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St Patrick hath returned

Why adders could disappear from the British countryside within 10 years

Now all we need to do is wake Arthur up and we could really get the damn place sorted.

38 thoughts on “St Patrick hath returned”

  1. Now all we need to do is wake Arthur up and we could really get the damn place sorted.

    I’m a bit busy at the moment, could I get back to you about that later?

  2. Didn’t even realise Herefordshire had any. Too cold too wet. Essex is positively infested with the buggers. A local pub’s called The Viper. A mate’s dog was killed by one. They particularly like railway embankments. Sounds like yet another Climate Change Catastrophe! story to me. Only environmentalists could be concerned about the supposed demise of a deadly venomous reptile. How fortunate you don’t have funnel web spiders or scorpions for them to champion. On the other hand, who thought it was a good idea to reintroduce wild boar to English woodlands? Bet the person got gored by one, couple of weeks ago, didn’t agree.

  3. Adders not multiplying, eh? It’s a way of dividing the population on the basis of their philosophies. Just subtract climate change from the equation …

  4. Assuming that one could obtain a section 1 firearms licence, is it legal to hunt wild boar in the UK?

  5. Thirty years ago there were complaints of adders invading suburban Cambridge by coming along the railway lines from the S and SE.

    Do people realise that there are natural cycles in yer Nature?

  6. @saker Falco
    Depends if they’re a protected species. If not, on your own land yes. Shot any number of deer on a mate’s farm. Damned pests if they get in the cabbages. And it’s amazing how many there are. Thousands in quite a small area. Very hard to spot them unless you catch them feeding. .227 from about 500 metres works. But need more stopping power for boar. Not a through & through. I use 12 gauge with solid slug.

  7. The old joke is that when Noah told the animals to go forth and multiply, he was left with a a couple of bewildered snakes who said that they were only adders.

  8. Sounds like yet another Climate Change Catastrophe! story to me.

    Indeed. Of course if numbers are really declining and the changing climate is to blame, then there is no point in trying to save these creatures. The climate is changing and that’s that. Even if mankind is partially to blame, the measures presently underway in a small number of wealthy nations will make no difference. Like the rest of us, adders will have to adapt.

    Re: wild boar hunting, don’t go through all the rigmarole for a firearms licence:

  9. They give the usual hokey about climate change, but these are critters that are quite happy in warm (for England) and dry Essex as well as the cold and wet Highlands. That’s some range of climates.

  10. Thank goodness the Subtractor is taking care of them.

    If only He’d come to Oz and get rid of the dingoes. And the crocodiles. And the sharks.

    Oh! And the snakes as well.

  11. BiS

    “……who thought it was a good idea to reintroduce wild boar to English woodlands?”

    A cousin of mine farmed wild boar on the edge of the Forest of Dean. Very expensive business.

    The authorities demanded strong fencing three metres tall above surface and two metres subsurface, reinforced with an electric fence set up one metre in front of said fence. Maintaining that and trying to make a profit out of what, at best, was a marginal consumer product proved a tad overwhelming and he packed it in.

    Not sure what happened to the sounders, but I hear there is a substantial population at large in the Forest of Dean. What a coincidence.

  12. I hear there is a substantial population at large in the Forest of Dean

    I can confirm that.
    Most verges are dug up by the boars and the numbers are substantial.

  13. There’s some in Kent and East Sussex as well. The culprit is supposed to be Celia Hammond, who imported some, and then the buggers got out.

  14. @BiS,

    Knew a bloke who rolled his own shotgun cartridges. Used a solid slug to shoot the church bell that was annoying him….

  15. There was talk of releasing them wild in W. Sussex before I left. I’ve a nasty feeling they have gone through with it.
    This must run in your family! If you fancy tackling a charging wild pig with a boar spear, I’ll hold your beer. Those things are for the coup de grace on one you’ve put down with a gun, not hunting them. Or your hopeful last of defence if it’s still mobile & you haven’t time to reload. And you get just the one chance. The pig gets several. Pigs are amazingly resilient animals. I saw a geezer in France give one half a mag of highly illicit AK74 on full auto, didn’t slow it down by much. Eventually bled out half a klick away.

  16. That reminds me of a certain highly promiscuous Formula One driver and later TV commentator who was known as the Pit Viper…

  17. Bloke in Aberdeen

    Plenty adders up this way. Do many that there is (used to be anyway) a dedicated snakebite unit at Stracathro hospital. They do fine in the cold and wet, and can be found sitting out on rocks in the sunshine.

    As for deer – total pests. There are lots of areas that would be nice forests if the deer weren’t around.

  18. There used to be a llama park just off the A22 in the Ashdown Forest. Something of a bonus, the snakes in the grass, were absolutely free.

    People got bitten there quite often. No idea why the adders were hanging around the llamas.

  19. Must admit that the wild boar nonsense is one of those things that really pisses me off.

    Our more sensible ancestors very sensibly got rid of some of those pests. And now we insist on reintroducing them.

    I’m thinking of the damn dingoes on Fraser Island, or whatever they call the place these days. In the good old days we shot them on sight. No problems. Now they’re protected. And of course visitors to the place are being bitten.

    You’ll have noted that the megafauna still exist in places like Africa, because they adapted to humans as we evolved. But in places like the UK and Oz we got rid of such bloody nuisances.

    If God had meant we should be annoyed by such things, He wouldn’t have invented the machine gun.

  20. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ Adders not multiplying, eh? It’s a way of dividing the population on the basis of their philosophies. Just subtract climate change from the equation …”

    That’s squared it away nicely.

