/ Snakes alive !!!! at Boulder Ruckle

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Ciderslider - on 10 Aug 2014
Another fantastic day at Swanage complete with all the usual scary stuff, but this time with the addition of an adder.
Walking along the path and nearly stepped on her !!!
Are they common there this time of year ?
Also anyone picked up any ticks ?
Andy Manthorpe on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

I've seen a few adders at Swanage, up to about a metre and a half long.
Adam Moroz - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider: I can beat that, last week on the 5th pitch of a apperzoine cristo verde (sp?) In orco a viper jumped out of a crack at me and rolled off down the slab, I squealed like a child.
Trangia - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

Adders are very common along that stretch of coast and often sun themselves on the paths. I don't know how often they get trodden on but you need to be alert.

I've never picked up ticks but no doubt they live there too.
y2keable - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

There are adders all over Northumberland, seen a fair few. I took a photo of one at Peel Crag, my phone was about 5cm away from it's head and precisely 0.067 seconds after I took the photo, it opened its jaw and lashed out to bite my phone. I thought it was going to get my finger that was sticking out over the side of the phone but instead it just banged it's nose on my phone. I wasn't too worried about getting bitten by an adder until I learned that it could be fatal =/

Not going near one again.
Trangia - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to y2keable:

In South Africa the majority of snake bite deaths result fron people poking the snake with a stick (followed by people inadvertently treading on one). Not certain if sticks are now being replaced by phones/cameras but they all appear threatening in the snake's eye.

Can you post your pic on here?
jcw on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

It is worth noting that there is a snake that is rare and only found in the Dorset,region, the smooth snake. They are harmless and protected.
rlines - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider and y2keable:
Great that you saw one of these fantastic creatures!

From the posts here, it is clear that these are not aggressive creatures and will only react when provoked. While dangerous and extremely painful, adder bites are not generally lethal if treated in good time.

I'd hate to think that any animal was put in the position that it felt it necessary to waste its precious venom (the only means it has to hunt and eat) as defence against a camera. I commend the interest, please take as many photos as you can - but please don't harm or stress these creatures unnecessarily.

But I'd love to see the photo, if you can post it..
Post edited at 10:46
sheeny - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to jcw:

Smooth snakes are only found on Heathland
syv_k - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Andy Manthorpe:

Adders don't get to a metre and a half. It was either a grass snake, or it's grown in the telling.

I love snakes. So graceful.
tripehound - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

In reply to Andy Manthorpe:

Adders don't get to a metre and a half. It was either a grass snake, or it's grown in the telling.

I love snakes. So graceful.

Thats not true Andy. I once saw one 50 metres long. Mind it was only 9mm wide.
Al Evans on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to jcw:

> It is worth noting that there is a snake that is rare and only found in the Dorset,region, the smooth snake. They are harmless and protected.

Yes I've seen a couple of Smooth Snakes there, even named a route after one.
Jenny C on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to rlines:

Adders are fantastic.

Being flat to the ground they will generally feel the vibrations as you walk and clear off into safety before you see them, so you are lucky to see them. Biting is self-defence, not aggression and even then they will often not waste their precious poison (needed for killing their prey).

Whilst the bite may be unpleasant fatalities are incredibly rare. Their poison isn't in the same league as many foreign venomous snakes, plus you are never far from a hospital in the UK so can get prompt treatment.
Al Evans on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to sheeny:

> Smooth snakes are only found on Heathland

No they aren't, I saw one at St Aldhems Head in the brush below the crag there.
Al Evans on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to sheeny:

> Smooth snakes are only found on Heathland

Though I grant you they are more common around The Agglestone which is heathland.
Irk the Purist - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

Back in May I saw a black adder in the New Forest, an animal I didn't even know existed until I saw it. It made my weekend.
Mark Lloyd - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider: Check out this excellant photo from dancing ledge taken by Roberto de Kennard

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=65465
y2keable - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to rlines:

> Great that you saw one of these fantastic creatures!

> I'd hate to think that any animal was put in the position that it felt it necessary to waste its precious venom (the only means it has to hunt and eat) as defence against a camera. I commend the interest, please take as many photos as you can - but please don't harm or stress these creatures unnecessarily.

> But I'd love to see the photo, if you can post it..

