Reptoman

see reptiles diffenetly

   Jul 30

The Arizona treefrog

A seldom seen hylid, The Arizona treefrog.

Long, long, ago and far, far, away I found my first Arizona treefrog, Hyla wrightorum (then Hyla eximia) hopping slowly across a monsoon-swept highway somewhere in the mountains of central Arizona. It was a beautiful example of the green phase and I took many photos. But over time the photos, all slides, were misplaced or defaced and I found myself wanting to see and rephotograph the taxon. Well, monsoon season was again drawing close, so…

The more I thought about it the plainer it became that if I wanted to see this pretty frog once more a trip to wcNM or cAZ would need to be undertaken. Because I knew the area at least a little I chose the Coconimo National Forest as my destination.

Patti thought this to be a spontaneous decision. I didn’t. In my mind spontaneity was to hop in the car and with hardly any thought head off to the western “wooly-wags.” In this case I had thought about the trip for at least a couple of weeks and actually had a destination in mind before hopping into the car and heading westward. No spontaneity there at all. Merely a long drive. But heck, I was always heading to Texas or California or Idaho, so central Arizona would be a snap.

It seemed that almost as soon as I had made my decision a friend called to inform me the monsoons had started and I was spontaneously in the car heading towards I-40 and then west.

Two days (and twenty two hundred miles) later I was sitting on a stump at the edge of a newly formed pool , being bombarded by fat raindrops, surrounded by woodlands redolent with the scent of spruce and pine and juniper, and listening to the burry quacking of the Arizona form of the mountain treefrog complex. Hmmmph. Spontaneity indeed! The search from start to finish had worked like a well oiled machine.

More photos under the jump…
Continue reading “The Arizona treefrog” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 30

Endangered iguanas thriving on island of Monuriki

Endangered iguanas were re-introduced to the Fijian island of Monuriki two months ago, and appear to be doing well.

From the Guardian:

Scientists have welcomed the first results of a captive breeding program aimed at saving a group of critically endangered Fijian crested iguanas, the first such attempt to reintroduce a species in that country.

Some of the iguanas that were introduced to the Fijian island of Monuriki two months ago have been tracked down by scientists and appear to be healthy.

A total of 32 iguanas were microchipped and released, with tiny radio transmitters glued to the tails of 11 for tracking purposes. Nine were recovered on Sunday.

US Geological Survey biologist Robert Fisher reported all had increased in length and lost their excessive weight. A lean diet of native plants had evidently “sorted them out,” he said. There was no evidence of trauma or other health issues.

Read the full story here… …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 30

U.S. to strengthen restrictions elephant ivory

By Herp News

In response to growing concerns about elephant poaching, President Obama today announced a new push to limit the ivory trade in the United States.

In a joint press conference held with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a new regulation that “bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines.” The move follows a near-complete ban on the commercial ivory trade enacted by the administration last year.

The new rule, which will be published Wednesday for a 60-day public comment period, would make it harder for ivory traffickers to use loopholes sell product, according to Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

Baby African elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Baby African elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

“By tightening domestic controls on trade in elephant ivory and allowing only very narrow exceptions, we will close existing avenues that are exploited by traffickers and address ivory trade that poses a threat to elephants in the wild,” Ashe said in a statement. “Federal law enforcement agents will have clearer lines by which to demarcate legal from illegal trade.”

The announcement was immediately welcomed by conservation groups.

“The United States has a global obligation to help stop wildlife trafficking,” said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper in a statement. “We applaud President Obama’s remarks emphasizing the need for a ban on ivory sales in the United States. While some states such as New York and New Jersey have recently enacted laws banning ivory sales, we are delighted that the President is calling for a national ban – which will help prevent the illegal killing of elephants and the trafficking in their ivory.”

“We’re thrilled the Obama administration has taken this important step to reduce the domestic trade in ivory,” added Tara Easter, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The United States has one of the largest markets for ivory in the world and reducing demand here will go a long way toward saving elephants in Africa.”

Young elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Young elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Scientists estimate that more than 100,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory by poachers between 2010 and 2012. Populations in some countries, like Tanzania, have plunged as a result.

The government of the world’s largest market for ivory — China — recently announced it would ban the ivory trade at an unspecified date.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

U.S. to strengthen restrictions elephant ivory

By Herp News

In response to growing concerns about elephant poaching, President Obama today announced a new push to limit the ivory trade in the United States.

