Reptiles rely on the sun to warm their bodies sufficiently for them to become active, hunt prey and look for mates. Adders take advantage of the first strong sunshine of the year from March onwards to get a headstart. Having spent the winter deep in rabbit holes or other safe hideaways, they emerge to sunbathe on south-facing banks. They are surprisingly small and easily overlooked. Stealth, silence and sharp eyes are essential – the animals may be fully stretched out or tightly coiled but you can easily identify them by the diamond pattern along their spines. An adder’s bite is famously venomous and, though seldom lethal (no one has died from an adder bite in the UK in more than 20 years), be wary about getting too close.
Where to spot them:
1. Carsegowan Moss, Dumfries and Galloway: scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/reserve/carsegowan-moss
2. Humberhead Peatlands NNR, South Yorkshire: http://bit.ly/1yXGofE
3. Parc Slip, Glamorgan: welshwildlife.org/visitor-centres/parc-slip-visitor-centre
4. Wyre Forest (FC), Worcestershire: www.visitwyreforest.co.uk