Reptoman

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   Aug 31

Climate change lethal to baby lizards


According to scientists at Arizona State University, climate change will be very hard on many species of lizards, driving many species to, or over, the brink of extinction. Biologists led by ASU investigators determined that lizard embryos die when subjected to high temperatures(110 degrees F) even for a few minutes.

“Lizards put all of their eggs in one basket, so a single heat wave can kill an entire group of eggs,” Ofir Levy – lead investigator

Embryonic lizards are immobile in their eggs and cannot seek shade or cool off when their surrounding soil becomes hot. Given the potential impacts of climate change on embryos, many more places in the United States could become uninhabitable for existing lizard populations than previously expected.

To read more check out the article on the ASU News site. Gallery photo by stevereecy …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 31

Deccan Banded Gecko: My first memorable reptile.


It was my first herping adventure and one of the best memories in my herpetology career. I am a snake-researcher but I also have to accept the fact that I belong to the society of herpetologists and also need to accept whatever Mother Nature throws at me. The Deccan banded Gecko or Deccan Ground Gecko Cyrtodactylus deccanensis was one of the gifts of Mother Nature which I happily and enthusiastically accepted.

This reptile is commonly found in out-skirts of my area. Looking at the pictures of these creatures one couldn’t but stop themselves to admire the unique beauty of these lizards. The color pattern of these geckos is simply amazing, the body is reddish-brown with thin yellowish white bands and the average size of this gecko is 2.25cm.

Whenever you set out for herping adventure, you never know what you are going to encounter, sometimes your wishes are fulfilled and sometimes you return empty. As it was my first herping trip I was expecting to see some snakes but I ended up finding just a lizard, a beautiful lizard, and the best part was that I found something new.
Photo: saleel gharpure
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   Aug 31

Herp Photo of the Day: Kingsnake

The West Alpine locality momma is holding tight to those new eggs in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user oursnakes ! Be sure to tell oursnakes you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 29

If you build it they will come: Frogs flourish in humanmade ponds

By Herp News

A new study shows that frogs have begun to use humanmade ponds to their benefit.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 29

Frogs’ irrational choices could reform understanding of animal mating

By Herp News

In the attempt to choose a mate, it’s no surprise that females will select the more ‘attractive’ of two males, but now a new study reveals that female tungara frogs are susceptible to the ‘decoy’ effect, where the introduction of a third, inferior mate results in the female choosing the less attractive of the first two options.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 29

Fishermen discards could increase prevalence of turtle disease in Turks and Caicos

By Herp News

The team surveyed cases of green turtle fibropapillomatosis disease, which creates unsightly pink tumors on the turtles’ flesh. Although benign, they can impede turtles’ vision and movement, as well as feeding, swimming and organ function. The virus is not thought to be dangerous to humans. Over two years, around 13 percent of green turtles found in waters had the disease. In contrast, fishermen did not land any diseased turtles during this period, even though they were fishing in areas where diseased animals were prevalent.

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 28

400+ dams could irrevocably harm Amazon ecology — but solutions exist

By Herp News

Dams and reservoirs affect fish and other riverine fauna by creating barriers to movement, both upstream and downstream. Many fish in the Amazon migrate thousands of miles as part of their life cycle, a journey that can involve complex patterns of movement through river flows and flood plains. Migrating fish often move upstream from black-water and clear-water flows in the Amazon Basin to spawn in whitewater reaches in the Andean headwaters. In Brazil, the list of fish that make this journey includes most, if not all, commercially valuable species, in terms of nutrition and economics, such as the tambaqui (Colossoma macropomum) and giant catfish (Brachyplatatystoma sp). Fish that can’t migrate could go extinct, with a predictable effect on the biodiversity — and the economic viability — of the world’s largest river basin, says Elizabeth Anderson, director of international research programs for the School of Environment at Florida International University. “This is globally important from a conservation perspective.” A free flowing Amazon river system will help guarantee the well-being of the region’s aquatic wildlife and the stability of freshwater commercial fisheries. Photo by Peter Angritt licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. Location makes a difference. Dams built in the lower stretches of a river system generally need large reservoirs to create a dependable year-round source of water pressure to drive electric turbines. Dams higher in the headwater portion of a river system have the advantage of steeper gradients, and some designs work with…

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   Aug 28

Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday!

