Reptile walk with Dottie

Back in July Millie and Fly had a very special guest staying with them.  She was called Dottie the Dalmatian and she is the mascot for the charity Post Pals!  She was up there to join them on their adventures so she had lots of nice photos to send and fun things to write to her pals about next year, and they took her to lots of places!

In this blog they are going to tell us all about their walk to discover reptiles!

With a free afternoon and the sun shining, we decided to take our special friend on a reptile walk.  Those of you who have been following our blog may remember earlier on in the year we aimed to find all of the native reptiles that live locally (slow worm, common lizard and adder) and with it being such a lovely sunny July day, we decided to take Dottie on a reptile walk led by yours truly!

So off we headed to Loch Lee, but instead of going around the loch we decided to head along to Queen’s Well and it was certainly a good choice!  We soon spotted several common lizards that quickly darted into the cover of the heather as we approached, but some did decide to stick around for a few photos.

A bit further along the trail, we spotted the second of our native reptiles a slow worm!  These are laid back reptiles and Dottie was allowed to hold the slow worm for a short while before we let him continue on his way and get back to doing whatever it is that slow worms do (which is hunt for slugs, and they were plenty of them about). 

The slow worm seemed to find Dottie rather cuddly...

We hadn’t gone much further along after leaving our slow worm before we came across the third of the reptiles we have living locally.  This one we kept a safe distance from, there would be no holding this one for this one was an adder, the only venomous snake in the UK!

This one is a female and she was quite content basking on her rock just off the path.  Though adders are venomous, they tend to try and avoid trouble as much as possible.  They don’t want to be biting a dog, person, or a cuddly Dalmatian as their venom is for catching their dinner.  As long as we gave her space and didn’t bother her, she wasn’t going to bother us.  For the most part, adders are quick to disappear when they feel at risk or hear a dog or person approaching...retreat is their first choice and it is only when that choice is removed (for example if they are stood on, cornered or grabbed) that they will resort to biting to protect themselves.

When it comes to adder bites, prevention is always better than cure, and there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the risk of yourself or your dog being on the receiving end of an adder bite.

  1. Keep your dog on a lead or to the paths in areas where adders live.  The greatest risk is when leaving paths and entering the undergrowth where adders tend to hide and bask.  Keeping your dog close increases the chance of you spotting an adder on the path before your dog runs into it and catches it by surprise.
  2. Wear suitable footwear and long trousers when walking in adder territory. An adder's fangs are unlikely to penetrate proper walking boots and the trousers could block the adder making contact.  As an added bonus, tucking long trousers into socks reduces the risk of ticks crawling up your legs!
  3. Bit obvious, but should you spot an adder don’t try to grab it! If you get bitten trying to grab the snake, it really is your own fault (sorry)!  If in doubt over the species, keep a safe distance. 
Should you or your dog happen to actually be bitten, hopefully through no fault of your own, then the most important thing to do is stay calm/keep your dog calm.  Panicking will make the venom travel faster around the body.  Remove anything near the bite suck as watches, tight clothing, collars etc as the venom can cause swelling.    In most cases, adder venom isn't fatal, and in many no venom is injected at all the snake gives a “dry” bite, but it is still important to see a doctor/vet as soon as possible following a bite.  Don’t try to suck out the venom, that doesn't help.  Don’t make a tourniquet, this doesn't help and can cause more harm than good and you could end up losing a limb by cutting off the circulation.  And don’t try and catch and kill the snake.  You may well end up being bitten again, and if you have been lucky and had a dry bite the next one may not be!  Remember, the snake was only doing what it felt it had to in order to defend itself!

We were very pleased to have shown Dottie all three of the native reptiles in our area, we have never got all three in a single walk before!  Dottie must have brought us some luck.  Our walk didn't end there though, we continued on to Queens Well.  Queen Victoria stopped and drank from the well when she was travelling up to her house at Loch Muick following the death of Prince Albert, and we figured if it was good enough for a queen it was good enough for us!  Following Queen Victoria’s visit, a big ornamental thing was built to commemorate her visit. 

We went a bit beyond the well, but not much further as we had things to do and it was time to start heading back home.

With adders around and no doubt plenty of ticks too (the ticks here can carry Lyme disease which is a very nasty disease to get for people and dogs), we were kept on the lead throughout the walk so there aren't really any photos of us, but this is one of our local glens and we have plenty of other photos from here...

In fact, the first proper photo of us together was taken at Loch Lee...this was in the winter, adders hibernate in the winter and the ticks aren't around so we can get a bit of freedom if the sheep aren't out!  We hadn't been with Katherine and Iain for a whole month when this photo was taken.

This was also before we started swimming, so the fact that there was water behind us was of no interest to us either...

Now we’d be rushing down to the water to go swimming!

We are looking forward to taking Dottie on many more adventures with us and have a long list of places we’d like to go and things we’d like to see!  Maybe even with a nice new Chuckit! toy to play with...*cough*Tri Bumper*cough* hint hint Katherine!

Well there you have it...Millie and Fly's reptile adventure with Dottie the Dalmation!! We have another fun and interesting blog from these two coming soon so keep those eyes peeled. If anyone would like to read more about Dottie the Dalmation here is a link to her website


Until next time...

a blog brought to you by...

....Active Hound...

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