Species profile

Name: the adder (Vipera berus) – also known as the common European adder or common European viper – is a venomous snake found throughout most of Western Europe and as far as East Asia.

Appearance: adders are easily recognised by their distinctive markings. Running down the length of their bodies and tails is a striking zig-zag pattern. While their heads are usually marked with a dark V or X shape. Female adders are a brown colour while males are typically grey.

Size: they grow to around 60 cm and weigh between 50 to 180 grams.

Diet: adders feed on small mammals, birds, lizards, and amphibians – and in some cases spiders, worms, and insects.

Did you know: adders are widely known in the UK as the only poisonous snake native to the area. While they are venomous they seldom bite humans unless provoked, stepped on, or picked up. Their bite can be extremely painful although is not life-threatening. Traditional cures for adder bites include deep-fried fat from other adders or a ‘bag of heads’. This folk remedy holds that a bag containing the heads of an adder, toad, and newt can cure the bite if dipped in water and held over the affected area!

Location: adders can be found in heathlands, grasslands, and open woodlands across Eurasia from the UK to North Korea and China.

Where to see Adders

According to reports submitted to WildSide, you can see adders in the following places:

Place Chance to see User rating No. reports
New Forest
very high
very good
very good

Photo credit: JamesCommon under a Creative Commons licence from Pixabay 

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