Sun’s out, snakes out

May 9th, 2016

This article is more than 8 years old.

Adders like the warm weather as well

Got any sunscreen? (photo: Billy Lindblom)

They may not be very big, but the one poisonous snake indigenous to Denmark, the common European adder (vipera berus), is still venomous and not to be trifled with.

The spate of recent good weather has brought not only pale-skinned humans out blinking into the sun, but also the warmth-seeking adder.

The adder is not regarded as especially dangerous, as it is not aggressive and usually bites only when alarmed or disturbed. Bites can be very painful, but are seldom fatal.

Handle with care … on second thoughts, don’t
However, Hanne Sofie Schmidt from Kolding Naturskole warns that they should still be handled with caution.

“The best advice is to just stay away,” Schmidt told TV SYD. “Don’t touch no matter how exciting it may be to encounter an adder.”

The common adder can be identified by the distinctive black zigzag stripe along its back. They can be found almost anywhere and, as a rule, they will not bother anyone that does not bother them.

Should a bite occur, it is important to get help right away.

“If you are bitten, seek medical advice immediately,” said Schmidt. “Stay calm and do not run around, as that will cause the venom to enter the bloodstream more quickly.”

Get noisy
The adder is most dangerous to smaller creatures like children and dogs because the amount of venom it emits remains constant, so a small dog or child will be more affected by a bite than an adult.

Schmidt advises making noise while walking in the wild.

“Tramp about and be noisy,” she said. “The adder will usually disappear without anyone getting hurt.”

Approximately 200 Danes are bitten by an adder annually, but only about 10 percent require hospitalisation after initial treatment. There has only been one death in Denmark attributed to the adder in the past 50 years.


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