We’ve all come across some snakes in our lifetime, but have you ever seen an Adder?
After recently coming across a small (sadly dead) Adder whilst walking our dogs, we thought we would talk about Adders, how to identify them and what to do if you suspect your dog has been bitten by one.
The one we saw was about 5 inches long, silvery grey and had a black zig zag pattern all over its body. It was only after doing a bit of research that we realised exactly what it was and what we needed to be wary of during Adder season. You know how we like to share these things so here are some facts you should know if you walk your best friend during this time.
The adder is a naturally timid and non-aggressive snake by all accounts, but as dogs are very curious by nature (especially when they are still in the puppy phase), it’s no surprise that most adder bites occur to the dogs’ face or front legs.
They tend to hibernate over the winter, emerge in early spring and mate in late April/early may when the temperature increases. They then give birth to their babies in late August/early September, ready to complete the cycle again! The most common time for bites is between April and July, usually late afternoon when the snakes are at their most active.
If you think your dog may have been bitten by an adder, firstly, DON’T panic. It can be easily treated if done so quickly. Most importantly, if you are out on a walk with your dog, its best to make a tourniquet from something to slow down the venom. If you can, carry your dog home/to the car. However, if you can’t carry them, walk slowly and quietly back to your vehicle or home and promptly call the vets. Its best to call ahead so that they can ensure the right people are present and anti-venom drugs ready to go.
Colour: Males can vary from pale silver grey to dark brown. Females can be olive green, yellow or ruddy brown. However, whatever the variation in colour, there is no mistaking them by their dorsal zig-zag pattern and either a V or X shape on their heads.
Where can it be found: South and South West of England, Western Wales and Scotland.
Preferred Habitats: Sand dunes, heathland, rocky hillsides, moorland and woodland edges.
Signs of a bite: The most common signs are significant swelling local to the bite, with systemic signs of depression and lethargy
What to do: Reduce dogs movement and seek veterinary treatment immediately
Prognosis: 96-97% make a full recovery, usually within five days
Adder bites are still very rare so there is no real need to worry too much, just be vigilant.
For a map of reported adder sightings, click this link: https://data.nbn.org.uk/