Happy Ratttlesnake Friday! THis Crotalus tigris, found and photographed in AZ, is keeping her eye on you in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user kevinjudd ! Be sure to tell kevinjudd you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 28

Tortoise adopters needed in Arizona


The Arizona Game & Fish Department is planning a large adoption event Sept. 5th to help find new homes for about 60 desert tortoises. They’ve had about 300 tortoises end up at their center over the past year, so many that they don’t have names, but rather numbers to keep track of them all. To help make room, Game and Fish started an adoption program for the tortoises.

“We’ve been having an issue with people breeding in their homes or people need to surrender their tortoise, and they have nowhere to go,” Tegan Wolf – Tortoise Adoption Specialist

There is no fee, but there is an application and certain requirements you have to meet, including having an appropriate habitat and burrow. Starting in December it’s going to be illegal for captive desert tortoises to be bred in the home. For more info, click here to read the story at KPHO
kingsnake.com gallery photo by TonyC130
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   Aug 28

Round-tailed horned lizards at last!

A profile of the round-tailed horned lizard.


“There’ one!”

I slammed on the brakes, pulled a 180, and sped back to–to another rock. Another 180 and we were moving westward again. The last “turn” had brought the false sightings up to Five. Five times we had thought we had sighted a round-tailed horned lizard, Phrynosoma modestum, basking on the pavement and five times it had been a rock or a piece of flattened vegetation.

I had about brought the old car back up to 65 mph when Jake screamed again. This time I didn’t turn, I merely stopped at roadside and told Jake “Go get it.” He hopped out, ran back a couple of hundred feet, and stooped to pick up another “rock.” But unless he was taunting me he usually didn’t pick up rocks. Maybe–just maybe…

By the time Jake had returned to the car he was grinning from ear to ear. That last “rock” actually was the horned lizard we (and especially he) had wanted so badly to see.

We had failed to find a round-tail on the first 10 of the 12 days allocated to this 2015 trip to the Big Bend and had begun to wonder whether 2015 would replicate 2014’s trip when we had not found the species. We no longer had to wonder. Success, finally!

Now to find my camera.

More photos under the jump…
Continue reading “Round-tailed horned lizards at last!” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 27

The Leopard Gecko


Most of the time during my herping trips if I spot lizards I usually tend to ignore them, but if it is some unique or beautiful lizard I make sure to mention them in my blogs. So today I present you one of the most beautiful reptiles from India, the Leopard Gecko Eublepharis macularis.

The Leopard Gecko is a ground dwelling lizard found in India and also in Pakistan, Afghanistan and some parts of Iran. Leopard Geckos spend most of their time in burrows during the day. They become active at dawn and dusk when the temperature is favorable, so they are mostly nocturnal. These geckos are called leopard geckos because of their coloration, an adult leopard gecko having spots on its body like a leopard. I find the juveniles more beautiful than the adults, having a black body with thick yellow and white bands on it. These geckos primarily feed on crickets and earthworms and the size varies from 20-27cm.

I always prefer to maintain a distance from lizards because I am a bit scared of them but if there are such beautiful species like leopard gecko, they always fascinate me.
Photo: Saleel Gharpure
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Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 27

Indonesian artist prepares another underwater reef-to-be

By Herp News

An Indonesian artist is preparing to put in place the second in a series of giant underwater installations meant to serve as a home for fish and raise awareness about the archipelago’s embattled coral reefs. The project began last year when painter and sculptor Teguh Ostenrik built Domus Sepiae, or Squid House, and assembled it with a team of scuba divers on the ocean floor off Senggigi, the main tourist strip on the island of Lombok, the next island over from Bali. Next week, Teguh will set up a similar installation in the waters of Wakatobi, an islands and district in Southeast Sulawesi province, to commemorate Coral Day there. Similar Coral Days were held in other parts of the country earlier this year. While Domus Sepiae resembled a cephalopod, Domus Longus, or Long House, is a replica of a bright yellow longnose butterfly fish (Forcipiger flavissimus), the mascot of Wakatobi National Park, which lies in the Coral Triangle and is known as one of the world’s best dive sites. Both sculptures are made of iron and equipped with biorock technology, which sends electricity through the metal to spur coral growth. “For me, art does not always have to be in museums and galleries,” Teguh told journalists recently. “It can be underwater. When we’re talking about conservation or revitalization [of reefs], we can also see art.” The plan for Domus Longus is depicted in an illustration. Photo courtesy of the ARTificial Reef Foundation Teguh, who coined the…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 27

