back to article Serpent imprisons rattled Yorkshire family

An East Yorkshire couple are awaiting the intervention of trained operatives to banish a toad-eating serpent which has confined them to their Withernsea home, according to this chilling report. Steven Leathley, his wife Christine and son Shaun dare not venture into their garden lest they are set upon by an adder which prowls …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    Why doesn't he just wait in the garden until he sees the adder and then whack it with a spade? He could cut it in two...

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Solution...

      The man is an idiot. All snakes have teeth. Not all of them have fangs. And if it's brown and olive-green then it's likely to be a grass snake. I think he should be confined to his house to protect others from his stupidity.

      Sorry, but for chrissakes, look it up, man.

      1. Anonymous John

        Don't beat about the (hopefully adder-free) bush, Sarah.

        Tell us what you really think.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Adder and Grass Snake Protected species

        Also it is technically illegal to wack the snake with a spade.

        1. HaplessPoet

          Talking of which...

          Don't try drowning it either....... that could be expensive!

  2. Number6

    Oh dear

    I saw a snake in my garden the other day with '7483' marked on its back. I knew immediately that it was an adder.

    1. David 18


      That reminds me of a bad "joke" my maths teacher told us in primary school:

      When God told the snakes to go forth and multiply the adders got stuck, so he told them to use a log table.

      1. frank ly

        @ Number 6 re. "7483"

        That was just the number of that particular beast. It's the way the local council keep track of them.

      2. Anonymous John

        Even worse joke.

        Why couldn’t the viper viper face? - Because the adder adder handkerchief.

  3. Tanuki

    Hissing Sid!

    Sounds like it's time to call in Captain Beaky and his Band !

    The bravest animals in the land are Captain Beaky and his band

    That's Timid Toad, Reckless Rat, Artful Owl and Batty Bat

    They march through the woodlands singing songs

    that tell how they have righted wrongs.

    Coat? Mine's the one with the snakebite-proof gloves in the pocket.

    1. David 18


      Did you not hear about bad split the band had? That was why Hissing Sid bit poor Timid Toad, the murderous bastard.

      1. Steven Cuthbertson

        Sid & Toad

        Sid swallowed Toad.. He didn't bite him. (Sadly, I have the book of poetry, and the two vinyl albums of spoken/sung poetry from the book..)

  4. The_Police!

    I for one

    welcome our garden dwelling adder overlords.

  5. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    Shouldn't it just be...

    "Potential adder sighting."

    It might be a Python. Or a small Anaconda.

  6. solarian
    Paris Hilton

    What's the problem?

    Sounds like an entertaining visitor.

    Paris, because she too is always thrilled to have a snake in her undergrowth.

  7. SW


    As a Yorkshire lad living out in the countryside of France (where we have lots of snakes) I think these two ought to be ex-communicated from being 'Tykes' just get yourself a forked branch, pin it to the ground and stuff it in a bag - problem solved. That is of course if you can get anywhere near it seeing as it's probably a lot more scared of those BIG feet approaching it.

  8. Lionel Baden


    as snakes do not seek out human company and are more frightened of you than you are of them."

    Like fuck they are id be f'ing terrified if confronted with a snake

  9. Anonymous Coward


    No, they just ask Aleksander the Meerkat for some of the Mongoose POWs he has on the treadmill powering his servercomputerthingamabob to deal with the issue.


    Terminator in lieu of a mongoose icon.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    So what is his problem?

    There is also always the option of choosing the neighbour you hate most and making a suitable hole in the fence.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Viper/Grass Snake

    Mr Leathley is wrong in assuming that because his reptilian companion has teeth it is an Adder the Grass Snake also has teeth. The adder has venomous fangs in addition to teeth, but the Grass Snakes diet will also include frogs and toads. The main distinguishing feature of the Adder found in Great Britain is the V or X pattern on the back of the neck. Oh also the fact that should you get a bite off an Adder the venom will cause it to hurt like buggery, and may result in death.

    That aside both snakes are very timid and non aggressive. Perhaps rather than being confined to their home the Leathley family should fight back against the reptile and reoccupy the back garden.... just ensuring that they make sufficient noise to cause the snake to duck for cover.

    Snakes are also considered a bit of phallic symobol... maybe that is the problem here?

  12. lawndart

    Helicopter gunships = overkill

    Just send for Captain Beaky and his Band.

    Thirsting for revenge for the death of Timid Toad.

    1. Steven Cuthbertson

      Sid & Toad, #2

      Toad didn't die, or get bitten... Toad 'hopped into a hollow stick' and when he realised where he was he started hopping, making Sid a very poorly snake, easily captured by Cpt. Beaky and band.

  13. ChrisMcD

    Probably a grass snake

    Brown and olive, eats toads. This sounds like the much commoner grass snake - the one with the big 'V'on it's neck for further confusion!

    Adders are shy and retiring, your chances of seeing one hunting are not great. Grass snakes love frogs and are not shy about being seen eating them.

    So my money is on a hungry grass snake having it's favorite snack

  14. oldcodger
    IT Angle


    I still cannot see a connection to IT, other than an old mate of mine when we worked for DEC service, always used to say:-

    To fix a DEC system, first you swap the plates, then the snakes and lastly the cupboard.

    (Module swap, cable swap and chassis (box) swap)

    Apart from that, wtf is up with people nowadays, can't they ever do anything themselves without bleating for help. Tell the loser to bash it with a big lump of wood if he is too scared to pick it up and put it in someone else's garden!



  15. hirudo
    Thumb Down

    not an adder

    Brown and olive green? sounds like a grass snake to me, oh and grass snakes do have teeth as I can testify having been bitten by them on more than one occasion.

    Also worth pointing out that these are both protected species and you cannot remove them without authority.

