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Adder Snake Texture
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Adder snake that put me in hospital

Adder Snake (Vipera Berus)

Courtship/mating pair of adders

 I have a lot of respect for adders as I was once bitten whilst filming during my early years of photographing nature. It was my own fault stupidly holding a camera in one hand and a stick in the other to distract the snake for a side view of its head. I was photographing it in a local forestry commission from what I thought was a safe distance its fangs struck me between my finger and thumb. Very quickly my armpit and back were aching not helped by pumping my left hand on a heavy clutch on my powerful motorbike. When I arrived in Hospital I felt very ill and was doubled over with intense pain with massive swelling of my hand, arm, face, neck and throat and a severe headache.

My eyes had dilated and when laying on a stretcher I was suffering from convulsions. After the doctors injected me with anti-venom my body felt like it was on fire. There were many doctors helping me and ironically it was me who had become the subject of there photography in the hospital. With a camera in hand and many doctors and nurses called to watch me suffer as an educational trip, I was not happy. Later the pain eased, helped by a drip feed and I spent the first night dipping my hand in a bowl of ice to try and keep the swelling down as my hand looked like a blown-up rubber glove.  The second day my hand was up in the air in a sling. I remained in the hospital for one week and was off work for another two, suffering from hallucinations and other side effects. It surprised me to be so ill over something that happened in a fraction of a second, the hospital told me the snakes fangs probably went straight into a vein. It shows just how little venom a snake needs to kill its prey. The picture of the black adder above left is the adder that attacked me. The story has been published in a photo magazine and published on disk for student's education, probably teaching them to stay away from adders if nothing else. Friends and work colleagues all had a good laugh with funny cartoons of me and the snake stuck to walls, except my wife who was not pleased as she hates snakes.