Vacationing couple may have discovered a new dwarf lemur species

By Herp News

The island of Nosy Hara, Madagascar. Photo credit: Louise Jasper. Dr. Charlie Gardner, a conservation researcher at the University of Kent, UK and his wife, Louise Jasper, a nature photographer, have lived on the island of Madagascar for a decade, and have had the good fortune of working in many of the nation’s wildest places. At the end of two challenging projects in 2014, they decided to reward themselves with a vacation to an out-of-the-way place. So in April 2015, they headed to Nosy Hara, an uninhabited island off the northwest coast of Madagascar. “Nosy Hara was near the top of our list because it is so remote, little visited and unspoilt, and we had heard great things about it from friends,” Gardner told Mongabay in an email interview. Sea turtles are still abundant on the isolated island, and they nest on the beaches. The coral reefs are vibrantly healthy, because there is very little stress from fishing. The island is also home to amazing animals like the Brookesis micra, the world’s smallest chameleon, and the Critically Endangered Madagascar fish eagle. What the couple couldn’t have guessed was that they were about to have the experience of a lifetime — the discovery of what may be a new species. Dr. Gardner and his wife went out on a night walk, a tradition they keep in any new forest they visit in order to spot nocturnal reptiles and amphibians. On one such walk, they came face-to-face with…

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   Aug 27

Herp Photo of the Day: Box Turtle

One more day to the weekend when you can go out and dine with friends. Until then, the Box Turtles will save you a spot at their trough in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user boxienuts ! Be sure to tell boxienuts you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 27

Snake selfie takes toll on California man

A California man may lose his hand after an attempt to take a ‘selfie” with a rattlesnake went wrong. Alex Gomez, 36, spotted the four-foot snake in a field by his family’s ranch. Alex’s nephew, Ronnie, who was with him says the reptile gave plenty of warning.

“It was really thick and had ten rattles on it, it was rattling,” “It was pretty mad.” – Ronnie

After being bitten, Gomez experienced excruciating pain, his hand swelled up and his body started to tingle.

To read more check out the story and video at kcal9
Photo: kcal9 …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 26

Fossil remains of Old World lizard discovered in the New World overturn long-held hypothesis of lizard evolution

By Herp News

Paleontologists have discovered a new species of lizard, named Gueragama sulamericana, in the municipality of Cruzeiro do Oeste in Southern Brazil in the rock outcrops of a Late Cretaceous desert, dated approximately 80 million years ago.

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   Aug 26

Herp Photo of the Day: Rainbow Boa

The best assest of any Rainbow Boa is their iridescent sheen, which is captured wonderfully in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user curaniel ! Be sure to tell curaniel you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 25

Sick of light verdicts, Indonesia to school judges on wildlife crime

By Herp News

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o achieve greater rigor of verdicts for those convicted of wildlife crimes, who often receive light sentences, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry is reaching out to judges to upgrade their knowledge, according to a senior official. “We’re aware of the situation,” Ridho Rasio Sani, the ministry’s new director-general for law enforcement, told mongabay.com. “That’s why we’re initiating a meeting with judges to train them on environmental issues.” In July, the Bengkalis District Court in Riau province was criticized by activists and officials when seven elephant poachers each received one-year prison sentences and fines of 3 million rupiah ($212), a verdict deemed weak even by the minister herself. Around the same time, the nearby Medan District Court in Sumatra’s largest port city sentenced prominent wildlife trafficker Vast Haris Nasution to two years imprisonment and and fined him 10 million rupiah for trying to sell a baby orangutan on Facebook. While the latter verdict was hailed by conservationists as a possible sign of greater stringency, it was still an outlier. Sani hopes improving judges’ understanding of wildlife issues will encourage them to hand out stronger sentences. “It could be that judges have little understanding of the impacts [of wildlife] toward [human] life,” Sani said. “Most of them might be thinking, ‘Oh, it’s only animal [killings], what harm could it bring [to humans]?’ But animals and plants are also important to be protected as much as humans.” A mahout sits atop a Sumatran elephant in Indonesia. Photo: Rhett A.…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 25

