Whilst the Common European Adder is Britain’s only venomous snake, it is unlikely for people to be bitten by one. These snakes are elusive and try to avoid human contact as much as possible. The distinguishing feature of these snakes is the dark zig-zag pattern that is found on the back of the snake.


The Common European Adder, as the name suggests is common throughout Europe. They live in woodland edges and open countryside.


Adders tend to feed on a variety of animals that they can get their teeth into such as lizards, birds, small mammals such as voles, and sometimes even smaller snakes.

Predators & Threats

Predators of adders tend to be birds such as buzzards, and other snakes. If they die during their hibernation period, it is not uncommon to find rodents feeding on them. Adders are protected by law against deliberate damage and killing.


  • Most Adders are similar in appearance, however, most species are distantly related from one another.
  • In Britain, nobody has died from an Adder bite in over 20 years.
Common Name(s)Scientific Name
Common European Adder, European Adder, Black Adder, Common Eurpoean Viper, European ViperVipera berus
 60-90 cm
 15 years.

Best Time to Look

Early spring.

Early Spring

Where to find Common European Adder