  21. @ Boganboy
    Our ancestors in the British Isles got rid of dangerous megafauna centuries before the machine gun was invented, most of them with flint-tipped spears and arrows. To stop the last animal from preying on Britons, God invented the Irish Wolfhound.

  22. @MC You really don’t want to use that “pig-sticker” on anything serious. Defiitely not a boar that could do a do-or-die charge when you’re that close.

    That’s a segmented shaft.. They won’t hold up under the impact, especially when they’ve been re-assembled a couple of times. And that’s for serious steel, these have aluminium threads.. Bugger that..

    If there was a solution to this problem, re-enactors would have found it by now. Because it would save us a lot of transport challenges for our polearms…

    Oh, and the blade is halfway too short, too wide at the base, and…
    Honestly .. that thing is a disaster waiting to happen, and only “useful” as penile compensation for Mighty Hunters of the Outdoors persuasion.

    If you really want/need to tackle boar, especially on your own property, there’s proper crossbows with impressive draw weights that are perfectly legal to own in most places.
    And can do a proper Headshot if the beast charges straight at you. An all too common situation where a pig-sticker won’t save you unless you know exactly what you’re doing..

  23. Following the BLM modus operandi, I claim my £25,000,000 to build an adderville for the lovely cuddly creatures. Obvs, I’ve got my eye on a groovy pad in Hampstead Heath, but Mum’s the word, eh?

  24. To be fair, Grikath, he’s misunderstood the purpose of the implement. It’s supposed to be used for dispatching an already dying animal. Theory being that a spear blade to the heart is more merciful than repeatedly shooting the beast. As such, I suspect it’s really a leftover from the days when hunting was using muzzle loading black powder guns took considerable time to reload. And before that, bows & arrows of course. The only time I’ve ever seen them used is to ensure the animal is actually dead before approaching it any closer.
    And to be clear why pigs are dangerous. They are not a hunting carnivore. Although they will eat carrion. But their defence response if they believe they’ve been threatened is to attack. And they’re a big very strong animal with an impressive set of dentistry. And they’ll also trample with their sharp hooves. Often the attack is provoked because the victim has inadvertently got between the sow & her piglets. Problem being their habitat is the dense undergrowth in woodlands so a walker may not even be aware that there are pigs about until the attack. They may also do the same if they’re approached feeding. Not long ago, a couple of miles from where I’m writing this, a man was killed in his suburban garden trying to get the beast away from his vegetable patch. Bitten through the leg he bled out on his own doorstep. Reintroducing them into the wild is just lunacy. Especially in areas where the countryside is regarded as a leisure resource & people’s only experience of being up close with animals is petting zoos. It’s not as if they’re even particularly beneficial for the environment. Damage it more than anything. Why they get hunted anywhere there’s a substantial wild population. Control the numbers. And with large litters, pig can multiply very quickly.

  25. Morning all. I assure you I have no intention of hunting wild boar at all. I have seen footage of people in the USA shooting wild pigs from helicopters, which seems the ideal way, but probably not suited for the New Forest.

    @BiS- sure, the spears I linked to are for the coup de gras (it actually says that on the site), however boar hunting with spears was a pastime of yore. I remember seeing a magnificent boar spear in the German hunting and fishing museum in Munich. I couldn’t find a photo of it to link to, but I recall it having a much longer blade (and shaft) and a much wider bar to stop the enraged porker sliding towards you.

    In the UK, the state is far more concerned with the welfare of vermin than with that of the public, so boar hunting is always going to be tricky.

  26. Much the same with adders. You live somewhere where they’re common, you take precautions. Prod the compost heap with a fork before messing with it. Always keep your eyes on the ground in tall grass That place in Essex is actually right in the middle of the London commuter belt. 90% of housing has been built in the last few years. Their inhabitants’ only experience of wildlife is the other side of a TV screen. They actually expect the countryside to be a park with all its dangers managed out of it.

  27. Totally off topic but just came across this in an article about the disadvantages of vegetarian milk: A 2020 study by Nottingham University and the Sustainable Food Trust determined that a kilogram of soya beans produces 13 pints of soy milk – but up to 150 pints of dairy milk if fed to a cow.

    Seemed wrong as soon as I read it. Milk is around 13% solids which is what you’re interested in, not the water content. So 74cc per pint to get it into metric. Call the density 1 for a ball park figure (fats are actually a bit under that but on the other hand soy bean has water content). So 150 pints is around 11 kilos of dry solids. Where did the other 10 kilos of mass come from? They’ve not mentioned any other inputs. Arts grad journalist misunderstanding? Although putting Nottingham University together with the Sustainable Food Trust one can be sure the result will be woo on stilts

  28. ‘’

    BiS. The above is the article I like best as the result of my quick google. Of course someone may be able to shoot its arguments down in flames.

  29. The old joke is that when Noah told the animals to go forth and multiply, he was left with a a couple of bewildered snakes who said that they were only adders.

    It was the Lord at Creation who told the animals to go forth and multiply. When the last 2 hung back saying, “but Lord, we’re adders!” the Lord replied unto them:

    “I have made provision for you. You can use log tables.”

  30. Oddly Boganboy, “goat milk (absence of) is killing the planet” would work just as well. It’ll be goats not eating the under-bush behind the wildfires on Rhodes. No doubt easy money to be made serving the tourist trade has meant the locals don’t bother about keeping goats any more.
    So if some dietician could promote the hell out of the benefits of goats milk (increases sexual prowess in men, stronger orgasms for woman, better behaved kids) they’d be reporting the almost absence of wildfires & the damage that was doing to the environment. And blaming Global Warming!

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