Mar 17 2014
If you are afraid of snakes, you’ll be happy to know that this day celebrates someone who banished them from an island.
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 St. Patrick 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)