Dog attacks on adders; a comment on Worthington‐Hill & Gill (2019)

Authors: T. Madsen, L. Luiselli, P. Janssen


Brief summary of the paper: We have been conducting long‐term studies of adders in Sweden (39 years), The Netherlands (42 years) and in Italy on asp vipers Vipera aspis for 32 years. In spite of the sometimes abundance of dogs, we have never recorded any predation on adders by dogs.

We have, however, recorded many dogs getting bitten. For example, data from the ‘Working group Adder research Netherlands’ show that each year at least 10 dogs are bitten by adders. These bites occur not because of aggressive behaviour by the dogs towards adders, but more due to curiosity.

Similarly to Sweden, in the Netherlands, there are only a few cases recorded where the dog actually died from the bite, which is supported by a study on adder bites on dogs conducted in the UK