Scientists have noted an "amazing" decline in the world snake population, but are uncertain as to the cause, the BBC reports.
The BBC, citing the journal Biology Letters, says a study of 17 snake populations covering eight species found that most had declined markedly.
Some shrank in number abruptly in 1998, the BBC says, quoting the report.
Species in decline include the asp and the smooth snake from Europe, the Gabon viper and rhinoceros viper of West Africa, and the royal python, the study shows.
Populations shrank even in protected areas, the researchers found.
"It surprised us when we realized what we were looking at," project leader Chris Reading told BBC News. "And we don't have a clue what it was about that period of time (around 1998)."
The answer seems quite obvious to me ...
St. Patrick. He's back!