Herper.com: Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Friday, August 31, 2007

Illinois Mud Turtles

Illinois researchers are trying to determine how many yellow mud turtles are still to be found in that state. (News source.)

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Chinese Turtle Smuggling

Hong Kong police caught two men trying to smuggle 7000 hatchling turtles into China. The species named were North American, none endangered. (News source.)

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Irwin's Turtle

An Australian turtle discovered by Steve Irwin and his father has conservationists worried, due to a female-biased population structure with few juveniles being found. (News source.)

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Toads Cross the Road

A surprise emergence of western toadlets in British Columbia is causing problems as volunteers are trying to help the amphibians as they cross a road. (News source.)

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Mambas Tagged

Mambas are being microchipped at Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency in South Africa, to study their movement and interaction with humans. (News source.)

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Oregon Leatherback

A Pacific leatherback was sighted feeding off the coast of Oregon by four fishermen. (News source.)


Thursday, August 30, 2007

EDB Bite

David Weathers, of MTV's canceled Wildboyz series, is recovering from a bite by an eastern diamondback. (News source.)

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Alabama Gator Hunt Results

84 out of 100 permitted hunters in Alabama's Mobile-Tensaw Delta brought in alligators this year. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sea Snake Breeding

The Melbourne (Australia) Aquarium has inadvertently bred their Hardwick's sea snakes; tests confirm that a snake previously thought to be a male is now pregnant. (News source.)

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Iceland Tourist

A loggerhead sea turtle surprised whale-watchers off the coast of Iceland. (News source.)


Toad vs Dog

A 20-lb terrier in Florida died after biting a cane toad. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Egg Poaching

Six men and women have been arrested in Mexico for poaching 52,000 sea turtle eggs. (News source.)

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NJ Boa Caught

A 10-foot boa was captured in a Pemberton, New Jersey, backyard, as it approached a chicken coop. It was captured and turned over to police. (News source.)

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Dead Rattler was Albino

An 18-inch albino rattlesnake was hit by a car in a Scottsdale, Arizona, parking lot. The specimen will be used in wildlife presentations. (News source.)

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Hungry Salamanders

Research shows that some spotted salamander larvae bulk up as quickly as possible in order to outgrow predatory marbled salamanders. (News source.)

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Snakebite at the Pageant

Mrs. Tennessee 2007 was bitten by a rattlesnake as she came down steps on her way to rehearsals. The national pageant is taking place in Arizona. Other contestants have been warned to be careful where they step. (News source.)

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New Golden Frog

A new golden dart frog has been discovered, endemic to "a 20 hectare area in Colombia’s Cundinamarca region." It was discovered by a group of youth under the Conservation Leadership Programme. Doesn't look like it has been scientifically described yet, but they are calling it the "golden frog of Supatá." (News source.)

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Judge Halts Guilty Plea

A Federal judge has halted a guilty plea by a turtle smuggler, on the grounds that the Alabama district court may not have jurisdiction, as the man never left Louisiana. (News source.)

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

Swimming with Gators

Swamp diving has become almost a (dangerous) sport for some Everglades photographers. (News source.)


Caiman Trouble

A Virginia man was arrested for trying to sell a caiman, illegal in that state. (News source.)

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Friday, August 24, 2007

Michigan Caiman

A two-foot caiman was captured in White Lake Township, Oakland County, MI. (News source.)

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Indonesian Reptile Broker

Here is a very interesting profile of a Java reptile broker and how he conducts business.

Wildlife Inspectors

An interesting profile on Miami International Airport-based wildlife inspectors here.

Snake Breeder Sues

A Mapleton, UT, snake breeder who was forced to move is suing the city for damages (the move upset the breeding cycles, etc.). (News source.)

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Thursday, August 23, 2007

UK Croc Fossil

A large crocodilian fossil skull was found in Dorset along the coast. (News source.)

