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

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A s 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.

Zac with his binoculars. Photograph: Family handout

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

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