Adders - What you need to know
Now is the time of year when you might see Adders as you are out and about walking your dog. Here are a few facts and some advice on what to look for and what to do if your dog is bitten.
· The Adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain.
· Most adders have a dark zigzag running down the length of them and a 'V' shape on the neck. However, some adders are entirely black and can be mistaken for other species.
· Males are generally white or pale grey with a black zigzag and can grow up to 60cm long.
· Females are a pale brown colour, with a darker brown zigzag and can grow up to 75cm long.
· Adders live in the undergrowth, in areas of rough open countryside and edges of woodland.
· Adders are cold blooded, which is why when the spring/summer comes, they are more prevalent, moving out into the open and onto paths to bask in the sun and warm up.
· They are not generally aggressive and only strike out and bite if they feel threatened or get trodden on. Using their venom is a last means of defence, so providing they are left alone, they should not pose a threat.
· An Adder bite to a pet can be potentially fatal if not treated as soon as possible, especially if they are bitten on the face, as this can lead to breathing difficulties.
· Signs of a bite would be swelling and bleeding around the bite area and will feel hot to the touch. You might see one or two small puncture wounds. Other symptoms could include fever, vomiting and shock. If left untreated, Liver and Kidney damage can also occur and in severe cases, as we've said, it could be Fatal!
If you suspect your pet has been bitten by an Adder, please seek veterinary treatment immediately.