Adder — Adder Poisonous snake of the viper family. In Great Britain the only venomous snake is the adder. Adult can usually recover from the effects of its bite. In Africa are found the related puff and night adder. The names puff adder and spreading adder are sometimes applied to the harmless hog-nosed snake of North America .
The death adder of Australia and the Krait of India, which is often called the Blue adder, are related to the Cobra.
Males typically have a grey, creamy white or steely grey background colour. Females range from browns and yellows to brick red. Females are larger than Males.
Males appear from hibernation in early spring, the females follow approximately a month later. Mating occurs in the later part of April and the first half of May. Males are territorial at this time and may occasionally be seen to duel or “dance” as a show of strength. Adders do not lay eggs, but give birth in late summer to approximately 8 live young that measure 15 – 20 cm. The young are contained in a membrane that breaks immediately after they are born. Adders usually only reproduce every other year in the UK.
The venom is rarely fatal, the bite should however be taken seriously, and one should seek prompt medical attention if bitten by an Adder. Symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting and painful swelling and loss of mobility of the affected limb are not uncommon within hours of the bite. Do not attempt any form of first aid either on yourself or a victim of an Adder bite. The only helpful action is to immobilise affected limbs if possible and keep the victim calm and reassured, whilst medical attention is sort.
Adder bites are sometimes though rarely fatal to pets. Recent evidence suggests that the snakes venom is more potent during March/April after the animals leave hibernation, so extra caution should be taken when walking dogs at this time. Wear suitable footwear, keep dogs on leads and take care when sitting down in areas where Adders are known to occur.
The Adder is not a common garden visitor, though occasionally if conditions suit them they will take up residence.