Species Guide: The Adder

The whole snake family has a rather strange evolutionary history.  Snakes’ ancient ancestors (who were also the ancestors of lizards) progressed from above-ground life, to living and moving about underground, burrowing through the earth. This subterranean lifestyle meant they’ve evolved to have relatively poor eyesight. To compensate, snakes picture their surroundings using their tongues, which collect chemicals in the air. On retracting the tongue, this transfers the chemicals to their ‘smell’ organ (called Jacobson’s organ).  The adder (Vipera berus) is, of course, also unique in being Britain’s only venomous snake. They use venom to help kill their prey, small mammals and chicks. But adders should not be feared – they will only bite you to defend themselves from a serious threat, like being handled or stepped on.

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Creative Encounters with the Natural World: Some Prompts for Writing and Visual Art

Our natural environment has been a fertile area of inspiration for writers, artists and all manner of creative folk, ever since ancient humans began to paint on cave walls. Engaging with nature can help us forget our egos, worries and daily frustrations – and encourages our imaginations to inhabit a different world. That said, creativity doesn’t always flow spontaneously. We often need a bit of direction to get started – and this is what prompts are for. Read on for a selection of activity prompts inspired by nature and wildlife…

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The Urban Scavenger Hunt

Your garden, the local park or while out on walks are all perfect for an urban nature scavenger hunt. The idea is simple – you discover the nature in your town or city by exploring crooks and looking at unusual times.

For example, try an evening walk to see some of our favourite nocturnal mammals, foxes and hedgehogs, or sunny spaces with some plant life give you the best chances of seeking out butterflies.

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