Mar 17 2014

No Snakes Day

Published by at 7:20 am under Insects, Fish, Frogs

Grass snake (photo from Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license)

If you are afraid of snakes, you’ll be happy to know that this day celebrates someone who banished them from an island.

Legend has it that St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, chased all the snakes into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast.

In fact, there were never any snakes in Ireland since the last glacial maximum.  St. Patrick’s legend may actually refer to the rise of Christianity and the end of Druid snake symbols.

In recent years biologists in Guam are trying to accomplish St. Patrick’s legendary feat.  Invasive brown tree snakes are devastating the island’s native birds.  The snakes must go.   So far the most ingenious plan has been to air drop 2,000 mice wearing tiny parachutes.  The mice were dead bait laced with a very small dose of acetaminophen that kills the brown tree snake but nothing else.

There was no need for Tylenol to eradicate this grass snake from Ireland.  Photographed in Europe, it cannot cross the sea.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

(photo from Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons license. Click on the image to see the original)

2 responses so far

2 Responses to “No Snakes Day”

  1. Gene Hendersonon 17 Mar 2014 at 8:03 am

    I know when I was in the Dominican Republic I ask a Doctor if Haitians that worked in the sugarcane fields had to worry about snakes and he said that there were none on the Island. I don’t think this is entirely true but it does appear there are none poisonous. I do know though they have plenty of spiders and some are big including tarantulas!

    Cheers,
    Gene

  2. John Englishon 17 Mar 2014 at 1:32 pm

    I thought St. Patrick drove the snakes from Ireland because the plane fare was too expensive :-)

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