    Also the chances of being bitten even if it is an adder are very small and most adder bites do not result in more than a little nausea and temporary swelling.

    They are not designed to kill creatures of human size and the few deaths in the last fifty years have been on infants or people with prevailing medical conditions.

    This is a non story apart from the human idiocy angle.

    1. Nuffnuff



  16. S Larti

    They don't make Yorkshiremen like they used to!

    Confined to his conservatory by an adder?

    Just whack it one with your cricket bat. It's what Geoffrey would do.

    "No, no, you're doing it all wrong. The way to play an adder is like this, but watch out for a deceptive slow worm..."

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: They don't make Yorkshiremen like they used to!

      Careful! That could very tricky now the press have put spin on it. Bloody thing could have your middle stump before you knew what was going on.........

  17. LinkOfHyrule

    "I used to be a boy scout..."

    "I used to be a boy scout so I know what an adder looks like."

    Trouser snake maybe?

  18. envmod

    bet it's a grass snake

    "brown and olive green" - sounds like a grass snake to me. if he saw it bite a toad which escaped (and later died) it is very likely the toad died from shock or physical injury caused by the bite.

    anyway, staying out of your garden because there might be a snake in it is madness. i lived in africa for a couple of years in an area with an abundance of snakes and nobody gave them a second thought.

  19. James O'Shea

    not a problem

    This is a solution to the Daily Mail Johnny Foreigner Living In Your Garden Shed problem. The adder will subtract him. And, with only a little luck, it'll subtract any reporters the Mail sends around to cover the story as well.

  20. George Nacht

    Brown and olive green....

    What a letdown. If only it was Black Adder...

  21. Steen Hive

    May I bee the first....

    About as lethal as a bumble bee and considerably less so than a Sarah.

    WTF is wrong with people?

  22. Graham Bartlett

    Sealed in with a fence

    That's a pretty securely sealed garden, if a 1/2" wide snake can't escape from it. OTOH, this *is* Yorkshire we're talking about here, so common sense may be a little rarer. "Yarkshire born a' Yarkshire bred, strong in't' arm an' thick in't' head" as the rhyme goes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Dunno' what dialect you're speaking but no yorkshire man / woman or child i've ever met calls it "yarkshire"...

      Bet you're a shandy drinking southerner...

      1. Anonymous Coward

        And, for the afforementioned

        shandy drinking southerners, some cockney expletives.

        Yoof Acker

        Yook Ant

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. *Al*


    "The Adder is not a common garden visitor, though occasionally if conditions suit them they will take up residence.


    Adders are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.

    It is an offence to kill, harm or injure them

    sell or trade them in any way"

  25. Emj


    Clearly the solution is to employ a herd/flock of mongooses/mongeese to root out the slipperly critter and put an end to the tirrany...

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Group of Mongeese

      is known as a troop.....

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Atheris hispida

    Forget Grass Snakes and Adders just found this one on the Interweb and it sounds a heck of a lot more dangerous.

    Atheris hispida the common name of which is the 'Hairy Bush Viper' or 'African Hairy Bush Viper'..... Oh no panic over... reading a bit further 'Hairy Bush' is it's appearance not it's prey...........

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why so scared?

    Are they possibly related to that Surrey accountant who was left feeling like 'a prisoner in her own home', after a fox took up occupation in her garden, at the height of the Metro's series of fox scare-stories a month or two back? Seriously, I'd feel privileged to have a fox or wild adder/grasssnake (they're bloody rare!) things in my garden. Might even watch it for a while, take some photos, and see if it wanted a bounce on a trampoline... :D

  28. Winkypop Silver badge

    Snakes alive!

    Take off and nuke it from space.

    It's the only way to be sure...

  29. 2FishInATank

    a title

    Enough is enough! I have had it with these monkey-fighting snakes in this Monday-to-Friday...err... garden...hmmm....

    (Alternative TV edit for the daytime audience and as not to offend the delicate sensibilities of Ms Bee.)

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: a title

      I'm offended that you think I'd be offended by the fuck-word.

      1. 2FishInATank

        another title

        Oh well, fucked that up then....

  30. Graham Bartlett


    Yeah, that's definitely the best solution for Yorkshireness...

  31. Bob Foster

    Licensed Adder remover?

    "to find a licensed individual to move the adder."......ok so where does one get a "Licensed Adder Remover" license from?

    Would look good on the c.v.

  32. Thomas 4

    If they're worried about the poisonous snake

    ....maybe they shouldn't be trying to eat it?

  33. Arctic fox

    Emergency measures

    "We like the idea of an "unverified potential adder sighting". Presumably, when East Riding Council gets a "verified existent adder sighting", it breaks the wax seal on its ophidian emergency protocol and sends in the helicopter gunships."

    Personally speaking I would feel much more secure if they simply took off and nuked it from orbit.

  34. Stuart Halliday

    Phee Wheee.

    Grass snakes have three forms of defence.

    1. They try to run away.

    2. They release a couple of drops of really _totally_ foul smelling liquid that you don't want to get on you.

    3. They can bite but it's not worth making a fuss about.

    Adders do the same too, but their bite is a little worse, about the same as a bee sting. So unless you're the rare individual who is allergic to it and so may need hospital attention, then for god sake take a step back and let it go about its business.

  35. R J Tysoe

    1. They try to run away.

    Then they remember they have no legs and try option 2.

  36. Michael O'Malley

    Snakes aren't slippery

    See above. Why does everyone confuse them with worms?

    If you've never held a snake, it's warm and dry to the touch, not slippery or slimy. Try running your hand along the inside of your arm. That's what it feels like.

    No, dear, I don't mean you must take the hand off. Rub it along the inside of the opposite arm

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