Sick of light verdicts, Indonesia to school judges on wildlife crime

By Herp News

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]o achieve greater rigor of verdicts for those convicted of wildlife crimes, who often receive light sentences, Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry is reaching out to judges to upgrade their knowledge, according to a senior official. “We’re aware of the situation,” Ridho Rasio Sani, the ministry’s new director-general for law enforcement, told mongabay.com. “That’s why we’re initiating a meeting with judges to train them on environmental issues.” In July, the Bengkalis District Court in Riau province was criticized by activists and officials when seven elephant poachers each received one-year prison sentences and fines of 3 million rupiah ($212), a verdict deemed weak even by the minister herself. Around the same time, the nearby Medan District Court in Sumatra’s largest port city sentenced prominent wildlife trafficker Vast Haris Nasution to two years imprisonment and and fined him 10 million rupiah for trying to sell a baby orangutan on Facebook. While the latter verdict was hailed by conservationists as a possible sign of greater stringency, it was still an outlier. Sani hopes improving judges’ understanding of wildlife issues will encourage them to hand out stronger sentences. “It could be that judges have little understanding of the impacts [of wildlife] toward [human] life,” Sani said. “Most of them might be thinking, ‘Oh, it’s only animal [killings], what harm could it bring [to humans]?’ But animals and plants are also important to be protected as much as humans.” A mahout sits atop a Sumatran elephant in Indonesia. Photo: Rhett A.…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 25

Salamander in amber is a first


Scientists at Oregon State University are currently studying a baby salamander encased in an amber sample found in an amber mine in the Dominican Republic. There are no salamanders living on islands in the Caribbean today, but the amber-coated amphibian found shows there once were.

“There are very few salamander fossils of any type, and no one has ever found a salamander preserved in amber,” – OSU Professor Emeritus George Poinar, Jr.

The sample containing the salamander hatchling measures under an inch in length is an extinct, and the amphibian is a previously undiscovered species, now named Palaeoplethodon hispaniolae, that dates back to between 20 million and 30 million years. For more details check out the paper published online in the journal Palaeodiversity.
Photo: George Poinar, Jr., Oregon State University …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 25

Endangered turtle destined for soup pot gets new start

By Herp News

For one Asian giant softshell turtle, a single person’s kindness meant the difference between life and death-as-soup. In July, Serene Voo Nyuk Wei stumbled on a 15 kilogram (33 pound) Asian giant soft shell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) at a market in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah. “I love and respect all living creatures. I knew that buying that animal would encourage the trade, but I could not face the fact that this poor turtle was going to end in someone’s soup,” said Serene Voo Nyuk Wei, who paid RM 700 or about $165 U.S. dollars for the massive freshwater turtle. Serene Voo Nyuk Wei and the freshwater turtle that she rescued. Photo credit: Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre She then took it home and contacted Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) for aid in setting the endangered turtle free. “Once we received the animal, a full medical check up was carried out to evaluate the health condition of the poor turtle,” said Diana Ramirez, WRU’s assistant manager and a wildlife veterinarian. “It had a slight malformation on the carapace, but after a few days on observation and receiving vitamin supplements, we decided that it was a good candidate to be released back into the wild.” Things moved fast after that. Within a few days, officials drove the turtle from the bustling metropolis of Kota Kinabalu to the rural quiet of the Danau Girang Field Center and…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 25

Endangered turtle destined for soup pot gets new start

By Herp News

For one Asian giant softshell turtle, a single person’s kindness meant the difference between life and death-as-soup. In July, Serene Voo Nyuk Wei stumbled on a 15 kilogram (33 pound) Asian giant soft shell turtle (Pelochelys cantorii) at a market in her hometown of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Malaysian state of Sabah. “I love and respect all living creatures. I knew that buying that animal would encourage the trade, but I could not face the fact that this poor turtle was going to end in someone’s soup,” said Serene Voo Nyuk Wei, who paid RM 700 or about $165 U.S. dollars for the massive freshwater turtle. Serene Voo Nyuk Wei and the freshwater turtle that she rescued. Photo credit: Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre She then took it home and contacted Sabah’s Wildlife Rescue Unit (WRU) for aid in setting the endangered turtle free. “Once we received the animal, a full medical check up was carried out to evaluate the health condition of the poor turtle,” said Diana Ramirez, WRU’s assistant manager and a wildlife veterinarian. “It had a slight malformation on the carapace, but after a few days on observation and receiving vitamin supplements, we decided that it was a good candidate to be released back into the wild.” Things moved fast after that. Within a few days, officials drove the turtle from the bustling metropolis of Kota Kinabalu to the rural quiet of the Danau Girang Field Center and…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 25

An aberrant long-nosed snake

Except for its color this long-nosed snake was of typical appearance


It had been a very long day in West Texas, and it was past time to call it quits. Jake and I had just driven almost non-stop from our Florida homes and following an hour of shuteye had hit the road for a little r&r (herping). We had done pretty well, photographing a pretty male Baird’s rat snake at road edge and an equally pretty mottled rock rattler on a roadcut before changing venues.

