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Are Adders a bit like Ostriches?

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tim-f View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 Mar 2012 at 5:53pm
Let me explain ... Wink

I quite often see Adders basking with their heads hidden, as below.



Also, when they seem to sense I'm around, they move a bit and then stop but with their heads under cover - in cliched Ostrich style.

Anyone else witnessed this?  Or is it just a local conspiracy to stop me getting decent photos?

Tim.

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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2012 at 6:08pm
Oi TIM I hold the record for headless adder pics keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
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tim hamlett View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tim hamlett Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2012 at 8:01pm
they can't close their eyes...do they need to protect them in bright sunlight?

tim
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Mar 2012 at 10:05pm
It might be protecting the eyes, though their slit pupil can close right down. I would also hazard a guess that they know their heads are the most vulnerable part of their body in terms of avian attack and also the most useful in terms of defense, so this might be a reason to cover them too.

I've heard so many ideas on why adders have their stripe. But many times I have witnessed a strange visual effect similar to passing railings in a fast car where the stripe makes the snake look like it is moving backwards when they are at speed. Again it confuses predators in my mind as to which end the head would be.

These are just my thoughts of course, it's always a case that herps leave me with more questions than answers. I often encounter grass snakes and adders curled in incredibly tight balls fully in the open or under artificial refuges. Why they do it I have absolutely no idea!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 9:34am
I would go with avoiding predator attack. Amphibians generally have more poison glands around the neck and head, grass snakes have a coloured neck band to discombobulate brain! attack; just a few species that use such strategies. A cool, hungry, drowsy animal is not likely to be up to much if required to scrap.  Best to conceal the vital areas.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 1:17pm
Discombobulate! What a wonderful word Thumbs Up 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Amy.S Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Mar 2012 at 7:03pm
In 'The Private Life of Adders' by Rodger McPhail there are many pictures of adders hiding their eyes from the sunlight - one even using a single blade of grass!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Noodles Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 4:26pm
It seems to suit some dopey old bird better than the word 'confuse', i think, plus it's more floral which is never a bad thing; unless you start spouting german that is LOL
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 6:37pm
wirr
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote sussexecology Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Mar 2012 at 11:55pm
Originally posted by GemmaJF GemmaJF wrote:


These are just my thoughts of course, it's always a case that herps leave me with more questions than answers. I often encounter grass snakes and adders curled in incredibly tight balls fully in the open or under artificial refuges. Why they do it I have absolutely no idea!
 
Thanks Gemma for that comment.
 
Have come across this myself and wondered if it was to do with warming up.
 
I found a male grass snake last year under an artifical refugia (Onduline). It was quite early in the morning, and I assumed that it was so curled up because it was warming up as it wasn't exactly v warm at the time. Also had a very torpid female slow worm on the same occassion. Of course, the grass snake could have been there all night for all I know and spent the night there. Who knows!!.
 
If anyone knows why grass snakes do this, please let me and Gemma know as I think we are both puzzled by this.... Maybe Jon should also put a link on the ARG website for these kind of sightings Smile
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