It is not just the human population of Britain that has been enjoying basking in the sun this year, walkers testify that there has been an increase in the sighting of British reptiles. Walkers and pet owners are being warned to be on the look out for snakes after two dogs suffered fatal adder bites.

Adder snake

Adders are the nations only venomous snake but are, by nature, shy and do not attack unless frightened or stepped on. To a healthy, adult human an adder bite is a painful experience but with hospital assistance should not be a lasting problem. Although one hundred bites are reported every year none has proved fatal since 1975. However pets are at much greater risk because of their size and the time it often takes owners to realise their pet has been bitten.

The most common reaction for a dog after being bitten by an adder is to become drowsy, the bitten area often blackens and the dog’s head may swell. Daisy-May, a Charles spaniel from Essex, and Shadow, a border collie cross who was being walked in a nature reserve near Maldon, were fatally bitten. The cases highlight the dangers of the increased serpent activity.

Adders are cold-blooded reptiles and bask on sunny footpaths to warm up, they are most commonly found in wooded areas and dog owners are recommended to keep pets on leads where possible. As for walkers…we are being told to wear heavy boots when walking, so keep the flip-flops for the beach and crack out the hunters for those long woodland walks.