In a joint press conference held with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, Obama said the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a new regulation that “bans the sale of virtually all ivory across state lines.” The move follows a near-complete ban on the commercial ivory trade enacted by the administration last year.

The new rule, which will be published Wednesday for a 60-day public comment period, would make it harder for ivory traffickers to use loopholes sell product, according to Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe.

Baby African elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Baby African elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

“By tightening domestic controls on trade in elephant ivory and allowing only very narrow exceptions, we will close existing avenues that are exploited by traffickers and address ivory trade that poses a threat to elephants in the wild,” Ashe said in a statement. “Federal law enforcement agents will have clearer lines by which to demarcate legal from illegal trade.”

The announcement was immediately welcomed by conservation groups.

“The United States has a global obligation to help stop wildlife trafficking,” said WCS President and CEO Cristián Samper in a statement. “We applaud President Obama’s remarks emphasizing the need for a ban on ivory sales in the United States. While some states such as New York and New Jersey have recently enacted laws banning ivory sales, we are delighted that the President is calling for a national ban – which will help prevent the illegal killing of elephants and the trafficking in their ivory.”

“We’re thrilled the Obama administration has taken this important step to reduce the domestic trade in ivory,” added Tara Easter, a scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The United States has one of the largest markets for ivory in the world and reducing demand here will go a long way toward saving elephants in Africa.”

Young elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Young elephant in South Africa. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Scientists estimate that more than 100,000 African elephants were killed for their ivory by poachers between 2010 and 2012. Populations in some countries, like Tanzania, have plunged as a result.

The government of the world’s largest market for ivory — China — recently announced it would ban the ivory trade at an unspecified date.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

The snake that decapitates its prey

By Herp News

Snakes are impressive predators. They have ) and cat-eyed watersnake (Gerarda prevostiana), for example, tear apart crabs into smaller bite-sized pieces before eating them.

But blindsnakes and crab-eating snakes are not close relatives. They are in fact far apart on the evolutionary tree. How did they then develop similar behavior?

According to the authors, this trait would have evolved independently in the two groups of snakes. But the common feature that links crab-eating snakes with blindsnakes is that they all feed on arthropods – segmented animals that include insects, spiders and crustaceans.

“The legs of most species of crabs break off quite easily, and for a wide variety of arthropods the bodies of the animals break much more easily at the joints between different parts of the exoskeleton, rather than within a single part of the exoskeleton,” Bruce Jayne, a professor at the University of Cincinnati in the U.S., told mongabay.com. “Such weaknesses appear to be exploited both by blindsnakes in the current study and both species of crab-eating snakes.”

Despite this common feature between the distantly related snakes, their behaviors have some interesting differences, he added.

For example, crab-eating water snakes usually pin down hard-shelled crabs to the mud, break their legs off, and then swallow each leg one by one. For these snakes, the hard-shelled crabs are too large and awkwardly shaped to swallow whole. So it makes sense to eat the crab legs first, since these are easier to break off. On the other hand, blindsnakes are physically capable of swallowing the small termite prey whole. But they choose not to, on most occasions.

The cat-eyed water snake shows another interesting variant, Jayne said. This snake often rips apart the external shell of freshly-molted or soft-shelled crabs in places that do not necessarily correspond to the easily-detachable joints, he added.

But whatever the differences, discovery of blindsnakes’ strange eating habits tells us that there is a whole lot about snakes that we still don’t know.

“This study is a nice example of how much basic natural history we still have to learn,” Jayne said. “Who knows what other fascinating secrets remain to be discovered in the future?”

 

Citation

  • Mizuno, T. and Kojima, Y. (2015), A blindsnake that decapitates its termite prey. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12268

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

The snake that decapitates its prey

By Herp News

Snakes are impressive predators. They have ) and cat-eyed watersnake (Gerarda prevostiana), for example, tear apart crabs into smaller bite-sized pieces before eating them.

But blindsnakes and crab-eating snakes are not close relatives. They are in fact far apart on the evolutionary tree. How did they then develop similar behavior?

According to the authors, this trait would have evolved independently in the two groups of snakes. But the common feature that links crab-eating snakes with blindsnakes is that they all feed on arthropods – segmented animals that include insects, spiders and crustaceans.

“The legs of most species of crabs break off quite easily, and for a wide variety of arthropods the bodies of the animals break much more easily at the joints between different parts of the exoskeleton, rather than within a single part of the exoskeleton,” Bruce Jayne, a professor at the University of Cincinnati in the U.S., told mongabay.com. “Such weaknesses appear to be exploited both by blindsnakes in the current study and both species of crab-eating snakes.”

