Wildlife presenter Steve Backshall tracks down 60 of the world's deadliest animals. Steve is in the New Forest on the trail of the adder.
Browse content similar to Adders. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
On Deadly 60, I've had loads of incredible animal encounters.
Here's just one of my many favourites.
This is Deadly 60 Bites.
-Do you want to pass me the camera, Mark?
'Today, we're on a wild adventure in the UK,
'finding deadly animals closer to home
'and the crew are right behind me.'
I'll get myself over, guys. Don't worry about me.
Ever since I was a little kid, I've been obsessed with snakes.
And I spend a good part of my life travelling around the world,
catching some of the most venomous ones.
Touch wood, I've never been bitten by handling one.
Although I did get hospitalised
when I stood right on top of a venomous snake and got bitten.
It wasn't a black mamba.
It wasn't a king cobra.
And it wasn't a gaboon viper.
Although it was in the viper family.
In fact, it was right here in the heaths of southern England.
So I've come back here to try and find one.
I was in my local country park, out walking the dog.
And...throwing sticks for her.
And all of a sudden, felt a really sharp pain in my ankle.
And it turned out to be an adder.
It's had me incapacitated for the last four days,
laid up in hospital for three of those.
And now my leg's going purple.
I was bitten here.
Only one fang went in, I think, cos I could only see one spot of blood.
And then immediately all of this area really swelled up,
very, very large, very bloated.
And the swelling spread all the way up my leg. It's pretty ugly.
I'll have more respect for them in the future, that's for sure.
Now, I'd be absolutely heartbroken
if people were scared of snakes because of what happened to me.
Truth is, I must have stood right on top of that adder
for it to have bitten me.
Actually, it's incredibly rare for people to even see them.
As soon as anyone gets close, they just disappear off into the bushes,
and their camouflage is amazing.
That's why they're going to be very difficult to find.
'This is a perfect location to go looking for adders.
'The Wildlife Trust has laid down these tin shelters...'
'and there's plenty of thick undergrowth
'for them to skitter off into if there's any sign of danger.'
'Although I was yet to see an adder, under these pieces of tin,
'I found a whole host of our other native reptiles.'
Ooh! A bit fiery!
Now, this is probably Britain's least-known snake.
It's a smooth snake.
And the name comes from the exceptional, silky quality
they have to their scales.
There's no kind of ridging at all
as you run your finger down them, like this.
And this one, to begin with, looked like he wanted to try and bite me.
But now, I think he's actually
getting a bit more comfortable in my hands.
Absolutely gorgeous snake. But no venom whatsoever.
And not the snake we're looking for.
So let's put it back.
Oh, my goodness! Come and have a look at this!
Put this down...
Nice and careful.
Now, this...is a grass snake.
Starting to go a little bit crazy at the moment.
But it'll settle down in just a second.
You can see, one of the first things a grass snake does when it's handled
is squirt unpleasant, white goo out of its bottom,
which smells like I can't even begin to describe.
Now, there's various ways of telling the three British snakes apart.
The thing to look out for on the grass snake
is the yellow collar behind the head,
which will often have another black collar behind it.
And then, if you look at the eyes,
those are very different to the adder.
They have a round pupil, as opposed to the slit-shaped one in the adder.
This is our largest snake.
In fact, grass snakes
have been known to get to over a metre and a half in length.
This one here is just a baby.
But even so, for small frogs and toads,
he is a slithering nightmare.
'So that's two snakes down, just one more to go.
'But that's the one we're looking for.'
Stop. Stop, stop, stop.
Here's an adder.
OK, let's try and get him out into the open.
That...is Britain's only venomous snake - the adder.
Now, I have to say, this is absolutely not something
that I would encourage people back home to do.
The adder is a protected snake,
and we're only doing this because we're on Wildlife Trust land,
and dealing with people
who really know how this snake needs to be protected,
and needs to be cared for.
Cos in all honesty...
this snake is in far more danger from people...
than we are from it. That said,
the adder is an extraordinary predator.
It has really quite toxic venom, for a snake of this size.
It has a very, very fast strike.
And as you've seen from how difficult it has been
for us to actually find one...
AMAZING camouflage. Absolutely extraordinary.
One part of the adder that does stand out,
and I'm not sure if Mark can get close enough to get a shot of this,
is the eye. The eyeball is what lets you know
that this really is a viper.
It's bright red, with a slit-shaped pupil.
I have to say, even a snake enthusiast like me
looks at that and thinks that this snake does look a bit evil,
when you get up close to it.
And listen to that hiss.
This is the threat that's used by pretty much all of the reptiles,
from the crocodiles through the tiniest to the biggest of snakes.
He's just forcing air out through his lungs,
making a sound which you could never mistake for anything other
than a way of telling you to go away.
This is the first time I've caught an adder, despite having pretty much
grown up surrounded by them on the Surrey Heaths.
But this is the first opportunity I've had to be able to catch one.
And I have to say, I will treasure this for ever.
What a magnificent creature.
The adder is the only venomous snake in the British Isles.
with a lightning strike,
it makes it a truly awesome predator,
and worthy of a place on my list.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]