Herper.com: Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Australian Croc Farm

A Northern Territory company, Porosus, is planning to develop crocodile farms, which should aid local economic development. (News source.)

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Aussie Dogs to the Rescue

Two separate cases of dogs in Australia protecting someone from snakebite:

A recently adopted doberman saves a toddler from a king brown snake. (News source.)

Three kelpies attacked an eastern brown snake uncovered by a retiree while gardening; one was bitten and currently in a coma. (News source.)

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Australian Croc Killed

Two Australian boys and a twenty-three year old man have been charged with killing a 6-foot crocodile. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Bite

A Port St. Lucie snake enthusiast was bitten by a rattlesnake, and remains in critical condition. This is not his first snakebite. (News source.)

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Frog Fungus Cure

New Zealand scientists have discovered that chytrid-infested frogs dipped in Chloramphenicol (currently a human eye medication) are cured, and become resistant to the disease. (News source.)

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Australia Woman Charged

A woman in Victoria, Australia, has been charged with keeping two native species without permits, and a boa constrictor. (News source.)

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Snake Park Robbed

A man who runs a small snake park in the village of Kongoni, Kenya, was robbed of 15 venomous snakes. An attempt was made to take a Nile crocodile, but it warded off the attack (blood was found in its pool in the morning). (News source.)

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Herps as Food

A review of the Sportsman’s Wild Game Cookout in Lafayette, LA, includes a recipe for alligator sauce piquant.

A Pennsylvania sportsman has been catching and eating snapping turtles for many years. (News source.)

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Indonesia Reptile Park Profile

A profile of the Purbalingga Reptile and Insect Park in Kutasari, Purbalingga, Central Java, is here.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Slimy Salamanders Breed

Toledo (OH) Zoo has a new captive-bred clutch of slimy salamanders, though it apparently wasn't intentional. (News source.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Rattlers

Two rattlesnake bite victims in the Fort Worth area, Texas. (News source.)

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Albino Lizard

An albino shingleback skink about 12cm long was found in Victoria, Australia. (News source.)

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Cricket Frogs vs Development

Development of an adult community near Glenmere Lake is running into problems, as a biologists says it could damage the northern cricket frog population there, which is considered endangered in New York state. (News source.)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

FL Rattlesnake Bite

Putnan Co., FL, Sheriff's department cited a woman who sped her "snake-bit" husband to an emergency room. The man had been bitten by a pygmy rattlesnake. (News source.)

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Gator Stories

An 8-foot gator has been aggressive towards residents of Lakewood Ranch, FL, and they want it trapped. (News source.)

A retiree in Sun City Center, FL, has been sabotaging alligator traps, claiming he is defending the gators and that people should just expect to live with them when they move into their habitat. (News source.)

A man swerved on the road to miss an animal, and ended up putting his SUV into a Palm Bay, FL, lake. Large alligators kept divers from retrieving the car. (News source.)

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Croc Escape

Flooding at a Non Sung, Thailand, crocodile farm led to 34 escapees. 23 have been shot, but 11 remain on the loose. Some are up to 20 feet in length. (News source.)

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Rattler Bite

A woman visiting the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge walked up on a rattlesnake without seeing it, and was bitten. This is the third bite this year at the refuge, which gets 1.5 million visitors a year. (News source.)

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Turtle Conservation

Researchers are trying to save the pig-nosed turtle. (News source.)

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Tortoise Preserve

73 acres with gopher tortoises in Lutz, FL, may be turned into a conservation preserve. (News source.)

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Gator Recipes for the Big Game

University of Kentucky & Florida rivalry leads to some tasty gator recipes online...

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Coqui Eradication Misfire

Plans to have Hawaiian school children collect bounties for collecting the invasive coqui treefrogs misfired when a couple of schools questioned their participation. (News source.)

