This post concerns my visit to the New Forest Reptiles Centre (http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/new-forest-reptile-centre.html), which is located near to the forest’s administrative centre, Lyndhurst. Prior to visiting the New Forest I did some digging on the internet and discovered that the New Forest is home to Britain’s only venomous snake, the Ader. Being a dog owner my first thought was “what if my four legged friend disturbs one of these creatures?” Visions of having to rush him to the local vet swam before my eyes. Fortunately neither I, the other members of my party or the three dogs (including my dog, Trigger) encountered any Aders in their wild state. We did, however come across the reptile, safely enclosed in the New Forest’s Reptile Centre. I must confess that I was relieved to find the Ader was securely ensconced in it’s own tightly netted enclosure!
There are around 100 Ader bites each year. Although the reptile’s poison is strong it is injected in such small quantities that it is rarely fatal to large animals including humans. Apparently most bites take place when people attempt to pick up Aders. Now who in their right mind would deliberately pick up a venomous reptile?!
The Centre is also home to a variety of other reptiles including the harmless Grass Snake, lizards and a number of frog species.
In adition to the reptiles, the New Forest Reptile’s Centre also maintains wildcams which enable visitors to view a variety of birds including the Goshawk. While at the Centre one of the staff described how the female Goshawk sat on her nest while the male brings back food to feed the nestlings. While visiting the Centre I was reminded of those lines of Tennyson “nature red in tooth and claw” as one of the nestling’s consistently failed to obtain sufficient food (it’s fellow nestling’s obtaining the lion’s share). This little chick is, almost certainly destined to die.
For further information on the Ader visit http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/adder-fact-file.html
For information on the Grass Snake see http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/grass-snake-fact-file.html
For information on the Smooth Snake visit http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/smooth-snake-fact-file.html
For details on the Sand Lizard see http://www.new-forest-national-park.com/sand-lizard-fact-file.html
To access the Wildcam which shows live footage of the Goshawk visit http://www.newforestgateway.org/Wildcam/Goshawk/tabid/126/Default.aspx, (please note you will need to register before being able to view the Wildcams).