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axel
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Posted: 16 May 2006 Topic: unusually marked adder



I came across this male adder, suveying a new location on Anglesey.  The colour was very blue, and the zig-zag was interrupted.  Just wondered if anyone else had found anything similar?




axel
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Posted: 16 Dec 2006 Topic: north west & north wales



Hi

A good start would be to join the N.Wales ARG discussion group: http://uk.groups.yahoo.com/group/NWWARG/

As Gemma mentioned, it is inappropriate to discuss herp sites on an internet forum.  If you are interested in looking for herps in N.Wales, why not conduct proper surveys?  I intend to arrange more extensive surveys of sites in N.Wales next year, if you are interested email me at axelbarlow@btinternet.com to discuss things further.




axel
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Posted: 16 Dec 2006 Topic: Xanthina or Lebetina



[QUOTE=armata]
If you want to think about most dangerous in the rest if Europe - I would put Vipera ammodytes at the top of the list, then V.aspis,

But Vipera berus has a far more toxic venom and similar yeild to V. ammodytes - I would therefore consider it more dangerous than ammodytes




axel
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Posted: 16 Dec 2006 Topic: whats this and..



An adder bite is no walk in the park.   Nausea, vomiting, double incontinence, tachycardia and loss of conciousness have all been reported within 5mins of a bite.  Other syptoms include hypotension, renal failure, seizures, coma, cardiac arrest and DEATH.  Type 'Vipera berus envenomation' into google scholar if you require more info.


axel
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Posted: 19 Mar 2007 Topic: adder sexing help



I had never heard about using rostral scale markings to sex adders.  I have just finished trawling through my adder photos to check, and it is consistent.  The rostral colour has also help me ID a male that I have never been 100% on the sex.  However, last year I found a very large blue/silver 'male' adder with a black zig-zag.  I remember commenting at the time that 'he' was very well fed and almost looked gravid.  The rostral scale suggests it was a female.  I recall Thomas Madson has also reported blue female adders in his publications.  What are peoples thoughts on the sex?

Ax




axel
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Posted: 19 Mar 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



Here are a couple of pics of the Colwyn bay Aesculapians.  They are truly amazing snakes.  Quite nippy when first caught, but soon settle down.  They are also good for scaring zoo visitors!  I had the pleasure of assisting with the 2006 research on the colony.

Axel

photo of an adult:

and a juvenile:




axel
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Posted: 20 Mar 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



Yes, the story is that the population was founded by a single pregnant female.  There are reasonable numbers present.  Our best day last year resulted in 7 captures.


axel
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Posted: 21 Mar 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



[QUOTE=Alex2]

I've always thought longissimus not to be prolific clutch wise and only lay a handful of eggs so I'm assuming this colony was built up by the same female laying fertile eggs over a couple of seasons?.

[/QUOTE]

I recall the max clutch size is 22, and females breed every year, so they are relatively prolific.  Dylan, who is running the project this year, is doing computer population models to see how fast a population can establish from a single founding female, and the effects of inbreeding etc.




axel
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Posted: 21 Mar 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



[QUOTE=Jimpklop] Hi Axel

How wide spread is the colony (roughly) ?

During any captures have you taken weight and snout to vent measurements? Only ask because I have heard that because of inbreeding, the colony are not growing to the size of which they should.

[/QUOTE]

I don't really want to reveal too many details, as its not my project and the work is still in progress.  A small colony, founded by a single female, with no gene-flow to other populations will be about as inbred as you can get!  Attributing physical effects such as small size is more difficult.  Bear in mind the zoo probably has one of the greatest densities of snake predators anywhere - the big ones may all get eaten!  There were a couple of 5 footers found though.




axel
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Posted: 21 Mar 2007 Topic: Adder 2007!



We found our first angesey adder last saturday.  A beautiful little male, looking remarkably well fed and clean considering he's spent the last few months underground. 




axel
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Posted: 22 Mar 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



The zoo where the population is found houses many large predators: tigers, bears, eagles, monkeys, leopards, chimps, etc.  All are kept in cages where the mesh presents no barrier to a snake.  My friend walked past the golden eagles with a juvenile Z. longissimus, and the eagle went crazy, clawing at the enclosure trying to get the snake!  Dead snakes also have turned up in the alligator enclosure.  Oh, and a snake will occasionally be run over on the zoo roads. 

