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Last Updated: Thursday May 12 2011 05:43 GMT

Snake spotting for Leah as she goes adder hunting!


Leah heads out counting adders

As part of her Wild Five series that's looking at UK animals in danger, Leah's been on the hunt for adders. Experts think their population is getting smaller, and it's important to make sure we know how many there are in the wild.

"I had to get up really early to track down the second Wild Five animal - the adder.

Lots of people - including me are - snake-aphobes so I really didn't want to get up close and personal with this scaly reptile!

Leah looks at a snake skin

Leah sees a real snake skin!

Snakes are cold blooded so they spend time in the morning soaking up the sunshine to get their energy.

The best time to see them is in early spring when they emerge from their hibernation dens.

But since the early 1960s experts have slowly noticed that fewer adders around the countryside.

Snake count-up

In some cases they were poised and in other cases their habitat was destroyed by housing estates being built.

Leah holds a smooth snake

Leah meets the UK's rarest snake

So, my chances of actually seeing one was highly unlikely - or so I thought.

After five minutes of looking in dense grassland in Dorset we spotted a female curled up beneath some bushes.

Minutes later there was a male. It looked as though he had shed his dull winter skin, because his colour was so vibrant.

An adder

I felt so lucky to see adders wild it was an awesome experience.

There is now a big census taking place by the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation group which wants to find out how many are left and where they live.

That way they can do more to protect them."