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Adder snake killed in King’s Cliffe

A venomous snake that is part of a species vulnerable to extinction has been killed.

The juvenile adder was crushed to death by a square sheet of metal used as a refuge and to monitor the declining species. It is believed someone dropped the sheet on the snake on purpose.

Its body was discovered in King’s Cliffe by adder enthusiast and village resident Ian Froggatt, who said he was saddened by the sight of the dead snake.

A King's Cliffe adder
A King's Cliffe adder

“It is shocking and disappointing,” said Ian.

“Ultimately it has an impact on the longevity of the adder community.”

Adders, a species considered vulnerable to extinction, are protected by law.

Ian Froggatt
Ian Froggatt

They are England’s only poisonous snake but their shy nature means they are rarely a threat to humans or dogs.

Ian said: “From a British perspective they are iconic but they are often misunderstood as they are our only known venomous snake.

“If you ask people what they fear in the animal world, they normally sit in one of two camps and say a snake or a spider.

“People are generally distrusting of them.”

He believes films such as Indiana Jones have also given them a bad reputation.

Adders typically live on moorland and in woodland, bask in the sun, and retreat if disturbed.

“The best advice is to not approach them.” Ian said.

“They are shy and will move off very gracefully.”

Ian’s interest in adders developed five years ago and kept an eye out for them during the covid lockdowns.

Ian had been watching the snake he found dead for about a month and had often found it entwined with another.

“I think they are beautiful,” he said.

“In covid there was not a lot else to do and I began looking more actively and found there is a small community.”

Ian is talking to specialists about how best to report the killing of the snake.

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