A veterinary surgery has warned people with children and pets to steer clear of a suspected nest of adders on the edge of a Sleaford housing estate.
Staff at Quarrington Veterinary Surgery received the call yesterday from a member of the public who believed they had seen a nest of the UK’s only venomous snakes under a hedge near a dog waste bin on the Stokes Drive estate at Holdingham.
The bin is apparently near Trevitt Close on the edge of a smal grass field. On the other side of the hedge is a paddock.
The message put out on the vets’ Facebook page urges people to use caution but not to be alarmed.
Susan Edwards from the veterinary practice said: “One of my colleagues got a call to advise that there was some suspected adders under a hedge by the dog bin yesterday afternoon.”
She said: “We wanted to let everyone know in that area.
“I rang pest control at North Kesteven District Council’s environmental health department and they advised us they would not tend to do anything because they are dangerous creatures and it is better to leave wildlife alone.”
She said they do not want to cause alarm and just wanted to let people know as there are children and animals around that area.
Mrs Edwards said: “We thought it would more likely be a nest of grass snakes but without going and looking we don’t know, so it has not been confirmed.”
The vets also put up a link with information about adders from the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust website.
Jeremy Fraser of Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust said it was “highly unlikely” that adders would be present in such an urban environment.
He said: “They are a species that is very scarce in Lincolnshire and restricted to heath and wooded areas and I have never heard of them being in any kind of built up area environment.”
He suggested they could be non-venomous grass snakes (which look similar) or slow worms - or possibly an escaped pet snake.
Mr Fraser added: “If you see one, leave it alone, they are not going to attack you. The adder is the only snake in this country with a venomous bite and you would have to be terribly unlucky to be bitten. You would have to stand on one.”
He said accurate identification by an expert was the next step and reminded people that adders are a legally protected species, so it would be unwise for anyone to attempt to move them for their own safety and the welfare of the animals. They would need to check with Natural England, the licencing authority, first to make sure they were not breaking the law.