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“Snake-friendly corridors” introduced on North York Moors
RARE adders could be given a new lease of life in the North York Moors with the introduction of “snake-friendly corridors”.
A new study into adders on the moors has sought to work out why the snakes are found in some places but not others.
Reptile expert James Stroud worked with forest rangers in Dalby and Langdale forests, near Pickering, and Harwood Dale, Wykeham and Broxa forests, near Scarborough – where he discovered that young conifer plantations were adder hotspots.
He found that the abundance of food was relatively less important than the threat from potential foes in determining whether the creature frequented a forest haunt.
Mr Stroud concluded that linking together adder breeding colonies with snake-friendly corridors – for example, paths of new trees among older trees – could give the species a boost.
Brian Walker, wildlife officer with the Forestry Commission, said: “James’s workreinforces the value of creating wildlife corridors throughout the forest, not just for snakes, but other animals too.
“Adder colonies are particularly vulnerable to becoming fragmented, which is bad news. They are cold-blooded and need to sunbathe to keep up their body temperature.
“hat means they may find it hard to travel long distances under denser forest canopies which block out the sun’s warming rays.”
The Forestry Commission hopes to use the research to inform its plans for the shape of forestry in the future, with breeding sites plotted on mapping systems.
In coming to his finding, Mr Stroud also investigated the threat posed by predators like birds of prey by deploying 250 Plasticine adders – some of which showed signs of being attacked.