Help safeguard the future of adders in the UK

Did you know male adders ‘dance’ to compete for females by entwining themselves and wrestling?

What’s the problem?

The adder is the UK’s only venomous, and arguably the most misunderstood, snake. It is instantly recognisable by the zigzag markings along its back.  The adder uses its venom to help it subdue prey such as small mammals and small birds. As predators, they remove weaker individuals and thus help to maintain healthy populations and ecosystem balance. Tragically, fear of its bite has resulted in human persecution of this beautiful and shy animal.  However, adders only bite people if they feel threatened and unable to escape.  We have created a detailed advice page with facts about adder bites and answers to frequently asked questions.

While the adder lives in a variety of habitats, sometimes even in urban areas, it is found most often on heathland, grassland and coastal areas. Its secretive nature and camouflage mean it often goes unnoticed. Whilst it has a large range across the UK, recent declines especially in central England, mean that this species is now of major conservation concern. Reasons for its decline are not yet fully understood, but are thought to include loss and degradation of its natural habitats, habitat fragmentation and deliberate persecution by people.

Find out more about the adder on our species information page.

How your donation will help

Conservation work: ARC helps adders by producing guidance and advice, influencing policy, managing nature reserves for reptiles and species monitoring. We are currently trialling a programme of mapping adder hibernation areas, to help ensure that these critical features are protected. We work with a wide range of other landowners to promote adder-friendly habitat management through training and awareness raising.

In Wales we are mentoring and training volunteers and land-managers in how to survey reptiles and manage habitats through our Connecting the Dragons project. The aim is to link habitat areas so that adders and other wildlife can move more easily through an increasingly urbanized environment, connecting isolated adder populations.

Our Saving Scotland's Snakes project is training volunteers, reaching out to schools and undertaking studies in adder population genetics to improve public appreciation of adders, reduce their persecution and better understand their ecology. 

Policy work: ARC aims to ensure that adder requirements are better considered in land management and planning. Examples include advising government agencies on ways to improve the protected site series, and producing the first IUCN Red List assessment of the species at country level.

How to sponsor 

Simply make a donation via the button below. Donations of any size are welcome!

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