Snakes alive as adder drops out of the skies above Haworth!

The adder's full length is measured. Picture by Dr Toni Bunnell

The adder on the bonnet of the Land Rover, in Haworth. Picture by Dr Toni Bunnell

The adder on the bonnet of the Land Rover, in Haworth. Picture by Dr Toni Bunnell

First published in Keighley by

A PRECIOUS opportunity to spot one of Britain's most shy and reclusive animals literally fell out of the skies above Haworth.

Wildlife biologist Dr Toni Bunnell was surprised but delighted to discover an adder snake on the bonnet of a vehicle parked in the Bronte Parsonage Museum Car Park.

The 66-centimetre long adder, which is the only venomous snake found in the wild in Britain, was lying dead on the bonnet of a Land Rover.

Dr Bunnell, who was in Haworth last Tuesday afternoon (Aug 5) to deliver copies of a book she has written to a local shop, said she understood the adder must have been grabbed by a bird of prey, but was too big for the bird to handle so had been dropped.

She explained: "We were just about to leave the car park, when my husband said 'look at that'.

"There was a Land Rover parked a few yards away from our car, and the snake was just lying on the bonnet."

Dr Bunnell, 64, said she approached the snake very cautiously, and only removed it when she was certain it was dead. She said its injuries were consistent with the talons of a bird, probably a buzzard.

"It was a hot day but it hadn't dried out at all, so it couldn't have been dead for long," she added.

"I took lots of photos of it, and took it home and measured it. It was a 66-centimetre long male, though adders can grow up to 80-centimetres.

"I've only ever seen an adder once before, in the North York Moors, and that was many years ago."

Dr Bunnell, who lives in York, is a retired lecturer, but is still carrying out research into hedgehog populations. She said that although her own specialism is mammal conservation, she was very pleased to have had a close encounter with such a rarely-seen British reptile.

She advised anyone lucky enough to glimpse a live adder to keep a safe distance, pointing out that this poisonous snake can move very rapidly.

She noted that only a few days after her own experience, the national press reported on an incident where a man was hospitalised after being bitten three times by an adder which he picked up in a forest in North Yorkshire.

Comments (5)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

9:45pm Wed 13 Aug 14

jimmy k says...

call me an old cynic but wildlife specialist with a book to sell spots a rare animal............
call me an old cynic but wildlife specialist with a book to sell spots a rare animal............ jimmy k
  • Score: 1

4:45pm Thu 14 Aug 14

Little Green Man says...

You old cynic you! There's nothing serious about this article, they're just taking the hiss!
You old cynic you! There's nothing serious about this article, they're just taking the hiss! Little Green Man
  • Score: 3

9:44pm Thu 14 Aug 14

jimmy k says...

come on lgm pull the adder one.
come on lgm pull the adder one. jimmy k
  • Score: 1

11:55pm Thu 14 Aug 14

wikidee2012 says...

Yes sure a wildlife specialist ,finds a adder on a car bonnet !pah!!!
I have lived in Haworth all my life and have walked over the moors many times I have never seen a adder , perhaps it fell out of the box of books she was delivering !
Yes sure a wildlife specialist ,finds a adder on a car bonnet !pah!!! I have lived in Haworth all my life and have walked over the moors many times I have never seen a adder , perhaps it fell out of the box of books she was delivering ! wikidee2012
  • Score: 1

4:09pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Kingchaser says...

It does sound a bit fishy.......but then again....I was up in the Dales last week and heard about an Adder that had killed a dog the day previously.

Mild winters and warm summers might be helping the cold-blooded animals?
It does sound a bit fishy.......but then again....I was up in the Dales last week and heard about an Adder that had killed a dog the day previously. Mild winters and warm summers might be helping the cold-blooded animals? Kingchaser
  • Score: 1

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree