Experts to assess adder population after attack on dog

FELIXSTOWE: Experts are to undertake a survey to find out how many adders there are in Felixstowe’s Landguard area after a family dog was bitten by a snake.

Adders were not previously known to live on the grassland at the end of Manor Terrace – although the habitat is ideal for the venomous creatures.

Andrew Tasker, 39, had his four children – Sam, five, Chelsea, nine, Sophie, 15, and Tessa, 17 – with him when their dog, eight-year-old border collie Lucy, was bitten by the adder after the dog disturbed it.

She was running through the rough grass with Sam at the bottom of the Butts on the common, part of the area where dogs are allowed off their leads.

Her leg was seriously swollen from the bite.

Landguard project officer Esther Mander said: “There are no known recordings of adders at Landguard.

“In conjunction with the road widening undertaken by the port on Viewpoint Road a full reptile survey was done, but this did not capture any adder data.

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“Essentially, due to the isolated nature of the site with regards to wildlife corridors – such as areas of scrub and countryside on which wildlife can travel between different habitat areas – it is unusual for an adder to be present or to colonise the area.

“The habitat at the Manor Terrace end of Landguard Nature Reserve though is the type they would live in to suit their behavioural aspects.

“But they are fairly shy non-aggressive creatures and will only attack if you stand on them or take them by surprise.

“We have started a monitoring programme to determine the extent of a population at Landguard and the potential impacts this may have on visiting public and dogs.”

She stressed that people need to keep their dog under control even in the area where they can be let off a lead and should be vigilant for any potential wildlife.

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