Dog owners told to watch out for adders during lockdown walks

An adder taken on the footpath at Minsmere. Stock image Picture: PHILIP JONES/ CITIZENSIDE.COM

An adder taken on the footpath at Minsmere. Stock image Picture: PHILIP JONES/ CITIZENSIDE.COM - Credit:

Dog walkers are being asked to keep an eye out for adders when they head out on lockdown walks.

Adders are the only venomous snake in the UK and can be spotted in sandy and heathland areas.

Bites from the creatures are very rare and almost never fatal, however, they can be painful when they do take place.

In the past, some Suffolk dogs have been bitten by adders, causing painful swellings on their faces.

The Suffolk Wildlife Trust have asked dog walkers to keep their animals on a lead if they do spot the creatures.

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Ben McFarland, head of conservation at Suffolk Wildlife Trust said: “Adders are one of our rarer reptiles and arguably our most beautiful and charismatic.

“Unlike most reptiles, they give birth to live young, an adaption to colder climates, so there is no risk of eggs chilling.

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“They are largely restricted to sandy, heathland sites and are found in the Suffolk Sandlings and in the Brecks.

“Sadly, due to loss of habitat and disturbance, they are declining across the country and are now fairly rare and so increased sightings are likely to be an increase in numbers of people taking exercise at these sites.

“They are very sensitive to disturbance but pose no risk to us if respected, so we ask people, if they see an adder, to keep their distance and their dogs on a lead.

“If you see one though, you are very lucky as they are very much in decline and need our help.

“At Suffolk Wildlife Trust, through our management work, we have healthy populations on a number of our reserves.”

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