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Australian Croc Bite

A man in Queensland was drinking and diving, at Cow Bay, ending up being bitten on the face by a croc. He escaped, went back to camp, slept for seven hours, then drove to town for treatment (40+ stitches). (News source.)

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Labradoodle vs Diamondback

An 11-month old Labradoodle in Arizona jumped between a western diamondback and his owner (and another dog), receiving several bites, though the owner was unaware of that at first. Sheriff's deputies were called and removed the snake. The dog exhibited symptoms later, but expensive emergency treatment wasn't an option, so the owner tried to make the dog comfortable. After making it through the night, some western remedy was applied (DSMO to reduce swelling), and the dog eventually recovered. (News source.)

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Hoekstra Hates Turtles

I guess it's good publicity, and they're a safe target; it's not like the turtles are going to march against him or anything. A Michigan congressman has started railing about $318,000 spent by MDOT to create turtle barriers along stretches with high turtle mortality. (The funds are specifically given for road enhancement and safety by the Feds, not general roadwork. There are a fair number of accidents caused by turtles crossing roads, btw.) Here's a clue: if you want to clean up Michigan and its lousy employment rate, start somewhere that's going to actually going to help solve the problem. The good congressman is just using turtles for a hand-waving demonstration (News source.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Aussie Govt. vs Toads

There are claims by FrogWatch (shouldn't that be ToadWatch?) that the government in Australia is not doing enough to help stop the spread of invasive cane toads. (News source)

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Illegal Pets

An Australian woman was charged with keeping a diamond python and carpet python without a permit in Darwin. (News source.)

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Big Gator

A gator was removed from near a subdivision along Lake Monroe, Seminole County. It measured 13 feet 4 inches, weighing over 1000 lbs. It is believed to be responsible for the disappearance of several dogs. (News source.)


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tuatara Transfer

130 more tuatara are scheduled to be transferred to the Karori Sanctuary on the NZ mainland. (News source.)

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Turtles Tip

Some researchers have been looking into how turtles are able to right themselves after being tipped. (Nature article.)

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International Snakebites

An Australian farmer was hospitalized after being bitten by a 1.5 meter brown snake. (News source.)

There's a good bit of controversy over the death of a young boy in India who died from snakebite; the parents say the hospital refused to treat until they had enough money for a security deposit, and the doctors say the boy was brought in too late to save. (News source.)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Australian Lizard Seizure

27 shingleback skinks were taken by Australian wildlife officials, with charges against two men who apparently were trying to sell them. (News source.)

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Timber Relocation

A group of timber rattlesnakes in Kansas was moved due to development, and appear to be keeping to their relocation spot. The project won't be deemed successful, however, until it's been determined that they have made it through the winter in good health. (News source.)

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Snot Otter Conservation

Ohio researchers are studying the decline of the hellbender, as a conservation facility prepares a captive-breeding program. (News source.)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Fighting Cane Toads

Australian researchers are looking at another weapon against the invasive cane toads: spinal disease. (News source.)

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Croc Farm Research

Researchers at the Darwin Crocodile Farm are analyzing 500 genetic markers to find traits for fast growth and quality skins, which would allow juveniles to be tested for potential selective breeding projects. (News source.)

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Uganda Croc

A 62-year-old crocodile died at the Buwama Crocodile Farm, Uganda, where it had been relocated in 2005 following decades of attacking fishermen at Lugaga Swamp. (News source.)

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Georgia Rattlesnake Bite

A Burke Co., GA, man was bitten by a small rattlesnake when he picked it up, thinking it was a rubber toy. (News source.)

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Tree Frog Tape

Indian researchers have created a new sticky tape based on the toepads of a treefrog. The tiny channel-filled patterns allow the tape to be unstuck and reused, while being up to 30 times stickier than conventional tape. (News source.)

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Ukraine Croc Still At Large

A small nile crocodile that escaped from a circus on a Ukranian beach hasn't been recovered yet; it has moved to the warmer waters by a power plant converter now that the weather is turning cooler. It is fattening up despite worries that the salt water would harm it. Repeated attempts to catch it have failed. (News source.)

