I had a frantic phone call from my daughter the other afternoon.She was walking her dog across Arne Moor going towards the Isolation Holiday homes.Daisy the dog has got her favorite swimming spots and gets to them first and she is straight in.This very sunny afternoon she was there with 2 snakes in the pool as well.My first reaction was to get her out as they were probably Adders.
Last night I was watching Springwatch with Simon King in Wareham Forest and was talking about the 3 types of snake in the area and he mentioned that it was Grass snakes that loved to swim.What would you have done in the same situation?Is there any easier way to tell one from the other apart from the colour of their eyes? Or would you if it was your dog keep her on the lead or go and find a river.
Hi there, at Arne we are very lucky to get all 6 British reptile species; sand lizard, common lizard and slow worm being the lizards and smooth snake, adder and grass snake, the snakes.
The snakes your daughter found would have been grass snakes as they were in water and can be easily distinguished from the other two British snakes by the light 'collar' markings they have on their necks in both the male, female and the young. They also tend to be green in colour, whereas adders have a dark diamond pattern along their backs and range from very dark black to light brown.
As far as dogs and snakes are concerned, it is always advised to keep dogs on leads on heaths were there are adders for the dogs safety, but more importantly for the safety of all other wildlife including adders, ground nesting birds and mammals which could be hurt or disturbed by dogs. In most Dorset heaths it is a 'dogs on lead' policy; as it is on the RSPB Arne reserve; this way we can all enjoy nature, including dog walkers but protect it from harm.
Hope this helps.
Rob, Information Assistant at Arne.
Rob many thanks for the info on the snake situation but the panic phone call came and I went for the worse case scenario and being 600 miles away I thought it was prudent.
My daughter is very well aware of the dog rules and keeps Daisy on a long rein on the common and does not come down into the main carpark at the reserve (even though she is a RSPB member).I was visiting from the Highlands of Scotland on the day of the dog and fawn incident.Not a pleasant thing to witness even worse as there were families there as well.It is a shame that some dog owners seem unable to read.
Have been watching Springwatch with interest and they were very lucky in being invited to share your wonderful piece of Dorset!