This month we’re talking about one of our native reptile species. Adults are usually 60-80cm in length and have a stocky body. Females are generally a light brown with dark brown markings, whilst males are generally grey with black markings. This species has a zigzag pattern down the centre of the back and a ‘V’ or ‘X’ shaped marking on their head. Have you guessed what it is yet? Yes, it is the Adder!
This fascinating species is the UK’s only venomous snake, and they are found throughout the UK, even in the far north of Scotland – although they are not found in Ireland. You might struggle to spot Adders due to their camouflaged markings; they can certainly go unnoticed.
Adders emerge from hibernation in March/April and then mating will take place in April/May. The male Adder is territorial and to compete for females, males will often ‘dance’ a duel!
In March as they emerge, they will be hungry so have to start hunting for food. Adders are mostly active in the day, and this is when hunting takes place. They will hunt small mammals, amphibians, insects and even birds. The Adder will kill its prey with its venomous bite and then swallow the prey whole!