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Beetle vs Snake

A Connecticut professor has discovered that a burying beetle, Nicrophorus pustulatus, specifically parasitizes snake eggs. There are concerns because ratsnakes are declining in parts of the northeast. (News source.)

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Tortoise Smuggler

A Tampa, FL, pet shop owner pleaded guilty to charges in a smuggling racket involving Burmese and Indian star tortoises. (News source.)

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Louisiana Tannery

An exotic tannery in Lafayette, Louisiana, processes 10,000 alligator skins a month on average. Profile here.

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Two-Headed Carpet Python

A juvenile two-headed carpet python has been unveiled at the World Aquarium (St. Louis), taking the place of the late two-headed rat snake, "We," that died at the age of eight years. (News source.)

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Snakebite in Florida

A Tallahassee, FL, woman was bitten by a rattlesnake while walking a path at Maclay Gardens. She took a cellphone picture of the snake and called 911. From the photo, the park manager thinks it was a pygmy rattler, but the snake hasn't been relocated. (News source.)

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Gator Trapped

The 8-foot alligator responsible for the death of an elderly woman in Georgia was trapped and killed, with evidence conclusively linking it to the attack. (News source.)

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FL County's First Leatherbacks

Walton County, FL, noted the first documented hatching of leatherback sea turtles on its beaches. (News source.)


Coral Snake Antivenom Research

Because Wyeth will no longer produce US coral snake antivenom after this year, a substitute is necessary, and researcher Dr. Elda Sanchez has been working under a grant to find one. She now believes that a Mexico-produced antivenom, created for a different species, will work for the Texas coral snake. [Doesn't note if it works for the eastern coral snake, though.] (News source.)

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Runaway Snake Returns

A UK boy lost his small pet corn snake three months ago, but found it recently in his back yard; it had survived fairly well, and is twice the size it was when he lost it. (News source.)

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Rattlesnake Bite Fatality

A 63-year-old Chino Valley, AZ, woman died from the bite of a Mojave rattlesnake. She was bitten while taking a walk, and treated at a hospital. (News source.)

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Bavarian Reptile Hunt

An approximately 6-foot crocodilian was reported from central-east Bavaria, Germany. (News source.)

The sighting report is unclear; sounds a little like it could also be a large monitor lizard or an iguana (assuming some size exaggeration).

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Mozambique Campaign

A Mozambique district has collected (presumably destroyed) up to 13000 crocodile eggs, in an effort to minimize human-crocodile conflict, as croc attacks have increased in recent years. Elephants and hippos are also causing problems. (News source.)

Update: Another news posting states that Mozambique will begin exporting 100,000 crocodiles to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Not sure if they are collecting and hatching eggs, or just exporting the eggs, etc. (News source.)


Xenopus Lab Husbandry

A Simpler Protocol for Care of Xenopus laevis in the Lab (online article)

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Alabama Man Charged

A Phenix City, Alabama, man was charged with possessing and selling non-native venomous snakes (various western rattlesnakes) without a permit. (News source.)

It would be nice to see state officials focus on the crime itself, without attempting to justify the law with irresponsible arguments like, "these snakes pose a serious threat to people, and could threaten native wildlife had they escaped and began to breed." Makes a good soundbite, but it is little more than fear-mongering.

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Woman Killed by Gator

An elderly woman found mauled by an alligator in George was in fact killed by it. She was house-sitting for relatives in The Landings, Skidaway Island. (News source.)

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UK Reptile Theft

Burglars stole almost £3,500 worth of reptiles from a Yarnton pet shop: bearded dragons, ratsnakes, kingsnakes, a rainbow boa, tortoises, etc. The news account focuses on the "venomous" western hognose, of course.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Frog Legs recipe

Risotto with Frog Legs and Sweet Garlic Cream: recipe here.

