Cancel St. Patrick’s Day? Ireland reports ‘first’ venomous snakebite in history

A puff adder snake is shown in this photo from Kruger National Park in South Africa. Graham Cooke/Kruger National Park

Does Saint Patrick still get a day if his job’s not done?

A 22-year-old Dublin man has reportedly sustained the first venomous snakebite in Irish history, according to the Irish Post.

That’s bad news for a country preparing to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday dedicated to a man widely known for supposedly driving all the snakes out of Ireland some 1,500 years ago.

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The unidentified bite victim was bitten by his own venomous puff adder on Feb. 28, the Post reports. He was treated in hospital with anti-venom and released.

“Puff adder venom is pretty nasty,” James Hennessy, director of Ireland’s National Reptile Zoo, told Ireland’s Newstalk. Hennessey’s zoo imported the anti-venom needed to save the man from serious limb damage or potential death.

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Puff adder venom starts “digesting and disintegrating” around the area of the bite, Hennessey said.

“It will cause massive internal issues as well, if not treated.”

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The puff adder is native to southern Africa, where it’s known to ambush its prey with a venomous strike that can bring down a rhino. The snakes grow over a metre long.

“Puff adder venom is potently cytotoxic, causing severe pain, swelling, blistering and in many cases severe tissue damage,” according to the African Snake Bite Institute. The bites are rarely deadly but often very painful, according to the site.

Hennessey called the incident “the first recorded venomous snakebite in Ireland.”

Of course, Saint Patrick can’t be held accountable for pet snakes, can he?

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