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20th June 2012

Snakes find sanctuary in the North York Moors

Forest Rangers have teamed up with reptile experts in the North York Moors to set up "Snake- friendly Corridors" in order to protect and increase Adder numbers in the area. Plans to plant paths through the forests are hoping to create safe havens for the snakes to breed, hidden away from predators.

These rare cold blooded reptiles are native to the moorlands and need warmth and sunshine to survive and breed. However the dangers posed by predators mean that they are only found in forests where the dense undergrowth offers some protection, but is sparse enough to allow the heat of the sun to penetrate, for example where there are young trees growing.

The new corridors will be created by clearing paths through the old established forests and re planting young trees and shrubs amongst them to allow the adders to breed and prosper in relative safety. The research shows that certain areas of new plant growth in Langdale, Dalby, Harwood Dale, Broxa and Wykeham forests are particularly favoured as breeding sites by the reptiles, so the programme is aimed at replicating these conditions and linking the areas together.

The Forestry Commission is also looking into the possibility of creating corridors for other species of wildlife and has carried out research into the habits of predators to gain more knowledge for future projects.