Order: Squamata suborder: Serpentes
Size: Average male is 21 inches (53.34cm), female: 24 inches (60.96cm)
Adders have flat heads, broadening behind its eyes so the head appears
Colouring: can vary. Females and males can be distinguished by the
different genders being different colours.
Britain Adders hibernate according to the weather usually between
October and March. Unlike many other snakes Adders do not burrow,
rather they avail themselves of crevices, holes and caves to retire
to when hibernating.
Food: lizards, mice, voles and shrews are the main items on
a hungry Adder's menu. Young Adder's shall graduate to these foods
having had an initial diet of insects and worms.
hunt by scent, tracking their prey then striking their larger victims
with a poisonous bite which may take a few minutes to have its deadly
effect. In some cases the victim will travel on while the poison
takes effect. In such cases the Adder waits before following to
eat the now deceased animal.
is only one snake native to Scotland, Vipera berus of the
common adder or viper. Adders hibernate underground. If you think
about it, this is reasonable as they must get deep enough to be
cool but not frozen solid. To conserve heat they often congregate
in mass balls of up to 40 snakes coiled together.
they move out of the way on the approach of a heavy footed '
predator ', but quickly moving dogs might not be sufficient.
Hence dogs may be bitten by adders taken unawares. We are afraid
we can't suggest any means to avoid this other than detour round
areas where you know adders frequent.
being a bit warmer, has a few more snake species, but the adder
thrives this far north because it gives birth to live young rather
than laying eggs. This is because Adders are ovoviparous
, where the eggs remain inside the mother's body until ready to
hatch. Hatching takes place inside the mother, hence the live young.
These youngsters, though they may often stay with their mother,
are capable of independence.
surprise! Man is one of the Adder's major enemy with his predilection
to kill them on sight, and destry their habitat through continued
urbanisation. Hedgehogs capable of withstanding high dosages of
poison are also a great threat to Adders, biting the snake, curling
up so the snake is faced with a wall of spikes, biting, curling,
biting until the snake is dead and can be eaten.