Helping Adders up Ladders

KRAG has been monitoring Adder sites in Kent for many years. More recently, in response to the concerning decline of this species, KRAG created the ‘Help Adders up Ladders’ (HAUL) project to raise awareness and improve the conservation status of this often misunderstood animal.

01. Intro

Conservationists believe that Adder populations in Britain have been declining over many years.  The Adder’s plight is worse than other widespread reptile species and consequently KRAG is devoting special efforts to their protection.  KRAG is doing this by supporting greater recording effort so that there is good knowledge of the Adder’s current distribution and by helping to improve the management of Adder habitats.

In November 2011, KRAG organised the SE Regional ARG meeting where 100+ participants passed a unanimous motion stating that “the Adder is in more urgent need of new conservation efforts than any other reptile or amphibian species in Britain”.  Two years later the results of a statistical study suggested that in recent years Adders may have declined by as much as 39%.  In recognition of this, the species is accorded national priority status as a species of principal importance.

In October 2016, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and ARG UK hosted‘The Vanishing Viper’ conference. On behalf of KRAG,Rick Hodges presented the results of the Group’s long-term monitoring activities which are generating evidence about the impact of factors such as habitat management and climate on adder reproductive success and mortality.

02. Project aims

The project’s role in proactive Adder conservation has a range of objectives that include:

  1. Recording the distribution of Adder in Kent, including the identification of key sites and important habitat components such as hibernacula.
  2. Raising awareness and publicising apparent declines – by running reptile survey training events, publishing a habitat management leaflet etc.
  3. Undertaking long-term monitoring of some important populations to provide baseline data by which to judge both the impacts of habitat management and, in the long-term, climate change.
  4. Providing advice and support to those responsible for the management of some important Adder sites.
  5. Investigation of the suitability of different habitats for Adders so that land managers can identify the strengths and weaknesses of their own sites and take suitable action; and
  6. Seeking to list the Adder as a key species in relevant Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) for which associated essential habitat management requirements would be defined.  This will link conservation status to the requirements for appropriate land management.

03. How can I get involved?

If you would like more information about HAUL then you can download a detailed leaflet ‘Helping Adders Up Ladders’ from project documents below.

To become actively involved in recording adders in Kent please contact the KRAG Secretary.

If you have seen an adder in Kent then you can submit sightings using the KRAG on line recording form.

04. Project Documents