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Common European Adder

In Europe, the most commonly found venomous snake is the European adder. These snakes are generally shy and will only attack if they feel threatened. Though their venom is not typically deadly, it can still cause a great deal of pain and swelling. If you encounter an adder while out hiking or exploring, it is best to give them a wide berth!

Common European Adder
Common European Adder

Common European Adder Description

The Common European Adder is the most common venomous snake found in Europe. These shy snakes will usually only attack if they feel threatened and their venom is not typically deadly, but it can still cause pain and swelling. Although these snakes should be given a wide berth when encountered during outdoor activities such as hiking or exploration, their presence can also provide some safety benefits – due to their strong aversion to humans, it preys on rodents that might otherwise transmit diseases or damage property. The coloration of these animals varies depending on their geographical location; they may be light grey, yellowish, or reddish brown with darker crossbands running along the length of their body. Additionally, the underside of the adder is usually paler in color than its backside.

Common European Adder Habitat

The European adder is found in a wide variety of habitats across Europe, from lowland meadows to mountain ranges. They can be found in woodland areas and open grasslands, but they also like to live near rocky outcrops and stony slopes where there are plenty of hiding places for them. They can often be spotted basking in the sun on warm days or sheltering under logs or rocks during colder seasons. Adders prefer open spaces where they have an unobstructed view of their surroundings so that they may detect potential predators easily. The venomous snake also favors areas with loose soils that are not overly wet, as this allows them to burrow and hide when seeking refuge.

Common European Adder Diet

The European adder is typically carnivorous and feeds on small mammals, such as mice, voles, and shrews. Though they can also feed on other animals such as lizards, frogs and sometimes even birds, their diet mostly consists of small rodents. Adders will hunt during the day or night depending on temperature and availability of prey. When a rodent is detected, the snake will move swiftly toward its target before striking with its venomous bite. Once bitten, the prey will be injected with venom that begins to take effect immediately; causing paralysis or death in a matter of minutes. This allows the adder to swallow its prey whole without having to struggle too much. Apart from mammals, European adders may occasionally feed on invertebrates like centipedes and worms as well as small birds and frogs if available.

Common European Adder Image
Common European Adder Image

Common European Adder Size

The European adder is considered a medium-sized species of snake, typically ranging from 60 to 90 centimeters in length. However, they can grow up to 1 meter and even a bit more in rare cases.  In terms of weight, adult European adders rarely exceed 150 grams; making them one of the smallest venomous snakes living in Europe. Males are generally smaller than females, with males weighing between 70 and 80 grams while females will usually reach up to 120 grams. Juveniles can range from 25 to 50 grams depending on their age and time spent growing up before adulthood. Despite their relatively small size, European adders are known to have a particularly potent venom with their potency varying from region to region. In some cases, fatalities even occur due to bites inflicted by these animals – however, this is quite rare due to the larger amount of venom needed for such an event to happen.

Common European Adder Lifespan

The common European adder can live for a surprisingly long time, with some specimens reaching up to 20 years or more in captivity. In the wild, however, their lifespan is usually much shorter – estimated at an average of 7-10 years. This is due to factors such as predation, habitat destruction, and other environmental hazards that are out of their control. Adder that survives their first year tends to be quite resilient and will generally live longer than those who do not make it through this stage.

This is because they have had the chance to adapt and learn how to survive threats in their environment as well as develop better behaviors when hunting for prey. They are particularly adept at avoiding predators by staying hidden in vegetation or burrowed underground; making it difficult for other animals to spot them. The key to increasing their lifespan lies in providing them with proper habitats where they can find adequate food sources and avoid most predators without too much effort; this ensures that these animals can live out their full life cycle without any major interruptions from external factors beyond their control.

Common European Adder Behavior

European adders typically exhibit a wide range of behaviors in their natural environment. They are mainly active during the day and prefer to stay hidden under rocks or in burrows during the night when temperatures are colder. The European adder is a solitary species, so it will usually hunt alone, with multiple individuals rarely seen together. When ready to strike its prey, the European adder will often coil itself up and remain still, waiting for unsuspecting prey to wander by before striking out with lightning speed and accuracy.

