Walkers and dog owners have been warned to be mindful as Norfolk's only venomous snake emerges from hibernation.

Sightings of adders have started to rise in the county as the snakes wake from their winter hibernation. 

Mainly found in heathlands and sand dunes along the coast, they can also be found in woodland and are most active in spring and early summer when they can be seen basking and foraging. 

They can be identified by a vibrant zig-zag pattern along their body, but patterns can vary from snake to snake.

Adders are shy and would rather avoid contact with humans, only usually biting if touched. 

Eastern Daily Press: A female adder has a brown zig-zag patterned backA female adder has a brown zig-zag patterned back (Image: Newsquest)

Their bite is rarely fatal but immediate medical attention she be sought if someone is bitten. Symptoms can include dizziness, vomiting and swelling.

An eight-year-old boy was previously rushed to hospital after being bitten by an adder in Hemsby which saw his hand turn "purple".

Helen Baczkowska, Norfolk Wildlife Trust's nature recovery manager said: "Adders will rarely bite unless provoked but of course this can be accidental.

"We'd advise wearing sturdy footwear when walking on heathland and sandy areas in the summer and if you spot an adder, take care not to approach. 

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"Dogs can be at risk as they are naturally inquisitive and can inadvertently find themselves in the adders' preferred habitat.

"It's wise for dog owners to keep their pets to the path or under close control in areas where adders are likely to be found during March to October. 

"Adders are protected by law, but despite this, the number and range of adders continue to slowly decline, making it important for us to share our wild spaces thoughtfully with these enigmatic creatures."