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Adders are relatively common in areas with moor, bog and dunes, in coniferous forests and in dry coniferous forests. With their camouflage colour they can be difficult to spot. They are fast and often move away before you discover them. They are typically between 60 and 80 cm long, grey or brown in colour and distinctively marked with a dark zigzag running down the length of the spine. But plain rust brown and black adders occur as well.
Behavior Adders are shy and usually not aggressive animals. They will only bite if they feel threatened. So avoid to step on or catch an adder. If you make noise by stamping in the ground or using a stick to stir up the vegetation in front of you, they are able to hear that something big is approaching and disappear.
The bite The adder will typically strike from a distance of 3-6 cm, and can rarely reach their victim on distances over 20 cm.
People react differently on adder bites. Some will not feel any symptoms at all, whereas others will experience serious poisoning and be very sick. These variations are due to more factors: the amount of venom, injected, the age of the person, the body weight, the bite place and the degree of physical activity after the bite as well as possible hypersensitivity. Children, pregnant women and heart patients form a specific risk group, where the venom can cause problems.
First aid for people The person, who has been bidden, must be kept calm! Raise the bidden body part and leave the bite place alone. Subsequently you can transport the person to the nearest emergency room in the gentlest way.
First aid for dogs Treat the dog very calmly and keep the attacked body part absolutely still. Carry or drive the dog to the veterinarian.
Please notice: Adders are protected by law against being killed or injured through human activities.
(Source: Skov og Naturstyrelsen (The National Forest and Nature Agency) j.nr. SNS-401-00626)