Adders are coming out to play in North Devon during the warmer weather – Devon Wildlife Trust has advised people to admire and respect them but keep their distance

The adder spotted on the pavement in Ilfracombe. Picture: Lisa Jefferies. This was incorrectly captioned in print, for which we apologise.The adder spotted on the pavement in Ilfracombe. Picture: Lisa Jefferies. This was incorrectly captioned in print, for which we apologise.

People in North Devon have been warned to keep their distance from adders enjoying the spring sunshine after a man was bitten in Ilfracombe.

The sun loving snake has caused quite a stir after taking to sunning itself on the pavement in Torrs Park Road.

Adam Braund was out walking with his partner Chloe Barnes and their dog when they spotted the reptile.

Adam went to pull the dog away from it and was bitten by the snake when he put his hand out to stop it reaching the dog.

The advice is to admire adders but keep your distance. Picture: Michael SymesThe advice is to admire adders but keep your distance. Picture: Michael Symes

His hand and arm became swollen and he had to go to A and E, where he was given antibiotics and antihistamines.

Chloe said they wanted to let people know the snake was still around and warned people to keep their children and pets away from it.

Stephen Hussey at Devon Wildlife Trust said people should admire adders from a distance, but also respect them.

He said: “Give them some distance. Most bites occur when people try and handle them.

Adam Braund's hand swelled up after he was bitten by an adder in Ilfracombe as he tried to prevent it getting near his dog.Adam Braund's hand swelled up after he was bitten by an adder in Ilfracombe as he tried to prevent it getting near his dog.

“At this time of year adders are at their most visible. They’ve stirred from their long winter’s sleep and are active hunting and finding a mate.

“As ‘cold-blooded’ reptiles they need to maintain their body temperature and they’ll do this by basking in the sun.

“This means that adders can be seen along the edge of paths or undergrowth, especially on the moors, on the coast path and in our heathlands.”

Adder numbers have declined rapidly and it is an offence to deliberately kill or harm one.

The adder spotted in Ilfracombe by Chloe Barnes and her partner Adam Braund. Picture: Chloe BarnesThe adder spotted in Ilfracombe by Chloe Barnes and her partner Adam Braund. Picture: Chloe Barnes

If you do get bitten, don’t panic, as bites rarely cause serious harm, but you should –

* Seek medical attention.

* Keep the part of your body that’s been bitten as still as possible to prevent the venom spreading around your body.

* Remove jewellery and watches as they could cut into your skin if the limb swells.

* Do not attempt to remove any clothing, but loosen clothing if possible.