Whilst taking our evening constitutional we almost stepped on this little beauty lying across the track – a European Adder or Viper (Vipera berus), the only poisonous snake. As it was almost dark the photo didn’t turn out well. The snake looked like a stick. We just stood and waited a couple of feet from it until it acknowledged our presence and then slowly made its way off the track into the bush. Fully grown Adders are generally passive and will only bite if threatened or stepped on – unlike their young which are far more aggressive.
Earlier in the day I’d been walking across fields through thick grass and it really reminded me of just what is lurking out of sight.
This weekend was scorching hot, above 30 degrees Centigrade. This Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis) was sunning itself on a road when I found it. Judging by its tail, it’s already had one bad encounter (they lose their tails when threatened but the regrowth is always short and stubby), so I moved it off the road and into the grass so it didn’t get hit by a car.
We used to get lots of Slow Worms but I now I hardly ever see them. It’s a real shame as currently we’re inundated by slugs.
I was mowing the lawn and this young lizard just wouldn’t get out of the way so I picked him up and moved him to my Zen rock pile, which I designed for lizards and snakes to inhabit. It was also a good opportunity for the kids to have a chance to hold him and learn about reptiles.
We’ve had a lot of smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca) this year. Until you get close enough to see the stripe through their eye, they resemble adders. This one was lying dead just outside my front gate. I would have taken its skin but the wound on its belly was full of wriggling things…