It really is incredible that the population has persisted at all.




axel
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Posted: 18 Apr 2007 Topic: Adult N. Wales Aesculapian



There is no evidence, as yet, of Aesculapians outside of the zoo grounds.  In future, if anyone does have a sightings of these snakes outside the zoo, please pass the information the information on to Bangor University, as research is still ongoing.

Aesculapians don't behave like adders, so need a different approach for spotting them.  They like woodland areas with sunny clearings, and tend to use refugia more.  They also don't bask as frequently.  Aesculapians are also slower to move off, but do tend to savage you when freshly caught.  Oh, and they climb.  Finding a snake 6foot up a tree in the UK is pretty cool.

Also be advised catching an Aesculapian and letting it go requires a license

Here is a pic from this month.  The photo isn't the best quality, but its hard to control 4 fiesty babies, hell bent on escaping!




axel
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Posted: 11 Apr 2008 Topic: Please help. Adder photos wanted.



Here is a shot of a male's tail.  You can see that the tail base is as fat, if not fatter, than the body just above the vent.  This thickness continues quite a bit down the length of the tail, before tapering to the tip.  A female's tail would be smaller, thinner than the body at the base, and start tapering immediately after the vent.  This shot is of a male I found with an unretracted hemipenis (you can see the swelling at one side).  We popped it back in for him before setting him on his way!

Another reliable way of sexing adders is the colour of the rostral scale (i.e. the scale right at the tip of the snout).  If it's bordered in black, like in robert v's photo, it's a male.  In females the scale is bordered in paler brown. 

Cheers, Axel.




axel
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Posted: 20 May 2008 Topic: Adder Pics 2008



Continuing the theme of welsh adders... here are some pics from Anglesey. 

This shot of an adult male was taken while he was basking just a couple of feet away from me.  I spent around 30mins crouched on hands and knees photographing him - ended up with a bad back, but it was well worth it!

and a shot of three males basking together




axel
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Posted: 21 May 2008 Topic: Adder Pics 2008



Hi Tony,

the photos are a few weeks old.  I have been working solidly on my dissertation project for the last couple of weeks which has prevented any serious herping.  Incidentally, my project is being supervised by Wolfgang and I have been analysing lots of the Bitis samples that you have sent him.

The top photo was from a couple of weeks ago.  Although it was hot, I got out very early in the morning before the snakes had warmed up enough to be fully alert.  The photo of 3 males was taken before the main breeding period and, as you point out, 2 of the males are pre-shed.  Mating activity does seem to have peaked on Anglesey.  It seems to be at that irritating time of year when the males are remaining hidden and the gravid females are not yet basking for prolonged periods.

cheers.




axel
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Posted: 21 May 2008 Topic: Slow worm problem



regarding the slow worm / strimming problem, there is a booklet produced by english nature called 'IN151 - Reptiles: guidelines for developers' which can be downloaded from the natural england website http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/

This should cover all the legal aspects of doing work which may endanger reptiles.  As herpetologic2 states, the council are breaching legislation if they continue to do the strimming.  This is of course provided you have informed your superiors so they are aware the slow worms are there.

cheers




axel
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Posted: 30 Jun 2008 Topic: Individual ID technique advice



Another tip for taking ID shots is not to take them against a very pale background. This causes the camera to darken the contrast on the snakes head, and can obscure some of the scalation detail. Taking the shots against a dark background (grass, wood, etc.) will prevent this problem.

Ax.




axel
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Posted: 23 May 2008 Topic: Adder Pics 2008



[QUOTE=armata]The males are probably dispersing right now, do you know where the summer grounds are? [/QUOTE]

The site is a fairly isolated, small nature reserve which I guess limits the potential for dispersal.  We have identified three definite hibernation locations.  The snakes do disperse from these in the summer, and spread out around the reserve, although the hibernation locations remain the hotspots for sightings throughout the year.




axel
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Posted: 23 May 2008 Topic: Photos req



I had a trawl through my photos and came up with these taht you may be interested in.

This male is very blue in colour, and the zig-zag is very reduced and also interupted

Habitat of blue adder.  The snake was found next to a disused building at the edge of the rocky beach. 

This photo shows a sea defence wall on Anglesey which is used as a hibernacula by adders and common lizards.  The photo was taken at the spring high tide.  The area behind the wall (under the water) is a sand dune system which the adders disperse into following emergence from hibernation.  The fact that the wall and the surrounding area is flooded on at least a yearly basis makes it surprising the adders can persist here at all.




axel
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Posted: 23 May 2008 Topic: Photos req



No worries Tony, I will PM you the full size images.

Axel




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