First adders of the year

Flanders Moss NNR


It was a glorious day at Flanders today. And the warmth when out of the cold wind brought out the adders, the first I have seen this year. They are amazing creatures having spent the winter in hibernation, buried beneath the peat close to the water table, dormant but able to detect small changes in temperature and come out when it is warm. Well worth keeping your eyes open for them as you visit the reserve over the next couple of months.


For me there is always real pleasure in finding the first adder. Not only is it a sign that winter is fading but also they are one of those creatures that just give a bit of fizz to your day.

I found 5 adders today and from the pictures below you can see some different aspects of their life.

This one was still a bit grubby from being underground for the winter with dirt stuck on the top of its head.


They are very adept at positioning themselves to regulate their temperature. This one had propped itself up on the vegetation to angle its body so it could catch the maximum amount of warmth from the sun.


This one below must have been out for longer as it had already warmed up and was now using the dappled sunlight to regulate its temperature. If it was too hot it moved to get more shadow, if it got cold it would move to get more sun.


The one below looked really tatty. It was so grubby that you can hardly see its pattern and is likely to be shedding this tatty old skin soon. Not long after coming out of hibernation they will slough their skin and will look a lot smarter.  P1050541

This one was also not looking its best, the pattern is faded with a dusty look to it. P1050543

We are trying to locate as many adder hibernaculum (places where they hibernate) on Flanders Moss so we can safeguard the sites so expect to see lots more pictures of adders as we go through the season!

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2 Responses to First adders of the year

  1. Jeanette Hall says:

    Lovely photos Dave – looks like it might be a while before Cat at Muir of Dinnet has anything to compare!


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