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Scratby beach has an

PUBLISHED: 18:58 13 June 2009 | UPDATED: 14:10 03 July 2010

Scratby beach

Scratby beach

VISITORS to Scratby beach could be in for a s-s-s-surprise this summer.

For while they are lounging on towels soaking up some rays or building castles in the golden sand, they may find a friend of a slithery nature - the beach is understood to be a haven for adders.

VISITORS to Scratby beach could be in for a s-s-s-surprise this summer.

For while they are lounging on towels soaking up some rays or building castles in the golden sand, they may find a friend of a slithery nature - the beach is understood to be a haven for adders.

The possible presence of Britain's only venomous snake has come to light during an environmental assessment as part of plans to apply for Environment Agency funding to extend the rock berm to protect hundreds of homes from coastal erosion.

But Bernard Harris, service development manager at GYB Services, assured the public they did not have to worry about getting bitten by the reptile, which usually prefers areas of rough, open countryside or woodland edge habitats.

“As long as you look where you are putting your feet, there should not be a problem. They tend to live where there is plenty of food for them, such as grassed areas where there are small insects or other creatures,” he said.

He added a member of the public had phoned the council to report seeing the snake at the beach in the area of the rock berm.

Mr Harris believed adders were breeding in larger numbers this year and said he had seen three already so far this year when he would normally expect to see one during a normal year.

However, he could not say why this had been a particularly good year for the species. Popular places locally for adders include Fritton Woods and Winterton.

The snake's presence should not be detrimental to rock berm extension plans and Mr Harris said it could prove an advantage as the berm would help to protect the adders.

Planning and design consultants Halcrow are currently drawing up the proposal to extend the granite rock berm by 1km at a cost of £3.1m. The assessment determines whether there are any rare wildlife species that need protecting and is due to be completed by the end of July.

The planning consultants will then have to wait to hear if they have secured Environment Agency funding, which could be in September.

For more information on adders, visit the Forestry Commission website www.forestry.gov.uk.


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