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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

St. Patrick's of the Southern Hemisphere

Years ago, when I was little, my parents took me on a trip to Ireland, where, among the historic and cultural sights, I was able to cajole a trip to the Dublin Zoo.  Among the exhibits was a reptile house, where I remember seeing a rock python.  My father, thinking of St. Patrick, made the joke that what we were looking at was the only snake in Ireland.

Imagine a country that doesn't even have that.

I learn something new everyday in this field.  Today I learned that there are no snakes in New Zealand.  Not "no wild snakes" - that I knew - but none period.  None in pet stores.  None in zoo collections.  Now, one zoo curator is looking to change that.

I get where people are coming from - all you have to do is look at Guam and the havoc caused by the invasive brown tree snake.  Still, New Zealand's bird life has already been battered by rats, cats, and weasels - I doubt that a snake or two in a regulated, carefully managed zoological park will pose much of a threat.  Especially when lizards are already allowed, and what is a snake but a lizard missing a few bits?

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