Despite this common feature between the distantly related snakes, their behaviors have some interesting differences, he added.

For example, crab-eating water snakes usually pin down hard-shelled crabs to the mud, break their legs off, and then swallow each leg one by one. For these snakes, the hard-shelled crabs are too large and awkwardly shaped to swallow whole. So it makes sense to eat the crab legs first, since these are easier to break off. On the other hand, blindsnakes are physically capable of swallowing the small termite prey whole. But they choose not to, on most occasions.

The cat-eyed water snake shows another interesting variant, Jayne said. This snake often rips apart the external shell of freshly-molted or soft-shelled crabs in places that do not necessarily correspond to the easily-detachable joints, he added.

But whatever the differences, discovery of blindsnakes’ strange eating habits tells us that there is a whole lot about snakes that we still don’t know.

“This study is a nice example of how much basic natural history we still have to learn,” Jayne said. “Who knows what other fascinating secrets remain to be discovered in the future?”

 

Citation

  • Mizuno, T. and Kojima, Y. (2015), A blindsnake that decapitates its termite prey. Journal of Zoology. doi: 10.1111/jzo.12268

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Nine months in, how has Jokowi fared on the environment?

By Herp News

Chevron oil fields in Riau, Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ine months into the landmark presidency of Joko “Jokowi” Widodo, Indonesia’s first head of state to emerge from neither the political elite nor the military, the hope that ran to such a fever pitch during his campaign has dimmed somewhat, eroded by his handling of tussles with the police and his political party and by questions over his commitment to human rights and environmental issues. At times he has seemed overwhelmed, his lack of experience the impediment voters feared it would be even as the soft-spoken man who got his start in the furniture business galvanized them into making him their president.

Still, and whether for better or worse, in the arena of issues related to the environment and Indonesia’s vast natural resources, Jokowi has made some significant moves. He undertook a major restructuring of the environmental and forestry bureaucracies. He authorized several permit reviews and has sought to simplify licensing procedures. He extended a moratorium on logging in many of the archipelago’s forests and peatlands. He ventured to cut the fuel subsidy and has taken steps to reduce dependence on oil imports. He has endeavored to increase maritime strength and consolidate control over Indonesian waters; he has literally blown illegal foreign fishing vessels out of the sea.

In January,

Chevron oil fields in Riau, Sumatra. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Indigenous rights

The issue: Indigenous Indonesians have suffered a long history of abuse and discrimination at the hands of the state. During the Suharto regime, they enjoyed little recourse against powerful interests that came for their land and forests. After the 1998 fall of Suharto, these communities formed the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (AMAN) to push for recognition of their rights. But even after nearly two decades, the government has yet to enact such a law or establish any kind of dedicated institution for indigenous issues.

Neither has the government been quick to follow up on the Constitutional Court’s landmark 2013 decision that took customary forests out of state forests, paving the way for indigenous communities to lay legal claim to millions of hectares of land (AMAN puts the figure at 40 million, a fifth of the national land base). In part to spur government action on the ruling, the National Human Rights Commission (Komnas HAM) embarked last year on a national inquiry into land conflicts affecting indigenous peoples in forest areas. The final report is forthcoming, but the hundreds of individual testimonies featured throughout the inquiry, from dozens of separate cases, affirmed that indigenous rights continue to be trampled on.

Jokowi’s approach: AMAN supported Jokowi’s campaign, but he has been slow to act on his promises to indigenous communities. AMAN did find it encouraging that during a meeting with the president and some of his ministers in June, he reaffirmed his commitment to the indigenous cause, saying he would prioritize passing a draft law on their rights, set up a long-awaited task force on indigenous issues, address widespread criminalization of indigenous citizens involved in land conflicts and issue a presidential instruction to follow …read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Conservation win in Madagascar: 7 new reserves established

By Herp News

Indri Lemur. Courtesy of Rainforest Trust.Indri Lemur. Photo by David Cook.

Good news on the environmental front in Madagascar has been rare and fleeting in recent years, but today the Indian Ocean island’s Prime Minister gave conservationists a bit of hope by officially decreeing seven new reserves that target critical habitats for endangered lemurs, chameleons, and frogs.

The seven reserves, which span 30,277 (74,816 acres) of Madagascar’s highly threatened eastern rainforest, were established thanks to an initiative by the U.S.-based Rainforest Trust and its local partner, Madagasikara Voakajy.

