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Hot Tip for Summer! 

17 August 2016

Adder (vipera berus)

 

With the warmer weather, summer is a popular time for adder bites! The snakes are present all over the UK, with the South-East of England being a particular hot spot.

The adder is the only venomous snake native to the UK. The adder has a black-brown zig-zag pattern and a V or X shaped marking on the head. They can be confused with the non-venomous grass snake. One distinguishing feature is that adders have a ‘slit like’ pupil whereas grass snakes have a round shaped pupil (you will have come pretty close to see this, of course!).

 

Adder (vipera berus)

Adder (vipera berus) distinguished by there 'slit-like' eyes

 

Adders are actually very timid and non-aggressive, usually only biting when they are provoked, and preferring to stay hidden. For this reason bites are most common on the face or limbs.

If you suspect your pet has been bitten by an adder, you should phone your vet and arrange to take it to them immediately. In some cases a drip or antivenom may be required, depending on the severity of the bite.

Avoid bites by keeping dogs on leads during the warmer months in adder hotspots!