Rise in snake sight­ings

Llanelli Star - - FRONT PAGE - Bethan Thomas @BethanT210­20179 0179254558­1 [email protected]­plc.com

WITH their distinc­tive di­a­mond pattern and ten­dency to lurk in heaths and wet­lands, adders have long been spot­ted around parts of south Wales.

And with the in­crease in tem­per­a­ture the ven­omous snakes have not been shy this sum­mer with a big spike in sight­ings around grassy ar­eas.

But if you are a res­i­dent in the town of Kid­welly in Car­marthen­shire, like it or not, you are far more likely to spot the slith­ery crea­tures as there has been an in­crease of sight­ings in the area.

Kid­welly Town Coun­cil have con­firmed they have even had to put up warn­ing signs in some snake hotspots af­ter a num­ber of sight­ings.

The coun­cil said: “It has been brought to our at­ten­tion that there have been ad­der sight­ings re­cently in Parc Stephens and Glan yr Afon, it is also very likely they are to be found at Kid­welly Quay and Myny­d­dy­gar­reg moun­tain.

“Please do not dis­turb them. They are a legally pro­tected species and they will not bite un­less pro­voked. Please keep dogs un­der close su­per­vi­sion. Seek med­i­cal or ve­teri­nary ad­vice if bit­ten.”

Adders are pro­tected from in­ten­tional killing un­der the Wildlife and Coun­try­side Act 1981 and are very rarely fa­tal – but can cause painful side effects – one woman was hos­pi­talised in May this year af­ter suf­fer­ing an ad­der bite in Llan­gen­nith.

The ad­der is the only ven­omous snake in the UK and is known to be a timid species that only at­tacks if pro­voked.

There are usu­ally around 100 reported cases a year with the ma­jor­ity of in­ci­dents oc­cur­ring dur­ing the sum­mer­time.

Adders are grey in colour and have a dis­tinct zig-zag pattern on their back.

They are usu­ally around 60-80cm long and weigh from 50-100g.

Warn­ing signs are due to be put in place this week in some of Kid­welly’s grassy ar­eas where the snakes have been spot­ted and dog own­ers are urged to keep their pets un­der close su­per­vi­sion as bites can be fa­tal to them.

Expert Geraint “the Snake­man” Hopkins said these signs will al­low dog walk­ers to be on alert in the ar­eas.

“Peo­ple just need to be care­ful and aware and it is re­ally im­por­tant to keep your dog near to you and on a lead, do not let them loose in these ar­eas as dogs are cu­ri­ous and it is easy for them to get bit­ten,” he said.

Vets in Burry Port and Kid­welly are also due to be handed posters to iden­tify snakes in the area in or­der to treat them ac­cord­ingly.

Mr Hopkins added: “You should wear sen­si­ble footwear be­cause they wouldn’t be able to bite through a boot.

“You should try to make enough noise and they will usu­ally move away. Make as much noise as pos­si­ble, carry a stick around with you in the grass.”

“Dogs nor­mally get bit­ten on their paws or nose so keep them on a lead and make sure they walk by the side of you.”

“It is a med­i­cal emer­gency if you do get bit­ten but do not panic, the more you panic the quicker the venom will spread through your body.

“You should keep calm and go straight to A&E. Keep the area where you’ve been bit­ten up­right and you will usu­ally be treated with an an­ti­his­tamine.

“If your dog gets bit­ten try to see the colour of

the snake, pick the dog up and take it straight to the vets.”

If you are bit­ten by a snake, NHS ad­vice is to re­mem­ber the shape, size and colour of the snake as well keep the part of your body that has been bit­ten as still as pos­si­ble.

It is also rec­om­mended that not to put any­thing around the bit­ten limb to stop the spread of venom as it will not help and could in fact make the sit­u­a­tion worse.

Pic­ture: Dar­ren Owen

Warn­ing signs have been put up in Kid­welly fol­low­ing an in­crease in snake sight­ings.

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