Skip to content


Western rattlesnake (Crotalus viridis) [NH:1909.54.1]

The reptile collections include approximately 1,200 specimens. Most of our reptiles are preserved in alcohol. A full catalogue has been completed, with all specimens detailed in our database.


  • Collins Field Guide to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Britain and Europe, Nick Arnold, 2002, Harper Collins, London.
  • Life in Cold Blood, David Attenborough, 2007, BBC Books, London
  • The New Encyclopedia of Reptiles and Amphibians, Tim Halliday and Kraig Adler, 2002, Oxford University Press
Irish Snakes!
Snakes have never been native to Ireland. While they are common on the continent of Europe and a small number of species are native to the neighbouring island of Britain, no remains have been found in Ireland. There are Irish specimens of snakes in the museum collections however. All are the same species – the Grass Snake (Natrix natrix), which was a common pet in the twentieth century. Our earliest record of an Irish snake was the offer of a specimen for sale in 1892, but a letter in our archives shows that the snake was destroyed due to a 'nervous sister'.

In 1898 a specimen did make it into the collections. It was found dead on Ranelagh Row in Dublin. Further specimens were found in Greystones (1900), Sandymount (1925), Rathgar (1930), and Ballymahon (1933). In the modern pet trade there are snakes of a great many species in Irish collections. Some have escaped but to date there are no known examples of them surviving to breed in the wild.

Sign up to our newsletter

Keep up to date

Receive updates on the latest exhibitions