Adders, the only British venomous snakes, are common on the Forest but rarely seen. Bites from adders are very rare, and the vast majority occur when a snake is picked up. Most reactions to adder bites are mild, but any bite should be regarded as potentially serious and immediate medical advice should be sought. In the last century, 12 human deaths in Britain have been attributed to adder bites (this compares with several deaths every year due to insect stings). Bites to dogs do occur, but rarely prove fatal. Vets and doctors in areas where adders occur are aware of the treatment required in handling bite cases, and effective treatment is now well understood.
On warm summer days you will often hear rustling in the undergrowth around you. This is likely to be a common lizard. These small lizards are about (about 12cm long). The colour and patterning of t is remarkably variable. The main colour is mid-brown, but it can be also grey, olive brown or black. Females may have dark stripes on their flanks and down the middle of the back. Sometimes females also have light-coloured stripes, or dark and light spots along the sides of the back. Most males and some females have dark spots in their undersides. Males have brightly coloured undersides – typically yellow or orange, but more rarely red. Females have paler, whitish underparts. The throat is white, sometimes blue!
Smooth, crested and great crested newts can be found in Forest ponds where they feed on tadpoles and insects. The pond at the Forest Centre is full of newts. Although slow-worms are common they are rarely seen.