Herper.com: Reptiles and Amphibians

Reptiles and Amphibians in the News

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sea Turtles

23 Kemp's Ridley sea turtle nests have been found on the Texas coast this year. (News source.)

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A Bushnell, FL, man was hospitalized from a bite by his pet cobra. (News source.)

A South Carolina animal control officer was bitten by a cottonmouth. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oscar Returns

The late Oscar, a 14-foot alligator that inhabited Okefenokee Swamp Park, will be mounted (skeleton only) for display to park visitors. (News source.)


Gomeran Skink Described

Genetic research shows that the skink on La Gomera (Canary Islands) is an endemic species, not just a subspecies. (News source.)

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Crocodilian News

A Florida golf ball diver was attacked by a 10+ foot alligator, managing to barely escape with a broken arm and crushed shoulder. (News source.)

A 3-foot crocodilian was reported from Swansea lake, in the UK. (News source.)

A hunt for gharials in Pakistan didn't locate any of the species. They may have been wiped out by hunters. (News source.)

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Stolen Croc Found (Uganda)

A young crocodile stolen from a conservation education center in Uganda was found abandoned at the airport. (News source.)

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Black Market Tortoises

Here is an article on a black market in Bangkok with very rare tortoises.

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Texas Copperhead Bite

A Texas kindergarten teacher was bitten twice by a copperhead while walking near her home at night. She felt the first bite to her ankle, and thought she had dropped something, reached down, and was bitten on the finger. (News source.)

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Smuggler Sentenced

A Mexican man was sentenced to 16 months in prison and 3 years supervised release by a US federal court for smuggling sea turtle products. (News source.)

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Friday, April 25, 2008

Zoo Breeding

Madras Crocodile Bank Trust in India has bred Indian painted roof turtles. (News source.)

Northern Territory Wildlife Park has bred a pair of death adders, resulting in a 25 baby litter. (News source.)

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Snake Stories

A Chinese man was bitten by his pet cobra. Antivenom had to be flown from Shanghai to Beijing. (News source.)

While trying to flush out a snake from a shed, an Australian man accidentally shot and killed the woman helping him. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Turtle Poaching

Missouri game officers arrested several men for poaching turtles. (News source.)

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NH Gator Sighting

A New Hampshire fisherman says he hooked a 5-foot alligator, but wasn't able to reel it in. Police are checking the pond. (News source.)

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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

VA: Possible Ban

Arlington, VA, is mulling a ban on venomous and "dangerous" snakes. (News source.)

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Lizard Smuggling

3000 chameleons and 350 other lizards were confiscated from two men at a Yemen airport. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Coral Snake Bite

Details here on a Texas woman's coral snake bite.

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Snake Smuggler Fined

An Australian man was fined $15,000 for attempting to take 10 cornsnakes and two Burmese pythons through an airport. The snakes, of course, were destroyed. (They couldn't take $100 of the fine and send the snakes back out of country?) (News source.)

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Egg Poacher Caught

Malaysian police caught a man trying to sell 300 illegal turtle eggs. (News source.)

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Another Coral Snake Bite

A 24-year old Texas man walked into a hospital and said he had been bitten by a coral snake. Details unknown as of yet. (News source.)

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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Desert Tortoises Killed

23 relocated desert tortoises have been killed by coyotes after being displaced from the Ft. Irwin expansion area. (News source.)

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Croc Attack and Croc Escape

An illegal logger captured by Myanmar forest rangers was knocked out of a boat and killed by a crocodile. (News source.)

And, a large saltwater crocodile escaped from a croc farm in Malaysia, but was captured by 10+ villagers and sent to the police. (News source with photo.)

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Death by Crocodile Brain

A crocodile in Zimbabwe was killed, and only its brain taken. It is a superstition in that region, that croc brains can be used to poison an enemy. (News source.)

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Invasive Lizards

Southeast Asian skinks are spreading through Taiwan, outcompeting the native lizards. (News source.)

