Why are there no snakes now in Ireland?

We also have the Slow Worm which, although resembling a snake, is actually a limbless lizard

So are there snakes in Iceland and Greenland?

Nope. Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand and Antarctica are snakeless, as well.

OK, I can read it that way.

jjimm I know but I was trying to underline the fact that Wales does exist.

Which raises still more questions. As the OP points out, in some places invasive snakes did establish themselves, and are wrecking havoc on the local fauna.

Yes, at the end of the last ice age when the glaciers melted and sea levels rose. Snakes, spreading north as the climate improved, made it across the English Channel land bridge, but by the time they reached the Irish Sea land bridge it wasn’t there any more. So the snakes never reached Ireland.

Rumor has it that Betty Smith’s followup book was to be titled A Snake Lives in Ireland. No, it’s not true.

There are snakes at the zoo, one might pedantically note.

There are no snakes in Ireland
And the streets are paved with cheese…

(Forgive me, Don Bluth!)

OK, I’ll bite, what’s the difference?

:eek: And does it talk?

Seriously though, I haven’t noticed any rodents in Ireland (Nothern Ireland, actually). Even our Dairy barn doesn’t show the sign of any. I’m not claiming there are none, but I wonder if the population is low enough that a snake population would just starve. . .

As for climate, there are thriving palm trees growing in our graveyard, so I don’t think it’s the cold doing them in.

How are rodents kept in check in a place without snakes?

Cats, dogs, owls, hawks, …there’s no shortage of small-game predators in the world.

What steps does Ireland take to keep them out? You’d figure by now someone would just dump a bunch and they’d run amok

Some places without snakes are without rodents either. New Zealand lacked either until the Polynesians introduced rats, but that population was largely supplanted by those brought over by later by Europeans. The effect on the indigenous fauna was catastrophic, as bird species with no natural ground predators were faced with an onslaught. We’re perhaps fortunate that no-one tried to bring in snakes to control the rats: stoats and weasels were brought over in an attempt to control the depredations of the rat and rabbit populations, however the predators found it easier to eat - yup, the birds. And the lizards, and the wetas. With the ecological damage caused by the rats, the rabbits, the possums, the hedgehogs and the cats and the dogs, it’s a surprise there are any indigenous species left.

Fox (+ owls, hawks, cats etc…)

That’s interesting TruCelt, I’ve seen a fair amount of mice and voles down in County Tipp. This site says

It also backs up what Alive at both ends said about land bridges

Thinking of Hawaii & New Zealand the BBC had a series on the Pacific recently which went some way to explaining how geographic isolation coupled with volcanic island formation had limited the range of native species.

Why ?? Introduction of non-native fauna has usually been a) by accident or b) for commercial gain. As mentioned earlier in the thread Ireland’s climate is not really conducive to a successful reptilian way of life.

Well on the one hand you have snakes in the true sense of the word, on the other you have limbless lizards.

And yes they can not only talk but are well known for singing arias from Madam Butterfly…in Klingon

Geology, yes, but I’ve never heard of ‘two climate zones’.

So you might have the occasional escaped adder, but they can’t multiply? :smiley:

Limbless lizards as distinguished from snakes – most of the first paragraph about the sheltopusik (which I’d never heard of) draws the distinctions between limbless lizards and snakes.

Palms supposedly also grow in the Scilly Isles (where Eric Idle had a cabinet office, something to do with walks…).

Are there any lizards on the British mainland apart from slowworms? I’d imagine that no escaped snakes have established themselves in Ireland because there aren’t enough escaped snakes. They’d almost certainly have been kept in a city and then it needs a pair of the right kind of snake to meet up and do the business and somewhere warm enough for the eggs to hatch before something eats them.

All very unlikely. Ireland is wetter and cloudier than Britain so not much direct sunlight and since a lot of snakes burrow that’s not very healthy when it’s raining every other day and half the country is acid bog. If the mouse invasion I had last year is anything to go by, I know which I’d be backing if any snake smaller than a mature python meets the local sewer rats! I doubt that urban foxes would be fussy either. All the zoo snakes are in heated habitats.

“These lizards are often distinguishable from snakes on the basis of one or more of the following characteristics: possessing eyelids, possessing external ear openings, lack of broad belly scales, and/or a very long tail (while snakes have a long body and short tail).” (From wikipedia, ‘Legless lizard’)

They also apparently often have atrophied limbs that are still recognizable anatomical features, if not recognizable as what they once were.