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SC Snakebite

A golfer was bitten on the ankle by a baby rattlesnake in South Carolina. (News source.)

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India Gharial

A gharial was videotaped by researchers in the the Brahmaputra river at Chapor near Dhubri, after being alerted by villagers. (News source.)

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Sea Turtle News

1200 baby sea turtles washed ashore on several Florida beaches, and are recovering at Volusia County's marine science center. (News source.)

A $1 million sea turtle rehabilitation facility has been proposed for Surf City, NC, to replace an older facility in need of expansion. (News source.)

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More on Cane Toads

Researchers want toad-proof fencing set up between the Northern Territories and Western Australia to protect the latter. (News source.)

Drought around Brisbane appears to be reducing cane toads in that location. (News source.)

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Monday, October 8, 2007

Cincy Zoo Profile

The reptile house at the Cincinnati Zoo is profiled here.

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Georgia Gator Investigation

The death of an elderly woman in Georgia is being investigated by police to determine whether she was dead prior to being maulted by an alligator, or whether the attack was responsible for her death. (News source.)

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Sunday, October 7, 2007

Cane Toads Expanding

The invasive cane toad may be expanding its range into Western Australia in spite of the best efforts of biologists to stop it. (News source.)

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South Dakota Snakebite

A South Dakota man, sitting in his truck watching his fishing pole set up along Antelope Creek, stepped out and onto a prairie rattlesnake, which promptly bit him three times. (News source.)

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Saturday, October 6, 2007

Turtle Dogs

A retired teacher is being paid by the Maryland State Highway Administration to locate box turtles with his turtle-tracking dogs, along the route of a new connecting highway. (News source.)

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Snake Bite Stories

Plenty of stories at the Reptile and Amphibian Festival at the Chinsegut Nature Center. (News source.)

Tortoise Snack

Here's a news site, with video showing a leopard tortoise eating hyena dung to aid in digestion. (News source.)

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Anaconda Movie Sequels

Sequels 3 and 4 to the movie, Anaconda, are being filmed in Romania, for presentation on the SciFi Channel and then straight-to-DVD. The main star... David Hasselhoff. (News source.)

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Aussie Snakebite

An Australian woman who handles snake calls for the police was bitten by a red-bellied black snake, when it escaped from a box in her car. She spent the night in observation at a hospital, but no major symptoms presented. (News source.)

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Friday, October 5, 2007

Toad Genome

Australian scientists are working on a cane toad genome program, to identify the invasive species' weaknesses. (News source.)

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A juvenile two-headed snake was caught by two young boys at the Devonian Fossil Gorge at Coralville Lake, in Iowa. Their mother plans to let them keep it a few days, then release it. (News source.)

The snake should be donated to a museum, as two-headed snakes aren't likely to survive long in the wild.

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Caiman Farm

A caiman-meat & hide farming facility, with slaughterhouse, tannery, and possible restaurant, is being funded in Brazil. (News source.)

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lizards Listen to Birds

Galapagos iguanas keep an ear out for alarm calls by the islands' mockingbirds, warning of predatory hawks. (News source.)

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Serpentarium Profile

A short profile of George Van Horn's Reptile World Serpentarium here.

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Cobra Festival

Cobras are the primary attraction at the Hindu festival of Naga Panchami in Shirala, in the state of Maharashtra, India. (News source.)

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Smuggler Pleads Guilty

A Southern California man is pleading guilty to smuggling rare Asian chelonians into the country. (News source)

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Dwarf Croc Fathers Clutch

A 67-year-old (at least) dwarf croc at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo fathered a small clutch of babies. (News source.)

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Small Frog in India (But Not World's Smallest)

A small frog that ranges up to 14mm in length has been described from India. The species, Nyctibatrachus minimus, is described in Current Science. (News source.)

Also, another specimen of the endangered golden gecko (Calodactylodes sp.) has been discovered in India. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Calendar

A New York photographer has created a calendar from her timber rattlesnake photos. (News source.)


