Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Is it true that Ireland and Maine are the only places in the world that have no venomous snakes?

Who's asking: James Lamb, Virginia Beach, VA

My brother James says he remembers Mom or Dad telling him this when he was about 12, preparing for a Boy Scouts trip to Maine (this might have been the trip on which he got caught in a Native American border war, or it might have been a different one -- I was no longer living at home then).

Anyway, it's one of those fun facts that I wish were true, but it's not -- quite. It is true that Maine has no native venomous snakes, and Ireland (famously) has no snakes at all. But Alaska and Hawaii don't have poisonous snakes, either, and Iceland and New Zealand are both snake-free.

Because snakes are cold-blooded, you find them mainly in temperate and tropical zones; the closer you get to the poles, the rarer they become. In cold climates, they survive the winter by burrowing and brumating.

Snakes don't bother me much. In fact, since snakes eat rats, which do bother me, I feel rather kindly toward them; I wouldn't have one as a pet, though.

Happy Halloween, y'all. Dizzy has a snazzy Halloween bandanna, and I am sallying forth in my usual costume as a normal human being.


Guy Barry said...

I'm like you are with spiders I see them as having a use.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Clair. Yes, I do remember there was something going on at the nearby Reservation. I was in Quebec and we were told not to drive in a particular direction out of town. It was also the week George Bush I announced we were sending troops to protect Saudi Arabia from Iraq. It was a very interesting week.