RAUK - Archived Forum - sign of the times ?

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sign of the times ?:

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will
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
No. of posts: 330


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Posted: 29 Mar 2007
Hello All

This is a question prompted by the discovery of a fresh adder slough yesterday (sadly no sign of the former owner) in Epping Forest - namely, I can't remember seeing a sloughed adder this early in the season before.   Is this unusually early for SE England and has anyone else seen a slough / sloughed animal elsewhere so far this season ?

Cheers

Will

GemmaJF
Admin Group
Joined: 25 Jan 2003
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Posted: 29 Mar 2007

Will this is not early for the SE for recent years in my experience. I usually get my first adders around the 14th February. This year I believe there was a record in Kent much earlier than this.

Generally I then see post slough males in Essex before the end of February, often within a week of the first mid-February sightings.

However, I think Tony has evidence that the post hibernation/pre mating moult was far more synchronised in past decades so this could be in a state of flux. Do you have dates for the moults during your longterm studies Tony?


Gemma Fairchild, Independent Ecological Consultant
armata
Forum Specialist
Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 30 Mar 2007
Male sloughing is less synchronised in recent years

(in press)
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Matt Harris
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Joined: 03 Jun 2003
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007
3 sloughed males at one of our monitoring sites on Saturday, plus one fresh slough found. Adders in blue at other sites (SE Wales)
Gwent Amphibian and Reptile Group (GARG)
Suzi
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Joined: 06 Apr 2005
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007
My son saw an almost white adder on Sunday in East Devon. He said there was just the faintest hint of green in places. Would this be a fresh sloughed one? The black markings were present as well - it wasn't an albino!
Suz
will
Senior Member
Joined: 27 Feb 2007
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007
Update today from a London site - saw a male shed and then immediately try to mate with a female (as yet unshed) - persistent chap kept up his courtship for over an hour without success.   Guess we're at the start of mating for adders (although grass snakes have been seen in London for several weeks in mating balls / clusters)

Cheers

Will

armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007
Females moult end of month to mid May or later.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
armata
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Posted: 02 Apr 2007
Another phenomenon I should mention - only recorded this for the last three seasons before I left for SA and only in the Mendips.

Large males have been moutling late and have been observed in combat and mating in premoult condition.
Some of these males were reluctant to engage in combat but it seemed that the constant goading of smaller moulted males urged them on. This is unusuall, as the literature tells us that the male moult is the trigger for mating. And I think that is generally still true.
But something to watch out for. Particularly confusing if you are expecting bright male adders to be in all the running as it were. BTW mating in this Mendips site is app 2 weeks later than Dorset.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Deano
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Joined: 23 Aug 2005
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Posted: 03 Apr 2007

Hi Tony

A guy (can't remeber his name) I bump into over EF, told me that the adders have always mated before they slough - and he's been visiting them since 1953 - so maybe not such a new thing?


Deano
Better to be lucky than good looking.
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 03 Apr 2007
Sorry where is EF,Epping Forest?

If so then this is really unusual;and was he talking about males? but there must be guys and gals on this forum who have observed Vb in this area - so?
Apart from the Mendips I have never seen it before.

If you mean Eastern France then he is talking about V.aspis, and they have a different mating system.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'
Deano
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Joined: 23 Aug 2005
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Posted: 03 Apr 2007

Sorry Tony

Yes, Epping Forest.

All the adders that I saw, both male and female, hadn't sloughed but he insisted that they were mating. I didn't see any activity other than basking.


Deano
Better to be lucky than good looking.
armata
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Joined: 05 Apr 2006
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Posted: 03 Apr 2007
Even when basking male adders, and females if they are present, will jostle around for position and squirm around a bit - if you can't sex, you can't interpret behaviour properly.
'I get my kicks on Route 62'

- sign of the times ?

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