Adders on the Coastpaths: Warning

cornwall-roseland-adder

Locals and visitors are being warned to be extra careful with dogs and children as reports are coming in to Roseland Online of adder sightings along coast paths, in rocks and along the coastline.

In the last two days, two reports have reached us of dogs being bitten by adders. Due to the first of the warm weather they are coming out to bask on the coastpath and have been seen amongst the stone walls.

If an adder injects venom when it bites, it can cause serious symptoms including:

  • redness and swelling in the area of the bite
  • nausea (feeling sick)
  • vomiting
  • dizziness

Here are a few tips on what to do if you/your dog is bitten:

What to do if you have a snake bite

Immediately after being bitten by a snake you should:

  • remain calm and don’t panic; snake bites, particularly those that occur in the UK, are not often serious and rarely deadly
  • try to remember the shape, size and colour of the snake
  • keep the part of your body that has been bitten as still as possible to prevent the venom spreading around your body
  • remove jewellery and watches from the bitten limb because they could cut into your skin if the limb swells
  • do not attempt to remove any clothing, such as trousers

Seek immediate medical assistance by dialling 999 to request an ambulance or visit your nearest accident and emergency (A&E) department. You should give healthcare professionals a description of the snake to help identify it. You may be admitted to hospital so the bite can be assessed and your condition closely monitored. Read more about what to do if bitten by a snake and how snake bites are assessed.

What to do if your pet has (or you suspect it may have) a snake bite

  • Seek prompt veterinary attention.
  • Do not attempt first aid measures such as sucking out the venom or applying a tourniquet – these procedures are ineffective and may even cause further harm to your pet.
  • Try to keep your pet calm and wherever possible carry your dog rather than let it walk. Both these measures will help slow the spread of venom around the body.

The severity of signs seen in animals as a result of snake bites is variable. Most adder bites result in pain and inflammation around the muzzle, where bites usually occur. Vets in areas where adders occur tend to be experienced in treating pets that have received bites. Bites from adders are rarely fatal and most dogs make a full recovery.

Preventing snake bites

Follow the advice listed below if you are in an area where venomous snakes are found.

  • Look out for warning notices on heaths and commons
  • Wear boots and long trousers
  • Never pick up a snake, even if you think it is harmless or appears dead
  • Never put your hand in a hole or crevice – for example, between rocks. If you need to retrieve something, stand well back and use a stick to reach it
  • If you find yourself very close to a snake, stand completely still. Most snakes only strike at moving targets. If you remain calm and still, the snake will escape without harming you.

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