OK, OK, this may be a little rushed, but I am very excited!... Our adders have been dancing!
Keen followers of the blog over the years will be well aware that I have a soft spot for our adders, and that I particularly look forward to their beautiful "dance" every year. I was only talking to a couple of members over last weekend saying I think it will be any day now they start, and luckily for some of your who visited on bank holiday Monday, that was the day.
Apparently they had been at it a while in the morning too, but it was in the afternoon that keeper Aaron spotted them at it and gave me a shout. Of course, I rushed up to see them, and it was as entrancing as ever. I was initially disappointed that I had put off cutting the grass in anticipation of them dancing, but as it happens I think that really added something to their display!
The "dance of the adders" is a display of strength and stamina between rival males, competing over nearby females. The raise and entwine their bodies together, trying to force the other to the ground all with out ever biting each other. A hypnotising spectacle that should make even the more fearful of people admire them.
This happens on and off, sometimes for minutes sometimes for hours, and usually over a period of a few days/weeks. The slightly cooler weather this week has halted them a little, so fingers crossed for some more action this week. It will definitely be worth you keeping an eye on the adder enclosure this weekend if you do decide to visit, just incase they decide to go at it again!
If you haven't seen this behaviour, and can't get to visit us, have a look at our old youtube videos of them dancing in past years... or look over on our facebook page for a video of it taken by keeper Meg.
Here he is, what a handsome devil!.. I think he was losing at the days end, but it is not all about strength, stamina comes in to play too... so I am sure he will have another go soon.
They could dance anywhere within the enclosure, but best place to look first is around the log pile and grasses back against the grass snake enclosure. This is usually where the female is laid up, and them males tend not to go too far away from her.