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Killer Kid

An out-of-control child stomped on the head of a 10-foot albino burmese python being shown at an educational outreach at a Cincinnati-area festival, killing it. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Croc vs Teenager

A Vietnamese teenager jumped a safety barrier at the Suoi Tranh tourist center's crocodile pond and dipped his hand in the water. A crocodile promptly bit the arm off up to the elbow. (News source.)

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Turtle Island Protected

Australia's Raine Island, in the Great Barrier Reef, has become protected with permit-only access due to its importance as a breeding ground for thousands of green turtles and some endangered bird populations. (News source.)

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Turtle Smuggler

A Florida man has pled guilty to smuggling protected Alabama redbelly turtles into Mississippi. (News source.)

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Teflon Frog Antibiotics

A nonstick version of antibiotics found naturally in frog skins may be more effective at fighting bacteria. (News source.)

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Canary Island Kingsnakes

Previously noted, there are apparently introduced snakes breeding on Gran Canaria. A new news account states that an English snake handler is trying to collect them from the wild, naming the species: California kingsnakes, with morphs included. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Mexico: Crocs in the Backyard

98 crocodiles (species not given), 12 inches to 6 feet in length, were found in six small swimming pools in a man's backyard in Veracruz, Mexico. The man has been given 5 days to provide documentation on the reptiles. (News source.)


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oregon Mystery Rattlers

A few different types of rattlesnakes have been found in Oregon's Willamette Valley that shouldn't be there. Some think they've been dumped, and may be reproducing. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Plot

Two Colorado men were arrested for plotting to kill a man over a gambling debt, using rattlesnakes. (News source.)

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Turtle Retriever

A golden retriever has been trained to find sea turtle nests buried on Hilton Head's beaches. (News source.)

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India Snake Raids

Police and animal welfare enthusiasts in India raided the "snake mafias" in Mumbai and Hyderabad to rescue snakes illegally collected for festival worship ceremonies. (News source.)

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Herp Shows

Teen Golfer Snakebit

A Gillette, WY, teenager was bitten by a rattlesnake on the golf course during a tournament. (News source.)

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Snakes Menace Police

A police station in Kakrauli, Muzaffarnagar, India, is on the outskirts of town, near the jungle, and is constantly invaded by snakes, making it difficult for the police to house families on site. (News source.)

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India Snake Festival

A snake festival in West Bengal, India, has been held annually for 250 years, though crowds are waning in recent years. (News source.)

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Record Alabama Gator

A hunter in Alabama took a 12-foot, 6-inch, 492-pound alligator, a record for the state. (News source.)

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Gator Snapped

Zoo workers get bit and injured working with wild animals; it's part of the job, regardless of the safety precautions taken. A tourist to Alabama's Alligator Alley filmed a volunteer worker just as he was bitten by one of the gators, but the park's owner notes that the public was never at risk. The tourist apparently made some complaints that the incident tramautized his grandson, etc. It's amazing people can be that oblivious. (News source.)

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Pennsylvania Gator, Again

A 1 1/2 foot gator was found in Cumberland County's Conodoguinet Creek on Thursday. (News source.)

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Sea Turtle Culture: Conservation and Food

An interesting profile of the work done in the Caymans to culture green sea turtles for both release and as a traditional food, here. Includes a turtle steak recipe.

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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Australian Raid

Wildlife officers in Melbourne confiscated over 100 turtles, 19 corn snake, and 2 pythons from four homes and a business. (News source.)

Iowa Copperhead Bite

A Fort Madison, Iowa, man was bitten by a copperhead while moving firewood. His swollen hand was treated at the hospital. Iowa DNR states that copperheads are very rare in that state. (News source.)

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Blue Bullfrog

An Illinois family came across a blue bullfrog in the river near Wilmington. Pics at URL. (News source.)

Croc Attacks

Five people have been injured in saltwater crocodile attacks over the past three days at Bhitarkanika National Park, in Orissa, India. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Everglades Gator Charges

Three Everglades airboat captains were charged with feeding alligators, and in once case, poking one with a stick. (News source.)


