Here we have a melanistic adder, probably a male. Melanism is a condition, which means the animal has an increased amount of black pigment throughout their body. This can be slight, or in some cases it can be so severe that the whole body is completely black.
You will notice that he is resting his chin on his mid-body section and that this part of his body looks flat.
The reason for this is the fact that a snake can flatten their body to create a larger surface area. The bigger the surface area means more sun penetration and heat can be absorbed.
Its tough work getting close to a shy and elusive creature like the adder, but stealth, understanding and patience is the key to getting close without disturbing them.
This photograph was taken with a 100mm macro lens and I was probably no more than 12 inches away, but even though he could see me, he was fine as I was making no sudden movements and was at his level.
Why do I feel the need to get so close? That's simple, I love these creatures and when I see certain TV presenters tailing these beautiful reptiles, swinging them around (whilst trying not to be bitten), it makes me mad.
I could pick up every snake in my photographs if I wanted to, but for what purpose? I have no idea why these presenters feel the need to man handle the snakes they find, maybe the producers think it makes better TV?
I have hours of video, where our snakes are in their natural habitat (acting normal). Some of this footage can be slightly boring, I admit it as a basking snake is not very entertaining, but if these presenters were swung around by their legs for about 10 minuets, I'm pretty sure they would be very upset and want to punch the person doing it.
Snakes don't have hands to defend themselves, they have fangs and 9 times out of 10, all snake bites are preventable.