Photo: Snakeless in Ireland: Blame Ice Age, Not St. Patrick



This grass snake swimming in duckweed belongs to one of only three snake species native to Britain.

After the last ice age about 10,000 years ago, swollen seas prevented snakes from migrating throughout parts of northern Europe—and none made it to Ireland.

Even still, the legend that St. Patrick banished snakes from the Emerald Isle in the fifth century A.D. lives on in popular culture.

Photograph by John Cancalosi/NGS


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