The RSPCA has issued a warning to dog walkers and parents after a snake was discovered on a popular dog walking route. War Paws charity worker David Matthews spotted the long adder while walking his dog at Llantrisant Common, in Rhondda Cynon Taf, on Tuesday.
“As my hound was bounding around I noticed the snake basking,” David said. “They don’t move as their camouflage conceals them, so if my dog or I stepped on it they could strike.
“My thought was to warn other dog owners as these snakes can be deadly to animals and children, and I find that where you find one there can be more. I know they will be everywhere this time of year so I thought it would be good to warn people also not to kill them, as they are very good for the environment.”
Read more: For more stories from in and around Llantrisant go here
An RSPCA spokeswoman said sightings of adders are not particularly uncommon.
“Snakes are extremely shy creatures and will try to move away from disturbance – if you come across a snake our advice would always be to enjoy watching these secretive animals from a distance and never try to pick one up,” she said.
“A native snake that doesn’t move away when approached may be injured or sick. If you find a snake you think is injured or sick, please call our helpline on 0300 1234 999. If you suspect the snake is an exotic pet rather than a native species – keep a safe distance and call the RSPCA’s helpline 0300 1234 999 for advice . The snake could be an escaped pet which may be venomous. All our native reptile species are protected by law; it’s an offense to intentionally insult, kill or trade a wild snake. ”
Last week a snake was found by a walker after it had escaped its tank in Cardiff, which you can read about here.
Is an adder dangerous?
The adder is the UK’s only native venomous snake and the majority of bites occur when a snake is disturbed or deliberately antagonised. Death from adder bites is extremely rare in humans but bites can become serious if left untreated.
An adder bite can be extremely dangerous to pets. Animals with suspected adder bites should be kept as quiet as possible and examined urgently by a vet.
Where do adders live?
Adders prefer open habitats such as heath land, moorland and woodland, where they can hunt small mammals and lizards. They are rarely found in gardens. Reports of adders in gardens commonly turn out to be grass snakes or slow worms.