Crocodile Tears

Turns out that, rather than being a myth, many crocodilians do "tear up" while eating their food, possibly due to air moving into their sinuses while "huffing" as they tear into a meal, stimulating the tear glands. (News source.)

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Singapore vs Smuggling

Singapore officers are being trained to identify rare reptiles, in an effort to stop the black market trade through that country. (News source.)

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Developer vs Slow Worms

Protests are being lodged against development in the UK that would force the relocation of the protected slow worms. (News source.)

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Spotted Frog Release

1800 endangered Oregon spotted frogs will be released into British Columbia's Fraser Valley this month. (News source.)

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Zambia Croc Attack

A Zambia man was attacked by a crocodile while trawling a net in shallow waters. A companion hit the croc with an oar, forcing it to drop the victim. A medical mission team was visiting a nearby village and was able to treat the man's severe injuries. (News source.)

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Gharials are now considered critically endangered in India, as populations diminish in response to development on the rivers. (News source.)

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Everglades Pythons Increasing

The introduced population of Burmese pythons is expanding its range in the Everglades. The population is believed to number in the thousands. (News source.)

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Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Officer Snakebit

A Texas police officer was bitten by a snake while investigating a report of shots fired. (News source.)

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Croc Diving

A 28-year old female media executive in South Africa participated in a stunt at an endangered species facility, spending 20 minutes inside a steel cage in a crocodile pool. (News source.)

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Blanding's Release

24 young Blanding's turtles were released into the Illinois wilds, at the DuPage County Forest Preserve District. (News source.)

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Wandering Boa

A young boa constrictor (misidentified as a python in the story) was found wandering the streets of Clarion, PA. (News source.)

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Lizards Play Rock-Paper-Scissors

The "rock-paper-scissors" competition of mating strategies known among side-blotched lizards in North America has also been found in the European common lizard (Lacerta vivipara). From the Eurekalert:

"A quick look at their undersides reveals the strategy: males who sport orange bellies are brutes who invade other lizards' territories to mate with any female they can catch. But while they're gone, drab yellow-bellied males slink onto the vacant territory and mate with unguarded females. White-bellied males guard their mates closely, and cooperate with other white-bellied lizards to keep the yellows at bay. Hence the analogy to rock-paper-scissors: force (orange) defeats cooperation (white), cooperation defeats deception (yellow), and deception defeats force." ...

"The cycle goes like this: one color type--orange, for example--is common in a patch of habitat for a year or two. During that time, the orange bullies spend their time attacking white-bellied lizards on nearby territories. The effort leaves females on their own territories unguarded, allowing yellow-bellied lizards to sneak in and sire offspring. So yellow males become prevalent for the next year or two. After that, white-bellied lizards proliferate as they team up to protect their mates from yellows' intrusions. But once the white-bellied males become numerous, they're easy pickings for the remaining orange-bellied males, who regain superior numbers as the cycle starts again."

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Lacey Act Bust

A 21-year-old Las Vegas, NV, man was charged with selling venomous snakes out of his home, and across state lines. Venomous herps are illegal in Nevada without permits, and attempting to sell such across state lines is in violation of the Lacey Act, which is apparently what he is being charged under. (News source.) Of course, the Nevada paper is getting their info on "deadly snakes" from the gov't officials, so not surprising to see only negative bias with no mention of responsible herpetoculture.

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Monday, October 1, 2007

Herp Taxidermy

A New Hampshire taxidermist tells a little about his award-winning work, which includes a specialization in reptile taxidermy, here.

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Cobra Fatality

A Cambodian man (who had been drinking) captured a 6-foot cobra by improvising his trousers into a bag. He was bitten three times by the snake, and died. His last words: "Don't worry - it's nothing a drink can't fix." (News source.)

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Gator in Wisconsin

A Wisconsin hunter ran into a four-foot alligator in the Milwaukee River in Washington County. (News source.)

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