Now, at 3 in the morning, we had decided to call it a night and had headed back for the motel when a ring-tailed “cat” at roadside caught our attention. I slowed to watch the little mammal and was just speeding up when we saw a solfugid (sun spider) on the yellow center line. Photo time. As I stepped from the car I noticed a small snake that was lying quietly on the center line only a few feet from the solfugid. Immediately recognizable as a long-nose, Rhinocheilus lecontei, the little snake was as obviously different as it was recognizable — it lacked even a vestige of the red pigmentation so typical of the species. It was merely black and white, anerythristic if you prefer.

What a great find at the end of a long and busy day.

More photos under the jump…
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Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 25

Herp Photo of the Day: Red Eft

This Eastern Red Spotted Newt is a bundle of cuteness in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user DeanAlessandrini ! Be sure to tell DeanAlessandrini you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 24

Pangolins in Peril: rallying the world to curb the global China trade

By Herp News

On the afternoon of April 23rd, the Indonesian National Police stormed a warehouse in Medan, Sumatra’s largest port city. Six months of investigations led them there, the result of an undercover probe conducted jointly with the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Wildlife Crimes Unit. Informant tips had paid off: The officers discovered a massive shipment of critically endangered Sunda pangolins (Manis javanica), a scaly, nocturnal Southeast Asian mammal. Five tons of frozen pangolins and 170 pounds of scales lay concealed behind a façade of frozen fish; 96 live animals were also confiscated. The haul, bound for China, was worth some $1.8 million on the black market. Officers arrested 60 year-old Soemiarto Boediono, who faces up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for trafficking a protected species. The pangolin almost appears to be a mythical beast, looking like a low-slung medieval- armored tank. But despite its wall of scales, which protects it from fierce predators such as lions, it is no match for illegal wildlife traffickers. Photo credit: Tikki Hywood Trust. Within two days, wildlife agents secretly released the surviving 88 pangolins into an unnamed reserve. Eight had perished, and they, along with the already dead animals and scales were dumped into a pit and burned. Customs officials across the globe regularly intercept smuggled pangolins and scales. They’re often hidden in other cargo, as with the Medan raid and another shipment found at Indonesia’s Surabaya Airport in July: 43 cartons of “fish” that contained 455 dead…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 24

Saving the Barbary Macaque: An interview with Dr. Sian Waters

By Herp News

North Africa may not spring to mind as the home of an ape population, but the Barbary Macaque (Macaca sylvanus) still dwells there. The only remaining primate north of the Sahara, the species once occupied the entirety of the northern tip of Africa. It now hangs on in isolated parts of Morocco and Algeria, while another small, introduced population lives in Gibraltar. Classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), M. sylvanus is threatened in the wild on all sides, by a loss of habitat developed for tourism, by local and international wildlife trafficking, hunting, and even cannabis cultivation. A macaque looks around, alert for passing cars and people, while grazing in a grassy clearing on the outskirts of Bouhachem Forest. Photo credit: Andrew Walmsley. Dr. Sian Waters, executive director and founder of Barbary Macaque Awareness and Conservation (BMAC), has studied this forgotten population for the last decade. “It seemed impossible to me that there were no primatologists studying a primate in its natural habitat occurring so close to Europe, but that was indeed the case,” she said in an interview with Mongabay (read in full below). Dr. Waters started BMAC in 2009, when she determined that local negative views of the macaque were contributing to their perilous decline. “Our main problem is being taken seriously at all levels of Moroccan society,” explained Waters. “Macaques are objects of derision, and trying to discuss them with groups of shepherds initially…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Corn Snake

All that stripey creamy goodness can only start our week off right! Such a beautiful corn snake take center stage in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user draybar ! Be sure to tell draybar you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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   Aug 24

The dark side of Nagpanchami

While India is technologically well developed in urban areas, it is also a country dominated by many superstitions regarding it’s beautiful gifted and diverse fauna.

Nagpanchami, an Indian festival very true to its name, is celebrated to worship the Nagas, or Cobras, as these creatures have a great significance in Indian mythology. Strange but true, as a part of the worship ceremonies, cobras are offered milk, as well as a variety of spices, which is not food for cobras, in fact any snake in the world. At times, devotees are seen pouring bowls of milk over the snake’s head, and sprinkling the head with haldi (turmeric), kumkum (saffron) and other powdered spices that form the worship rituals. The milk and the different spices enter through nostrils into lungs often causing a slow and painful death.

These religious ceremonies are difficult to stop because people have been following them for centuries, even though they have been outlawed.It’s my feeling that people don’t worship them because of the spiritual connection, they worship it out of fear, the fear of getting bitten by Nag.
Photo: saleel gharpure
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   Aug 24

Legendary snake man's daughter continues legacy


Old school.

