RAUK - Archived Forum - measuring slow worms

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measuring slow worms:

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G Bellamy
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Joined: 22 Mar 2010
No. of posts: 1


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Posted: 22 Mar 2010

Has anyone advice on methods used for measuring slow worms?

was thinking of employing clear plastic tube.

Graham


herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
No. of posts: 1369


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Posted: 22 Mar 2010
The way I have seen slowworms being measured was with Nick
Smith - he used a ruler and held the animal gripping the
head (along the neck) and then holding the animal lower
down near the cloaca - Cooling the animal would help as
warm animals will thrash about and probably would lose
their tails.

J
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
Suzi
Senior Member
Joined: 06 Apr 2005
No. of posts: 860


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Posted: 22 Mar 2010
What about holding a length of string along the slow worm. Not 100% accurate I guess but perhaps not very stressful.
Suz
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 29 Mar 2010
Thats the thing you need to stretch the animals to get an
accurate length measurement - without holding the animal
there would be an error of 1cm+

J
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
will
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 07 Apr 2010
In the field, you can 'tube' them in clear plastic, but I often use a ruler for scale, and 'measure at leisure' using digital photos and computer screen, by tracing thin wire along the midline of the dorsal surface.  It's less stressful to the animal, too.  This method gave a length of 460mm plus minus 10mm for the big male below:





herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 07 Apr 2010
Was that total length?

It maybe a little harder if you are measuring just snout
vent length - for quick measurements it is often easier
to place the animal along the ruler and take the
measurement off that to the best of your ability - use an
error margin of +/- 10mm - or if you are inclined to like
Nick did stretch the animals out (carefully of course) to
iron out the error to +/- 1-2mm.

Combined with weight it is a good measurement of health -
an index of health

I will be processing the slow-worms in my local
churchyard this year - though I may only do say 25 each
visit - it will take me a while with a density of 1200
per hectare lol!




Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
will
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Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 07 Apr 2010
total length Jon; his unbroken tail being well over half the length.  I haven't measured the svl precisely.  As you know it's remarkable for an old male to have an intact tail, making him so long overall.  Good luck with your churchyard population.
herpetologic2
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Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 12 Apr 2010
We had a large male in Surrey whose SVL was 256mm

A pretty large slowworm - probably the largest known one
for a long time according to Nick Smith

Can anyone beat that SVL?

Jon
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
ben rigsby
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Joined: 27 Apr 2010
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Posted: 06 Jun 2010
wow! great find. hes massive.

ben
Diversity.
armata
Forum Specialist
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 09 Jun 2010
The ones I found at Steep Holm in the Bristol Channel were larger; hav'nt got the details but they went to Nick Arnold at the NM.

If you are near the office; photocopy the slow worm/small snake then measure with string.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
herpetologic2
Senior Member
Joined: 15 Jun 2004
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Posted: 09 Jun 2010
Yep he wasn't as large as the slow-worms in Steep Holm -
though he was the biggest Nick Smith had ever seen

J
Vice Chair of ARG UK - self employed consultant -
visit ARG UK & Alresford Wildlife
David Bird
Forum Specialist
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 515


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Posted: 10 Jun 2010
This software may be useful for measuring snakes or Anguids from digital photos.

http://www.vipersgarden.at/
click on link dated 13.06.2009

or another at
http://www.serpwidgets.com/Apps/measure.html
British Herpetological Society Librarian and member of B.H.S Conservation Committee. Self employed Herpetological Consultant and Field Worker.
ben rigsby
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Apr 2010
No. of posts: 337


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Posted: 10 Jun 2010
id love to see a pic of a "steep holm anaconda".


Diversity.

- measuring slow worms

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