Herper.com: Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Monday, March 31, 2008

Legal Trouble

First, a Kentucky man's home was raided, and numerous prohibited reptiles confiscated. Meanwhile, he was in the hospital for a snakebite. (News source.)

A Roanoke, VA, family gave up their illegal 6-foot Nile crocodile. (News source.)

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Turtle Hunting Pressure

Because of increasing pressure on wild turtle populations from hunters for the Asian meat market, environmental groups are asking Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, and Texas to stop commercial turtle harvesting. Here's an article on the Oklahoma figures.

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Dwarf Croc Stolen

A Norway aquarium lost its dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus trigonatus) to thieves. (News source.)

They're offering an approx. $4900 reward for a reptile they claim is worth about $2000 on the legal market. (Not sure where they get that info, as they're sold for about $300 or so here in the US...)

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Snakes and Dogs

First, an update: Roxy, the dachshund puppy who was bit by a coral snake, at first seemed to have recovered, but sadly has died. (News source.)

In Australia, a terrier took on a tiger snake, and ended up in treatment from a bite. The dog survived, no word on the snake. (News source.)

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Frog Breeding

Memphis Zoo is planning to breed the endangered Mississippi gopher frogs. (News source.)

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Snakebite Lawsuit

A visitor to a park at Lake Chehaw, Georgia, was bitten by a copperhead, and is now trying to sue the park for $1 million. Here's a clue -- if you visit a wild area populated with venomous snakes and don't take enough care not to get bit, it's your own fault. (News source.)

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Two-Headed Beardie

A NC bearded dragon breeder hatched out a two-headed lizard... (News source.)

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Maryland DNR Regs Updated

From the Press Release:

Today, the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) announced changes to the existing Reptile and Amphibian Possession and Permit regulations. The changes, effective immediately, add six aquatic turtles to the list of regulated species and create a permitted exception for breeding captive turtles with a permit. Aquatic turtles added to the list of regulated species include: eastern painted turtle, midland painted turtle, eastern mud turtle, northern red-bellied cooter, stinkpot, and diamond-backed terrapin." ...
In 2007, Maryland prohibited commercial take of diamond-backed terrapins. The new regulations formally adopt that legislative change. Diamond-backed terrapins, like the other aquatic turtles listed above, may be bred in captivity with a permit from DNR.
"An individual may take and possess one turtle from each of the species listed. Those animals may be taken from the wild and possessed without a permit but may not be commercially traded or sold. As a result of these regulations, commercial harvest of any aquatic turtle (except snapping turtle) is now prohibited. The new regulations will allow a person with a reptile and amphibian permit from DNR to breed turtles in captivity and possess turtles less-than four inches in length."

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UMiami Croc

An American crocodile has taken up residence on the University of Miami campus, on the shore of Lake Osceola. USFWS regulations are hindering efforts to remove the animal to a safer location. (News source.)


Salmonella: Case Closed?

A baby in the UK contracted salmonella, and the mother's internet search led to the conclusion that the pet snake was involved... Just a reminder, but many other animals and food products can carry the bacteria. I'd trust a medical report over a quick internet search...

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Dachshund Doing Fine

The dachshund puppy bitten by a coral snake is doing fine after treatment. (News source.)

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Fer-de-lance Stolen

Someone either knew what they were doing, or is in for a nasty surprise. A boxed up fer-de-lance (very dangerous) was stolen from a vehicle parked at a Vermont Wal-mart. (News source.)

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Drunk vs Crocodile

Australian police had to shoot at a large saltwater crocodile that headed toward a 27-year old miner who was swimming on a bet. No surprise, the man was drunk. (News source.)


Florida Senator Behind Snake Ban Push

The idiot (and poorly-informed) Florida Senator behind the push to ban python imports and interstate transport is named here. Feel free to send him a note.

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Smokin' Turtle

A Chinese man has taught his pet turtle to smoke cigarettes... (News source.)

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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

How Fungus Kills Frogs

Recent research shows how, exactly, frogs are killed when infected with Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis fungus.

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Swedish Man Keeps Snakes

A Swedish environmental court ruled in favor of a man with 47 snakes, after the local municipality tried to bar them with claims that "most people in society are afraid of snakes." (News source.)

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Snake Vodka "Misunderstood"

The Texas rancher charged with selling bottled snakes-in-vodka says they are Asian elixers, not for alcoholic consumption, and claims the furor was caused by "tree-huggers." Yeah, right. (News source.)


Boats More Dangerous to Sea Turtles than Plastic

There's some controversy over in Australia over the threats toward sea turtles and other wildlife. While plastic bags have been commonly heralded as a danger (and certainly, they can be), some conservationists are saying that danger is overhyped, while greater threats (like boats) are underplayed. (News source.)

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Toads vs Quoll

The WWF is warning that a quoll population is in danger from the expanding cane toad invasion. (News source.)

