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Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Ibizans team up to exterminate invasive snakes, save native lizard species

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Residents of Ibiza — the Mediterranean isle known for nightlight and disco — are working to exterminate an infestation of invasive snakes which threaten its native wall lizard, according to a report.

“It’s really serious,” biologist Elba Montes told the Sunday Times of London. “By 2030, if nothing changes, [the lizard] will be extinct from the main island of Ibiza.”

The lizard, the island’s only native vertebrate, is already extinct on one of the Balearic Islands, which include Ibiza, according to the report.

Dean Gallagher, 43, who has lived in Ibiza for 15 years, has killed 400 snakes so far this year, some as long as six feet, and been bitten.

Ibiza resident Dean Gallagher has slaughtered hundreds of snakes throughout his years in the Mediterranean paradise.
Ibiza resident Dean Gallagher has slaughtered hundreds of snakes throughout his years in the Mediterranean paradise.
Dean Gallagher’s Facebook

“If you don’t euthanize the snakes, then we’re talking about thousands of endemic lizards that will never be replaced,” he told the paper.

The government is pushing for the snakes’ extermination, in part, to keep tourists coming. They were imported about 20 years ago, hidden is inside decorative plants.

Volunteers have dispatched as many as 16,000 serpents in the last six years, most of them non-poisonous horseshoe whip snakes, according to the report.

Such snakes can lay up to 10 eggs per year — and eat more than 500 lizards over the course of their lives.

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