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Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,714
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@occasionalrain wrote:

It's a bit OT and about Ireland and St Patrick driving the snakes out.

I don't find anything praiseworthy about that. Once the snakes left, the rats prospered and were, I suspect, in some way responsible for the potato famine.

An example of good intentions gone awry.

 

 


@occasionalrain - I'm not sure whether your post is tongue-in-cheek or not, but the potato famine was caused by potato blight ( a fungus-like organism called Phytophthora infestans).  Nothing to do with snakes or rats.

 

As for St. Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland, that's a myth, amongst many others about him.

 

 

"One of the most famous legends Saint Patrick is associated with his supposed banishing of all snakes from Ireland. According to the story, Patrick drove snakes into the sea after they attacked him during a 40-day fast that he was undertaking on top of a hill. 

 

However, post-glacial Ireland never had snakes. Water has surrounded Ireland since the end of the last glacial period, preventing snakes from slithering over; before that, it was blanketed in ice and too chilly for the cold-blooded creatures.

 

The legend of Saint Patrick and the snakes is rather an allegory for his eradication of Pagan ideology. When Patrick drives the snakes out of Ireland, it is symbolically saying that he cast out the old religion and brought in a new one."

 

You can't drive out what was never there - saint or no saint.

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,473
Registered: ‎08-31-2019

I frequently see checkered garter snakes in my yard. I like them. They're docile and just slink away.

 

I didn't feel the same when I walked right up on a huge copperhead, in strike position, by one of my birdbaths. If I had taken one step forward, he would have struck. This snake had blended in so well with the decorative bark and leaves on the ground that I only noticed him because he was coiled with his head raised up. 

 

I never saw him again, or any other poisonous snake, but it sure has made me vigilant about looking carefully where I'm walking. If you've seen one, you could have others. 

Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 7,380
Registered: ‎03-21-2010

Black Racers are very long (even for snakes) and are harmless to people.  When cornered, they will raise their heads in a threatening manner.  But that's it.  I have no idea if we have mice, because we have never seen any.  That could mean the snake is going it's job or that we never had any.  I know they are in our yard.  Snakes are shy and timid around people, so it's unusual the snake came so close to the house.  It was such a shock turning around and seeing a very long snake (it was over a yard long) and seeing it so close to me.  One racer was around a lot.  We named him Max.  Then he disappeared.  Since then we've seen a few.  One of them could be Max (longer) or his babies.  Who knows. I looked around in the basement, no snakes so far.  It's well sealed up.  In our state park, I've not seen any other snakes other then Black Racers.  It's the most common snake in our state. We do have black bears around.  And Cyotes.  But that's about it.  In additon to their color they are very, very fast.  That snake took off after I approached it.  Faster then you can blink.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 8,485
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@Venezia 

 

Thank you, St Patrick is probably thanking you too.

 

What about snakes getting to Ireland by boat?

 

How can we know the rats didn't carry the fungus? I'm willing to exonerate Patrick but the rats remain rodents of interest.

 

 

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,486
Registered: ‎03-28-2010

When I lived in California, I got used to having wildlife around my house.  Families of turkeys in my backyard.  Deer in my front yard.  Once a very large owl flew right by my head when I was in the jacuzzi.  Then there was a bobcat trying to catch it's next meal right across the street patiently waiting for ground squirrels to come out.  But, once I opened my front door and there was a snake.  A large snake.  Must of been at least 5-6f feet long and fat in girth.  I closed the front door as quickly as I opened it.  Do not like snakes.

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,909
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

@tototwo wrote:

I'm happy to hear there are so many "No Kill" folks out there.  However, to me, the only good snake is a dead snake.



@tototwo wrote:

I'm happy to hear there are so many "No Kill" folks out there.  However, to me, the only good snake is a dead snake.



@tototwo wrote:

I'm happy to hear there are so many "No Kill" folks out there.  However, to me, the only good snake is a dead snake.


@tototwo   My sentiments exactly !  It is the one thing I'm petrified of .    My hubby sees them  occasionally when out taking care of the lawn , tending the gardens etc. I do Patio gardening as I don't want to be out there where I could see one when gardening.   we are surrounded by woods so they are out there he has seen them ,   If I did  I think I would die yikes. !!!!!!   Haven't yet though thank God .