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Rattler Bites Coach

A Virginia high school coach returned from a camp in South Carolina to find a canebrake rattlesnake in his luggage. He was bitten, but is in fair condition. (News source.)

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Eastern Brown Bite

An Australian man was bitten twice by his pet eastern brown snake, and is undergoing emergency treatment. (News source.)

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Turtle Collector Wants Collection Back

After being cleared of charges by a jury, a Georgia turtle collector wants his collection back, but Georgia DNR officials aren't budging yet. (News source.)

[Any investigative authors out there, this story of corrupt wildlife officers, wildlife ownership controversy, and sour grapes in officialdom would make a good book.]

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Croc Farm Problems

Vietnamese crocodile farms are having die-offs due to contaminated water from local factories that dump untreated sewage into the local waterways. (News source.)

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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Snake Catcher

A policeman in India who catches snakes on the side, profiled here.

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Croc at the Beach

A Cairns, Australia, woman swimming at Trinity Beach mistook a 3m long crocodile for a floating log, until it started spouting water. She swam away quickly. (News source.)


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Investigation Continues

The gharial deaths in India are still a mystery, though the colder weather recently may have helped abate the problem a little bit. (News source.)

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2nd Adder Bite in Huddersfield

A dog was bitten by an adder, not long after a hiker was bitten, about a mile from the previous site in Huddersfield (UK). (News source.)

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Friday, March 21, 2008


Here is a profile of the Florida attraction, Gatorama.

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Gopher Snake's Bad Day

Caught by a hawk, then dropped from mid-air. (News source.)


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rattlesnake Bite

A 3-year old boy was bitten by a rattlesnake while running on a beach at San Luis Pass, Texas. (News source.)

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Tasmanian Family Wants Python

An Australian family in Tasmania wants to be allowed a pet diamond python for their autistic son. (News source.)


Plastic Surgery for Cobra Victim

UK donations have paid for initial plastic surgery for a young boy who was disfigured when a cobra spat in his face. (News source.)

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Tortoise Breeds

A 70 year old Galapagos tortoise at the Zurich Zoo had a baby hatch out. (News source.)

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Cayman Iguana Mystery

A mystery Grand Cayman blue iguana was found in George Town. It is untagged and believed too big to be from reintroduction efforts; it may represent the original population, unseen for 60 years. Or it may be a released illegal captive... Research is ongoing. (News source.)

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Herp Crimes

A Chinese student was charged with buying two Burmese pythons (protected in that country) and then selling them. (News source.)

Texas agents confiscated 411 vodka bottles from a ranch; each bottle contained both vodka and a small venomous snake. The ranch owner is (or was) a major exporter of turtles, so apparently these were also going to the Asian market. (News source.)

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Colorado's Official Reptile

The western painted turtle is now Colorado's state reptile. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Problem

A Texas business owner has to regularly catch rattlesnakes that overrun his property. (News source.)



A dachshund puppy in Florida is being treated for a coral snake bite. (News source.)

A woman in Huddersfield, UK, was bitten by an adder while walking the heath. (News source.)

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Madagascar Hissers & Mold

Have an allergy to Madagascar hissing cockroaches? Might be due to the mold species associated with the insect and feces, several of which are known allergens. (News source.)

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Gecko Tails

Research on house gecko tails shows some interesting new functions, including helping the lizard stabilize while running on slippery surfaces. (News source.)

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Rattler Expert

Here's a profile on Bruce Means, a rattlesnake biologist.

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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Strange Snake in Nepal

A "seven-colored" snake is reported from a well in Nepal, creating a local sensation. (News source.)

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A Girl and Her Burmese

A South African girl enjoys having a Burmese python as a pet; her parents think she's nuts. (News source.)

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Friday, March 14, 2008

Gator News

Shifting lungs allows alligators to be agile and quick underwater. (News source.)

Two suspects in the vandalism at St. Augustine Alligator Farm have been caught. (News source.)

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Snakes in the News

A pregnant woman and her child in Malawi died from snakebite, allegedly a cobra that chased and finally caught them. (Hard to say what actually happened.) They lived far from a hospital, and died before they could be brought there. (News source.)

An Australian animal rescuer pulled a large python off a joey, and put the snake down as the mother kangaroo had inflicted severe damage. (News source.)

The large scrub python that had eaten a family's dog was released into an undisclosed location. (News source.)

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Turtle Operation

Veterinary surgeons in Israel inserted a metal plate into a loggerhead turtle's fin, after it was severed by fishing line. (News source.)

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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Sumatran Croc Attack

A Sumatran woman jumped into a river and kicked a large crocodile until it let loose of her 25-year old daughter. The daughter received 50 stitches and remains in the hospital. (News source.)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

SF Garter & Politics

Here's a commentary on a developer's attempt to finagle its way around its own study of a quarry's habitat potential for San Fran. garters. (News source.)