Legless Lizard Prey Capture

Interesting discussion on a recent paper published on Burton's legless lizards, and their prey capture mechanism (which includes retracting their eyes to prevent damage from struggling prey).

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Reggie in the News Again

Reggie, the alligator that was finally captured in a Los Angeles lake, escaped from his pen at the L. A. Zoo, only to be recaptured. His pen is being modified so that the gator can't shimmy up the wall again. A staff worker will also be keeping an eye on him. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Zoo Farmed Turtles

Oregon Zoo is raising western pond turtles to release, bolstering diminishing native populations. (News source.)

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Turtle with a Crocodile's Tail

Villagers near Pattaya, Thailand, called the local newspaper to report a strange turtle caught by a local fisherman. The turtle was unknown to them, and had the "tail of a crocodile." Turned out to be a snapping turtle (North American), probably a farm escapee. Pictures at news site.

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Another PA Gator

A three-foot alligator was caught by a Canadian tourist in Montgomery County, PA. (News source.)

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Gator Hunting

Mistaken Identity

A reported "15-foot crocodile" seen in a Vancouver man's backyard turned out to be a small harmless bearded dragon, a common pet lizard. (News source.)


Shark vs Crocodile

Fascinating photo here, showing an Australian salwater croc eating a bull shark it caught in the Daly river.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Reptiles Released

Hundreds of live eels, frogs, and turtles (purchased at New York's Chinatown) were released by a sect of Buddhists into New Jersey's Passaic River. Apparently, no one has explained to them the ecological and zoonotic consequences of releasing non-native wildlife. (News source.)


Tuatara Hatches

A baby Brother's Island tuatara has hatched from an egg laid on New Zealand's Matiu/Somes Island. It's the first known offspring from that island, where 54 of the species were transferred nine years ago. (News source.)

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Mosquitos vs Toads

A biologist discusses how eliminating standing water for mosquito prevention can affect a spadefoot toad population, which feed on mosquitos. (News source.)

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Colorado Rattler Bite

A 16-year-old Colorado girl was bitten by a rattlesnake on her ankle while she was hiking through a field (wearing sandals). She was treated at the hospital. (News source.)

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Squirrels vs Rattlesnakes

California ground squirrels have learned to heat up their tails and shake them at approaching rattlesnakes as a defense mechanism. (News source.)


Reptile Skin Trade Dying?

Some interesting comments on this profile of a reptile skin trading company in Asia, one of only 5 companies left. (News source.)

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saudi Smuggler Caught

A 22-year-old Saudi university student was caught trying to smuggle small reptiles, including chameleons, cobras, and baby crocodiles out of Egypt. (News source.)


Saturday, August 11, 2007

Gator in the Backyard (Caged)

Lafayette, Indiana, animal control is upset that a local taxidermist is keeping a three-foot alligator in the backyard. It is penned in with a pond. There are no local restrictions, so they can't do anything about it, but it sounds like they're going to be looking for a way to get rid of it. State restrictions don't kick in until the alligator gets 5-feet long. The owner is planning to move to another location where a larger habitat can be built, before it gets that big. (News source.)

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An Illinois woman, who was pushed and choked by her husband during an argument, later (after a second arguement on the phone) attacked her husband's pet iguanas in revenge, killing one and severely injuring another. The husband was charged with battery, and the woman was charged with cruelty toward animals. (News source.)

Vietnamese Herbal Snakebite Remedies

A northern Vietnamese man who worked with a drug firm in the 1990s now grows herbs that are claimed to help snakebite victims. He claims to have helped over 200 victims, including serious cases. No numbers are given on victims who didn't make it. (News source.)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

PA: Toad Halts Road

Spadefoot toads, rare in Pennsylvania, have killed a road project due to concerns over a Northumberland County wetlands where they have been found. (News source)

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Snakes are Business for Indonesian

Snake skins and parts are sold by an entrepreneurial Indonesian man... (News source.)