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Vietnam Turtle Controversial

A Vietnamese biologist contends that recent reports of the rediscovery of Rafetus swinhoei in the wild (by US zoo researchers) is not conclusive, and better evidence needs to be offered -- not just a picture. (News source.)

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Hawaii Snake Hunt

A report of a possible brown tree snake (described as a 2-foot green-brown snake) at the Marine Corps Base at Kaneohe brought out searching parties. (News source.)

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Pet Shop Fiasco

A pet shop employee was attacked by a 12-foot Burmese python, and had to be rescued by emergency personnel. (News source.)

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Cane Toads vs Dogs

Five dogs have died in a week in the Northern Territories from cane toad poisoning. (News source.)

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Herp Ringtones

ENature is offering a few wildlife ringtones, including some herp calls...

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Friday, April 18, 2008

Almost Got the Dog

A crocodile almost got a pet dog as it was being walked on a Cairns, Australia, beach. (News source.)

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Sea Turtle Fatality

A sea turtle dish was eaten by several minors in the Philippines, ending in one fatality and 10 or more in the hospital. (Bacterial toxin?) (News source.)

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Rapid Changes in Podarcis

The Italian wall lizard, Podarcis sicula, was introduced to a small island in the Adriatic in 1971, and show a variety of significant changes in the current population. (News source.)

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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

New Reptiles

A few new species of snakes and lizards described in the last couple months:

A pitviper from Hon Son Island in Vietnam, Cryptelytrops honsonensis. (Zootaxa)
A xenodermatid snake from Vietnam, Fimbrios smithi. (Zootaxa)
A night-lizard from Mexico, Lepidophyma cuicateca. (Zootaxa)
Two geckos from southern Vietnam, Cyrtodactylus takouensis and Cyrtodactylus huynhi. (Zootaxa)
A gecko from Borneo in the genus Luperosaurus. (Zootaxa)
A gecko from Cuba, Tarentola crombiei. (Zootaxa)
A gecko from Thailand, Gekko nutaphandi. (Zootaxa)

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Zoo Rediscovers Turtle

From the announcement:

"Cleveland Metroparks Zoo today announced the discovery of a critically endangered turtle in northern Vietnam that previously was thought to be extinct in the wild. Experts from the Zoo's Asian Turtle Program confirmed they have identified the only known living specimen of a Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei) in nature.
"After three years of searching, Zoo-sponsored researchers focused on a lake just west of Hanoi after residents reported spotting the gigantic turtle there. Field biologists, along with Education for Nature in Vietnam, found and photographed the turtle, allowing scientists to verify it was the rare Swinhoe's soft-shell turtle, which is considered a national treasure in Vietnam."

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More Croc News

A small alligator was handed over to the Indianapolis Zoo by a man who claimed he found it in the White River. (News source.)

Here's a profile of a Tanzanian man who recovered from a crocodile attack when he was a young boy, that ripped his arm off.

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Land for Watersnakes

9.1 acres (purchased by a conservation and government partnership) on the eastern tip of South Bass Island will be set aside for birds and the threatened Lake Erie watersnake. (News source.)

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Croc Attack

A Uganda government official was fishing in a boat when a crocodile attacked, killing and eating him. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Green Snake in a Serpentarium

A visitor thinks a green mamba got loose from a NC serpentarium, but employees say it was only a native green snake that another visitor released inside. (News source.)

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Massasauga Hunt

A road project in Butler County, PA, is being held up as the state is requiring a search for eastern massasaugas (a small rattlesnake). (News source.)

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Monday, April 14, 2008

Komodo Research

Research on Komodo dragon skulls shows that while the bite force is low and the skull is comparatively lightweight, but sharp teeth and unique biting methods driven by strong neck musculature make for an effective predator. (Eurekalert.)

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Arizona Snakebite

A Carefree, Arizona, woman was bitten by a rattlesnake outside her home. (News source.)

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Ukraine: Crocodile Monument

A monument has been opened in Mariupol, where a small crocodile escaped in May 2007, eluding capture for several months. (News source.)

