The Slowworm is a legless lizard native to Eurasia. The skin of Slowworms is golden-grey in color; it is smooth with scales that do not overlap one another. Females often have a stripe along the spine and dark sides, while males may have blue spots dorsally. Juveniles of both sexes are gold in color with dark brown bellies and sides with a dark stripe along the spine. Although these lizards are often mistaken for snakes, a number of features differentiate them. The most important one is that they have small eyes with eyelids that, like other lizards, blink. Unlike snakes, they may also have visible ears. They shed their skin in patches, whereas most snakes shed their skins whole. Slowworms may also shed their tails (autotomy) as a defense mechanism, by breaking one of their tail vertebrae in half.
Slowworms are found throughout much of Europe and in parts of Central and Western Asia. They live in grassland, shrubland, woodland, heathland, at the forest edge and rural gardens.
Slowworms are semifossorial (burrowing) lizards. They are mostly active during the twilight and occasionally bask in the sun, but are more often found hiding beneath rocks and logs. Slowworms hibernate during the winter, usually from October to early March. They hibernate underground, either alone or sometimes communally with other slowworms.
Slowworms are polygynandrous (promiscuous) creatures which means that both males and females have multiple partners in a single breeding season. Their mating season takes place in March-May when slowworms emerge from hibernation. They are ovoviviparous and females give birth to 3-20 live young. The gestation period lasts around 3-5 months. In the days leading up to birth, the female can often be seen basking in the sun on a warm road.
Slowworms are threatened by the loss of habitat. They are also killed on roads and suffer from predation by the domestic cat, against which they have no defense.
According to IUCN, the Slowworm is locally common and widespread throughout its range but no overall population estimate is available. Currently, this species is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List and its numbers today are stable.
Due to their diet habits, Slowworms are important predators of invertebrates in the soil and help remove pest insects. They are also a prey species for local predators such as snakes and birds of prey.