Are There Snakes in New Zealand?

New Zealand is an island nation in the South Pacific over 1,000 miles southeast of Australia. Its isolated position makes New Zealand unique in the world for its lack of many species, including snakes. The islands were so isolated before it was visited by humans in 1150 AD that no mammals were present, and today a single bat species is the only nonhuman mammalian representative.

These snakes live in salt water and swim long distances to the shores of New Zealand from place, like the islands of the South Pacific, New Guinea, Australia and Southeast Asia. Although small, both are poisonous, and potentially hazardous to local fauna and humans alike.

In the approximately 1,000 years since humans arrived, the islands have lost a tremendous amount of native species.

Why are there no snakes in New Zealand?

Explanation: But the reason there are no land snakes in Kiwi is probably because the geological climate has undergone several periods of glaciation, making the islands too cold for cold-blooded land snakes.

Does New Zealand really have no snakes?

Some of the Pacific islands, like Tuvalu, Nauru, and Kiribati, don’t have land snakes but do have local sea snakes. … Other island nations, like New Zealand, Greenland, Cape Verde, and Iceland, are largely too far away to have allowed snakes to take up residence there.

Has there ever been a snake found in New Zealand?

It’s a common misconception that New Zealand has no snakes, but it’s not the truth. Marine snakes, or sea snakes, are seen regularly in the waters around northern New Zealand when warm subtropical currents carry them south from out of the tropics. A yellow-bellied sea snake found at Whatipu in 2011.

What countries have no snakes?

Ireland..Iceland..New Zealand..Cape Verde..Many small Pacific island nations: Kiribati, Tuvalu, Nauru, and the Marshall Islands.

Twenty-nine were discovered at the border – seven of which were still alive – and all were destroyed by border staff, according to information provided to Newshub by the Ministry for Primary Industries.

This can mean the snake may have deposited the skin fragments inside a shipping container prior to departing an international port. Biosecurity New Zealand provided data starting from 2010, when two live snakes slid into Auckland.

2015 was the biggest year over the decade for live snake discoveries in New Zealand, with four sneaking into the country – one in New Plymouth and three in Auckland. “We have a multi-layered biosecurity system that involves strict import requirements, checks at the border and surveillance,” a spokesperson told Newshub.

Barren

New Zealand is one of several large islands around the globe where there have never been native snake populations. The others are Antarctica, Iceland, Ireland and Newfoundland. Snakes are more common than lizards around the world, and yet New Zealand is home to several species of lizard and not a single snake. Since snakes have neither evolved nor been deposited on the islands of New Zealand, their appearance would be a threat to other local wildlife, and so they are vigorously repelled.

Sea Snakes

New Zealand does not have any land snakes, but it is visited on occasion by the yellow-bellied sea snake (Pelamis platurus) and the banded sea krait (Laticauda colubrina). These snakes live in salt water and swim long distances to the shores of New Zealand from place, like the islands of the South Pacific, New Guinea, Australia and Southeast Asia. Although small, both are poisonous, and potentially hazardous to local fauna and humans alike. With 35 confirmed sightings since 1930, there is a better chance of seeing a sea snake than a land snake in New Zealand, but the odds are you won’t encounter either.

Invaders

Snakes sometimes do make their way to New Zealand by ship or other transport in the course of normal trade. When they do, the New Zealand government as well as local New Zealanders do whatever they must to eliminate the threat and stop them before they can spread. Specialists are sent to the area where the snake is spotted to make an assessment about the likelihood of breeding. If the threat is considered low-risk, officials will take the snake to be held in captivity. If a high-risk or breeding population is found, steps are taken to eradicate the problem.

Where have the snakes been discovered?

Over the past 10 years, 12 snakes have slithered into New Zealand alive. Seven of the live snakes were destroyed at the border, and five made it into the country. But where exactly were they found?Biosecurity New Zealand provided data starting from 2010, when two live snakes slid into Auckland. One was then found in Palmerston North in 2011 and another in Whangaparaoa in 2013.2015 was the biggest year over the decade for live snake discoveries in New Zealand, with four sneaking into the country – one in New Plymouth and three in Auckland.One snake a year was then found over five consecutive years, with three found in Auckland, and two slipping into the South Island in Queenstown and Te Anau.The last snake to be found alive in New Zealand was in 2019, when it was detected at Queenstown Airport.Biosecurity New Zealand says its operations have been effective in preventing a snake population from establishing in New Zealand.”We have a multi-layered biosecurity system that involves strict import requirements, checks at the border and surveillance,” a spokesperson told Newshub.”It is also why we have trained personnel to handle detections safely and effectively.”Biosecurity New Zealand is grateful for Kiwis alerting them of snake sightings, which they say are an important part of New Zealand‘s biosecurity system. Reports allow teams to act as fast as possible.”All reported sightings or interceptions are thoroughly investigated to determine the pathway of arrival, and to mitigate any potential biosecurity risk,” the spokesperson said.”These investigations are also valuable to identify if we need to make any changes to biosecurity requirements or import pathways requirements.”