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Frog Rediscovered

The Carrikeri Harlequin Frog (Atelopus carrikeri) has been rediscovered in Colombia. (News source.)

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Crocs Prefer Drunks

An Australian study shows that croc attacks are more likely to be on drunken locals than unwary tourists. (News source.)

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Here is an article in Nature regarding sand-walking by zebra-tailed lizards.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crocs May Go

Cypress Gardens in Berkeley Co., SC, may be getting rid of their crocodile exhibit. (News source.)

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Mamba Fatality

A 27-year old British student died minutes after being bitten by a black mamba in the South African long grass. (News source.)

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Monday, March 10, 2008

Toads vs Cancer

Australian scientists are investigating toad toxins for anti-cancer purposes. (News source.)

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Crocs in the News

Vietnamese farmers are finding that croc raising isn't as lucrative as they hoped, and poor caging means that escapees are common. (News source.)

Here is a profile on a caiman hunter/skinner.

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Be Careful with Heat Lamps

A Nebraska snake-owner removed the heat lamp from on top of the snake's cage, and forgot to return it. When the lamp's timer turned it on later, it heated up nearby combustibles and set the house on fire. The snake died, and the house had $50,000 in damages. (News source.)


Snakes and Spiders: Blame Culture for Phobias

Not long ago, there was a (dumb) study publicized about how children recognize snakes from other elongated animals, so this somehow explains why "everyone" is afraid of snakes. A more competent researcher has now pointed out that while snakes and spiders elicit attention, they certainly don't provoke automatic fear. For that, look to the media and other sources which spread negative reports about the animals. (As anyone who's done snake talks can attest, most children are excited to meet and touch snakes. Those who are fearful tend to a) have parents who have taught them to be afraid, or b) have had a specific negative experience (been bitten, or scared by one).)

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Sea Turtle Sentencing

A Micronesian woman awaits sentencing for purchasing a green sea turtle for consumption. (News source.)

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Cat-Killing Python

An Australian woman's mother lost her cat to a python, so when the woman's own kitten was in danger of the same fate, she fought back. She saved the kitten, but ended up with a broken wrist and several bites. (News source.)

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Resolution Passes in WV

The timber rattlesnake is now West Virginia's state reptile. Not that that means anything to the senator who states: "If I see one in the woods, I’ll blow its head off ... If I see one, he’s dead." (News source.)

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Croc Attacks Boy

An 11-year old boy in South Africa was pulled under by a croc while sitting on rocks after swimming in the Xitumbe River. (News source.)

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Sunday, March 9, 2008

Sri Lankan Snakebite

Here is an article on the death of a young girl in Sri Lanka, by snakebite, and concerns that hospital negligence may have been a factor.

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Friday, March 7, 2008


A (naked) man was taken into custody when he was found stalking an alligator in a pond. This wasn't his first incident with gators. He had been rescued from the jaws of an alligator two years earlier. (News source.)


Tortoise Smuggling

A crate of 9 tortoises were confiscated in Israel, apparently having been smuggled in (possibly just a waystop on their way elsewhere). (News source.)

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Snake Venoms

Popular Science has an article on snake venoms.

An article here on Viprinix, an experimental drug to dissolve blood clots, using the venom of the Malaysian pit viper.

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Wednesday, March 5, 2008


This is why you don't tease crocodiles.

A 12-year old Botswana boy was killed by a crocodile while swimming in the Chobe river. (News source.)

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Alligator Bite

A Seminole Tribe employee was bitten by a 7-foot gator, losing a thumb, when he tried to move the reptile. Surgeons are attempting to reconnect the thumb. (News source.)

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Snake Laws

Here's an interesting column on snake laws in the US.

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Tortoises Confiscated

A Czech man attempted to sell young Hermann's tortoises online without the proper permits, and a court recently confiscated his colony. (News source.)

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Sunday, March 2, 2008

Frogs Against Diabetes

The South American paradoxical frog (Pseudis paradoxa) has compounds in its skin that may help medical researchers in the fight against diabetes. (News source.)

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Push for SC Turtle Regs

Turtles aren't a protected game species in South Carolina, and some conservationists are pushing for regulations, thinking the species are being exploited for the foreign food markets. (News source.)

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Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cobra Fatality

A 70-year old woman in India died after being bitten by a cobra while sleeping in her bed. She woke, and was rushed to the hospital, but could not be revived after she slipped into a coma. (News source.)

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WV Timber Status

The timber rattlesnake may become West Virginia's state reptile... (News source.)

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Turtle News

Logging in Gabon has led to loose logs floating up on beaches, creating barriers for leatherback turtles trying to beach themselves for nesting. (News source.)

Sand dunes are being built up on South Padre Island for nesting Kemps Ridley sea turtles. (News source.)

A Missouri man was arrested for stealing a tortoise from a veterinary hospital. (News source.)

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