When threatened, the European Adder has a few different defensive strategies depending on how serious the threat is perceived to be. Generally speaking though, they tend to hide away rather than attack if given the chance; relying more on their defense mechanisms such as camouflage and scent marking to escape danger whenever possible. If this doesn’t work however, they can also release a foul-smelling musk as well as emit hissing noises that act as warning signals – letting potential predators know that they should not mess with them!

Common European Adder Picture
Common European Adder Picture

Common European Adder Speed

European adders are relatively fast creatures, able to move at great speeds when necessary to escape predators or catch prey. Depending on the terrain, the European adder can reach a maximum speed of up to 15 kilometers per hour. This is roughly equivalent to about 9 miles per hour, however, the snake’s speed may vary depending on certain factors such as its size and muscular strength.

The European adder’s speed also varies depending on environmental factors such as temperature and humidity levels. When temperatures are cooler, these snakes tend to be more sluggish due to decreased muscle activity which results in slower overall movement. As temperatures increase, however, their speed also increases significantly as increased body temperature leads to increased muscular activity and improved coordination between cells in the snake’s central nervous system – allowing for better control over swift movements.

Common European Adder Hunting

European Adders are skilled hunters that use several methods to catch their prey. Primarily, they employ a sit-and-wait strategy, where they will hide in vegetation or behind rocks and wait for unsuspecting animals to pass by before striking out with lightning speed. They can also actively search for food using their keen senses of smell and sight, while they also have the ability to burrow under loose soil or snow to hunt small mammals.

When the European adder strikes, it does so with one swift motion that is often too fast for the eye to follow. Its long fangs inject venom into its prey that quickly enters the bloodstream, causing paralysis and eventual death in most cases. This venom is powerful enough to kill rodents, birds, lizards, and even some larger animals such as rabbits and hedgehogs! In addition to its physical prowess, the European adder also possesses an impressive array of mental tactics when hunting.  The European adder has a highly developed sense of smell which allows them to detect chemicals released by potential food sources from up to several meters away. By using this sense they can determine if something is edible or not without having to get too close – making it much easier for them to locate a meal without putting themselves in danger.

Common European Adder Facts
Common European Adder Facts


The European adder is a remarkable species of snake that has managed to survive in many different conditions thanks to its incredible hunting abilities and mental acuity. From its scaly-free skin which reduces friction on the ground to its powerful venom and keen senses, it is clear that this species has what it takes to be a successful predator. If managed properly, there is no reason why we shouldn’t see more of these amazing snakes for years to come! With proper conservation efforts in place, hopefully, more people will appreciate the beauty of this unique creature and help ensure its future survival. After all, the European adder truly deserves our respect!

Frequently Asked Question


The Common European Adder is an incredibly versatile predator, capable of consuming a wide range of prey species. This includes small mammals, such as mice, voles, and shrews, as well as birds, reptiles, and amphibians. They have also been known to hunt invertebrates such as beetles, caterpillars, crickets, and even earthworms. They are also opportunistic feeders and will consume carrion, eggs, as well as fruit when available.


The Common European Adder is a species of venomous snake that is capable of delivering a potent toxin when it strikes its prey. Its venom contains neurotoxins, which can cause paralysis and even death in some cases if not treated immediately. Additionally, the European adder’s venom contains cardiotoxins which can damage the heart muscles and cause an irregular heartbeat.


The scientific name for the Common European Adder is Vipera berus.


The Common European Adder is found throughout most of Europe, especially in the northern and central regions. It can be found as far east as eastern Poland, western Ukraine, and Russian Caucasus; while in the south it ranges from Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia to the Balkans and Greece.


The Common European Adder is generally not considered to be an aggressive species; however, it can become defensive when threatened or disturbed. They will usually try to flee or hide if possible but may resort to striking if cornered or feeling particularly threatened.
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