Cold Blooded Gallery
Welcome to Pete Walkden's Cold Blooded Gallery. Pete is fascinated by snakes and often spends hours early spring, out looking for the first adders to have woken from hibernation, to warm up in the sunshine. Adders gather together underground or beneath tree stumps or roots, in what are called hibernacula, to sleep through the winter, emerging as the first rays of sunshine late winter begin to offer some warmth on the ground.
The female adders, which are considerably larger in size than the males, emerge later and tend to be found around the same area each year. The males may travel over a kilometre to locate a female to breed with. And will wrestle with other males to determine breeding rights.
Female adders retain the eggs inside them, and actually give birth to the baby adders, perhaps giving them a better chance of survival.
All young snakes are prey to mustelids, some mammals, birds of prey especially kestrels and owls, plus pheasants which may be a reason for the decline of snakes across parts of the UK, with so many of these non-native birds being released each year for shooting.
Weeks after the first adders emerge, grass snakes surface from their underground hibernacula, and intertwine to form wriggling balls, using one another to warm up.
Amphibians (frogs, toads and newts) also feature here. Lizards will be added soon.
All images within the Cold Blooded Gallery have been taken in the wild.
Please click on an image for a pop-up, sharper version...