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Warning for dog walkers after adders sighted near Woodbridge

PUBLISHED: 10:00 19 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:58 19 April 2019

Dog walkers have been warned to remain viligant following two sightings of adders in Sutton Heath near Woodbridge. Picture: CHARLIE CHAPMAN

Dog walkers have been warned to remain viligant following two sightings of adders in Sutton Heath near Woodbridge. Picture: CHARLIE CHAPMAN

Archant

A concerned dog walker has voiced his concerns after spotting two venomous snakes at Sutton Heath.

Although adder sightings during the spring and summer months are not uncommon, they are a constant fear for dog walkers.

Dog Walker Charlie Chapman took to Facebook to say: “We've now seen two adders in two days, so please be careful.

“We managed to grab our dogs just in time, but it could be fatal if they get bitten. One of ours was bitten by a grass snake last year and it was awful.”

Others have spotted adders close to Sizewell Beach and last month a dog was bitten by an adder at Thetford Forest.

Britain's only venomous snake, adders are known to enjoy sunshine and can regularly be seen in open heathlands.

They are not known to be aggressive unless provoked but dogs can easily fall victim to the creatures due to their naturally curious nature.

Adder bites can prove fatal for dogs, although it is more common they will experience symptoms including diarrhoea and vomiting in addition to lethargy and salivation.

It is advised that any dog that is bitten by a snake should be taken straight to a veterinary clinic for examination.

Although deaths from adder bites are rare for humans, there can be serious complications if left untreated.

There has been no reported human deaths from adder bites in Britain for more than 20 years.

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Adders prefer open habitats such as heathland, moorland and woodland where they will hunt small mammals and lizards.

“Adder bites can be very dangerous to pets, particularly if the animal is bitten on the face.

“Animals with suspected adder bites should be kept as quiet and calm as possible, and examined urgently by a vet. Dogs are naturally very curious but if you see your dog near an adder we advise that you distract your dog away from the snake and put them on a lead to avoid any injuries.

“We advise anyone worried about dogs being bitten to avoid the areas that adders commonly prefer particularly during summer months, to minimise risk of bites.”

Adders, which can be recognised by their zig-zag markings, reportedly give birth to around six to 20 live young between August and September and live for up to 10 years.

Protected by law, it is illegal to intentionally kill or cause harm to adders.

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