Sun’s out, snakes out

If you follow us on Instagram you will have seen that we are documenting our spring firsts – signs that winter is finally over. And today we had another one! Can you guess what it was..?

It was a beautiful sunny day at Flanders and the warmth from the sun brought out the first adder we have seen this year. They spend the winter hibernating amongst detritus and vegetation and emerge when it begins to get warmer. Male adders come out of hibernation before females so this individual is likely to be a wee dude! Males are grey with a black ‘zig-zag’ pattern and females chocolate brown with a dark brown pattern. This one was looking a bit scruffy as he hadn’t shed his old skin yet so it was hard to see his colouring.

It was angling itself up the south facing slope to catch as many rays as possible and even flattened its body out to maximise the amount of sun it was getting.

Adders are very misunderstood and elusive animals so here are some facts to help you get to know them better:

  • They are the UK’s only venomous snake and use their venom to immobilise or kill their prey. Occasionally adders will bite people if they are trodden on but this is rare and almost never fatal.
  • Females incubate their eggs internally so give birth to tiny snakes!
  • They are site faithful and return to the same spot every year to hibernate.
  • Adders are a conservation priority species in the UK and have suffered huge population declines. We build adder hibernaculums (places for them to hibernate) at Flanders Moss to help them out!

This is the best time of year to spot adders at Flanders as they are easy to locate when they are basking for long periods of time following emergence from their hibernaculums.

So keep your eyes peeled and tag us in your photos if you are lucky enough to see one @flandersmossnnr. But remember not to get too close as adders may use up some of their vital energy trying to slither away when disturbed.

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