Poisonous snakes warning issued on British beach after increasing sightings of adders

Adders only tend to bite if they feel cornered or if they are protecting their young

Published

Families enjoying or planning staycations for their summer holidays have been warned about the increasing threat of poisonous adders on Britain's beaches.

The snakes are reported to be settling in sand dunes near to popular tourist locations.

While adders are not usually aggressive, they are Britain's only poisonous snake, and will bite if they feel cornered.

One area reporting an increase in the carnivorous reptiles is Bridgend in Wales, where the local council has reported sightings in the Rest Bay area of Porthcawl.

New research published in the Clinical Toxicology journal revealed more people in the UK are suffering from snakebites than ever before.

Brits have been warned about the threat of adders during summer.
Brits have been warned about the threat of adders during summer.

While most are said to have resulted from keeping the creatures as household pets, it is likely that the threat of snakes will increase in the countryside and coasts as the summer progresses.

Three in four people who are bitten by snakes are said to have a 'negligible' reaction, while only 50 to 100 people are bitten in the UK yearly.

Despite this, the elderly and frail are more likely to suffer an adverse reaction to an adder bite, with the Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Trust saying there has been 14 recorded human deaths from it since 1876, the last one being in 1975.

Bridgend council said: "With people flocking to the coast, the stunning bays and beaches of Porthcawl are proving to be popular with more than just tourists and visitors.

Grass snakes are known to be prevalent in the British wild.
Grass snakes are known to be prevalent in the British wild.

"If you think that you may have been bitten by an adder, stay calm and do as little walking as possible.

"Go directly to A&E or call 999 for assistance, and remove any jewellery and watches from the bitten limb. Never tie a tourniquet, try to cut or suck the venom out or attempt to catch or kill the snake.'

While only a foot to 18 inches long, their bites can pack a punch and the venom from their attacks can put humans in hospital.

However, they are known to be reluctant attackers and only do so when feeling threatened or defending their young.

Two other species of snake have been found wild in Britain, the grass snake, a creature that can grow to four or five feet, and the rarer smooth snake, which are harmless.

Adders can often be found on grassy banks and clifftops, as well as sandy dunes.