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Help & Reference : Learn About Nature : Reference Guide : Reptiles : Adder


Common name: Adder

Also known as: Common European Adder and Common European Viper
Scientific name: Vipera berus
Size: Average of about 55cm length
Colour: Bold zig-zag brown stripe down its back with a row of dark spots down either side. Colours vary from black (see picture right) to shades of brown and copper.


The most northerly member of the Viper family. Our only snake with a poisonous bite. They are fast moving (once warmed up) but can also be seen lazing in a sunny spot in the morning (before they are fully warm). They are not aggressive, but will bite if they feel threatened.


Found throughout the UK including Corfe Mullen and the surrounding heathland and woods.


Mostly rodents and lizards. They inject the prey with venom, then follow the scent of the prey as it dies.


They like open heathland and open woodland.

Did you know

Only about 10 people have been recorded of dying from an adder bite in the last 100 years, however their bite is serious and usually means a visit to hospital.









Extra Information

The Herpetological
Conservation Trust (HCT)

Reptiles and
Amphibians of the UK