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Watch out for adders in Suffolk

PUBLISHED: 09:56 16 April 2009 | UPDATED: 08:57 06 July 2010

Now is the best time of year to catch a glimpse of adders in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to a wildlife trust.

Now is the best time of year to catch a glimpse of adders in Norfolk and Suffolk, according to a wildlife trust.

One of the country's most endangered species, the shy adder (Vipera berus), will be emerging from hibernation to bask in the sun and replenish its energy stores after a winter in hibernation.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust says that the more undisturbed areas of heath and woodland in the area are ideal habitats for adders.

A spokesman said that adders have suffered due to habitat loss and persecution and so are distributed patchily both locally and in the UK, although it is an offence to kill or injure them.

At around 60cm (males) and 75cm (females) long, the adder is grey or brown with a distinctive dark zig-zag stripe running the length of its back.

Although it is the UK's only venomous snake, adders are shy, unaggressive creatures that feed on small rodents, lizards, frogs and newts, and are likely to flee if disturbed, rarely biting humans.

Suffolk Wildlife Trust's conservation manager Dorothy Casey said that it had a vision for a Living Landscape - where species can expand their range and move through a countryside along networks of linked habitat.

“Fragmentation of habitat is one of the main threats to adder and other wildlife in Suffolk,” she said. “Small isolated populations of species are the most vulnerable - stranded in pockets of disconnected habitat, they will struggle to cope with impacts from surrounding land and changing environmental conditions.

“There is a good population in Dunwich Forest and we are keen to enhance this by ensuring that their hibernation sites are protected, habitats are linked and new refuges created as a by product of forestry work. Adders do not like crossing open areas so connectivity is particularly important.”

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