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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  • 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??


    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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