A warning has been issued for dog walkers after a woman was bitten by an adder in a Hampshire park.
Tracey Evans was walking her dog in Alver Valley Country Park in Gosport on Sunday (May 21) when her big toe was bitten by a venomous snake. She was preparing for her daughter’s surprise party, which she ended up missing because of the incident, so chose to walk her dogs earlier than usual.
Ms Evans wore flip flops on the walk, which meant the adder was easily able to bite her big toe. The incident meant she had to stay in Gosport War Memorial Hospital for two days.
Ms Evans said: "I had a very small bite on my big toe - up to my knee my leg is rock solid where it's so swollen. The pain is like nothing I've ever felt. I can't even put my foot on the ground - the pain is excruciating.
"I've walked my dogs there for five years and I've never seen an adder. I didn't see this one until it struck. It's a valuable lesson learnt. Don't wear flip-flops, even though it's sunny."
Ms Evans’ left leg remained swollen from Sunday until Monday evening. She was also hooked up to monitoring machines during that time.
It’s more likely that a pet such as a dog would be bitten by adders, as bites in humans are actually rare. However, the majority of bites in dogs occur between April and July.
Warning for dog walkers
Dog walkers have since been warned not to wear shoes like flip flops when walking their dogs. Between 50 and 100 people are bitten by adders in Great Britain each year, according to animal charity Amphibian and Reptile Conservation.
Adders are commonly found in the South West, South East and East of England, and can also be found in Scotland and parts of South Wales. They tend to be found in open habitats such as heathland, moorland, open woodland and sea cliffs.
Snakes usually bite dogs – especially puppies and young dogs – because they are acting in self defence. If you suspect your dog has been bitten, you should call your vet immediately.
Dog walkers have been advised by the charity to use well-used paths or other open areas, wear shoes or boots, walk slowly and look where you’re going. If you are bitten by a snake, you should be careful to never suck the poison out, as it can lead to other complications.
You should call 999 or go to A&E immediately. The best thing to do if you are bitten by an adder is to stay still. This is because an adder bite stops the blood from clotting and staying still will stop it from circulating.
NHS advice for dealing with snake bites
The NHS advises that you should stay calm and lie in the recovery position if you can. From there, you should try to get taken to a hospital as soon as possible.
Stay calm and remember that most snake bites in the UK are not serious and can be treated
Keep the part of your body that was bitten still
Lie in the recovery position if possible
Take paracetamol for any pain
Remember the colour and pattern of the snake to tell the doctor
Take off jewellery and loosen clothes near the bite in case of swelling