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,909
Registered: ‎03-16-2010

@Venezia   I never knew that only ever heard that St Pattick drove out the snakes because they represented evil .   What you have told makes total sense. I always wondered though if ships land on the shores all the time couldn't snakes be aboard and be brought there that way 🤔  Seems like a place I Could live if indeed there aren't any😺

Regular Contributor
Posts: 213
Registered: ‎05-05-2010

@occasionalrain I live in AZ and we use the glue traps to trap scorpions and if something else gets in them well oh well- lizards and snakes do not have a place on our planet they are just vile- so I guess you don't want scorpions killed either? and would rather be bit by one- ok then but I am for glue traps inside and outside

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Posts: 21,504
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@arizona babe wrote:

@occasionalrain I live in AZ and we use the glue traps to trap scorpions and if something else gets in them well oh well- lizards and snakes do not have a place on our planet they are just vile- so I guess you don't want scorpions killed either? and would rather be bit by one- ok then but I am for glue traps inside and outside



@arizona babe wrote:

@occasionalrain I live in AZ and we use the glue traps to trap scorpions and if something else gets in them well oh well- lizards and snakes do not have a place on our planet they are just vile- so I guess you don't want scorpions killed either? and would rather be bit by one- ok then but I am for glue traps inside and outside


@arizona babe 

 

Ecological roles of reptiles

Reptiles are important components of the food webs in most ecosystems. They fill a critical role both as predator and prey species. Herbivorous species can also be important seed dispersers, particularly on island habitats. They are also known to act as pollinators, and the blue-tailed day gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) is now the only pollinator for the rare plant Trochetia blackburniana on the island of Mauritius, since the disappearance of the plant’s key-pollinator, the olive white-eye.

Removal of any species from its ecosystem can drastically alter the populations of other organisms, but those that have a particularly influential role within an ecosystem are known as keystone species. Top predators, such as the crocodile, are often keystone species, though they also contribute to the food chain as prey whilst they are still young. Some species are considered critical for the way they modify their habitat. American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis) living in the everglades dig “gator holes”, which are often the only aquatic habitat left during the dry season, providing important refuge for many species of fish, turtle and other aquatic species, as well as a source of water for birds, terrestrial animals and plants.

Reptile species can also have a useful anthropogenic role in ecosystems. In some areas, they help control the numbers of serious agricultural pests by consuming rodent and insect pests.


Reptiles and humans

Reptiles have been hunted and traded by humans throughout history, particularly as food. Still today, reptiles can provide an important protein source for many people, or may be sold as a luxury food. Some reptiles are even used in traditional medicines. The skin of crocodiles and snakes are used in the creation of shoes, handbags and belts, and tortoiseshell has become a popular material for jewellery and decoration. Reptiles also make popular pets, with about 3% of households in USA having at least one pet reptile.

Many people are afraid of certain reptiles, such as snakes and crocodilians, and as such certain species have been persecuted by humans.

Reptiles have been popularly used in symbology and myth. Worldwide, snakes have been used as a symbol of power and sometimes evil, though they are also used in symbols for medicine. Turtles on the other hand usually represent longevity and stability, and are also often associated with creation stories.

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https://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/reptiles3.html

 

Role Of Lizards: A Social And Ecological Perspective

 

Reptiles are a group of tetrapod, cold-blooded  animals found in almost all the parts of the world comprising three living orders- Crocodylia (crocodiles), Testudines (turtles and tortoises) and Squamata (lizards and snakes). Reptiles play an important role in the ecosystem regarding food chains, bio-monitors in controlling many pests and also as excellent ecological indicators due to their high degree of sensitivity to even a minor change in the environment. Reptiles are the important constituent of the food web in most ecosystems. They fill a critical role both as predator and prey species. Lizards are a widespread reptiles group of order Squamata with approximately over 6,000 species ranging across all continents. In India reported 518 species of reptiles which includes 34 species of turtles, 3 species of crocodiles, 202 species of lizards and tortoises, and 279 species of snakes belonging to 28 families recorded till date from India. 

 

