A VENOMOUS snake bit an 11-year-old boy - leaving him in agony - as he played football near his home in Farnworth.
The adder sank its fangs into Carl Jefferies’ left leg when he went to fetch a ball from a bramble bush.
The youngster was rushed to hospital after his ankle became very swollen, and he has since suffered from vomiting and dizziness.
The incident happened on a grassy area next to the junction of Highfield Road and Tig Fold Road in Farnworth.
Carl’s mother, Kim Jefferies, said her son, who has just left Cherry Tree Primary School in Farnworth, has been traumatised by the incident and had to take a week off school because he was so ill.
He also had to spend a day in hospital as specialists found venom in his leg.
Ms Jefferies said: “Carl was playing football with a neighbour when the ball went into some brambles. He went to get it out and the next thing he knew he felt a stabbing pain in his leg.
“As soon as I saw it I knew it was an adder bite because I had heard of other similar incidents and it looked exactly the same.
“The swelling became really bad and his leg started to turn purple.
“The next day the bite marks became really inflamed and it started to turn green — I was worried sick.”
According to the specialist, the bite could have been a lot worse as the snake only produced a small amount of venom.
Ms Jefferies said: “I dread to think how much worse it could have been — as he has been constantly being sick all week, as well as suffering with stomach ache and headaches.”
Bolton-based reptile expert Crocodile Joe, who spent 10 years working with reptiles in Australia, confirmed Carl had been bitten by an European adder after seeing pictures of his injuries.
He said: “This is definitely the work of a European adder - these incidents are becoming more common.
“I think people need to be more aware about adders in the area, but the trouble is they have the perfect camouflage and are difficult to spot.
“It is not a natural instinct for the snake to attack a human, unfortunately it looks like the lad has accidentally startled it when looking for the football and it has reacted in self-defence.
“I have had a number of calls regarding adder bites in the past few years — although it is usually dogs that have been bitten.
"While it is not nice, there won’t be any lasting effects and the venom will leave his system.”
There have been a number of reported adder attacks in Bolton in recent years.
Last summer a bearded collie dog died after it was bitten near Smithills Coaching House.
In 2008 dog walker Michael Lynn was left in agony after an adder bit him in woodland in The Haulgh.
- There are about 100 adder bites reported in the UK each year.
- The European adder is the only venomous snake found in the wild in the UK.
- The snake measures between 50cm and 60cm in length.
- The snake can be identified by a v-shaped marking on its head and a brown or black zig-zag pattern.
- Adders are commonly found in dry areas and can be brought to the surface by the destruction of their natural habitats.
- Adders are more commonly found in the south of England but sightings in the north are increasing.