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

According to a report, residents of Ibiza – the Mediterranean island known for its nightlight and nightclub – are working to exterminate an infestation of invasive snakes that threaten its wall lizard.

“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 includes 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 measuring up to six feet, and been bitten.

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 newspaper.

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

According to the report, volunteers have sent up to 16,000 snakes over the past six years, most of them non-venomous horseshoe snakes.

These snakes can lay up to 10 eggs per year and eat over 500 lizards in their lifetime.

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