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The distribution and status of the adder (Vipera berus L.) in Scotland determined from questionnaire surveys

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During 1992 two questionnaire surveys, aimed at farmers and sections of the general public, were conducted to determine the distribution and status of the adder (Vipera berus L.) in Scotland. In total, 94% of the Scottish mainland and inner isles were covered by the two surveys. The adder appears to be widespread throughout Scotland, although it is absent from much of the Central Valley, the Outer Hebrides and Northern Isles, and from much of the mountainous region between Inverness and Glasgow. The distribution of the adder in Scotland was compared with the distributions of different habitat types defined in the ITE Land Class survey. Adders were strongly associated with areas of heterogeneous land use and negatively associated with intensively arable areas and rugged mountainous areas. Strong evidence was found to suggest that perceived adder abundance had declined during the last 10 years. Although the evidence suggesting that the distribution of adders in Scotland had changed was less strong, the results of the Farm Survey did indicate that it had contracted. The perceived change in status of the adder in Scotland during the last 10 years was compared with the observed changes in land use over the same period.
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Keywords: Distribution; Scotland; Vipera berus; adder; status

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, Furzebrook Research Station, Wareham, Dorset BH20 5AS, U.K. 2: Mathematical Institute, North Haugh, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9SS, Scotland, U.K. 3: Banchory Research Station, Hill of Brathens, Banchory, Kincardineshire. AB31 4BY, Scotland, U.K. 4: Scottish Agricultural Statistics Service, Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen AB9 2QJ, Scotland, U.K. 5: Biosphere Consultants, 614, West Main Street, Newbern, Tennessee 38059, U.S.A. 6: Scottish Natural Heritage, 2, Anderson Place, Edinburgh. EH6 5NP, Scotland, U.K.

Publication date: 1996-05-01

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