Young country diary: searching for an adder with my eagle eyes

Colne Pointe nature reserve, Essex: These shy and mysterious animals are one of my favourites, but I had never seen one before

As a trainee zoologist, I love all animals, but I really love snakes! I’d never seen a wild adder, so when we went on an adventure to Colne Pointe nature reserve in Essex – which is famous for its adders – I felt fizzy with excitement. Adders are most commonly seen on sunny afternoons when they try to warm up. They are Britain’s only venomous snake which makes them even more mysterious. You have to use your eagle eyes to see an adder as they are very shy.

When I saw a long, dark shape in the road, with that famous zigzag pattern, I crept over carefully. It was an adder! But it had been squashed by a car. Adders are in great decline, so this was a real tragedy. We kept our eyes peeled and continued, treading carefully though the sandy undergrowth of the reserve. Suddenly, I saw something flick out of the corner of my eye – it was a blue-skinned diamond tail poking over a wooden walkway. It slithered away and I stood there in awe. I couldn’t believe it! This was a dream come true and one of the best days of my life. (And I am eight, so I have had quite a few.) Zac, 8

• Read this week’s other YCD: ‘This newt is magic in the palm of my hand

• Visit Zac’s YouTube series, Zac’s Zoology Adventures

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Country diary: adders find their place in the Scottish sun
Aigas, Highlands: Emerging from hibernation, these snakes seek out a warming rock to get energised for the hunt ahead

John Lister-Kaye

21, May, 2018 @4:30 AM

Article image
Young country diary: The grass snake was trapped – but we set it free | Max
East Sussex: It was really struggling and couldn’t wriggle away. Then my granny’s friend had an idea

21, May, 2022 @10:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: I found the strangest thing in a rockpool | Henry
The Firth of Clyde: Sometimes I find jellyfish, sometimes blennies, and this time it was a sea mouse – which normally live on the seabed

18, Jun, 2022 @10:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: The hungry caterpillar makes beautiful shapes | Nenedjo
East London: I saw something weird on a leaf at forest school, then one of the teachers told me something that blew my mind

18, Jun, 2022 @10:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: The sky is full of frantically flapping bats
Redbridge, east London: Two bats are scything through the air together – are they next year’s parents meeting for the first time?

06, Nov, 2021 @11:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: what’s up with the ladybird?
West Essex: I spot a ladybird in the bush in our garden. But wait! there’s something strange about it

07, Aug, 2021 @10:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: A bird in the hand
Yorkshire Dales: My morning helping with a study of local birds will help them in the future – I even got to hold them

19, Nov, 2022 @11:01 AM

Article image
Young country diary: I found a little criminal | Anoushka
Hertfordshire: On a nippy day in our local wood, we found a field mouse. It was a mouse with a plan

18, Feb, 2023 @11:00 AM

Article image
Young country diary: I’ve been bitten by something – who is the culprit? | Emily
Wiltshire: Was it the stink bug who plodded up my arm? A grasshopper? I have opened my investigations

16, Jul, 2022 @10:01 AM

Article image
Young country diary: the puffins had their lunch, then I had mine
Lundy, Devon: From the ferry we saw a festival of seabirds, but the puffins were the luckiest spot of all

02, Oct, 2021 @10:00 AM