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Croc Kills Dog

An American crocodile has apparently killed a large dog, described as a boxer, in Coral Gables, FL. State wildlife officials are trying to capture the reptile. (News source.)


Michigan Crocodilian Sighting

A small crocodilian (5-foot or less) was reported in a Ypsilanti Township, Michigan, lake. (News source)

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Malaysian Smuggled Turtle Eggs

A Malaysian was caught smuggling 1,498 turtle eggs into Borneo. No species given. (News source.)

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Ukraine Croc Escapee Still Loose

A small crocodilian that escaped from a Ukraine circus at a beach on the Azov sea is still being hunted. A photograph has been taken of it on the sand. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Head has Bite

The head of a rattlesnake, decapitated with a shovel, bit into the finger of a man, apparently twisting around to sink its teeth in, a sort of reflex action. The envenomation was treated at a local hospital. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oklahoma Snake Identified

As previously noted, the snake involved in the fatal shooting of an Oklahoma boy turned out to be a harmless rat snake. Some mention has been made of the rat snake's "similarity" to rattlesnakes and water moccasins, but while I'm sure the officers fully regret the situation, this is a very common species that shouldn't have been misidentified for a venomous species. (News source.)


Canary Island Snakes

The Canaries apparently have some feral snakes -- no descriptions or species are given, but apparently they are "harmless" but "large." European ratsnakes, maybe? Hard to say. Children are collecting them to sell, and environmentalists are concerned. (News source.)

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Gator Rescue

Hutchinson Island, FL, residents tackled and tied up a wayward 4-foot gator. When an officer prepared to dispatch it, they volunteered to release it safely elsewhere. (News source.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Croc in Northern Egypt

Nile crocodiles were extirpated in northern Egypt some time back, but a sighting suggests that a crocodilian of some sort is in the Nile river near Cairo. Rumors of where it came from are rampant. (News source.)

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Ohio: Salamander Protest

A Cincinnati-area plot of forested wetlands next to a nature preserve has been bought to be developed into a drag strip. Members of the local herp society note that as many as 18 species of amphibians and reptiles, including the marbled salamander, have been found in the wetlands. They argue that development could lead to hydrological changes detrimental to the wetlands. (News source.)

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Monday, August 6, 2007

Sea Turtle Poaching

Poachers killed a green sea turtle in the Cayman Islands, and face jail if they are caught. The turtle was butchered and its eggs were taken. (News source.)

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Frog Decline & the Chytrid Fungus

There are two online articles regarding the recent study published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, on the chytrid fungus spreading among frog populations (and wiping them out) in the western US. First, on Mongabay, also on LiveScience.

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

Rain Brings Eggs

Heavy rainfall in the Bangladesh has been a boon for the country's only saltwater crocodile farm, as the showers have led to breeding and egg-laying. (News source)

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Shenandoah Salamanders

The federally protected Shenandoah salamander is found only in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Shenandoah National Park, Virginia, and is now being surveyed by a Smithsonian biologist. (News source)

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Snake Fears lead to Tragedy

A 5-year-old boy was killed by a stray bullet when Noble, Oklahoma, police shot at a snake lodged in a neighbor's birdhouse.

From NewsOK: "Police had gotten a call of a snake complaint from a woman on Crest Lane, whose 16-year-old daughter saw the snake hanging about 3 feet of its body outside a neighbor's bird house on Friday. The woman, who would not identify herself, told The Oklahoman she called the police station to see if animal control could respond and take care of the snake, which she believed to be a diamondback rattlesnake. She was told that the city, which lost its only animal control officer recently, would send a police officer over to help."

The snake's identity appears to be confused. From the Norman (OK) Transcript: "The officer, whose name has not been released by the Noble police department, was responding to a call sometime around 8 p.m. about a snake trapped in a birdhouse. The animal is believed to have been a 'cotton mouth' or 'water moccasin' — a poisonous water snake."

