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What to do with my adder nest?

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Iain View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: What to do with my adder nest?
    Posted: 02 Aug 2006 at 7:23pm

Hi,

I have built some new compost stalls and was starting to turn the old compost heap into them when I discovered some snake eggs. Not wanting to disturb them I covered them back over and left the pile for a few days.

Wishing to get on with the job I returned several days later and started moving other areas of the pile leaving an "exclusion zone" of a couple of feet around the re-covered eggs.

Whilst working i then uncovered what looked like a deserted rummiging hole by a fox or badger. Next time I looked up there was a rather angry adder coming out of the hole which raised its head and hissed at me before legging it (excuse the pun).

Now, my dilema is this. I do not wish to interfere with the Adder, its nest, or the eggs. However at some point this summer I do need to move this pile. Would this be a permenant next or is it a temporary one? and once hatched the adders will go on their way?

Also, once hatched will thay stay around here or go off to other areas. We do have children playing in the garden upon occasion so you will appreciate my concern for them as well as the adders. Either way I have absolutly no intention of harming the snakes but if they were going to live close by I would rather have the nest moved before they hatch.

If someone could let me know what I should do. You can see from the fact we have hunted out this site and posted that we do wish to be as compasionate as possible towards these reptiles, and having read some posts we are also well aware of the law, however if they will pose a danger to the children some sort of compromise will need to be reached.

Your thoghts and advise would be greatly appreciated.

Best wishes,

Iain.

 

 

 

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Matt Harris View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Matt Harris Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 3:28am
Adders have live young, so if they are snake eggs then they'll be Grass Snake (Natrix natrix) which seek out places like compost heaps to lay their eggs because of the warmth. Have you double-checked the adder with the ID pages on this website? You're lucky to have these increasingly rare reptiles in your garden, although if you do have adders then I understand your concern with the kids - grass snakes pose no threat btw. Once they hatch they may hang around for a bit then disperse to find hibernating places later on.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herpetologic2 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 3:52am

 

Nothing to worry about as clearly this would be a grass snake and her defensive behaviour - hissing etc was intended to drive you away - she was bluffing.

Adders tend not to venture into gardens and they do not lay eggs so the best thing to do it leave the eggs and they would hatch later on this month or perhaps september.

It would be useful to know where you are in the UK and maybe send in the record to the RAUK forum

If you see the snake again and you want a positive id then try and get a picture and post it on this forum - a positive id will then give you some reassurance

You are lucky to have a breeding site for grass snakes - goes to show that the compost heap is just right

 

Jon

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote administrator Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 4:22am

Hi Iain,

Best wait till mid to late September before you turn the heap to give the grass snake eggs time to hatch. Hatchling grass snakes usually disperse widely into the countryside, though sometimes they will use the heap for their first overwintering. Best take care when turning the heap over as some may still be around. Try to avoid turning the heap again until the spring because disturbing hibernating hatchlings could be harmful to them. It is unlikely that the snake you saw was an adder, but much will depend on surrounding habitat.

As grass snakes (the eggs must belong to this species) are harmless you may wish to place some 'tins' or 'felts' out in the garden so that your children can observe these fascinating creatures as they disperse from the heap 

You may find your compost stalls become a regular egg laying site, generally it isn't too difficult to work around the snake's eggs as the heap can be turned in early spring (before April) and left to do its work, then turned again in September by which time the eggs will usually have hatched.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote djp_phillips Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 5:26am
Hi, I am not too fimiliar with Vipera berus (the Adder) but being part of the Vipera complex and closley related to a snake which i am much more close too, the Asp viper (Vipera aspis), it seems new to me that one could describe a fleeing adder as having 'legged it', it sounds that it went off quick, and usually being a small, heavily built snake they are quick slow and docile, but can become fastER but not a 'legged it' speed.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 8:07am
Iain most of us on here will be envious of your luck in getting a grass snake to lay in your compost heap. I get grass snakes occasionally in my heaps but no egg laying yet.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Aug 2006 at 9:12am

Many thanks to eberyone for your excellent advice.

It may well have been a grass snake. I'm not keen to go poking around in the pile as I do not want to disturb it. The eggs are definately grass snake then and we will leave them bee until the end of September, at which time we'll have a tentative look to make sure they are all gone before turning the compost heap further.

I thought the snake was an adder as it seemes to have quite a big and wide head, however to be once we saw each other both I and the snake were moving in the opposite direction at a fair rate of knotts :) - a natural reaction to your first close siting me thinks. The snake was also at head hight as the pile is quite big and I was leaning over digging so a snake at head hight only about two feet away was definately a bit of a shock, particularly as it was obviously pretty mad.

We will keep an eye open without disurbing it and the eggs were immediately re-covered so hopefully will have a good chance of survival. If we can make a postiive ID on the snake we will certainly make a post on the grass snake forum. We are near Ringwood in Hampshire on the edge of the new forest.

Will keep you informed how we all get on.

Many thanks again for your help with this.

Best wishes,

Iain.

 

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