Vipère péliade ~~ Vipera berus
~~ Common adder
The common adder is only to be found in the north of France, the east of
France and the Massif. It grows to a maximum of 90cm. It has a slightly
flattened head and is round nosed, eyes with red iris and vertically
slit oval pupils. Colouration
varies regionally and also between the sexes, males are more varied in
colour than females. Their backs can be almost any colour from pale grey
to a dark olive green with darker bands which give a zig zag pattern,
underneath they are a greyish blue with intense dark marks. They can
also be entirely black; these are normally to be found in high regions
above the tree line.
They live in a variety of habitats, predominantly where water
is present or in damper regions and can also be found in salt marshland
but are not found in the warmer parts of France.
It is likely that their range is decreasing with climate change. Prey is sought at dawn and dusk as a general rule, it consists of small
mammals, birds, amphibians and lizards. Unlike other vipers it is
a good swimmer and often takes to the water.
Hibernation takes place
from October until March / April.
Above: Common adder,
decline - venomous
It's probable that the Common Adders range is less than shown on
these maps and will be increasingly rare in some places.
Adders in the Réserve naturelle nationale de la vallée de Chaudefour,
France for those with an interest.