The adder is the UK’s only venomous snake and has received a bad press because of this. Contrary to popular belief, bites from adders are very rare and the vast majority occur when a snake is picked up. Most reactions to adder bites are mild. In the last century, 12 human deaths in Britain have been attributed to adder bites (this compares with several deaths every year due to insect stings). However, any bite should be regarded as potentially serious and immediate medical advice should be sought. If you see an adder in the wild, do not attempt to disturb it or pick it up. Adders can vary in colour, from brown to black and whitish yellow. Their markings consist of a heavy dark zigzag pattern down the back with dark spots in rows on the flanks.
At the back of the head there is a heavy “V” or “X” shaped marking and a dark band running from behind each eye. Although Adders are rather stocky snakes they are not very big, seldom exceeding 60 cms in length, the males being slightly shorter, with a broad, angular head. You can see the adders at Wildwood on a warm day (but not too hot!) basking in their enclosure. Look for a brown or black shape.