Even though I feel completely safe and in no danger when photographing the adder today, I also understand that I would be foolish to become complacent.
In the early days I did just that and was bitten by a mature female. Looking back at that incident now, I feel like an idiot for being too gung-ho and it must have been quite stressful for the snake involved!
Sometimes a snake will give a dry bite where they hold back the venom. This is just a warning bite as they have seen the target as non threatening to their life and want them to leave.
Failure to do this will invite an envenomation and as it takes a huge amount of the snakes energy to produce venom, which it will later rely on for catching a meal, this is not a good scenario for "all" involved!
It was an envenomation when I was bitten, purely because she was in the open and I was in her face. I have learnt a lot over the years and "respect" for this creature is on top of my list.
The adder in the photograph below is a young female and she decided to take a close look at me while I was photographing her older brothers and sisters.
Once again I was on my belly, using a beanbag as a support, but sometimes you have to move away from the support and hand hold if a snake is out of shot.
I had moved away from the support of the beanbag and was photographing an adult male. I was probably away from the beanbag for only 2 - 3 minuets, but I have learnt that when you are in the snakes garden, be careful where you tread and always check the area before you move.
I slowly looked back towards the beanbag and this is when I saw her head resting on top of it! As quick as a flash I took this photograph and she then moved away.
I guess I have been lucky that I have not been bitten more often, but having the utmost respect for these magnificent reptiles has helped me learn a lot about them and I will keep learning for the rest of my life.