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Sunday, April 13, 2008

Insurance Stories: When a Cobra Bites

Here's a tale about a man in India who died from a cobra bite, and how his wife finally received her insurance settlement.

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Snapper Soup

For ideas on making a better snapping turtle soup...

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Turtle Politics in Vermont

Controversy brews as biologists disagree with the F&W commissioner's recovery plan for the eastern spiny softshell turtle. (News source.)

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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Gila Bite Update

Here is an update on the New Mexico zookeeper bitten by a Gila monster.

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Snake for Dinner

Here is a brief article on Indians who hunt and snakes in Tamil Nadu. (News source.)

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Salamander Poaching

Rangers at Cleveland (OH) Metroparks are investigating a salamander trap found in one of their ponds. They're immediately blaming the pet trade, of course, with no mention at all on the more obvious culprit. Salamanders are commonly used as fishing bait... (News source.)

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Australian Turtle Parasite

Murray River freshwater turtles are dying from infestations of a marine bristle worm. (News source.)

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White Frogs

Some xanthic frogs were found in a British garden. (News source.)

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More Venomous Bites

A New Mexico zookeeper was bitten by a Gila monster. (News source.)

An Orissa, India, folk dancer died when he was bitten by the cobra he was dancing with. (News source.)

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Smuggled in Books

A couple of packages intercepted in the mail from Australia to the Czech Republic turned out to hold hollowed-out books with native Australian geckos. (News source.)

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Sea Snake Bycatch Drops

Fishing trawlers in Queensland, Australia, waters using "bycatch reduction devices" are catching fewer threatened sea snakes. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Don't Eat the Frogs

The Cambodian government is trying to curb eating a national delicacy, fried frogs, so that the amphibians can protect the rice crops from insect pests. (News source.)

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Cane Toads

A parasitic worm may be the latest weapon in Australia's fight against the invasive cane toads. (News source.)

Sydney's Australian Museum is drawing the ire of Northern Territory residents because it put up husbandry instructions for cane toads. (News source.)

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Smuggling Beardies

A Dutch passenger was caught trying to smuggle 16 small bearded dragons through an airport in Spain. No word on where they came from. (News source.)

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Croc Industries

In Zimbabwe, farmed crocodile meat is becoming a cheap alternative as other meats become far more expensive than many people can afford. (News source.)

Australian crocodile farmers have a labor shortage (few skilled crocodile butchers), so cheaper imported croc meat from PNG and elsewhere is taking over the market, while the Australian farmers focus on skins. (News source.)

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Coral Snake Antivenom Dwindling

Here is an article that discusses the dwindling supply of coral snake antivenom in the US (as Wyeth no longer manufactures it), and the possibility of a Mexican antivenom if the FDA would actually do something about testing it.

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Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Snake Bites

A teenager was bitten by a coral snake in Florida. (News source.)

A South African teenager (who claims to have 150 snakes in his bedroom) was bitten by a cape cobra. This is the third venomous bite he's survived. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Snakes in a Jail Cell

A couple of snakes have been killed in the cell of a Nigerian rebel, whose organization claims the Nigerian government is trying to kill him that way. The government disagrees. (News source.)

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Herpetologist Profile

Here's a profile on herpetologist L. Lee Grismer.

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Old Bullsnake

Here's the brief tale of an almost 30-year old bullsnake, reunited with the man who originally caught him. (News source.)


Monday, April 7, 2008

Lungless Frog

A rare aquatic frog, Barbourula kalimantanensis, from Borneo has been confirmed as the only known (so far) lungless frog. The frog "lives in cold, fast-flowing water, they noted, so loss of lungs might be an adaptation to a combination of factors: a higher oxygen environment, the species’s presumed low metabolic rate, severe flattening of their bodies that increases the surface area of their skin, and selection for negative buoyancy—meaning that the frogs would rather sink than float." (Eurekalert)

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Gator Blood Fights Disease

Proteins from the blood of alligators may find their way into human medicine. Medical researchers are looking for ways to harness gators' strong immunological resistance in future medical treatments. (News source.)

