Despite looking like snakes, slow worms are actually limbless lizards. The skin of the varieties of slow worm is smooth with scales that do not overlap one another. Like all other lizards, slow worms autotomize, i.e. they have the ability to shed their tails in order to escape predators. The tail regrows, but seldom to its former length.
These reptiles are active during the day and like to bask in the sun. They are carnivorous and, because they feed on slugs and worms, they often can be found in long grass.
The females give birth to live young (viviparous birth). In the days leading up to birth the female can often be seen basking in the sun on a warm road.
These lizards are often mistaken for snakes, however there are a number of distinguishing features that differentiate them from snakes. The most important is they have small eyes with eyelids that blink. This is a feature that is not found in snakes. They also have notched tongue rather than a forked tongue, which is a common feature of a snake. They shed their skin in patches like other lizards, rather than the whole skin as most snakes do.
Adult Slow Worms grow to be about 50cm long and are known for their exceptionally long life. It has been said that a slow worm is the longest living lizard. The female often has a stripe along the back and the male may have blue spots.