Agony as an adder bites

Adie Bailey, who was bitten on his leg by an adder at Ogden Water.
Adie Bailey, who was bitten on his leg by an adder at Ogden Water.

A LANDSCAPE gardener has told of the horrific wound he suffered after being bitten by an adder.

Adie Bailey, 47, was strimming grass in Cow Hill Gate Lane, Causeway Foot, Halifax, when the adder – Britain’s only venomous snake – struck.

At first he thought he had caught his leg on the strimmer cord.

“But when I looked down I saw the snake sliding away,” he said.

Half an hour later Adie’s leg starting itching, he felt sick and had a headache.

“Over the day my leg blew up really bad and it looked like a snooker ball was coming out,” he said.

“It was red, purple with black bits.”

He went to Calderdale Royal Hospital that night and was given antibiotics.

But days later, when there had been no improvement, he went to the accident and emergency department and pus was drained from his leg.

“They cut it all out. There was tons of it and I was told all the signs were I’d been bitten by an adder,” said Adie

“I only saw the snake for a couple of seconds before it shot off through grass.

“It was two to two and a half feet long and a grey-gold in colour, with a bit of brown.”

Mr Bailey, of Warley, Halifax, is now on penicillin and having the wound on his lower left leg dressed daily.

He said it was the first time he had seen a snake while working but they are known in the area.

Calderdale area countryside officer Edward Ashman said there was a positive sighting of an adder at nearby Ogden golf course two years ago.

“They have definitely been sighted up there,” said Mr Ashman.

The adder is the only venomous snake native to Britain and it seems Mr Bailey was attacked after disturbing one.

Adders only use their venom as a last means of defence, usually if caught or trodden on.

With treatment, the worst effects are nausea and drowsiness, followed by severe swelling and bruising in the area of the bite.

Adders are relatively common in areas of rough, open countryside and are often associated with woodland-edge habitats and are most likely to be seen on warm spring days.