Dog walkers urged to watch out for adders on Dartmoor

Nature lovers have spotted the UK’s only poisonous snake enjoying the warm weather – but dog lovers should be aware too

Dog walkers are encouraged to keep an eye out for one of Dartmoor’s most exotic creatures. A sharp-eyed visitor spotted a large black viper next to the parking lot near Saddle Tor and alerted others to the remarkable reptiles.

Becs Lovell posted an image of the guy covered in scales on the Dartmoor Public Group Facebook page, which instantly prompted a number of other people to comment on their experiences, including dog lovers who urged caution .

Penelope Welbourne wrote: “I, like others, have seen the effect of a viper bite on a dog – a large Labrador. It’s certainly not harmless! Give them space – but we We still have to respect the space around all wild animals.”

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Meanwhile, Hywel Rees observed, “I’ve seen hundreds of vipers in my life but never one so black and beautiful as this. Nice picture!”

Comedy fans immediately cited the popular BBC comedy show Blackadder, starring Rowan Atkinson, Stephen Fry and Tony Robinson, with Debbie Marriott asking: “Someone else has a well-known comedy theme that plays in his head?”

A scene from Blackadder’s Christmas Carol

Dartmoor National Park is home to abundant flora and fauna as well as all sorts of animals and reptiles including pit vipers. The park’s official website notes, “We also have high populations of pit vipers in some areas, basking in sheltered patches in full sun.

“Adders are active from March to October and are the only venomous snake in the UK. Despite this fact they are actually very shy and will creep into undergrowth if disturbed. They are also a priority species and are protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.”

The Vets4Pets website warns: “The only venomous snake native to the UK is the European Adder (Vipera berus). Adults are around 50-60cm long and have a black/brown zigzag pattern along their backs. and V- or X-shaped markings on the back of They are most commonly found in southern and south-west England, west Wales and Scotland, where their preferred habitats are the sand dunes, the rocky hills, the moors and the edges of the woods.

The viper on the rocks at Cadover Bridge
The viper on the rocks at Cadover Bridge

“Adders are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; this means it is an offense to kill, harm, harm, sell or trade them.

“If you think your dog may have been bitten by a viper, please contact your local veterinarian.”

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