Local Reptiles

As well as watching a recording birds we also keep an eye on Adders in an area of Cleeve Common, Grass Snakes and Viviparous Lizards at Dowdeswell and Slow Worms in our reserve.

Adders up at Cleeve Common

This year during the peak times around March, April and May sightings of Adder were down on the previous years. It is very difficult to predict how these animals do population wise but even though they hibernate, the extremely hard winter may well have been an issue, particularly as the young have to hibernate very soon after birth.  As Adders do not reproduce every year they may well be more noticeable from year to year. I only look and record in a specific area but compared to last year when a minimum of 4-5 could easily be found by looking in the right places at the right time, this year really was a struggle with just a few sightings. After coming out of hibernation and spending time basking in spring they do move away to feeding grounds so the area I look at mainly, may only be inhabited early in their season.

Adders are very variable in their colour though the background colour differs in males and females. Males tend to be a grey, whitish, occasionally yellowish colour. The females tend to be far more brownish with a great variation of shade. It can be tricky to tell however.

The size and color difference in these two individuals is clearly apparent. I think these are both females with the bottom image being a younger snake.

They are fantastic to watch and with patience they will move happily around not taking any notice and on an early spring morning will soak up the rays and give stunning views! It is key however not to disturb them and keep to paths!

Grass Snakes and Lizards at Dowdeswell

Again at the correct time of year Grass Snakes and Viviparous Lizards can be seen well under the tins at Dowdeswell. Again the right time of year is crucial. We have had a Lizard on the wall of the house and they inhabit a wide range. 

Slow Worms up our field

Since putting the tins down and felt the Slow worms up our field have been far more noticeable. The area being untouched by the sheep is perfect for them and 4-5 were seen often. It will be very interesting in March when they come out of hibernation to see if there is evidence of a new popultion of young individuals. Lets hope so.