I was trying to understand why there are no snakes in New Zealand and at same time I see snakes are important for ecosystems.

So my question is how New Zealand's ecosystem is surviving without snakes?

  • $\begingroup$ ecosystem develop with what they have, snakes are import only in ecosystems that evolved with them. (or ones in which they are introduced, in which case they are important but in a negative way.) That said this is a question better asked on the biology stack. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Dec 18 '19 at 21:08
  • $\begingroup$ First sentence in your second link: snakes are important in their native environment... $\endgroup$ Dec 18 '19 at 21:15
  • $\begingroup$ Prior to settlement by Europeans, New Zealand was principally a land of birds. $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Dec 19 '19 at 2:50

Snakes are important in some ecosystems because they keep down vermin, but the natives of these places pay a high price for this service. Why does new Zealand not have any? Maybe like Ireland there was a water barrier preventing snakes from reaching the islands. Australia is swarming with snakes, most of them very poisonous, but maybe it wasn't when New Zealand broke free many millions of years ago.

Another possibility is that there were once a few snakes in New Zealand, but predators like the Giant Moa and its relatives, and snake-eating birds of prey, might have hunted them to extinction. As for Ireland, snakes were killed off or driven out by the Ice Age, and when the ice receded the snakes from Europe were too slow to get there before the Irish Sea was formed. Only three species manged to reach England before it was cut off by the Channel. Snakes are not important for British ecosystems, but not many people would like to see them become extinct here. Only one, the adder, is poisonous, and kills about one person every fifty years. Just as British ecosystems could survive quite happily without snakes, so can New Zealand. To introduce even harmless ones there could risk a similar eco-disaster to the one in Australia caused by the introduction of the cane toad.

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    $\begingroup$ Rather than guessing / telling tall tales, please, please, please do some research. Just for once! $\endgroup$ Dec 19 '19 at 0:08
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    $\begingroup$ @David Hammen If you have a better answer, why not go ahead and show me up? Point out where I am wrong. I did my research many years ago by the way. Please tell me where I am wrong.. $\endgroup$ Dec 19 '19 at 8:34
  • $\begingroup$ Why will nobody tell me what is wrong with my answer? I suspect it is because they don't know. And why do I get loads of green points for answers which have been heavily down voted? Could it be that the watchers who do the green points know more about it and are more intelligent than the down-voters? Water barriers, as in Wallace's Line, are often the reason species are only found on one side and not the other. $\endgroup$ Dec 22 '19 at 19:05

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