Two Adders

Two Adders

 
The Park has a thriving population of Adders, particularly in the QE Forest to the east of the A3. They enjoy the areas of open woodland where their three key requirements, basking,  foraging and hibernation, can be met.
Although the Common European Adder can be found throughout most of Western Europe the species as a whole is in decline. Reasons for this include agricultural intensification, habitat destruction and the fragmentation of populations.  
 
Melanistic Adder

Melanistic Adder

 Adults grow to 60-90cm and can weigh up to 180 grammes. Females are usually brownish with dark brown markings, and the males grey with black markings. Melanistic individuals are usually female.

They feed on small mammals, mice and voles, lizards and amphibians. An adult snake might only eat 9 voles in an entire year.

The females breed every two to three years giving birth typically to 10 young about 20cm long , each a perfect miniature ready for independent life.  The young are born encased in a transparent sac from which they have to free themselves.

The next image is very unusual in that it shows a baby Adder just about to emerge in to the wide world. It was taken by one of the QECP volunteers who monitor the Park’s reptiles and know all the adult Adders as individuals.

 

Baby Adder

Baby Adder

 
Males and females are now getting ready for hibernation which typically takes 150 and 180 days respectively. Unfortunately 15% of adults and up to 40% of juveniles will not make it through the cold winter months.
Look out for these fascinating reptiles but please do not disturb them. It is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 to kill, injure, harm or sell them.
 
 
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