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Garden slow worms

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Caleb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2017 at 9:11am
Adult slow-worms will apparently eat juveniles, so that may have some effect on population size and/or density.

Presumably this is fairly rare, given how often adults and juveniles are found together.
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GemmaJF View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Oct 2017 at 11:35am
I've often wondered if this is true of a lot of herp species Caleb? Seems in many cases feeding reactions are triggered by movement/smell then a decision that the prey item will actually fit in their mouths. So with juveniles being of the right size, I wonder if it happens more often in general.

I once was asked to clear a courtyard of common frogs. (School that for health and safety reasons had filled in a pond). Though there were an awful lot of frogs there were no juveniles. We concluded they were probably the main food source for the larger frogs. 

Not sure if there is any studies into particular herp species preying on conspecific juveniles. Tony mentioned a 'rogue' male slow worm he knew of that he often saw with juveniles hanging out of its mouth though, so it seems that one got a 'taste' for conspecific juveniles. Though I think the general situation might be one where juveniles would become prey items in the absence of plentiful invert prey perhaps?
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Caleb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 9:15am
Yes, I think it probably applies to all the UK herps to some extent. 

Charles Snell wrote a piece in the 1980s called 'How not to get rid of newts' (or something similar) where he described how the population of juvenile newts in his garden exploded after he gave away hundreds of adults. He thought it was mostly due to predation of newt larvae by adults, rather than competition for food.
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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Oct 2017 at 2:45pm
I guess predating a number of your own young is a pretty good strategy, they do all the hard work of hunting for food and growing, thereby storing all the nutrients you need, and then you eat the odd one to feed yourself, as long as at least 2 survive to breed out of the many you create there are no problems.

How soon before a politician realises this and suggests humans do the same? Soylent Green anyone?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 2 hours 42 minutes ago at 6:30pm
Originally posted by Suzi Suzi wrote:

Don't know if anyone is interested in seeing my slow worms in a sort of late season round up. Today was ideal for photographing them as it was dull and not hot. 
Sorry posted one site twice (not exact image though) and can't delete the image. You get the idea...lots!
















Very impressive and great to see the inhabitants Suzy!

Here's my compost heap.



As you can see it's rather large and sprawling and covered with an old rubber pond liner which is kept in place by strategically placed stones.
I regularly add my neighbour's grass clippings, plus any uneaten fruit/veg (which the brandling worms love) and it sits on top of a low bank. At the base is a layer of wood/stones, where, like you, i suspect the slow worms (and possibly other herps) hibernate.
Couple of hurriedly-taken recent shots....





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