First adder of the year

Flanders Moss NNR

It was a good day to go looking. Even though there was a brisk, cool wind, in the shelter the sun had some warmth and the air was mild. So Bethia and I checked one of two favoured adder patches at Flanders yesterday and were blessed to find one individual. I think it is a male, partly because it is out so early (males come out of hibernation earlier than females) and it has a darker, nearly black zig zag pattern down its back. It is quite a distinctive individual as it has a dusty, scruffy look unlike some of the more pristine individuals.

Looking at last years photos what looks like the same individual was photographed in exactly the same place (see below). Its distinctive appearance makes it easier to tell apart but each adder actually has an unique head pattern, so researchers are able to follow the life histories of individual adders if they can photograph the head and check it against a data base. Not something we have at Flanders yet – but could be a good research project for a student? More information here.

The same adder photographed in March 2020.

These are remarkable creatures. Only a couple of weeks ago it the ground was covered with snow and frozen deep and the adders deep in hibernation but here is one coming out of torpor and warming up for another season on the bog.

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3 Responses to First adder of the year

  1. Anne says:

    How exciting – I enjoy coming across snakes in the wild, and even in my garden. Here the puff adder is the most common and one has to be careful not to tread on one by accident as they lie very still and blend in with the leaf litter. This is especially so now at the turning of the season from summer to autumn.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. peigimccann says:

    How wonderful, our rattlers out here in the west won’t be out for another month!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: First adder of the year! | 2 bogs, a swamp and some islands

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