“By protecting population strongholds of various lemur species, such as the Indri, Aye-aye, Fossa, Tarzan Chameleon and Madagascan Flying Fox, Rainforest Trust and Madagasikara Voakajy will help save these unique species from extinction,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman in a statement. “This is indeed a great day for the spectacular and wondrous wildlife of Madagascar.”


Green Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis viridis).
Photo by Robin Moore


The Mangabe Reserve protects 60% of the remaining Golden Mantella frog population. Photo by Robin Moore


Female Parson’s Chameleon (Chamaeleo parsonii). One of the world’s largest chameleons, Parson’s Chameleon can grow up to 27 inches in length, the approximate size of a cat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Robin Moore

“The creation of these reserves is the result of a six-year process that has involved the close collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, including local communities, government entities, and private sector entities,” added Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka, Director of Madagasikara Voakajy. “Working together, we have found a sustainable conservation solution for some of Madagascar’s most threatened species.”

The new reserves — which include Ambatofotsy, Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra, Ampotaka/Ankorabe, Mahialambo, Ampananganandehibe-Behasina, Analalava and Analabe — protect habitat for at least seven species of lemurs and 60 percent of the range of the critically-endangered Golden Mantella frog.


Global Forest Watch map showing 2001-2013 forest loss in and around Mangabe Reserve.

The designation comes at a critical time for Madagascar: environmental degradation is on the rise. According to data presented on Global Forest Watch, forest loss in Madagascar’s eastern rainforests topped a million hectares between 2001 and 2013, increasingly sharply since a 2009 coup, which was accompanied by an orgy of illegal rosewood logging and a surge in commercial poaching.

Still, most of Madagascar’s forest loss is linked to subsistence activities, namely clearing for rice paddies and cattle pasture as well as charcoal production.


Illegal mining. Officials survey the abandoned site of an illegal gold mine. Photo by Madagasikara Voakajy


Ignoring traditional taboos, hunters are increasingly poaching lemurs for sale as bushmeat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Darwin Initiative


Slash and burn practices pose a dire threat to rainforest in eastern Madagascar. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Dawa
That makes inclusion of local communities a critical component to any conservation strategy, a point recognized in the development of the new reserves, according to Rainforest Trust.

“An inclusive conservation strategy ensures the permanent protection of the new reserves, reduces pressure on natural habitats, and improves human livelihoods for the local community,” said the group. “[Madagasikara Voakajy] has already succeeded in collaborating with surrounding communities to develop reserve management plans.”

“Madagasikara Voakajy is also helping to stop destructive trends by teaching surrounding populations about the importance of conservation through educational activities and the creation of wildlife-themed festivals.”

Ending those destructive trends is critical for the future of Madagascar’s wildlife, which is famed for its uniqueness. More than 80 percent of the island’s plants and animals are endemic. But the clock is ticking fast for Madagascar’s biodiversity. The island has lost significant portions of its forest cover over the past 50 years and 90 percent of its 100-plus species of lemurs are considered vulnerable or endangered.

Indri Lemur. Photo by David Cook.

Good news on the environmental front in Madagascar has been rare and fleeting in recent years, but today the Indian Ocean island’s Prime Minister gave conservationists a bit of hope by officially decreeing seven new reserves that target critical habitats for endangered lemurs, chameleons, and frogs.

The seven reserves, which span 30,277 (74,816 acres) of Madagascar’s highly threatened eastern rainforest, were established thanks to an initiative by the U.S.-based Rainforest Trust and its local partner, Madagasikara Voakajy.

“By protecting population strongholds of various lemur species, such as the Indri, Aye-aye, Fossa, Tarzan Chameleon and Madagascan Flying Fox, Rainforest Trust and Madagasikara Voakajy will help save these unique species from extinction,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman in a statement. “This is indeed a great day for the spectacular and wondrous wildlife of Madagascar.”


Green Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis viridis).
Photo by Robin Moore


The Mangabe Reserve protects 60% of the remaining Golden Mantella frog population. Photo by Robin Moore


Female Parson’s Chameleon (Chamaeleo parsonii). One of the world’s largest chameleons, Parson’s Chameleon can grow up to 27 inches in length, the approximate size of a cat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Robin Moore

“The creation of these reserves is the result of a six-year process that has involved the close collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, including local communities, government entities, and private sector entities,” added Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka, Director of Madagasikara Voakajy. “Working together, we have found a sustainable conservation solution for some of Madagascar’s most threatened species.”

