Sleeping snakes

A place to sleep for the adder

New winter quarters for reptiles established near Wesenberg

The adder is one of the endangered native species. The NABU Foundation and NABU Neubrandenburg have been committed to protecting snakes since 2017 and created new habitats in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania at the end of the year.

It is not easy for the adder. As a poisonous snake, it is feared. However, it rarely occurs in nature. - Photo: Felix Pokrant

January 17, 2018 - Like all reptiles, the adder spends the cold season in hibernation in this country. Together with other species, the snake uses abandoned holes in the ground or other cavities in the earth, in which it can sleep through the winter undisturbed. On the first warm days in spring, the animals wake up to warm up in the sun in the immediate vicinity of their sleeping place. The adder also prefers sheltered places for the rest of the year where it can sunbathe undisturbed. But such habitats are becoming increasingly rare in Germany, which is why the adder is now considered to be endangered. At the end of the year, the NABU Foundation and NABU Neubrandenburg therefore improved a valuable habitat for the adder in the “Rothes Moor bei Wesenberg” nature reserve in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.


The 81 hectare nature reserve is located in the forest and lake-shaped Neustrelitz Kleinseenland. Due to the lack of access routes, the moor has become a refuge for many endangered species. Here the calls of brooding little grebes and cranes can be heard, they hunt ospreys and woodcock and snipe look for food. A special feature is the occurrence of the rare adder, which mainly uses warm forest edges, moist moors and heaths as a habitat.


Working for the protection of the endangered adder

NABU volunteers filled pits near Wesenberg with field stones and trees so that the adder can find a place to sleep here in the future. - Photo: Annabelle Woltering

In 2017, the NABU Foundation acquired an approximately ten hectare pine forest near Wesenberg in order to create new habitats for the adder. At the end of 2017, night and winter quarters were built on the edge of the forest on the bog side, which will serve as sleeping places for adder and other reptiles in the future. Volunteers from NABU Neubrandenburg filled pits with field stones, covered them with thick tree trunks and then generously fenced the new quarters.

In addition, the NABU Foundation had the monotonous pine forest cleared and removed some of the non-site conifers in a particularly soil-conserving process. The forest is then taken out of use and left for natural regeneration. This will improve the water supply in the bog in the long term and the valuable habitats will be preserved. And after all, not only the rare adder benefit from this, but all inhabitants of the moor.