Spring is bringing the common European adder out of hibernation in the Ritaharju neighborhood on the city’s northern outskirts. When moving about in the area, an observant wayfarer might spy adders basking in the sun.
Adders have been spotted near the jogging path at the end of Eränkävijäntaival Street, where the boggy terrain particularly suits the species. The snakes have also been detected next to other cycle paths that run through the area.
Ritaharju resident Elina Blomqvist’s latest adder spotting was from last summer. “I came across adders last summer by the jogging trail and on the bike path,” she says. Finding adders close to her home made Blomqvist somewhat apprehensive. “It’s possible for the snakes to come into the backyard. Of course, the children have already been playing on the cycle paths. One cannot deny kids that, anyway.”
Roosa Kanniainen, also a resident of Ritaharju, hasn’t spotted any snakes in the area yet. “I haven’t seen adders myself, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they were nesting here. If I would run into one, I’d simply go round and keep a distance.”
The common European adder is not protected by law in Finland. “Killing an adder is not forbidden by law,” says Jarmo Saarikivi, a researcher of urban wildlife at Helsinki University. While no traps exist for catching adders, a simple means to prevent them from coming into your backyard is to mow your lawn regularly and remove any piles of brushwood.
Saarikivi challenges the common belief that ants and adders avoid each other. “It’s simply not true. Ants live on the edges of forests, just like adders do. Adders usually avoid going near anthills, but the two species can coexist within close range of each other quite well.”
The adder is venomous snake and medical help should always be sought if one gets bitten by a snake.