The new reserves — which include Ambatofotsy, Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra, Ampotaka/Ankorabe, Mahialambo, Ampananganandehibe-Behasina, Analalava and Analabe — protect habitat for at least seven species of lemurs and 60 percent of the range of the critically-endangered Golden Mantella frog.


Global Forest Watch map showing 2001-2013 forest loss in and around Mangabe Reserve.

The designation comes at a critical time for Madagascar: environmental degradation is on the rise. According to data presented on Global Forest Watch, forest loss in Madagascar’s eastern rainforests topped a million hectares between 2001 and 2013, increasingly sharply since a 2009 coup, which was accompanied by an orgy of illegal rosewood logging and a surge in commercial poaching.

Still, most of Madagascar’s forest loss is linked to subsistence activities, namely clearing for rice paddies and cattle pasture as well as charcoal production.


Illegal mining. Officials survey the abandoned site of an illegal gold mine. Photo by Madagasikara Voakajy


Ignoring traditional taboos, hunters are increasingly poaching lemurs for sale as bushmeat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Darwin Initiative


Slash and burn practices pose a dire threat to rainforest in eastern …read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Conservation win in Madagascar: 7 new reserves established

By Herp News

Indri Lemur. Courtesy of Rainforest Trust.Indri Lemur. Photo by David Cook.

Good news on the environmental front in Madagascar has been rare and fleeting in recent years, but today the Indian Ocean island’s Prime Minister gave conservationists a bit of hope by officially decreeing seven new reserves that target critical habitats for endangered lemurs, chameleons, and frogs.

The seven reserves, which span 30,277 (74,816 acres) of Madagascar’s highly threatened eastern rainforest, were established thanks to an initiative by the U.S.-based Rainforest Trust and its local partner, Madagasikara Voakajy.

“By protecting population strongholds of various lemur species, such as the Indri, Aye-aye, Fossa, Tarzan Chameleon and Madagascan Flying Fox, Rainforest Trust and Madagasikara Voakajy will help save these unique species from extinction,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman in a statement. “This is indeed a great day for the spectacular and wondrous wildlife of Madagascar.”


Green Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis viridis).
Photo by Robin Moore


The Mangabe Reserve protects 60% of the remaining Golden Mantella frog population. Photo by Robin Moore


Female Parson’s Chameleon (Chamaeleo parsonii). One of the world’s largest chameleons, Parson’s Chameleon can grow up to 27 inches in length, the approximate size of a cat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Robin Moore

“The creation of these reserves is the result of a six-year process that has involved the close collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, including local communities, government entities, and private sector entities,” added Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka, Director of Madagasikara Voakajy. “Working together, we have found a sustainable conservation solution for some of Madagascar’s most threatened species.”

The new reserves — which include Ambatofotsy, Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra, Ampotaka/Ankorabe, Mahialambo, Ampananganandehibe-Behasina, Analalava and Analabe — protect habitat for at least seven species of lemurs and 60 percent of the range of the critically-endangered Golden Mantella frog.


Global Forest Watch map showing 2001-2013 forest loss in and around Mangabe Reserve.

The designation comes at a critical time for Madagascar: environmental degradation is on the rise. According to data presented on Global Forest Watch, forest loss in Madagascar’s eastern rainforests topped a million hectares between 2001 and 2013, increasingly sharply since a 2009 coup, which was accompanied by an orgy of illegal rosewood logging and a surge in commercial poaching.

Still, most of Madagascar’s forest loss is linked to subsistence activities, namely clearing for rice paddies and cattle pasture as well as charcoal production.


Illegal mining. Officials survey the abandoned site of an illegal gold mine. Photo by Madagasikara Voakajy


Ignoring traditional taboos, hunters are increasingly poaching lemurs for sale as bushmeat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Darwin Initiative


Slash and burn practices pose a dire threat to rainforest in eastern Madagascar. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Dawa
That makes inclusion of local communities a critical component to any conservation strategy, a point recognized in the development of the new reserves, according to Rainforest Trust.

“An inclusive conservation strategy ensures the permanent protection of the new reserves, reduces pressure on natural habitats, and improves human livelihoods for the local community,” said the group. “[Madagasikara Voakajy] has already succeeded in collaborating with surrounding communities to develop reserve management plans.”

“Madagasikara Voakajy is also helping to stop destructive trends by teaching surrounding populations about the importance of conservation through educational activities and the creation of wildlife-themed festivals.”

