National Geographic News


Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is shown in this 19th century engraving driving snakes out of Ireland. Though it is true that there are no snakes in Ireland, it wasn't St. Patrick who drove them out. Any Irish snakes were killed during the Ice Ages, when an enormous sheet of ice covered the entire island. By the time things warmed up enough for snakes to survive, the Irish Sea—the channel that separates Ireland from Britain—had formed. The Irish Sea is too wide and cold for snakes to cross on their own.

Photograph by Bettmann/CORBIS

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