Common adder France



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Common adder
Vipera berus
Vipère péliade 

The common adder is only to be found in the north of France, the east of France and the Massif where they grow to a maximum of 90cm. They have a slightly flattened head and are round nosed, eyes with red iris and vertically slit oval pupils. Colouration varies regionally and also between the sexes, males are more varied in colour than females. Their backs can be almost any colour from pale grey to a dark olive green with darker bands which give a zig zag pattern, underneath they are a greyish blue with intense dark marks. They can also be entirely black; these are normally to be found in high regions above the tree line.


They live in a variety of habitats, predominantly where water is present or in damper regions and can also be found in salt marshland but are not found in the warmer parts of France.  It is likely that their range is decreasing with climate change. Prey is sought at dawn and dusk as a general rule, it consists of small mammals, birds, amphibians and lizards.  Unlike other vipers it is a good swimmer and often takes to the water.

Hibernation takes place anytime from October until March / April but will depend on temperatures.


Photo Above: Common adder, France

In decline - venomous

It's probable that the Common Adders range is less than shown on these maps and will be increasingly rare in some places.



Adders in the Réserve naturelle nationale de la vallée de Chaudefour, France for those with an interest. HERE