Over the last few weeks we have been up at Loch Doon on a daily basis checking our smolt trap. An increasingly common site are adders (we’ve seen one every day this week). Adders are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and are a UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.
I thought it may be useful to share the NHS’s guidance on what to do following a snake bite (http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Bites-snake/Pages/Introduction.aspx) . Adders are venomous and can give a nasty bite. However the reality is being bitten is of little danger unless the victim of the bite is very young/old or ill. Most ‘attacks’ happen as a result of the snake being trodden on. Adders by nature are shy and will slither off into the undergrowth before they bite anyone.
We have altered our risk assessments for working in this area to reflect the potential dangers. Simple things such as wearing gaiters (or waders/wellies) will give another layer of protection. Rarely do we engage in lone working and if there is a likelihood of coming across adders and consequently being bitten, then of course staff work in pairs.
Forewarned is forearmed, there are few animals on the British Isles that offer any threat to our well being but the adder is one of them. With that said they are a fascinating and beautiful creature and we have enjoyed seeing them on our travels.