Monday 15 April 2013

Adder Skin

In all my walks on Islay I had never found a shed adder skin and I'd said as much to Lorna and James on our Beinn Bheigier walk. Two days later five of us were walking from Gortantoid to Finlaggan and what was the first thing we discovered? A recently shed adder skin. I was beside myself with excitement. It was still moist and so able to fit without breaking into a tupperware box. Hardly able to wait until we got home (a weary 7 miles later!) we retrieved the now brittle skin and did some research. Here's what we found out:

Male adders emerge first from the hibernacula (place of hibernation) about March. They're pretty docile, basking in the sun when possible. In April they shed their skin and the male then goes looking for females, sniffing them out! The female sheds its skin about a month later than the male. The average adult male adder grows to 65 cm. This skin measured 64 cm.


The adder skin as we found it.

Close up of eyes and mouth

The skin measured 64 cm

Detail of skin

Looking through the hand lens when the skin was still fresh

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