A WOMAN has revealed how she “nearly had a heart attack” after stumbling across a huge 4ft adder while out walking her dog.
Hayley Holloway said she has had a few encounters with the slithery snakes in her time but was shocked when she came face-to-face with one yesterday.
The 52-year-old was walking around Lowick Common in Cumbria when she spotted the reptile which she describes as the “largest and most aggressive” she has ever met.
Hayley spotted the poisonous adder around 10 metres away from where she was walking with her dogs Ren, Reg and Roxy.
She said she ended up having a minute-long “Mexican standoff” with the adder while trying to keep the snake and her dogs apart.
The quick-thinking dog owner was able to safely spot her dogs from getting too close to the dangerous adder and pulled back 14-year-old Roxy, who is blind.
Images show the thick, green and brown animal slithering along the grass close to Hayley and her pets.
Speaking today, semi-retiree Hayley said: “I had my dogs with me and they ran past me and then that is when I realised what it was.
“I grabbed Roxy, who is my oldest dog; she’s 14 and blind.
“We had a bit of a Mexican standoff.
“It lasted for roughly a minute, it was very defensive and it was probably hungry.
“[My first thought was] how quickly can I get my camera out of my bag.
“It was 3-4 feet, which is highly unusual.”
Hayley shared her images on social media yesterday, writing: “Slowly getting my strength back after surgery when this fella nearly gave me a heart attack.
“I’ve had a fair few encounters with adders over the years but this was, without doubt, the largest and most aggressive I’ve ever met.
“Shots are of him moving away after we had a Mexican standoff on the path for a few minutes; I decided getting my camera out might just set him off.
“As people are asking where this was, Lowick Common south of Coniston.
“However I also spotted a couple up on Torver Common last week; they clearly like Commons.”
The post has received over 500 likes and hundreds of comments, with many from people who were shocked by the sheer size of the adder.
Mikel Amos said: “That’s some length, respect to it.
“I had some close encounters myself, but it’s us invading their patch, not them getting in the way.”
Wendy Ellis said: “It’s a big one.
“I have seen lots of smaller adders on commons and fells either side of Coniston Water and in the garden at Nibthwaite.”
Cynthia Olson said: “That is scary to say the least.”
Mandy Stubbins said: “I would have had a heart attack.
“That is my worst nightmare.”
Judith Parkin added: “We have a lot of heathland in Dorset and many adders, however, I didn’t realise there were adders in the Lakes.
“I absolutely loathe them after many close encounters and so always felt at ease walking in the Lakes.
“I have to rethink now when we return in the summer.”
The adder is the UK’s only poisonous snake, but it’s venom is generally of little danger to humans.
An adder bite can be painful and cause inflammation, however it is really only dangerous to the very young, ill or old.
Although they are not much of a threat to humans, adders can make a dog very ill and should be treated as an emergency.