The Balkan Slow Worm (Pseudopus apodus) is a reptile. It is not a worm and it is not a snake. It is a legless lizard. It is also known as the Pallas’s Glass Lizard, the European Glass Lizard, the Sheltopusik, or the Giant Russian Legless Lizard.
The Balkan Slow Worm is brown with a yellow-beige belly. It has a segmented appearance that makes it look like a giant earthworm or a snake. It has a lateral groove along each side of its body. It has small (almost invisible), undeveloped rear legs. It is not a snake because it has eyelids (snakes do not have eyelids). It has a long tail. If the tail is lost, it grows back slowly, and is shorter and darker than its original tail.
It grows to 91-122 centimetres (36-48 inches) in length. Its tail makes up half its body length.
The Balkan Slow Worm is native to the Balkan Peninsula, southern Europe, Turkey, Syria, the Caucasus region, and central Asia. It prefers open, dry, rocky regions. It likes to hide in crevices between rocks.
It can climb branches of trees.
It feeds on insects, such as grasshoppers, crickets, worms, slugs, snails, and flies. It sometimes eats mice.
The female lays about 8 eggs, which she hides under bark or stones. The young hatch after 45-55 days. The young are about 15 centimetres (6 inches) long at birth. They usually start to eat after four days.
It lives for 20-50 years.
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM