Strange & Nameless Nadder Watching

Way back in the mists of time, when men were men and small furry creatures were, well, lunch probably, words were proper words.  None of this dodgy grammar stuff getting in the way!  Sharing that world with us was a snake called a Nadder - corrupted into modern language to be an Adder of course, but that's education for you!

We spotted the first of the year last week, curled up in the sun

But this week, it was a chance to spend time along the Adder Trail looking for old friends.  We found them in the form of Stranger and No-name, a couple of male adders spotted in previous years along the trail.  Adders are generally loyal to their hibernaculum and this time of year won't venture very far away, coming out into the sun to boost their fertility ready for mating.  You're not likely to see a female yet, they like a lay in

As you can see, they're pretty relaxed around each other at this time - they won't start any fighting until there's a pretty girl to fight over!  Stranger, the paler of the two, is a bit smaller than No-name.  Similar length but not so chunky

That flickering tongue picks up scent particles and transfers them to a Jacobson's organ in the roof of his mouth.  As the tongue is forked, he can taste in stereo, telling direction & distance due to the differing amounts of scent particles on each fork

We're not too sure what colour No-name is going to end up when he sloughs (sheds his skin).  He's much darker than Stranger - there's a slice of cake wager between me and Mrs WJ on what he will look like

They can shift when they want to as well - we've clocked one slithering at 4mph before now, which is a brisk walk for us, let alone a 2ft snake.

But for now, there's little rushing around, just peaceful sunbathing.  Keep your eyes peeled in coming weeks, look into those sheltered, sunny spots near brambles or gorse bushes, you might just be able to spot a Nadder....

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  • "Keep your eyes peeled, you may find a Nadder"

    Lovely photos WJ! But will be keeping a wide berth if I see one of those!

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  • Interesting how names evolved. According to Wikipedia "The name 'adder' is derived from nædre, an Old English word that had the generic meaning of serpent in the older forms of many Germanic languages." It's easy to see how a nadder became an adder. There's a river in Wiltshire called The Nadder; I wonder if there's any connection?
    Enough of my waffling - superb set of photos WJ. They were clearly enjoying the warm sunshine. I would love to see one up close like that.

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    Regards,Tony

    My Flickr Photostream 

  • Excellent photos. I've not seen one since moving North (again) but they must be around somewhere. So, has anyone got a slice of cake going on No-name becoming a black adder??

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    Nige   Flickr

  • He certainly spotted you Joe. Fabulous creatures and same for your photos.

    Lot to learn

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Nigel O said:
    So, has anyone got a slice of cake going on No-name becoming a black adder??

    Definitely not going to be black. We have black Adders (melanistic) around the reserve but No-name's going to be blue (I reckon) or a darker beige/gold (Mrs WJ). We also get charcoal grey ones, but he's not that colour either.  It's extraordinary how much variation in colour you get in male Adders!

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  • A few weeks have passed and I was back to check on the boys.  Not too long now until the ladies appear I reckon - another couple of weeks perhaps.  Before then, the boys will want to be looking at their finest, so I was hoping they may have shed their skins.

    Fist to appear was Stranger, slithering out from cover to say hello

    He's still got the milky eye that tells us he's coming up to sloughing - not long now probably.  If we're really lucky he'll lose the skin in one piece and we can add it to our collection.  The ones we managed to rescue a couple of years ago and use to show people are getting too delicate now to bounce around in the camera bag, so it would be nice to get a new one.

    Curling up in the sunshine, Stranger looked very peaceful

    Until No-Name came along of course.  He's a bit bigger than Stranger and has a tendency to take over the best basking spot - by sitting on top of him!  Poor Stranger, he even has a "Guurk!" look on his face!

    Luckily, Karma affects even a venomous reptile and it wasn't long before No-Name found out this wasn't a good choice of basking spot - it's on top of an ant's nest & they were not amused.  Not much will tolerate ants biting!

    With no sloughing complete, the cake bet is as yet unresolved....

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  • Excellent additions.
    I hope it's a fresh cake or it will be stale by the time the bet is resolved :)

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    Nige   Flickr

  • Great pics WJ. Hope they are showing again on Wed & Thurs this week as we will visiting, I assume your pics were taken along nadder alley?

    KR
    Tony

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/wherryman/

  • In reply to Nigel O:

    Nigel O said:
    Excellent additions.
    I hope it's a fresh cake or it will be stale by the time the bet is resolved :)

    Don't worry, I have no doubt it will be the largest and freshest slice of carrot cake, assuming I'm the one putting his hand in pocket!
    Tony - yes, along the normal trail, they've been nice and showy recently, so hopefully you'll be OK :-)

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  • In reply to Whistling Joe:

    Ouch!!! I felt that ant bite, beautiful creatures aren't they, the adders I mean not the ants, though I suppose to another ant.........

    Lot to learn