Amorous adders are about!
In my second reptile species blog I want to introduce my favourite snake, the adder. With its vivid zig-zag stripe and beautiful ruby-red eyes, I always have my eyes peeled, hoping for a glimpse of this charismatic reptile. At this time of year they emerge from their hibernacula, with males waking up a couple of weeks early, ready for when the females arrive. When the weather warms up you may even be lucky enough to witness males wrestling with each other for the best territories (never exchanging bites!).
Let’s not beat around the gorse bush, adders have been given a bad reputation over the years, leading to persecution in many areas. In reality adder bites are rare, and most cases occur when they are deliberately disturbed or picked up. Brilliant adder advice can be found on the ARC Trust website, but keeping yourself and your pets on well-used paths and out of the heather in the spring and summer will greatly reduce risks of accidental interactions, as well as helping ground-nesting birds! We will be holding adder themed pitstops in the next couple of months with Heathland Hounds, so keep an eye out for those and please do come along if you have any questions or concerns!
As I said in my introductory reptile blog, according to recent research, many populations of adders are at risk of local extinction, and could disappear from many areas in as little as 10-20 years. We only have 3 native snake species here in the UK, what a tragedy it would be to lose a creature that has had such a historical and cultural significance across our countryside. Remember, if you are lucky enough to see one, please consider recording it. Be a citizen scientist!