‘Leave snakes alone’ warning amid increased sightings on Welsh beach
Lewis Smith, local democracy reporter
Reports of snake sightings in have increased this summer according to a Welsh local authority, following a record breaking heatwave that has swept across the UK.
Bridgend council has reported receiving a higher number of enquiries than usual regarding snake sightings in the borough, especially in the Rest Bay area of Porthcawl.
It follows new research published in the Clinical Toxicology journal which revealed that more people in the UK are reporting injuries caused by snakebites than ever before.
Most of these, however, have been caused as a result of snakes being kept as pets, with Bridgend County Borough Council reassuring residents and visitors that there is very little risk of harm from native species.
Councillor John Spanswick, cabinet member for communities said: “The UK is home to both grass snakes and adders, and while only the adder is toxic, its bite is rarely fatal and can be easily treated. Most reported incidents involve dogs rather than humans, and in the vast majority of cases, a full recovery is made.
“Adders and grass snakes can often be seen at the side of rural paths, and can be identified by their distinct markings – adders have a zig-zag pattern running along their backs, while grass snakes have a distinctive yellow collar and two small black triangles just below their heads.
“The council and its partners have produced a handy guide called ‘Snakes of the Bridgend Coast’ to help people spot snakes and other reptiles within Bridgend County Borough, and which offers advice on what to do if you come across one.
“The best advice for anyone who encounters a snake while out and about is to simply leave them alone, and try not to disturb them. All British reptiles are protected under law, and the adder is a species that is considered to be particularly at risk.”
A council spokesperson added: “With people flocking to the coast this summer, the stunning bays and beaches of Porthcawl in Bridgend County Borough are proving to be popular with more than just tourists and visitors.
“If you think that you may have been bitten by an adder, stay calm and do as little walking as possible. Go directly to A&E or call 999 for assistance, and remove any jewellery and watches from the bitten limb.
“Never tie a tourniquet, try to cut or suck the venom out or attempt to catch or kill the snake.”
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