ar8922's picture


Observed: 8th March 2013 By: ar8922
S159 Neighbourhood Nature - course complete
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This is the first adder I've seen since I was a child, over 30 years ago. Wonderful to see another. My guess is that this is a youngish (2-3 years old) female but I'd welcome expert opinions.

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Masked Marvel's picture

It looks like a male to me

It looks like a male to me and a mature one too, although it's hard to be entirely sure of the size.

Males often look rather like females when they first emerge from hibernation. In a few weeks when they shed their skin their more typical male colours are more obvious.

ar8922's picture

Thanks MM

Thanks MM, you may well be right. I think it was relatively small, but I haven't seen one since I was a child and everything probably seemed bigger then... I know Curly Wurlies did! I won't hazard a guess as to the size now and it would be difficult to judge anyway due to the way it was lying. I know I was surprised by how small its head was.

I was actually with a Devon Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves Officer at the time and when I suggested it might be female, he agreed and it was he that suggested its age.

Masked Marvel's picture

Confusing early pre-slough

Confusing early pre-slough males is a common mistake, made by people who have seen lots of adders (Myself included until it was pointed out..). Males emerge a lot earlier than females and this is still pretty early for females.

ar8922's picture

Thanks again MM

Really useful advice.
As it happens, I showed the photo to someone from the Devon Biodiversity Records Centre today and she also thought it was probably a female but was unaware of this pre-slough concept. I'll pass on the info.