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Lizards Saved

Malaysian wildlife officers rescued 222 endangered monitor lizards poached for the meat trade. (News source.)

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Sunday, April 6, 2008

Crocodilian News

A Japanese aquarium has a dwarf caiman that entertains crowds by standing on its hind legs when water is poured on it. (Reminiscent of a waterfall?) (News source.)

Here is a profile on a South Carolina alligator wrangler, who captures problem gators.

And an article on South Carolina's new alligator hunting season. (News source.)

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Herp Crimes

The UK mastermind of an illegal tortoise smuggling ring has been charged. (News source.)

A couple of snakes were stolen from Flamingo Gardens in Florida. (News source.)

A woman who stole a young boa constrictor from a Michigan pet shop has returned the snake. (News source.)

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Saturday, April 5, 2008

Crocodile Attack in Costa Rica

A Costa Rican woman was killed by a crocodile in Guanacaste province, on the Bebedero river. (News source.)

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Rattlesnake Bite

Here is an article on a runner who was bitten by a rattlesnake last year.

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Man Saves Python

A UK man rescued his pet water python from a burning building. (News source.)


Desert Evac

Desert tortoises are being evacuated and relocated from land that will be used in expansion of Fort Irwin. (News source.)

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Frog Catching Tradition

Here is a fascinating profile on traditional frog catching in the Philippines.

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Friday, April 4, 2008

Crocs Stolen

18 baby saltwater crocodiles were stolen from a Darwin, Australia, crocodile farm. (News source.)

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Thursday, April 3, 2008

Accident Frees Reptiles

A car crashes into two houses, one the home of a herp enthusiast -- six reptiles are missing, but believed to be hiding in the house. None are venomous. (News source.)



A high schooler in India was bitten by a cobra and taken to a hospital for treatment. After an hour, the antivenom had taken effect, and the young man expressed the wish to sit for his philosophy paper (exam). His headmaster and local police arranged for him to do so from his hospital bed. (News source.)

Another dog has died from a coral snake bite. It was a 3-year old Jack Russell terrier. (News source.)

WHO is starting a campaign in Africa against snakebites. (News source.)

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Python Smuggling

A Victoria, Australia, man is charged with smuggling four "endangered" pythons in from South Africa. (The news report states they are believed to be green tree pythons -- which aren't native to South Africa.) And, of course, the idiots in customs there plan to destroy the snakes. (News source.)

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Ravens vs Desert Tortoises

Federal wildlife officers plan to kill any ravens caught preying on desert tortoises in the California desert, along with using other methods to make the area uninviting for the birds. (News source.)

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A Tanzanian man has started up his own little zoo, calling it the Steve Irwin Zoo. Brilliant marketing ploy, but it won't be long before the lawyers come knocking... (News source.)

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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Croc Attacks Woman

An Australian woman was grabbed by a crocodile as she swam in Litchfield National Park, NT. Her husband jumped onto the croc and forced it to release her. The croc swam off and the woman was taken for treatment to the local medical clinic. (News source.)

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Toad-Culling Day

Plans are afoot to create a Queensland (Australian) toad-whacking day against the invasive cane toads. The RSPCA will only support it if toads are killed by freezing. (News source.)

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Europe's Albino Alligator

The only albino alligator in captivity in Europe is profiled here.

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Snake Soup Crime

A Korean man was arrested for buying soup made from illegally caught wild snakes. It is legal in Korea to raise snakes for soup, but not to catch them in the wild. (News source.)

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Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Crocodilian Poaching

A news report out of Brazil says that 740 "alligator" corpses were found slaughtered in a nature reserve in the Amazon. (Alligators aren't found in Brazil, so they're either crocodiles or, more likely, caiman.) The reptiles had been skinned and salted, stashed away to later be sold for meat. Officials incinerated the bodies. The poachers weren't caught. (News source.)

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Norway Caiman Returned

The dwarf caiman stolen from a Norwegian aquarium was returned; the thief was a reptile enthusiast (part of this site, it looks like) who claimed the animal was kept in poor conditions. (News source.)

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