I was lucky enough to find this male adder just as it completed the shedding of its skin, presumably the first time it had done so since coming out of hibernation a few weeks ago. By mid-April, when warmer weather can usually be relied upon, most adders will have shed their somewhat dull winter skin in preparation for mating. This one used friction against the leaves, twigs and ferns on the ground to pull off the last contact with its old skin before moving off. While not apparent in the first rather snatched picture – shot in harsh sunlight – the adder's new livery was a glistening mix of vibrant olive-golds and vivid blue-black, as better illustrated in the other two images. If mating were to come down to looks alone, this one would do well.