Google reptiles, lizards or snakes in West Dunbartonshire and you usually come up with the SSPCA seeking homes for the scaly pets of now bored owners. Reptiles are not usually associated with West Dunabrtonshire, but there are two to look out for.
COMMON LIZARD : Zootoca vivipara
Certainly rarely seen by us around here, but there are probably many more that do see us and either lie very still or scuttle away before we approach. It is found across many habitats, including heathland, mUIrland, woodland and grassland, where it can be seen basking in sunny spots.
Also known as the 'viviparous lizard', the common lizard is unusual among reptiles as it incubates its eggs inside its body and 'gives birth' to live young rather than laying eggs. Adults emerge from hibernation in spring, mating in April and May, and producing three to eleven young in July.
ADDERS : Vipera Berus
Adders are fairly common in the open areas of West Dunbartonshire - but rarely seen. In fact, if you do seen one, you may be the envy of many an amateur naturalist. It is just that they are shy and slither out of sight well before you get near them. But as the weather warms up in spring, they come out of hibernation to sun themselves on rocks or logs. In fact, the police, the SSPCA and others put out warnings to be careful of them around about April each year.
They are grey or reddish brown, with a darker and very distinct zig-zag pattern down their backs. Rarer black forms are also sometimes spotted. They hunt lizards and small mammals, as well as ground-nesting birds such as skylark and meadow pipit.
Adders are shy and not aggressive, but that is if you are not interfering with them. They are mildly poisonous to humans, so pay them due respect and walk with caution.
if you DO get bitten or see someone else get bitten, the NHS give the following advice. It can be valuable to read and remember this just in case.
Call 999 or go to A&E immediately if you think you, or someone else, has been bitten by a snake. Find your nearest A&E. In West Dunbartonshire we have one hospital dealing with minor injuries fairly close at hand, the Vale Of Leven District General Hospital off Main Street in Alexandria.
If you've been bitten by a snake, there are things you can do while you're waiting for medical help.
- stay calm – most snake bites in the UK are not serious and can be treated
- keep the part of your body that was bitten as still as you can
- lie in the recovery position if you can
- take paracetamol for any pain
- try to remember the colour and pattern of the snake to tell the doctor *
- take off any jewellery and loosen clothes near the bite, in case the skin swells
- We can add - try to be clear about where this happened. If possible use ///what3words for much brisker rescue.
* Noting the colour and pattern of a suspected snake is important. As the only venomous snake around, in fact the only snake found here, it could well be possible that the victim is not in danger at all and the the "bite" or other injury may well be from something else. The scratch or puncture could happen so very quickly that a victim may misinterpret the cause.
SCOTTISH WILDLIFE TRUST : https://scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk/species/adder/