If you knew Tommy Yarborough you’re pretty much old school. Tommy was old school. Tommy was a herp legend, who spent over 3 decades traveling from herp spot to herp spot, catching snakes, lizards, turtles and more for his Yarbrough Snake Ranch in Eastaboga Alabama. Back in Alabama he and his wife Mary Ann would put on reptile shows for schools, scouts, church groups and more, entertaining and educating thousands of kids over the years, and starting many a herper down the path.

An early brochure for the Yarbrough Snake Ranch advertises that the “excitement and mysteries of nature are brought to life” — including “cobras (Indian, African and Taiwan), pythons, rattlesnakes, boa constrictors, cottonmouth water moccasins, copperheads, African puff adder, king snakes, rat snakes and tropical snakes.”

Today his daughter, Rebecca Yarbrough Tucker, continues Tommy’s reptile legacy in Alabama. She has help from her husband, Ken, who helps her care for the more than 300 snakes and other animals at the family’s home in Eastaboga and two volunteers who help with the shows. She donates half of the proceeds of each show to the schools, just as her father did.

The Yarbroughs will be remembered at a special “Reptiles Alive!” show on Saturday August 29 as part of the Anniston Museum of Natural History’s annual Museum Day celebration. Museum admission, programs and activities will be free. To read more, check out the full article at The Anniston Star

Editors note – I met Tommy and Mary Ann several times on the River Road and in Langtry in the late eighties and early nineties. Tommy was a “fast” cruiser and would barrel down the road at 60-70 miles per hour in a big van with ammunition crates roped to the top for the rattlesnakes. Tommy was a character remembered by all that met him. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Aug 22

Warriors and wildlife: an interview with Paul Thomson of Ewaso Lions

By Herp News

Conservationists across the globe seek sustainable, effective means of reducing human-carnivore conflict which can result in the death of people, livestock and wildlife, as farmers and herders who lose valuable animals turn against local wildlife and encourage its elimination by poachers or governments. In a New York Times op-ed in response to the outrage over Cecil the lions, Zimbabwean national Goodwell Nzou eloquently explained how human-carnivore conflict manifests itself on the communities that surround protected areas. Conflict with carnivores is consistently ranked among the greatest threats to lions and other iconic predators across Africa. Paul Thomson is the managing director for Ewaso Lions, a non-profit group operating in northern Kenya working to conserve large carnivores. The group has used several unique approaches to address the conflict between people and carnivores in the Laikipa district of Kenya.  These include several mobile phone-based systems to bring a larger group of stakeholders into the conservation effort and working with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to develop a new predator deterrent light system. We talked with Paul about Ewaso’s strategy for addressing human-carnivore conflict and how he sees technology fitting into community-based conservation efforts. Answers have been edited for clarity and length. Nashipai, perhaps the most well known lioness in Samburu National Reserve, lies on the bank of the Ewaso Nyiro. Photo by Ewaso Lions WildTech: Can you give us a brief overview of Ewaso Lions and the kinds of issues you work on? Paul Thomson: Ewaso Lions is a community-based conservation…

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Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Aug 21

Killing of black macaques in Indonesia sparks debate over hunting

By Herp News

Eight months after a lecturer at an Indonesian university posted to Facebook about hunting and killing a pair of black macaques for his Christmas dinner, advocates for the critically endangered primates are wondering why the case, which was reported to the police, has yet to be processed. They fear that if the man, Devy Sondakh, is not prosecuted, hunters will continue to target the Celebes crested macaque (Macaca nigra), whose population has declined dramatically due to habitat loss and the bushmeat trade. The creature is considered a delicacy on the predominantly Christian island of Sulawesi, where the local Minahasan people have a reputation for eating just about anything that moves. The species is the same one that caught the limelight last year when a female took the famous “monkey selfies” that became the center of a copyright dispute. Yunita Siwi of the Save the Yaki Foundation – “yaki” is what the macaques are called in Indonesian – said the delay indicates a lack of commitment by the police to crack down on wildlife crime. Stephan Milyoski Lentey of the Macaca Nigra Project, which studies the creature out of a research station in North Sulawesi province, also urged the authorities to act. “If nothing happens with the case, there is a chance that hunting of the yaki will increase, because the perpetrator has a doctorate in law,” Stephan said. “Don’t forget this case.” A spokesman for the North Sulawesi Police told Mongabay-Indonesia the case would be processed under the 1990 Conservation…

