Saturday 16 December 2017

Snake defies St Patrick but not our brave gardai

Gardai coax a snake into a cardboard box on Mary Street in Dublin
Gardai coax a snake into a cardboard box on Mary Street in Dublin
Shoppers take photos of the snake
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

St Patrick famously banished snakes from our shores – but it seems nobody told this scaly character.

Dubliners were left shocked to discover a small snake slithering up Mary Street.

Crowds gathered, many taking pictures with their phones, as gardai attempted to coax the pale yellow, black and brown reptile into a box.

But while it might have appeared menacing, the animal posed no danger to the public.

James Hennessy, who owns Reptile Village in Co Kilkenny, explained that it was a young, non-poisonous, boa constrictor.

The reptile appeared to be about a year old and seemed accustomed to humans, according to the expert.

"It's not acting defensively, he's well spread out so he's used to humans," Mr Hennessy said.

The reptile looked to be in good health and was unlikely to have been out in the open for long.

"They are really good at squeezing through areas that they shouldn't. They won't go far, usually less than 100 metres from where they've escaped," he said.

The snake appeared to be a number of generations away from a thoroughbred, meaning it was likely to have been born in Ireland for a breeder.

Mr Hennessey said that it was becoming increasingly common for pet snakes to escape, or to be dumped, but most can't survive more than a few weeks in Ireland's climate.

A boa can grow to upwards of 12ft long depending on its genes.

They are non-poisonous constrictors native of tropical Central and South America.

Irish Independent

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