When we saw a lizard in our house or garden the first question is stuck in our mind is that Do these lizards could have any positive role in our life? So we will find out the answer to this question in this article. Moreover, people fear or dislike Lizards; they tend to be killed whenever they are seen. Lizards are often misunderstood and large numbers of poisoning cases are blamed on this innocent creature for lack of knowledge. The wall lizard found in most homes in India is not poisonous at all. They don’t have any venomous apparatus and just helps in controlling the insect population. However, only two species namely, Heloderma suspectum and Heloderma horridum are poisonous (which are not found in India). The literature surveys indicated that gecko species from Hemidactylus feed on the various type of nocturnal insects and occasionally are cannibalistic, eat rice grain and appreciate sugar also, at times seeds of wild plants and rarely hibiscus flower too. In many countries, the wall lizard or gecko is a welcome house guest, chasing and eating many irksome insects. They walk the walls and ceilings and live their lives unharmed by peacefully understanding their niche. A recent research reported that geckos were the best link in controlling mosquitoes and other harmful insects. A species of lizard Hemidactylus frenatus (Common House Lizard) is of considerable importance as it is a predator for mosquitoes and has potential as a mosquito control measure. They feed on insects and control pests. The spiny-tailed lizard (Sara Hardwickii) is known as a friend of the farmer due to their capability to eats locusts which are pests of crops. Many lizards serve as prey for a variety of birds, including some of the small lizards also act as a prey for snakes and their own kind. Mostly Lizards are not harmful to our crops while lizards have traditionally been considered as a poor plant consumer due to their lack of particular adaption to this type of food. Lizards work as a biological pest control and helpful for farmers. When we go to a survey we noticed a that some agamids are found under the large rocks and inside the walls, they come out in agricultural land for feeding insects at around 11.00 am to 12.30 pm and they eat insects continuously and go back to their crevices in rocks/stones, where they reside and again they come out at around 3.00 pm for an hour to eat insects. This way they are serving as a pest control for crop cultivation in their range of distribution. The lizards become a exotic pet in Western Countries. So the authors suggest that our farmers can also pet the agamid lizards to control the insects as a biological pest control. Monitor Lizards act as potential biocontrol agents of pest rodents in plantation areas. Monitor lizards are main polyphagus predators of field rats. Local people in many parts of India protect the monitor lizards, recognising their beneficial roles as enemies of snakes.

 

Some herbivorous lizard species can also be important seed dispersers, particularly on Island Habitats. They are also known to act as a pollinator eg. Blue-tailed gecko (Phelsuma cepediana) is now the only pollinator for the rare plant Trochetia burniana on the Island of Mauritius, since the disappearance of the plant's key pollinator, the olive White-eye. Lizards are important for several reasons, including their medicinal value.

 

Lizards have been around since the time of the dinosaurs and since that time, innumerable species has been extinct but lizards survive with the environment, but now lizards are at serious risk of disappearing from the face of the earth as a result of climate change. According to a recent study, if global temperatures continuously rise as predicted approx 20% of the 3,800 species of lizards could be extinct by 2080. In some parts of the world, 12 percent of the lizard populations that have been studied since 1995 have already disappeared due to the climate change. Lizards are cold-blooded animals, their body temperature rises and fall with the environment. They have to bask in the sun to raise their body temperature, and seek shade when it gets too warm. If the external temperature rises continuously body temperature of lizards will also increase and not be able to stay out during the hottest part of the day to catch enough food, causing the animals to weaken and die. Habitat alteration is another major threat to the lizard species.  Forest species are more vulnerable due to their lack of ability to resist the high temperatures of open formations.

 

  Most common and widely distributed species are more resistant, but many will disappear when their habitats are totally eliminated. Agrochemicals are another major threat and may be especially serious in small protected areas surrounded by agricultural land. The disappearance of lizard populations is likely to have repercussions up and down the food chain. Lizards are important prey for many birds, snakes, and other animals, and they are important predators of insects. We could see other species collapse on the upper end of the food chain, and a release on insect populations.

 

Some species of lizards declining due to habitat destruction and increase in temperature. Humans have directly disturbed most habitats resulting in reduced biodiversity and ecological changes. Hence efforts should be made to protect these lizards, and one way is to habitats protected from human exploitation. However, humans should play an active role in the management of ecosystems for fauna and flora conservation. The long-term effects of these threats need to be understood in order to delineate appropriate conservation strategies.

 

https://www.scind.org/392/Science/role-of-lizards-a-social-and-ecological-perspective.html

 

 

 


~Who in the world am I? Ah, that's the great puzzle~ Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland
Esteemed Contributor
Posts: 6,714
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

@occasionalrain -  Without getting too technical, Phytophthora infestans fungal spores are carried by wind and water and can infect both potato and tomato plants through the leaves and stems, but can also infect young tubers, if rain washes the spores into the soil.

 

No rats involved in the transmission of the disease.

 

I've said before that my degree is in biology and, before I ended up with a career in I.T., my first job out of college was conducting a virology project:  studying and isolating leaf roll virus on potato plants!  A devastating disease to the potato crops worldwide, but that's a whole other story.  Woman Wink