European adder

A venomous snake native to Britain and found all across Europe

mgiganteus

It is the only venomous snake naturally found in the UK and widespread across Europe. It is relatively small and stocky, with a distinct zig-zag pattern along its back, and can exhibit a variety of color morphs, from greys and browns to more unusual melanistic forms that are entirely black.

These snakes prefer a range of habitats, from woodlands to heathlands and moorlands, often basking in sunny spots. They have a particular affinity for areas with a combination of cover and open areas for thermoregulation. During colder months, they hibernate, often in groups, in well-insulated habitats like compost heaps or rodent burrows.

The diet of the European adder consists mainly of small mammals, such as voles and mice, which they subdue with their venom. They also consume lizards and ground-nesting birds when available. The hunting strategy of an adder involves using its camouflage to ambush prey, delivering a quick venomous bite before waiting for the venom to take effect.

While the European adder is venomous, its bite is generally not fatal to humans, with severe cases often associated with allergic reactions, pre-existing health conditions, or lack of timely medical treatment. Symptoms of a bite can include pain, swelling, and localized tissue damage. However, fatalities are extremely rare, and the snake tends to be shy and will only bite if disturbed or provoked.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Albania
2016
Austria
2016
Belarus
2016
Belgium
2016
Bosnia And Herz.
2016
Bulgaria
2016
China
2016
Jilin, Xinjiang
Croatia
2016
Czechia
2016
Denmark
2016
Estonia
2016
Finland
2016
France
2016
Germany
2016
Greece
2016
Hungary
2016
Italy
2016
Latvia
2016
Lithuania
2016
Moldova
2016
Mongolia
2016
Montenegro
2016
Netherlands
2016
North Korea
2016
North Macedonia
2016
Norway
2016
Poland
2016
Romania
2016
Russia
2016
Serbia
2016
Slovakia
2016
Slovenia
2016
Sweden
2016
Switzerland
2016
Turkey
2016
Ukraine
2016
United Kingdom
2016

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No