This month I want to champion Reptiles, whose numbers are plummeting in the UK at a horrifying rate. Maybe this is because they are not fluffy and cute, but if you look a little closer and read a little deeper, you will see how amazingly beautiful they are. This month it is the turn of the Adder. Protected by the UK 1981 Wildlife Act, the Adder is the only venomous snake we have, although its bite is seldom fatal, it is very painful. Life other reptiles it is very shy and will only strike in defence, choosing to flee and hide rather than strike
We, in this country have nothing to fear as we walk in the countryside, no wolves, no lions, no bears, no venomous spiders or deadly cobras. I feel we have become complacent, so I champion our only poisonous snake, the Adder, which can teach us about our own vulnerability.
Take a look at the Adder, its scales are so radiant, so beautiful, it looks like a fine tapestry. It is so distinctive with a strong black zigzag down its back and a dark V or X shape on its head. It is short and dumpy unlike the grass snake, which is long and elegant. It feeds off lizards, frogs, fledglings and insects and prefers a moorland or light woodland habitat. It only breeds every two or three years and doesn’t lay eggs but gives birth to live young
I have only ever seen an Adder once, basking quietly in the morning sun, on a patch of brambles by a derelict warehouse, near Stroud. I recognised it at once and enjoyed observing it in its quiet, sun-bathed meditation, before I turned away quietly and left it. I won’t forget that moment
Photograph by Jamie Hall