My pleasure, Just uploaded it:

http://www.ukclimbing.com/images/dbpage.html?id=244023

I have great respect for the countryside I live in and especially it's wildlife. I hope it goes without saying but I'd never do anything to bring an adder to harm. I remember one time when I was riding over the Cheviot, I set my bike down to have a rest and a drink. Little did I know that the rock I rested my bike on was already occupied by a snoozing adder. I sat on the rock, sucking on my water bottle and thinking it was making an odd sort of sound. The hissing wasn't coming from my bottle! Once I spotted the snake, I stood up and it slithered off into the long grass. I realised it was pretty stressed but it was the last thing I expected to see sitting next to me.

On the occasion at Peel, I clocked it as I was racking up. I was stood pretty close to it and it didn't seem to be that bothered. I noticed it was waving its tongue at me so it was aware of my presence and yet it wasn't making a run for it. Holding my phone in front of it didn't appear to be causing it any stress, though in hindsight, why wouldn't it?

Jay
Seymore Butt - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider:

A few years ago I used to live and climb in the South African Transvaal. We took anti snake bite serum to the crag just in case we got bitten. Only thing was, you had to know what sort of snake bit you, So you knew whether the symptoms were neurotoxic or Hemotoxic before you could inject. Thankfully I never saw or had the need to use it.
Some of the south African climbers I new at the time didn't think much of picking up poisonous snakes by hand and milking their venom.
Beautiful creatures though.

Al
Ian Butterworth - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ciderslider: No ticks but got several flea bites after climbing on the Ruckle last Thursday. I guess the fleas are hungry since the nesting birds left.
CurlyStevo - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ian Butterworth:

Are you sure they are fleas?

Are they very very itchy?

I've been bitten by harvester mites before at swanage, they dissolve your skin! By far the most itchy thing I've ever been bitten by. A 50/50 mixture of tea tree and lavender oil used neat works wonders.
syv_k - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to y2keable:

Was there any venom left on the phone? If not, it was just giving you a final warning - venomous snakes can choose whether to envenomate their target or just give a dry bite to scare you away.
Jenny C on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to y2keable:

The way it's pulled it's head back, it doesn't surprise me that it went on to strike. FWIW once they strike you don't have a chance to react before thy impact, as their movement is faster than a humans reaction time.

It's not unusual for snakes to "rattle" their tail in long grass as a warning (just like rattle snakes do) to back off. As you found out though, if you give them an escape route generally they will take it.
Ian Butterworth - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to CurlyStevo: Can't be certain but look and feel like classic flea bites. No sign of my skin dissolving! I use lavender on bites, certainly helps with the itching and speeds recovery.
CurlyStevo - on 11 Aug 2014
In reply to Ian Butterworth:

You can't see your skin dissolving! They are tiny when they bite you! Fleas can't survive long without hosts.
y2keable - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Jenny C:

> FWIW once they strike you don't have a chance to react before thy impact, as their movement is faster than a humans reaction time.

I already knew this; it's a snake.

> As you found out though, if you give them an escape route generally they will take it.

It had plenty of time to slip away, I was stood right beside it racking up and putting my shoes on for about 5 minutes before I noticed it, I could only assume it wanted the company.
y2keable - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to syv_k:
Just a friendly bite ;)
Post edited at 08:55
rlines - on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to Jenny C:
Thanks y2keable so much for the photo. Yeah, it's loaded and ready to go from the looks of it, definitely in a defensive pose.

If there any snake enthusiasts out there, I found out some very interesting news about my own childhood pet the other day. Did you know that garter snakes are in fact rear fanged and mildly venomous?! I was very surprised to find this out.

Apparently their fangs are recessed into the gum so they need to chew it into prey and the venom causes nothing more than an inflammation of the wound in humans. These little snakes seem a little weak compared to a frog and seem to feed just by overpowering their prey. I suppose the venom helps weaken the animal so they can swallow it without having to get macho and overpower it. Fascinating.
Post edited at 09:22
jcw on 12 Aug 2014
In reply to rlines:
When I was climbing in Owens River Gorge we saw lots of what I was told were Garter Snakes. Someone said that sometimes they do interbreed with rattlers. Can anyone tell me if this is correct? For my brush with a rattler see my photo gallery!
Queenie - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to jcw:

Page 6 (to save sifting through) ;)
ads.ukclimbing.com
SGD - on 13 Aug 2014
In reply to jcw:

Great pickie of the Rattler (and gallery in general to be honest).

I've never heard of Rattlers and Garters interbreeding when Garters mate they can create a big ball of snakes, it's a hell of a sight if you are nervous of snakes.

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