The gravid female that still hasn’t dropped!

I had a brief hike up on the moors today, but with ridiculously strong winds, I held little hope of finding any reptiles. First, I spotted three Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) hovering and swooping down into the fields, they didn’t seem to mind the wind too much. Then a Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) flew overhead and landed in the wooded area in front of me. Minutes later I spotted a female Adder (Vipera berus), usually most females should have given birth by now, but this one hadn’t and was clearly trying to get as many rays of sunshine as possible, despite the gale-force conditions.

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

Female adder (Vipera berus) (C) Matt Wilson

5 Comments on “The gravid female that still hasn’t dropped!

  1. Hi Matt, Do you know if there are any records of adders carrying the young over the winter and giving birth in the Spring? We have had a very poor Summer.


    • Hi Paul, yes the summer has been terrible up north, and most times I have visited the adders it has been raining, or was about to rain. Needless to say I found many gravid females out in very poor weather, even during light rainfall. I am not sure about females such as the one in the post hibernating over winter still with the offspring developing inside, and I am not familiar with any records, but I would imagine it would lead to the death of the snake if she was unable to give birth before hibernation. In this case however, I believe the snake in the photo should soon give birth, as this female is a snake I have seen many times this summer and there is still at least 4-6 weeks of daytime temperatures above 5C (I hope!).


  2. Hi Mat,
    We had a female adder on Saturday near Penrith, and it too looked gravid, I have seen newborns in mid August in better Summers.Also saw a nice 2.5ft female grassie in South Cumbria yesterday plus plenty of L.V .and 5 slow worms newborn to adult.


  3. Hey man! I found you on I’m a Peace Corps volunteer in Eastern Morocco. I was wondering if I could send a picture of a snake I found in my house in Tinejdad, Errachidia province to be identified. It’s a pretty little thing with tan and olive coloring and oval markings down it’s spine. I tried using the contact at the Moroccoherps website, but it didn’t work! Where would be the best place to send my pics to identify the snake?


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