RAUK - Archived Forum - Captive slow-worm

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Captive slow-worm:

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Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416

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Posted: 23 Apr 2003

I seem to recall reading somewhere that a slow-worm was once kept in captivity for over 50 years. Has anyone else read/heard this , or was it some crazy dream?


O-> O+>
Gemma Fairchild
Krag Committee
Joined: 14 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 193

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Posted: 24 Apr 2003

"Longevity. In the length of its life the Slow-worm exceeds all other lizards that are known of. There are instances of Slow-worms living for 27, 30, 32 and 33 years; but the record is easily held by one that lived in the Zoological Museum, Copenhagen , from 1892 until 1946 - 54 years. It is not known how old it was when first obtained. At the age of 45 it mated with a female known to be at least 20 years old"


Malcolm Smith, The British Amphibians and Reptiles, New Naturalist 1951


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Forum Coordinator
Joined: 17 Feb 2003
No. of posts: 448

View other posts by Caleb
Posted: 24 Apr 2003

Gemma beat me to it...

but I'll just add that there's a database of herp captive longevity (mostly from zoos) at


Alan Hyde
Senior Member
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
No. of posts: 1416

View other posts by Alan Hyde
Posted: 24 Apr 2003

Thanks Gemma , Caleb.

What amazing little creatures

Glad to hear it wasn't one of my dreams


O-> O+>
Tony Phelps
Forum Specialist
Joined: 09 Mar 2003
No. of posts: 575

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Posted: 24 Apr 2003

Just to say,

one large male slow worm has been caught more or less under the same tin for 15yrs he is very blue spotted, it is one of the ID pics in the forum. I have also seen him eating young slow worms - little devil!

Regarding longevity  male smooth snake    31yrs still alive

female adder 34yrs still alive, gave birth last year 69cm (female not the young)



Joined: 28 Aug 2003
No. of posts: 3

View other posts by betty
Posted: 28 Aug 2003
The report of the over 50 year old individual was published in Deryk Frazer's Reptiles and Amphibians in Britain, New Naturalist series, 1983. I thought I found that published in the British Herp Journal, but can't find the reference.
Dr. Renata Platenberg
Reptile ecologist
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
No. of posts: 2090

View other posts by GemmaJF
Posted: 09 Sep 2003

Frazer only appears to state "in captivity, a life of 30 - 50 years is almost commonplace" surely in recognition of Smiths original account, though I only have the '89 reprint as reference.

Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
ben rigsby
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Apr 2010
No. of posts: 337

View other posts by ben rigsby
Posted: 30 Apr 2010
comparatively-speaking i wont live as long as Mr A Fragilis Snr if i dont give up smoking.

- Captive slow-worm

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