The adders are dancing!..
Yesterday afternoon our two male adders were spotted 'dancing'. They didn't stay at it long, but it was a sign of things to come... and one of the signs for me that Spring is finally here.
Most of you will already know how much I look forward to this time of year, and seeing this beautiful ritual dance between rival males, and I was beginning to wonder if we would have much of a dance at all this year with the weather being as up and down as it has been. But, nearly a month later than last year, our boys finally put on a show.
Today, they have been off and on all day, and in front of our lucky group of photographers who were booked in. I managed to spend some time with them, and a lot of the time they were dancing directly on top of one of the females.
The 'dance of the adders' as it is known, is a competition between rival males. It can be between any number, and the males writhe their bodies together and try and force each other to the ground in a show of strength. They will often raise the first third of their body off the ground in trying to do this, and twist and turn with each other almost tying themselves in knots trying to get the upper hand.
All while doing this, they never bite, it is just a show of strength and stamina. Their motion is often quite twitchy and jerky during this time, almost hypnotic to watch, and so they create these beautiful shapes with their bodies hence why it is called the dance of the adders. This 'dance' can last from anywhere between minutes and hours, and is often repeated on and off over a few days.
If you are planning on visiting this weekend, do make sure you spend some time with the adders. If you do get a glimpse of this behaviour, it will be worth your time, and if not then just appreciate them for the miss understood and docile animal they are.
If you can't make it in this weekend, or want a preview, here is a short clip of them dancing from this afternoon.
See you by the adders :-)