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Kent Reptile & Amphibian Group Reptiles Adder (Vipera berus)

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Adder (Vipera berus)

Female Adder (Vipera berus)Recorded Adder Distribution in Kent

Sadly still subjected by humans to persecution, the adder or northern viper has a shy and retiring nature.

Our only venomous native snake, adder are unlikely to bite unless handled or severely provoked.

The plight of the adder has been of increasing concern to Britain's herpetologists in recent years. In response to this members of KRAG have initiated the 'Adders in Decline Project'. The project aims to raise conservation awareness for this species in the county and a number of sites have been selected to allow close monitoring of populations.

The adder is readily distinguished from the grass snake. Adder have a stout body characteristic of vipers and a distinctive zigzag stripe.

Females are usually brown with a darker brown stripe, males tend to have a greyish silver background colour and a bold black zigzag.

There is a great deal of colour variation and all black (melanic) examples are known to occur in Kent. Occasionally the zigzag stripe is entirely absent in melanistic specimens.

Adder are not evenly distributed across the county. They have a close association with calciferous grassland in Kent.