THE rare discovery of a recently killed adder snake in Haworth has prompted a Keighley man to urge people to report sightings of this reclusive creature.
As reported in last week's Keighley News, wildlife biologist Dr Toni Bunnell found the adder lying dead on the bonnet of a vehicle parked in the Bronte Parsonage Museum Car Park. She said its injuries suggested it had been caught then dropped by a bird of prey such as a buzzard.
Paul Redmond, a freelance ecological surveyor, specialising in reptiles and bats, said the last official record of an adder seen on nearby Haworth Moor was at least 24-years-old.
"I'm quite sure that more people do see adders up there, but of course they don't think about reporting them," he said.
"I've taken on the task of trying to update West Yorkshire's records which over the next few years will include checking sites with archive records to see if reptiles are still present and checking out potential sites where reptiles have not previously been reported.
"I'd appreciate hearing from any members of the public who have seen reptiles in the area, where possible including details such as date, time, exact location and ideally, photos.
"Adders are notoriously hard to find. It's like looking for a needle in a haystack."
The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain, and is an endangered species.
Mr Redmond, 52, who lives in Shann Crescent, said its numbers were in decline due to loss of habitat. He noted that it is more common in the North York Moors, and is one of four reptiles native to Yorkshire, the others being grass snakes, common lizards and slow worms.
He said the adder found by Dr Bunnell was unlikely to have been carried far from the spot where it was first caught.
"It would be interesting to know why the bird dropped it," he said. "It could have just lost its grip because the snake was wriggling around, or perhaps the snake was able to turn and bite it. In which case there could be a dead buzzard lying around somewhere."
People can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to inform Mr Redmond of any adder or other reptile sightings in the local area.