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   Aug 21

Harsh treatment for indigenous Botswanans ousted from Kalahari wildlife reserve

By Herp News

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n 1997, the government of Botswana began evicting San and Bakgalagadi people from their homelands in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve out of concern that the groups’ hunter-gatherer way of life was harming wildlife. Since then, local and international advocacy groups have been engaged in an arduous struggle to enable the groups to return. Domestic activists face harsh consequences from the state, including arrest, beating, and alleged torture, while foreign activists on their behalf face arrest, visa restriction, and expulsion from the country. As the San and Bakgalagadi and their advocates prepare their next legal offensive under the threat of government reprisals, they are raising questions not only about the value of human rights in Botswana, but also about how best to steward the country’s rich natural resources. They argue that the indigenous groups, making their living on the land with traditional hunting and gathering lifestyles, are far better able to preserve biodiversity than contemporary conservation approaches, such as wildlife-only parks. A place called home The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR), a massive wilderness roughly twice the size of Massachusetts, was established in 1961 under the Fauna Conservation Proclamation in what was then the British-controlled Bechuanaland Protectorate. Map of Botswana shows Central Kalahari Game Reserve and New Xade, a resettlement camp for people displaced from the reserve. Map credit: Google Maps. The reserve was set up prior to Botswana’s political independence in 1966 to ensure that the indigenous San and Bantu Bakgalagadi populous would remain stable…

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   Aug 21

Bizarre bat with longest tongue discovered in Bolivian park

By Herp News

A groundbreaking Bolivian scientific expedition, Identidad Madidi, has found a bizarre bat along with a new species of big-headed or robber frog (Oreobates sp. nov.) from the Craugastoridae family in Madidi National Park.

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   Aug 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Hognose

What a week! Don’t play dead like this hoggie in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user zmarchetti ! Go out and find some beauty this weekend and share it with us! Be sure to tell zmarchetti you liked it here!

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   Aug 21

Norway’s wealth fund expels POSCO, Daewoo Int’l over palm oil holdings

By Herp News

Norway’s central bank is divesting the country’s $870 billion pension fund of its holdings in four Asian multinationals over rainforest destruction for palm oil in Southeast Asia, the bank announced yesterday. Two of the companies, steelmaker POSCO and its subsidiary Daewoo International Corp., are headquartered in South Korea. The others, Genting Bhd. and IJM Corp. Bhd., are Malaysian conglomerates. POSCO and Daewoo International were excluded for the activities of a subsidiary in Merauke, a district of Indonesia’s Papua province, where the central government intends to revive a controversial megaproject, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate (MIFEE). The Korean firms take the bigger hit: at the end of 2014, Norway’s fund held a 0.91 percent stake in POSCO worth $198 million and a 0.28 percent stake in Daewoo International worth $9 million, according the fund’s Council of Ethics’ recommendation to divest from the two companies. As for the Malaysian companies, at the end of 2013 the fund held a 0.49 percent stake in IJM worth $12 million and a 0.52 percent stake in Genting, according to the recommendations to exclude them. Genting’s market capitalization today is about $6.5 billion. “The companies are excluded based on an assessment of the risk of severe environmental damage,” Norges Bank, the central bank which manages the fund, said in a statement. “Before deciding to exclude a company, Norges Bank shall consider whether the use of other measures, including the exercise of ownership rights, may be better suited. The Executive Board concludes that it is…

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   Aug 21

How can conservationists match high-tech design with on-the-ground realities?

By Herp News

Wildlife poaching has grown in recent years to unprecedented levels and now threatens the existence of several iconic and ecological valuable species in Africa. Of these, the endangered white and black rhinos are perhaps under the greatest threat. Wildlife rangers charged with protecting these animals are typically outgunned by poaching gangs that are often associated with or directly linked to terrorist groups. Conservationists have adjusted their anti-poaching strategies, looking for new ways to combat poaching by harnessing new and emerging technologies. Independent tech developers have also stepped in to offer their services. As recently reported by the Washington Post, these efforts have had mixed results, and a number of tech-driven strategies are designed by groups without the knowledge and awareness of on-the-ground conditions to make a compatible device. A white rhino grazes in Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya. Rhino horn from African countries is currently valued at USD $100,000/kg, more than it’s weight in gold. Photo by Sue Palminteri An example of this trend is the recently publicized tracking system with a camera made to fit inside a rhino horn. The device, called the Real-time Anti-Poaching Intelligence Device (RAPID) and developed by the UK-based nonprofit Protect, comprises a heart-rate monitor embedded in the rhino’s skin, a camera implant in the rhino’s horn, and a GPS-enabled collar. If a rhino’s heart rate rises or falls abnormally quickly, the system will alert operators who can remotely activate the camera in the rhino’s horn to see what’s going on around…

