Dogs and Adders

Thursday, July 13, 2023

Adders are amazing, and are sadly facing significant declines in their population throughout the UK. When out walking in places which are home to Adders we don't want our dogs coming into contact with them to avoid being bitten.

Here are some interesting facts about adders:

1. Adders are peaceful and shy and only use their supply of venom as a last resort when disturbed or deliberately antagonised. 

2. You are most likely to come across an adder in spring or summer, adders hibernate from October to mid February.

3. Adders are most likely to be found basking in the sun during the morning, when they're trying to warm up.

4. Adders cannot hear, but they can feel vibration.

5. Adders can be found all over the Pebblebed Heaths but you will be lucky to see one.

6. Remember, you are far more likely to be bitten by a dog than an adder.

We're often asked for advice about dogs and adders, so here are our top tips for healthy, happy dog walks:

1. The best way to keep your dog away from adders is to keep Paws on Paths, the wider the path, the better as adders can sometimes be found just to edge of paths. This also helps to prevent disturbance to ground nesting birds such as the Nightjar.

2. Avoid early morning walks in the spring and summer if you're really worried.

3. We sometimes meet people who put a bell on their dog to warn the adders, this is no use at all as adders can't hear! If you're walking on a narrow path or particularly worried it's much better to stomp instead, adders feel vibrations.

4. If you do suspect that your dog has been bitten, call your vet for urgent advice, whilst you make your way home. To prevent the venom from travelling around the body, the advice is to carry your dog if possible. If this isn't possible, put your dog on the lead and take the most direct route back to your vehicle, or arrange to be collected if you can. Try and stay calm as your dog will be upset if you are. Remember the amount of venom can vary and most dogs make a full recovery.

5. In the very unlikely event that you are bitten by an adder, call 111 for urgent medical advice.

You can find out more about adders and other UK reptiles here



An adder curled up in the undergrowth