Monday 11 March 2019

Adders now active all year with warmer UK weather

Shorter hibernation period may accelerate demise of Britain’s only venomous snake
Wed 6 Mar 2019 06.30 GMT
The adder, Britain’s only venomous snake, has for the first time been confirmed as being active in every month of the year.
Adders normally hibernate underground from October to March, a strategy designed to enable them to survive a cold winter, but with warmer weather have now been seen throughout the year.
They are declining as a result of increasing habitat loss, persecution, predation, disturbance and inbreeding. A shorter hibernation period and becoming more active in winter is likely to accelerate their demise, as snakes will be much more susceptible to any cold weather that follows a warm spell.
Following the record warm temperatures in February, adders have been seen in every calendar month. While the adder is well adapted to cold weather, occurring further north in the world than any other snake species, this is new behaviour and experts warn it is a clear sign of the impact climate change is having on wildlife.
Nigel Hand, a trustee of Amphibian and Reptile Groups of the UK and one of the country’s leading adder experts, confirmed the trend.

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