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   Aug 21

A diamond in the marsh: Saving the Lake Alaotra Gentle Lemur

By Herp News

[dropcap type=”5″]C[/dropcap]limb into a canoe at dawn, paddle into the reed beds of Madagascar’s largest wetland, and with luck you could see a unique primate: the Alaotra Gentle Lemur (Hapalemur alaotrensis). Known locally as the bandro and described by Gerald Durrell as a “honey-coloured teddy bear”, these lemurs spend their entire lives within the cyperus and reed stems of the marsh around Lake Alaotra in Eastern Madagascar. “What really fascinates me [is] that this lemur species is the only primate that lives constantly on water,” Patrick Waeber, of Madagascar Wildlife Conservation (MWC) told mongabay.com. Waeber, also a lecturer at ETH Zurich, knows the species better than most, first studying their social behavior in 2000. “It was during over 160 sampling hours that I initially came to know this compelling lemur species intimately.” The bandro is the largest of the gentle lemurs, weighing a little over 2.5 pounds. Their dense fur grows grey on face, chest, and ears; a rich brown on head and back. A long tail helps with balance on the floating vegetation of the marsh. The animals live in small territorial family groups, and, as is typical of many lemurs, females are dominant. The Alaotra Gentle Lemur is the only primate that lives exclusively within a wetland habitat. Photo credit Toby Nowlan. People pressure driving decline With their range extending to just 20,000 hectares (49,421 acres), their population declining, and habitat highly threatened, the species has been classified as Critically Endangered by the International…

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   Aug 20

Sumatran rhino extinct in the Malaysian wild

By Herp News

The last Sumatran rhinoceros in the Malaysian wild has died, the latest grim milestone for a species on the brink of extinction. No more than 100 of the creatures are thought to remain in the forests of Indonesia, with nine more in captivity across Indonesia, Malaysia and the U.S. Scientists have found no sign of the creature in the wild in Malaysia since 2007, save for two females captured for breeding in 2011 and 2014, and they now consider it extinct in the wild there, according to a new paper in Oryx, a quarterly journal of biodiversity conservation. Soon, the last Sumatran rhino (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis) at the Cincinnati Zoo in the U.S. will be moved to Indonesia, shifting the species’ hopes for survival squarely to the neighboring Southeast Asian nations whose cooperation in regard to the animals has not always gone smoothly. Ratu and her then four-day-old calf Andatu at the Sumatran Rhino Sanctuary in Indonesia. Photo courtesy of the International Rhino Foundation In 2009, the two governments agreed to treat the Bornean and Sumatran subspecies as a single species and bring the few remaining individuals together for breeding. But the initiative has struggled to get off the ground, and the Bornean rhinos remain separate from their Sumatran counterparts. “It is vital for the survival of the species that all remaining Sumatran rhinos are viewed as a metapopulation, meaning that all are managed in a single program across national and international borders in order to maximize…

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   Aug 20

Santa Cruz gopher snakes

At one year of age this juvenile Santa Cruz gopher snake had attained am 18 inch length.


Having kept and bred Santa Cruz (Channel Island) gopher snakes, Pituophis catenifer pumila, for several years, I had become enamored with this smallest of the gopher snakes. Even though these snakes are of nervous demeanor and have an occasional tendency to huff, puff, and strike, their 28 to 34″ adult size makes them an easy gopher snake to handle.

Restricted in range to two of California’s Channel Islands (Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Island) there seems to still be a paucity of information on this snake’s preferred habitats. However, it is probable that like other forms of the gopher snake, the Santa Cruz subspecies is a habitat generalist that utilizes most if not all of the varied insular habitats–be they montane, pastoral or littoral.

The entire range of the Santa Cruz gopher snake is now under the protection of the National Park Service and/or The Nature Conservancy. Therefore this tiny gopher snake can be difficult to acquire.

And how tiny is “tiny”? As mentioned above the adult length seldom exceeds 30″ and hatchlings are 6 to 8″ in length. For a gopher, that’s tiny!

More photos under the jump…
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   Aug 20

Herp Photo of the Day: Wonder Gecko

Don’t mind the raspberry from this Teratoscincus scincus in our herp photo of the day just love the cuteness, uploaded by kingsnake.com user zmarchetti ! Be sure to tell zmarchetti you liked it here!

Upload your own reptile and amphibian photos photos at gallery.kingsnake.com, and you could see them featured here! …read more
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