Help us find out more about slow worms, adders and lizards in the North Pennines
Reptiles in the North Pennines
The North Pennines has only three species of reptile, making identification here relatively easy. A fourth species – grass snake – may still survive in lower reaches of our rivers in the North Pennines, but there are no recent records.
All of these reptiles are listed in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan because they have suffered major declines in numbers in the last century. Loss of suitable habitat has been the biggest problem in the past. Now unsuitable habitat management might be a bigger problem, and a lack of information about where our reptiles are makes this all the more likely.
Reptiles need your help: the first step is to find them!
Although three North Pennines species are thought to be quite widespread the records we have are very few and far between, and often quite old. We need your help to plug our gap in knowledge and make sure we can conserve their remaining strongholds. You can report sightings online. So far we’ve recieved over 300 reptile records through the WildWatch North Pennines project.
If you need help finding or identifying reptiles you can download these guides.(The ID guide produced by NARRS/ARC see weblinks below) :
The adder is the UK’s only native venomous snake and should be treated with caution. However seeing an adder is no cause for alarm as these snakes are very placid and retiring creatures and people are usually only bitten during attempts to catch or handle them. Observations can be made from a distance and ideally without disturbing the adders. Binoculars may be useful.
The following information is taken from www.herpetofauna.co.uk/adder.htm
Adder venom is rarely fatal, the bite should however be taken seriously, and one should seek prompt medical attention if bitten by an adder. Symptoms such as dizziness, vomiting and painful swelling and loss of mobility of the affected limb are not uncommon within hours of the bite. Do not attempt any form of first aid either on yourself or a victim of an adder bite. The only helpful action is to immobilise affected limbs if possible and keep the victim calm and reassured, whilst medical attention is sort.
Adder bites are sometimes, though rarely, fatal to pets. Recent evidence suggests that the snake’s venom is more potent during March/April after the animals leave hibernation, so extra caution should be taken when walking dogs at this time. Wear suitable footwear, keep dogs on leads and take care when sitting down in areas where adders are known to occur.
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