There are also poisonous snakes in Germany – but they are threatened with extinction. On the occasion of World Snake Day, NABU calls for the protection of the adder.
Are there poisonous snakes only in Australia? Are you kidding me? Are you serious when you say that! Also Poisonous animals are at home in Baden-Württemberg*, including two venomous snakes: the aspic viper and the adder. However, the probability of encountering one of the two snakes is rather low. Because: Both species are now threatened with extinction and are under strict nature protection.
For World Snake Day on July 16, the German Nature Conservation Union (NABU) called for better protection of the habitats of the poisonous snake and its non-toxic relatives in the southwest. Baden-Württemberg’s rare venomous snake with the typical zigzag pattern on a gray or brown body has been losing suitable habitats for decades, such as echo24.de * reported.
The diurnal adder likes undisturbed places in light forests or heathland and is best at the edges of the moor in the cool heights of the country. But when forays through their former territories in the Swabian Alb, in Upper Swabia, in the Allgäu or in the Black Forest, the adder is spotted less and less.
NABU calls for the protection of poisonous snakes: The adder is threatened with extinction
Once feared, in the 19th century the snake was even hunted and hunted for head bounties – around 100 snakes were delivered every year around Baiersbronn in the Black Forest alone. “In the northern Black Forest, where the snake was still able to hold its own comparatively well, the populations have certainly collapsed by around 90 percent in just 100 years,” estimates the NABU specialist for reptiles, Hubert Laufer. In other areas of the country, however, it looks even bleak. In many places the districts have become extinct or are endangered, for example, by new construction measures, such as in the Swabian Alb.
The adder is one of six snakes native to Baden-Württemberg. These include the Eastern grass snake, the barn grass snake, the Aesculapian snake and the equally poisonous aspic viper, which is threatened with extinction. The adder is often confused with the non-poisonous but similarly patterned smooth snake, the smallest adder in the country.
By the way, it is not uncommon for snakes to be confused: In January a woman near Bad Rappenau wanted to pick up a rope from the snow – and suddenly had a snake in hand*. At first there was suspicion that it was an Aesculapian snake, but a biologist confirmed that it was a grass snake.
The habitats of the adder are being destroyed by human hands
The disturbance-sensitive adder inhabits complex biotopes and needs a multitude of structures with hiding places, damp spots and dwarf shrubs. Because once untouched natural areas are used more and more, there is a lack of undisturbed areas with hiding places, sun spots, frost-proof wintering areas and enough food, according to the expert. “The main reason we are losing the adder is the destruction of their habitat,” explains Laufer.
The climate change* accelerates the shrinkage of the adder, which now quickly becomes too warm and dry, especially in dry habitats such as the Swabian Alb. “For the protection of species it is therefore essential to protect the remaining stocks in the suitable habitats and to restore networking corridors”, demands the NABU specialist representative for reptiles.
NABU calls for the protection of poisonous German snakes: Dangerous for humans?
“Snakes are shy. Although they cannot hear, they usually quickly run away when the ground is shaken. Anyone who comes across a snake should keep calm and allow the animal to escape. If a poisonous snake feels threatened and exceptionally bites, you definitely have to consult a doctor, ”advises Laufer. A look in the eyes – if possible – reveals whether the animal is poisonous. While non-venomous snakes have round pupils, the venomous ones have vertical pupil slits.
The poison of the adder is only deadly in high doses: to kill a person weighing 75 kilograms, the poison of five adder would be necessary. Therefore, deaths from adder bites alone are unlikely. Although the venom of the adder is about two to three times more venomous than that of the diamond rattlesnake, a bite is usually only dangerous for children and the elderly due to its low venom supply. However, the following symptoms can occur with an adder bite:
- A large swelling around the bite site about an hour after the bite.
- Nerve toxins can cause shortness of breath and heart problems.
- An adder’s bite can cause paralysis.
- The bite may turn bluish in color.
Often, however, these symptoms do not occur at all, and the pain from the bite is usually limited, so that some people do not even notice when they are bitten.
The critically endangered adder: this is how we can create habitats for it
“We can only protect what we know, so habitats and stocks should be recorded. When you see an adder, be delighted, so take a picture. Send us this picture with the location of the snake ”, asks NABU snake expert Hubert Laufer. The address is Hubert.Laufer@NABU-BW.de.
Anyone who owns a forest property can support adders by clearing up along the paths to create places in the sun. In the open country, old grass should remain at the edges of the trees. Dwarf shrubs such as blueberries and heather also form important structures. Another tip: “Create bodies of water, because that way you offer the adder a better food base, which can hunt common frogs there and thus benefit from higher humidity. Piles of brushwood or stones are also important as hiding places. ” * echo24.de is an offer from IPPEN.MEDIA.