Legend has it that St Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but that isn’t exactly true; Lisa Chelenza has more about snakes in this edition of Pet Pointers.

The legend of St. Patrick said that the 5th century Christian missionary banished all the snakes from Ireland. However snakes are a metaphor for Pagans and the actual reason there are no snakes on the Emerald isle is more scientific. Snakes can be found on every continent in the world except Antarctica. 

Reptiles are cold blooded and their bodies need an external heat source to survive. While there are some snakes in Europe, no snake is native to Ireland, New Zealand, Iceland or Greenland. The climate of these locations are too cold for snakes and surrounded by water, it limits the reptile’s access.

Snakes are divided into two groups, they are either Venomous or Constricting. Most snakes kept as pets are Constrictors and range in size from several inches like the Rosy Boa or King snake. Constrictors use their bite to catch their prey and patiently squeeze before swallowing it whole.  

Snakes are also an important part of the ecosystem and should not be harmed if anyone comes across one in the wild or your property. 

While many people are afraid of snakes, very few of the 3,000 different known species are actually dangerous to people, with only 50 documented species being venomous enough to kill a human. 

If you like reptiles and are thinking about getting a snake be sure you have the time, energy and resources to care for them properly. Do your own research.