Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Why didn't the viper vipe 'er nose?

This was my dad's favourite riddle (60 years ago!).  The answer, of course, is "Because the adder 'ad 'er 'andkerchief".

Last year I saw my first adders in many years.  In the past few weeks I have been waiting for a bright cold morning to make a return visit and this time there were plenty to see.  This was the first, coiled and flattened to absorb the heat from the sun.

A few metres farther on I found this one.

Then two coiled together.

As I watched the two, a third snake appeared and slithered towards them.

Here are the three of them sunbathing together.

Farther on another one, relatively darker in colour.

And a paler one, also alone.

Altogether I saw 13 adders - one pair, one group of three, and the others alone.

This one shows how they flatten their bodies to absorb the most of the sun's rays.

Here it has adjusted its position and reorganised its coils.

This was the smallest one I saw and is light brown in colour compared with the others.  I guess it is one of last year's young.

The males emerge from hibernation first and shed their skin in early April.  When I visited the adders last year at the end of April it was easy to tell the males from the females - the males were silver and black while the females were dark brown and mid brown.  This year it was more difficult as the males are still in their dull winter colours.  My friend and fellow photographer Cain Scrimgeour reckons that most, or perhaps all, of the snakes we saw were males.

I'l go back in a few weeks to see them again.

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