ADDERS at a country park near Clanfield have been electronically tagged in a bid to learn more about them and protect their habitat.
Plasters which hold sensors have been fitted to 10 adders at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
Over the next 10 weeks, rangers will be recording the whereabouts of the snakes.
Steve Peach, conservation ranger at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, said: ‘The tags hardly weigh a thing.
‘They send out a little pulse which we can pick up on our radio receiver.
‘The closer you are, the stronger the signal is.
‘Once we know where the snake it, we record that on GPS and over a period of time, we can build up a map of where the snakes are.
‘The idea is to get a better understanding of their movements.’
The project, costing £1,000, is the second such scheme to be carried out in the UK.
The South Downs National Park Authority has funded two thirds of the scheme, while a third has been paid for by the fundraising efforts of volunteer rangers at Queen Elizabeth Country Park.
Mr Peach said by understanding the movements of adders it could help staff protect their habitats by modifying vegetation and grass mowing routines at the park.
He said snake numbers were generally on decline across Hampshire.
‘They are in most rural and semi-rural places,’ he said.
‘They are in decline unfortunately because of lack of habitat.
‘You get more buildings and development and it puts them on the decline which is quite sad.
‘The number of places they occur is gradually diminishing.’