Warning for UK pet owners as record number of venomous snakes spotted
Cat and dog owners have been warned to stay alert this summer after reports of a ‘population explosion’ of venomous snakes.
This year has been the highest on record for sightings of adders, Britain’s only native venomous snake, which have been known to attack pets.
The warning comes after several incidents where dogs were bitten – including one, last month, where a dog died after approaching a snake.
Dog walker Anna Crampton, who regularly spots the four-foot-long reptiles while out on forest walks in East Sussex, is urging everyone to be cautious.
She said: “Take care of your pets folks, it’s the worst year on record.”
Dog-lover Nikki Blight, 48, was devastated to find out snakes had badly injured her terrier Alfie – and killed her other pooch Roxy.
She said: “We had to put Roxy to sleep as her body couldn’t cope with the venom.
"I can’t believe it. Roxy has been in my life for ten years – I can’t believe she’s gone.
"The snake also bit Alfie on his cheek and the venom destroyed his skin – he was seeping blood from his face.”
She added: “I think it’s important for everyone to be aware of, for other dog-owners and people with young children who walk in the woods.”
While humans are likely to dodge snakes – and, as a result, avoid being bitten – curious dogs may approach them, often with devastating consequences.
According to the Forestry Commission: “Adders have the most highly developed venom injecting mechanism of all snakes.
"Adders will only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or trodden on.”