Dog walkers warned to 'not take risks' after woman bitten by adder in Hampshire Country Park

Tracey's left foot and leg have swollen significantly following the bite. Credit: ITV Meridian

People across Hampshire are being urged to 'not take risks' after a woman was bitten by a venomous snake whilst walking her dogs.

Tracey Evans was hospitalised after an adder bit her big toe whilst she was out in Alver Valley Country Park on Sunday.

The bite led Ms Evans to miss her 17-year-old daughters surprise birthday party, which was due to take place that afternoon.

She had gone out in flip-flops when she walked her dogs that morning, something which Tracey said she is known for wearing.

The walk was earlier than usual to ensure she was home for the party, where she hoped to surprise her daughter with a car.

Tracey was walking her dogs when she was bitten on her left big toe. Credit: Tracey Evans

Speaking to ITV Meridian from her hospital bed, Tracey wants to warn others of the dangers of an adder bite, which she described as 'excruciating'.

"It happened so quickly," she told us. "I was walking along a wide open grassy path in flip flops, which I've always done, and suddenly I felt this pain...

"At first I thought it was a bramble but my friend who I was told me it was a snake bite.

"I quickly walked the dogs home, which was a 10 minute journey, and then my friend took me to Gosport War Memorial Hospital."

When she arrived at hospital Tracey said her foot had started to swell up.

Adders are not normally aggressive and only bite if they feel threatened

Staff at the Urgent Treatment Centre phoned toxicology to find out what to do with the bite, as many there had never come across an adder bite before.

Tracey then spent roughly an hour there before an ambulance was called and she was taken to the Queen Alexandra Hospital (QA) in Portsmouth.

Once at the QA she was placed in resus in A&E as staff worked out the best course of action.

Anti-venom then had to be shipped from Southampton General Hospital, as the Portsmouth hospital did not have any on site.

The anti-venom was given to Tracey at around 1500, the same time as her daughter's birthday party.

What should you do if you are bitten by a snake?


  • Stay calm – most snake bites in the UK are not serious and can be treated.

  • Keep the part of your body that was bitten as still as you can.

  • Lie in the recovery position if you can.

  • Take paracetamol for any pain.

  • Try to remember the colour and pattern of the snake to tell the doctor.

  • Take off any jewellery and loosen clothes near the bite, in case the skin swells.

Source: NHS

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  • Do not go near the snake, or try to catch or kill it.

  • Do not try to suck or cut the poison (venom) out of the bite.

  • Do not tie anything tightly round the part of the body where the bite is.

  • Do not take aspirin or ibuprofen, as they can make bleeding worse.

Source: NHS

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Tracey praised the actions by NHS staff, despite the bite being a first for many at the QA.

She told us that doctors had come to see her from various departments as "they had never seen an adder bite before."

"They have been amazing," she said. "But [treating an adder bite] doesn't seem to be common NHS knowledge."

Until Monday evening she had been hooked up to monitoring machines and much of her left leg remains swollen. She remains in hospital under observation.

Following her ordeal Tracey wants others to be aware of adders, despite sightings being few and far between.

"Adders will go where they want to go," she told us. "I wouldn't want anyone to go through it.

"I've learnt a valuable lesson, I won't be wearing flip-flops again and I won't take the risk.

"I've walked in that area for five years and I knew there were adders, but I hadn't seen one till now.

"I am now contemplating walking somewhere else as the dogs run off into the grass, whilst I stay on the path."

Adders are active between March to October Credit: Clifton Villa Veterinary Surgery

Adder bites are extremely rare in the UK, with around 50-100 people bitten each year.

The reptiles like open habitats such as heathland, moorland, open woodland and sea cliffs, typically on free-draining soils such as chalk or sand.

They are most commonly found across the South West, South East and East of England.

The snakes are also found in much of Scotland and parts of South Wales.

It is more likely that a pet, such as a dog, would be bitten by the snakes, which normally act in self defence.

Puppies and young dogs can be especially curious and can unintentionally provoke an adder into biting.

The majority of bites in dogs seem to occur between April and July, most commonly in the afternoon when the adders are most active, according to Vets4Pets.

If you suspect your pet has been bitten you should call your vet immediately, it added.