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Johann Prescher - Adder Conservation Article

Left: Common Adder - Credit: Corrie Post
Right: Vipera aspis - Credit: Ron Krol

We are excited to present you with an article written by Adder Researcher Johann Prescher in one of Holland’s news-papers. You can download the original article as a PDF and we have featured a translation below:

Download: Newsletter feature from the Netherlands: "Dagblad van het Noorden"

Report – Adder Researcher

If there are any Adders in a particular area, then Johann Prescher will find them. The experienced gentleman from Steenwijk searches for these venomous snakes for nature organisations and research agencies in the Northern part of the Netherlands. In his quest to find Adders he often traverses an area called ‘Leggelderveld’ in the province of Drenthe

‘I always wear Gloves, I do not take any risk’. ‘Not even the King Cobra can bite through these’.


This snake-man is not your normal naturist. Johann Prescher (28) was a professional in the Dutch army for 5 years. He started out as a driver on an armoured vehicle called the Fennek. Later he became a shooter, and then a combat life saver (CLS). After 5 years he had had enough.

‘I thought, is this really something I want to do? I wanted to do something else with my life. And I decided to start studying again’.

The reptile expert signed up for ‘Wildlife Management’ at the Van Hall Larenstein Hogeschool in Leeuwarden. He hopes to graduate by completing a research project on bats in the province of Friesland.

‘For that I will, in the near future, be climbing all church-towers in Friesland’.

For some years he has accumulated data for the ‘Bats Working Group Groningen’. But at present we are not here to find bats.

2 years ago, as a volunteer, Prescher adopted ‘het Leggelderveld’, a heathland of 300 hectare to the south of ‘Hoogersmilde’. He keeps meticulous records of the Adder population for the area owner Natuurmonumenten and for the Working Group Adder Research Netherlands. Every year he traverses the area a number of times and takes photographs of the Adders he encounters. nBut before we start out he puts on his special snake gloves.

‘These are strengthened with Kevlar’. ‘Even the King Cobra cannot bite through these. I always wear them when I conduct my research. I do not take any risk, he confides in us’. ‘I have been searching for Adders since I was ten years old. I got bitten when I was fourteen. And I ended up in hospital. After my second bite my parents forbid me to go to the heath’, he tells me as we stroll through ‘het Leggelderveld’.

It’s only around 8 degrees Celsius (46f), so most snakes won’t be showing themselves. But the researcher does not give up easily. Suddenly he bends over and points to a few pipestraws amidst heath. There we see a beautiful adult Adder. Carefully he picks up this animal.

‘It is an adult female. Look how she flicks her tongue. She actually tastes the scent of her environment’.He takes photographs of the snake, especially of the head, and then writes the specifics in his note-pad. ‘Every Adder has a unique pattern head-scales, this enables us to recognize each individual snake. It’s like a finger print’.And the Adder is being released again.

Besides a dead specimen, and a shed snake-skin, the search does not offer much more. ‘Its too cold. Normally I will find at least a dozen Adders’, Prescher says.

Further Information:

Related products
Venom Defender Gloves

Disclaimer; We at Snake Professional & 1-2-1 (Animal Handling) Products do NOT advise this method of handling and doing so is at the handlers own risk!

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