Puff Adder Snakebite in Ireland

A man in Dublin was hospitalised for a snakebite from a venomous Puff Adder Snake recently. This is the first case of snakebite in Ireland’s history.

Ireland’s lack of Snakes

Ireland is famous for having no native snake species. Local people attribute the lack of snakes to a Catholic Irish legend, St Patrick. He is the patron saint of Ireland and in the 5th century is said to have driven all the snakes off the island. Other such places with no native snake species include Iceland, New Zealand, Greenland and Antarctica.

Reasons

Scientists attribute the lack of native snakes on the island to its being unfavourable for the reptiles during the most recent ice age. Ireland was too cold to support the snakes till the ice age ended about 10,000 years ago. By then, Ireland was surrounded by sea, unlike Britain, which was connected to mainland Europe by a land bridge. This allowed snake species to migrate to Britain, but not to Ireland.

Puff Adder Snakes

The Puff Adder is a type of venomous snake found in savannah and grassland habitats. It’s distributed over the African continent and the Arabian Peninsula. It is the most common cause of snakebite fatalities in Africa. In the Irish case, the snakebite was caused by the man’s pet Puff Adder.

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