I love reptiles in general but the adder holds a special place. Yes, they’re incredibly beautiful with their zig zag patterns and the male’s silver appearance post-shed. Their red eyes contrasting against the browns and greys of their skin. Maybe it’s the danger element too, the fact that you’re so close to Britain’s only venomous snake. That kick of adrenalin when you realise there’s an adder where you thought there could be one.
Whatever it is, they’re awesome. Yet they still get a bad wrap from many who see them as a huge threat to their safety or a great story for their struggling newspaper. They are a protected species but this doesn’t stop countless “people” killing adders, and other snakes that they think are adders.
Adders are a smallish viper. Yes, they have a nasty bite but nothing a trip to the hospital won’t sort out. And that’s only if you’re unlucky enough to get bitten. Bites are still rare, and bites where they actually deploy venom even rarer. Dogs get bitten each year and some die but given the number of irresponsible dog owners that let their dogs off lead despite warning signs, it’s no wonder.
I live in Essex and am lucky enough to have a few reptile hotspots around me. From Fingringhoe Wick to Danbury, from Canvey Island to Mersea Island, adders love the heath commons and coastal marshes that the county harbours.
Below are photos from 2019 including a wonderful visit to Fingringhoe Wick where we managed to observe a mating pair. Quite the sight as the male was dragged off backwards still attached to the female. She’d clearly had enough.
Respect them and they will respect you. Plus remember, it’s not them invading our space, but the the other way around.