Friday, 8 August 2014

Baby Adders

Yesterday I saw one of our female adders, and she looked a lot thinner than she had been... I have been telling people she is likely pregnant, especially from her behaviour and size, but even so thought nothing of it. My mind was just a blank... Then today, we saw some baby adders!

They can only be one or two days old at most, and have put on a good display today in exploring around their enclosure. I am afraid I have let you down a little with the pictures I managed to get, but check out this beauty below taken by Dave Burden!

"Yawning Baby Adder" - by Dave Burden

Incredible isn't it!.. This little un was crawling over the top of the bracken, and then kindly looked straight at Dave before giving a huge yawn! Look closely enough (click on the pic to make it bigger) and you can even see the little fangs they have even from day one!

Their fangs, like the adults, are hinged. When their mouth is closed, they are flat along the roof of the mouth, and hinge to point down when they open their mouth. This helps to protect their invaluable tool for ensuring they catch their prey.

Adders are venomous from day one, and often more potent when neonates as they are inexperienced in controlling their venom.

Look how tiny they are next to the log! Adders are born "live" as opposed to the mother laying eggs to be incubated. As you may imagine, it is a special kind of live birth. They erupt from membraneous eggs whilst still inside the female, and then come out live before the membranes are ejected too. 

Adders litters are usually around the higher single numbers, but can number many more. I only saw four different ones today but there may well be more.

Keep an eye out for them next time you are here. You will have to be patient, as they are so small you can easily miss them.

As always, for more related pics, this time of adult adders, click the "More BWC Photos" tab above.


  1. Wow what amazing photos, I have only ever seen 1 Adder, some 30 years ago, when i lifted up some corrugated tin sheeting, me and my mates ran away so fast! thanks for sharing :-)

    1. Thank you for your comment, I am pleased you enjoyed the photos.

  2. What amazing pictures, especially of the adder yawning. What a capture that was! Having lived in the UK all my life I have yet to see one

    1. It's an amazing photo isn't it... it was taken by one of our regular visitors, Dave Burden. Brilliant to time that photograph and get it so clear!

  3. I saw my first adder today in a forestry area, it has taken a bit of searching to find it but looks like it was a baby female, when I first started getting near I thought it was a long worm, I assume it was a baby by the size and when I lived in Spain I saw many full size snakes