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Snakes making a comeback in Ireland

March 16, 2013 at 10:10 AM

DUBLIN, Ireland, March 16 (UPI) -- Animal shelter operators in Ireland say St. Patrick's Day has brought an influx of abandoned pet snakes in recent years.

Snakes of all sizes and varieties have been cut loose by owners, many of whom bought the reptiles as exotic pets when the Irish economy was booming.

"We always get a bump in calls around Paddy's Day," Gillian Bird, the education officer at the Dublin Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals told The New York Times.

An increasing number of snakes, as well as lizards, have been turning up in neighborhoods across the Emerald Isle, the newspaper said Saturday. Ireland -- where legend has it St. Patrick drove the snakes out more than 1,500 years ago -- hasn't had any native species of snakes for centuries and presumably there isn't much in the way of natural predators.

Officials say most of the abandoned snakes haven't posed a threat to people, but more dangerous critters such as cobras, rattlesnakes and pythons have been showing up. Shelters have also taken in iguanas and even a crocodile someone had ordered online.

Topics: Snakes
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