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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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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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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: 18 Oct 2017 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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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Oct 2017 at 10:40pm
Thanks Ben!
Wow your compost heap looks like two of mine, covered in black and weighted with stones. Slowies certainly like lying under the cover. I need to improve my cover for next year as I discovered this season it wasn't too easy removing it quickly to take photos. I get occasional newts, toads and frogs there too, do you?
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2017 at 10:45am
Yes, in many instances you have to be very quick! For that reason, i normally have the camera on ready and slightly zoomed if i intend taking any pics. Your first pic is perfect.
I sometimes get frogs under the cover if it's cooler, but can't think of an occasion when i've seen slowies and frogs there simultaneously.
Although i sometimes find slow worms elsewhere in the garden (esp juveniles), i get the feeling that many of them don't leave the compost heap much as they're seen so regularly. They can find food, shelter, heat and the opposite sex there of course.
I only put grass clippings (mostly other people's as i cut mine just a couple of times a year and keep a relatively high sward), other garden/hedge trimmings, excess aquatic plants from time to time, and occasional uneaten fruit and veg to attract the brandling worms.
No bread, meat or other kitchen waste as it might increase the risk of attracting rats.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Oct 2017 at 10:37pm
Yes Ben I always have the camera ready to just press the shutter! The compost heaps with their large plastic covers are more difficult to uncover than the Coroline sheets which I can do with the hand that isn't holding the camera. I could get help, but find it is even more difficult with someone else possibly getting in the way or not being quick enough.
Yes I think the slowies in the heaps possibly spend most of their time in there.
My compost heaps comprise lawn mowings and green weeds and autumn leaves. Food scraps, mainly skins/leaves of fruit/veg are only put in the daleks, which have huge numbers of brandlings in. The compost heaps have various worms, but not many brandlings. I have had odd rat visitations but rare and not long lasting. We don't put animal products  in any type of composter heap.
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Oct 2017 at 6:01pm
The rat thing was a problem for us, definitely taking out any cooked veg, bread, meat was the cure. We put our rotting fruit and veg in a plastic dalek, too, with grass cuttings and some cardboard. Main heap is hedge clippings, some grass cuttings, weeds we clear, most years I add some well rotted horse poop, so nothing that smells too foody that might attract rats in the open heap.
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