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Encounters with Snakes and Giant Puffballs!
We’ve had quite a few days out in Thetford forest recently – it’s England’s largest lowland forest, a great place for walking the dogs and generally poking around. Over the past couple of weeks the weather has been unusually warm and this seems to have had quite a dramatic effect on some of the more slithery residents of the forest.
Three times recently we’ve been lucky enough to have close encounters with adders, once when one was basking on the path and the other two times when Welly, our dog, seemed to sniff them out. We aren’t very familiar with adders so were a little nervous about a surprise meeting with one but it was very exciting and interesting too. They definitely don’t like being disturbed and aren’t too fond of human or canine company either so on all occasions slithered speedily away into the undergrowth before we could even snap a pic. All the ones we’ve seen so far have been males which are more strikingly patterned than the females. Over coming weeks the adders will be busy looking for mates so they should be very active, hopefully giving us another opportunity for a nice encounter and hopefully this time a photo opp too!
One thing we did manage to snap a pic of was some amazing giant puffballs which we found growing just on the edge of the forest. These are another bit of wildlife we haven’t come across before – they are literally football sized puffballs. When the fruiting body reaches maturity it breaks free from the root to roll around like a big squashy sponge ball. This allows the body to scatter its spores more widely. They are quite bizarre looking and apparently edible when they are fresh and white, the ones we found were way past this stage. I wonder what the forest will reveal next!