Of course, anyone remotely familiar with snakes will recognize that the snake in question, just from its behavior, was far more likely to have been a nonvenomous species, probably a large ratsnake. It certainly wasn't a "water moccasin." (I might email a journalist just to see whether they can dig up the exact species.) Why, exactly, isn't basic snake identification taught to law enforcement? There aren't that many species to distinguish in most regions. The snake should have just been left alone to begin with.

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Alligator Skinner

Profile on a Florida alligator skinner here.

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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Australia: Hitchhikers Adopted

Tropical frogs that arrive in Australia via fruit and potted plants are tested for amphibian disease, and if healthy, adopted out to pet owners. [Bit of a double standard, compared to how some confiscated reptiles were treated not long ago, but nice to see the amphibians treated fairly.] (News source.)


Estrogen: Another Amphibian Danger

Turns out that estrogen in the water (which isn't processed to treat/remove that chemical) from birth-control pill use may be responsible for some amphibian decline, as male frogs are turned into females. Other drugs may also be causing problems. (News source.)


Arkansas Alligator Hunting

A report on gator hunting in Arkansas here.

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Mass. Gator

A young alligator was found in a Massachusetts park; gators are illegal pets in that state. (News source.)

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The Great Escape

Gwendolyn, a 10-foot, 400-lb saltwater crocodile briefly escaped from a minivan as she was being transported from an Orlando park to her new home at Gator Country, in Beaumont, Texas. She was recaptured and secured. (News source.)

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Nigeria: Killer Crocs

A Nigerian fisherman was killed by a large crocodile and its offspring while he attempted to paddle into the river on his canoe. Witnesses were unable to help him as he was eaten. (News source.)

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Big Croc Fossil

Utah paleontologists have uncovered remains of a fossil crocodilian estimated at 30 feet in length. It is a new species, possibly a new genus. (News source.)

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Fiji Turtle Education

The WWF is educating Fiji islanders about sea turtles, which are used in some traditional feasts and other practices. Permits are required for harvesting. (News source.)

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Sea Turtle Rescued

A 325-lb green sea turtle found tangled in a buoy line at Virginia Beach will be treated and released. It appears to be pregnant. (News source.)

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Roadkill Reptiles

Reptile roadkill isn't just accidental, unfortunately. A study recently published in the journal Human Dimensions of Wildlife shows that 2.7% of drivers intentionally go out of their way to hit snakes and turtles. (News source.)

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Another PA Gator

A 4-foot alligator was captured by police as it walked through a Homewood (Pittsburgh suburb) neighborhood. (News source.)

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Thursday, August 2, 2007

Young Boy Bitten by Copperhead

A 5-year-old boy in Opelika, Alabama, attempted to catch a copperhead he found in his backyard. He was successfully treated for the snakebite. (News source.)

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Snakebite Policy

India is initiating a national policy designed to prevent deaths from delayed treatment for snakebite, as well as making antivenom more available to rural districts. (News source.)

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Washington Gator

A 3-foot gator was captured in a pond in Clark County, Washington. Since the ban on keeping alligators began in July, authorities have found several abandoned gators in local waterways. (News source.)

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Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Conservation efforts are attempting to stop the decline of natterjack toads on Norfolk (UK) dunes. (News source.)

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Reptiland Profile

Here's a news profile of Clyde Peeling's Reptiland, Allenwood, PA.


Penn Gator Again

Another small gator has been taken out of a Berks County, PA, creek. (News source)

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Turtle Grabbing for Snappers

Here's an article on techniques for hunting snapping turtles...

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Snake Venoms

Some notes on using venom differences to differentiate some snake species here.

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Pennsylvania Python

A pet python (species unnamed) got loose from its cage in Carbon County, PA. There have been sightings, but it hasn't been recaptured yet. No mention is made how big it is, but apparently, it normally eats rabbits. (News source.)

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