Warning after venomous snake spotted on beach in Dorset

The adder is thought to have been around 3ft long Credit: Debbie Lee

An adder thought to be around 3ft long has been spotted on a beach in Dorset, sparking a warning from the NHS.

The snake, which is native to the UK, was seen "sunbathing" on a beach near Old Harry Rocks, in Dorset by walker Debbie Lee.

She said: "We were walking down the path towards the beach and my partner noticed something move in front of us.

"The adder was already in the middle of the path. I approached it slowly and started taking some random snaps. As it was very sunny, I wasn't sure if I had caught it on camera."

Adders are one of three native species of snake to the UK along with the grass snake and smooth snake. Adders are the UK's only venomous snake.

Adders have been encountered throughout the region over the past two months, with one dog in Cornwall having a lucky escape after being bitten.

What do adders look like?

Adders are a relatively small, stocky snake. They are greyish in colour, with a dark and very distinct zig-zag pattern down their backs and a red eye.

Male adders tend to be more silvery-grey while females are lighter or reddish-brown. The reptiles prefer woodland, heathland and moorland habitats. They hunt small lizards and small mammals, as well as ground nesting birds.

What to do if you're bitten by an adder

The NHS said while most snake bites in the UK are not serious, it is important to get an adder bite checked by a medical professional as soon as possible.

It added: "You will usually need to stay in hospital for at least 24 hours if you have been bitten by a snake. The bite will be cleaned and bandaged. You might need an injection to help protect you from tetanus".

More NHS guidance for snake bites can be found on their website.