The Adder And My Bladder
by Richard Adams
Here in the UK we only have three native species of snake. One of these is very rare and only one of them is venomous so we don't generally suffer from "snake problems". Indeed snakes are so rare here that when I mention the adder many friends of mine still don't believe that we actually have potentially deadly snakes slithering around the countryside!
Because they are so rare here and because I have spent years keeping a range of exotic pets including snakes I actually look forward to seeing them in the summer months.
Anyway, as a keen nature lover I was out recently actually looking for some adders to photograph. Their striking gray bodies with black zigzag markings makes them very photogenic indeed, and I woke up on a day off work to find a warm, sunny day; perfect for seeing snakes in the wild.
I already had a location in mind where I was confident my odds of seeing adders was good. I had seen sloughed skins around there and spoken to dog walkers who had seen snakes there so the location and the weather meant I was reasonably confident of success.
Despite all this I failed miserably in my goal. I spent hours creeping around like a weirdo, looking under bushes, on top of rocks and around tree stumps but to no avail. Eventually giving up I decided before the long walk home I would have to nip for a pee.
With no public toilets around, and with no passers-by around I nipped behind a bush to release the pressure. As I did so, I heard a funny noise. I stopped. So did the noise. I started again. So did the noise. I couldn't place it, and I was reasonably certain it wasn't me.
Then suddenly out from under the bush came a rather damp - and rather angry - adder! Clearly he'd been hiding in the depths of the bushes I'd nipped behind and I'd failed to see him! When I got home all my friends could say was I that I was lucky he wasn't hungry at the time!
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