A curled up adder (c) Mark Bowen

Adder

Adders are the only venomous snakes found in Britain, although they are absent from Ireland. They use their venom to immobilise prey such as lizards, amphibians, nestlings and small mammals. After striking their prey, they leave the venom to take effect before following the victim’s scent to find the body. Although an adder’s venom poses little danger to a healthy adult human, the bite is very painful and requires urgent medical attention. Adders are the most northerly distributed snake and the only species found inside the Arctic circle.

How to identify UK reptiles.

Scientific name: Vipera berus

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Common European adder,
  • Common viper

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Distribution

Map showing the distribution of the Adder taxa

Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.

The Adder can be found in a number of locations including: Asia, Europe, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.

Habitats

The following habitats are found across the Adder distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

Least Concern

  1. EX - Extinct
  2. EW
  3. CR - Threatened
  4. EN - Threatened
  5. VU - Threatened
  6. NT
  7. LC - Least concern

Population trend: Decreasing

Year assessed: 2008

Classified by: IUCN 3.1

BBC News about Adder

Elsewhere on the BBC