Following a Facebook post stating that four dogs had died after receiving snake bites at Hornchurch country park, the Havering Daily, spoke to East Area Command’s Wildlife Officer PC Anthony Kiddle about this.
‘I’ve looked into this and not had any reports to suggest this is the case. I have checked with local vets and other outlets and no one has reported this.
‘There is only one type of venomous snake in the United Kingdom and that’s the Adder. Adders are everywhere much like grass snakes and there is nothing you can do about it. No crimes have been committed.
‘Adders are in bushes and are all over Havering. They pose no threat to humans or animals unless your dog attempts to play with it and it feels threatened. If you are worried just keep your dog on a lead.
‘They normally come out first thing in the morning to lie in the sun and warm up. Please let them be and just walk away from them. They are protected animals so it is preferable just to let them be and go your own way.
‘Adders are native snakes to this country and don’t normally harm anyone.’
Councillor Osman Dervish, Havering’s Cabinet Member for Environment told the Havering Daily, ‘There have been no reports made to our parks staff or parks police officers. We’ve spoken to the local dog walking community and enquired at the local vets but the claims remain unfounded.
‘The safety of our residents and their pets is always a priority at Hornchurch Country Park and all our parks. If anyone has any concerns we ask them to report it to us or the police.’
Under the wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 all British reptile species are protected. The killing and injury or sale of any species is an offence.
According to the RSPCA:
Reptiles need places to bask, forage for food, shelter and hibernation.
These places are generally found near ponds, streams, grass cutting heaps or compost.
Most snake bites are accidental after having disturbed or deliberately antagonised the snake. Snakes will never chase you to bite you, rather they will go in the opposite direction.
If you are worried about encountering a snake, stomp as you walk as snakes are sensitive to ground vibrations.