Families warned after snake bites pet dog at leisure area

FELIXSTOWE: Dogs are having a tough time at one of their favourite coastal walking spots – after one was bitten by a seal and now another has been attacked by a snake.

Parents, though, have been warned to make sure they keep an eye on their children at Landguard, Felixstowe, because adders are Britain’s only poisonous snake and can give a nasty bite.

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 angry adder.

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-lead when she came across the creature.

“She was jumping from side to side and we didn’t think much of it at first but later on her leg really started to swell and to blow right up,” said Mr Tasker, a lift technician, who lives with his wife Collette, 45, at Shotley.

“We took her to the vet and she was given anti-inflammatories and then after an x-ray she had some fur shaved on her leg and there were two puncture marks and the vet said she had been bitten by an adder.”

Mr Tasker said he was very concerned because he had not realised adders were present in the area and there were no warning signs.

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“If it had been a child who stumbled across the snake it could have been quite nasty and very worrying,” he said.

“I think people need to be made aware of the dangers of adders in this area – I didn’t know they were there and you could so easily step on one in the grass.”

Landguard project officer Esther Mander said it was the first she was aware that adders had been identified at Landguard, though the grassed areas were perfect habitat.

“An adder will bite if it is surprised. We will look at the area to see what is there – it sounds as if we have an interesting addition to our wildlife,” she said.

Last week Staffordshire bull terrier Ruby was bitten by a seal on the nature reserve shore while with her owner Tim Diaper after the dog approached the creature.

? Tell us your animal stories – write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email www.eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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