Adder extinction fear over 'image problem' in the UK

A big attitude change towards adders is needed if the snake is to survive in the UK, experts warn.

An adder
Adders are a protected species in the UK

Adders have an image problem that could result in the iconic species going extinct, experts have warned.

The Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK (ARG UK) said a "whole generation's attitude" towards the venomous snake had to change.

It has been working with 500 Pembrokeshire school pupils to put on a parade, which will see a giant adder sculpture slither through St Davids.

Wales is seen as one of the reptile's remaining strongholds.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Naturalist Iolo Williams said the creature is often misunderstood

The project's coordinator, Dr Sam Langdon, told BBC Wales adders were disappearing across the UK, leaving "little pockets" where the creatures can be spotted.

She said persecution - alongside loss of habitat - was a key reason behind the snake's decline.

"They've had a negative press for so long. People still go out and kill them, seeing them as a danger and something to be feared," she said.

"Obviously we can do survey work and try and protect them, but my strong feeling is that if we don't change how people feel about them, show they're not dangerous and are something to look after then we will lose them."

The St Davids peninsula - part of the Pembrokeshire National Park - is a particular haven for adders with plenty of heath land, hedge banks and cliff areas which are not intensively grazed or threatened by development.

Ms Langdon said the species had now become restricted to these sorts of environments.

Though there is a lack of data available about population numbers she said the feeling on the ground amongst experts was that the snakes were vanishing.

They are already believed to be extinct in Nottinghamshire and Warwickshire, and on the verge of disappearing from Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Greater London.

The darker areas of the map show where adders have been recorded most recently


  • Adders have a dark, continuous zig-zag stripe along their backs
  • They live between five to 10 years and can grow to around 60cm in length
  • It is the UK's only venomous snake but there have been no human fatalities in more than 40 years
  • Adders feed largely on small rodents and lizards.
  • They hibernate for four months from around October.
  • They are a protected species.
  • What to do if bitten by an adder

The charity has been holding workshops with every school in Pembrokeshire, with the aim of changing attitudes amongst the younger generation.

Children have been designing a giant adder lantern, which was unveiled by naturalist and TV presenter Iolo Williams.

"Ignorance is a massive issue - we should look on the adder as an important part of our ecology," he said.

"Adders aren't going to gang up on you, attack you - they'll avoid you whenever they possibly could. If a big giant stood on me, I'd bite him - that's the only time they will, to defend themselves. We need to change the image and see it as what it is - a beautiful animal."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
3 types of snake are native to the UK

Hundreds took part in a parade at St Davids airfield and Mr Williams believes educating the next generation will play a part in the creature's future.

The project, funded by Welsh Government and the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority, has already seen signs and an adder trail put up in sand dunes at Poppit beach, which is popular with tourists.

The signs advise that if you spot an adder you should: "Stop, step back - and smile!"

Date: 23 October 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

The Inbetweeners to reunite for one-off anniversary show

The cast of the E4 sitcom will reunite for a two-hour celebration and tribute programme

Diabetes glucose monitors 'available to thousands more'

The decision comes after patients in some areas of England were being denied access to the device

Prince Charles reveals love of 'groussaka' as he turns 70

In an article for his 70th birthday, Prince Charles reveals his love of moussaka - made with grouse..

Newspaper headlines: 'Moment of truth' for Brexit deal

The potential Brexit agreement dominates Wednesday's front pages

Flybe 'up for sale' weeks after profit warning

The regional airline is expected to say that its board is exploring a sale or a merger with a rival..

Rabies victim who died after cat bite named as Omar Zouhri

The man, named locally as Omar Zouhri, was bitten by an infected cat while on holiday in Morocco
View More

More Telford News

 WATCH: Drink-driver from Telford flees over motorway after smashing his car into barrier

A drink-driver from Telford ploughed into a concrete barrier before scramb..

 Defendant said he did not think he had killed stepfather in cricket bat attack

A 16-year-old accused of murdering a stepfather by hitting him with a cric..

 GKN owner reports strong revenue growth

Melrose Industries, which bought historic engineering firm GKN earlier thi..

 Shropshire courts shake-up is defended

The courts service has defended the decision to stop hearing remand cases ..

 Shropshire Remembrance Sunday events mark 100 years since end of WW1

Towns and villages across Shropshire will commemorate the centenary of the ..

 Breakfast briefings hailed a success

New breakfast briefings for the construction industry launched by Telford d..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

14 Nov 2018

Wednesday 14 November 8pm

Tickets £19.50

Show running time (approx) : 60 minutes - 20 minute interval - 60 minutes

View Details

28 Nov 2018

Wednesday 28 November 8pm

Doors open 7.15pm

Show running time (approx): 45 minutes - 20 minutes interval - 45 minutes

Tickets £16.50

14+ (Parental Guidance). Likely to be swearing and adult content.

View Details

01 Dec 2018

9:30am - 12pm

Adult - £8.50

Child - £11.95

Family - £39

View Details

01 Dec 2018

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Please arrive 15 minutes before the start time to allow time to be seated.

Child - £14.95

Adult's - £9.95

Family Ticket - £45

View Details
View More