.
Common lizards thrive in rough grassland and heathland sites. These areas protect them from predators, like crows, foxes and herons. They thrive along the River Cray, more frequently seen at Hall Place and Crayford Marshes.
They can be varied in colour, from brown, green or black. Females often striped and males spotty. They grow to a maximum size of 20cm, most of its size is its long tail.
These lizards eat a huge range of insect species, pretty much anything that is small enough to fit in their tiny mouths, including crickets, woodlice, worms, caterpillars, moths, flies and spiders.
Grass snake. Credit: Friends of Foots Cray Meadows
Grass snakes are the largest indigenous reptile in the UK, typically males reach 100cm and females 130cm in length. The dorsal surface and flanks are olive green/green with distinct bars.
The most distinctive feature of the grass snake are the black/cream/white crescent shaped collar and its long slender appearance.
We have quite a few grass snakes on the Meadows which are quite harmless and are more likely to avoid any contact with human beings.