Vipera berus


The Adder is a relatively small, stocky snake which prefers woodland, heathland and moorland. It hunts lizards and small mammals, as well as ground-nesting birds such as Skylark and Meadow Pipit. Adders hibernate from October, emerging in the first warm days of March, which is the easiest time of year to find them basking on a log or under a warm rock.

How to identify

Adders are grey or reddish brown, with a darker and very distinct zig-zag pattern down their backs. Black forms are sometimes spotted. Males are silver-grey and females are brown.

Where to find it

Widespread across the country, except for Scottish Islands, the Isles of Scilly, the Channel Islands, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man.


When to find it

  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

Adders were once quite common across heaths, grasslands and woods, but have suffered serious declines mainly due to the loss and fragmentation of their habitat as well as persecution. Careful habitat management carried out by The Wildlife Trusts on local nature reserves where this creature lives helps it to survive; opening up areas for it to sunbathe and providing basking sites constructed from logs are just some of the ways we're helping Adders. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Vipera berus
Length: 65cm Weight: 50-180g Average Lifespan: 8-10 years
Conservation status
Protected in the UK under the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981, and classified as a Priority Species in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.