Ending those destructive trends is critical for the future of Madagascar’s wildlife, which is famed for its uniqueness. More than 80 percent of the island’s plants and animals are endemic. But the clock is ticking fast for Madagascar’s biodiversity. The island has lost significant portions of its forest cover over the past 50 years and 90 percent of its 100-plus species of lemurs are considered vulnerable or endangered.

Indri Lemur. Photo by David Cook.

Good news on the environmental front in Madagascar has been rare and fleeting in recent years, but today the Indian Ocean island’s Prime Minister gave conservationists a bit of hope by officially decreeing seven new reserves that target critical habitats for endangered lemurs, chameleons, and frogs.

The seven reserves, which span 30,277 (74,816 acres) of Madagascar’s highly threatened eastern rainforest, were established thanks to an initiative by the U.S.-based Rainforest Trust and its local partner, Madagasikara Voakajy.

“By protecting population strongholds of various lemur species, such as the Indri, Aye-aye, Fossa, Tarzan Chameleon and Madagascan Flying Fox, Rainforest Trust and Madagasikara Voakajy will help save these unique species from extinction,” said Rainforest Trust CEO Paul Salaman in a statement. “This is indeed a great day for the spectacular and wondrous wildlife of Madagascar.”


Green Bright-eyed Frog (Boophis viridis).
Photo by Robin Moore


The Mangabe Reserve protects 60% of the remaining Golden Mantella frog population. Photo by Robin Moore


Female Parson’s Chameleon (Chamaeleo parsonii). One of the world’s largest chameleons, Parson’s Chameleon can grow up to 27 inches in length, the approximate size of a cat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Robin Moore

“The creation of these reserves is the result of a six-year process that has involved the close collaboration of a diverse group of stakeholders, including local communities, government entities, and private sector entities,” added Julie Hanta Razafimanahaka, Director of Madagasikara Voakajy. “Working together, we have found a sustainable conservation solution for some of Madagascar’s most threatened species.”

The new reserves — which include Ambatofotsy, Mangabe-Ranomena-Sahasarotra, Ampotaka/Ankorabe, Mahialambo, Ampananganandehibe-Behasina, Analalava and Analabe — protect habitat for at least seven species of lemurs and 60 percent of the range of the critically-endangered Golden Mantella frog.


Global Forest Watch map showing 2001-2013 forest loss in and around Mangabe Reserve.

The designation comes at a critical time for Madagascar: environmental degradation is on the rise. According to data presented on Global Forest Watch, forest loss in Madagascar’s eastern rainforests topped a million hectares between 2001 and 2013, increasingly sharply since a 2009 coup, which was accompanied by an orgy of illegal rosewood logging and a surge in commercial poaching.

Still, most of Madagascar’s forest loss is linked to subsistence activities, namely clearing for rice paddies and cattle pasture as well as charcoal production.


Illegal mining. Officials survey the abandoned site of an illegal gold mine. Photo by Madagasikara Voakajy


Ignoring traditional taboos, hunters are increasingly poaching lemurs for sale as bushmeat. Caption courtesy of Rainforest Trust; photo by Darwin Initiative


Slash and burn practices pose a dire threat to rainforest in eastern …read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Build Your Own RFID

By Herp News

RFID race tag_on runner_rupp.de-WikimediaCommons

Last month, we highlighted wildlife tracking hardware and software that allows

An RFID chip worn on a triathlete’s ankle strap at right is read by the receiver on the left to record their start, finish, and passing by of course markers. Photo: rupp.de, Wikimedia Commons

Commercial applications of RFID technology have been common since the 80’s – it is found in badges worn by medical or security staff, electronic toll readers, and hotel or office entry key cards. Only recently have scientists begun to apply RFID to wildlife research beyond merely mark-recapture purposes. Bridge has created a website that provides information and instructions to build the reader system, ranging from a list of parts to a complete circuit board design and accompanying instructional videos. The website is directed specifically at animal researchers with limited budgets.

“People are sometimes surprised when I say that I started with no engineering background and figured out how to build an RFID reader by surfing the Internet,” said Bridge. “But that sort of thing is becoming commonplace. I’ve corresponded with several people, also non-engineers who have done the same thing.”

How does the RFID work?
RFID technology requires three main components: a uniquely identifiable tag, a reading device with an antenna, and software. A passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag is activated as it comes into contact with the electromagnetic field created by the antenna. When the tag passes near a reader, it is activated to send its unique alphanumeric code to the reader module that is then stored in a memory chip.

The system uses radio waves to capture data from the tag, so while the tag must be relatively close to the reader to be recognized, it doesn’t need to be in line of sight.

Use in the field
To integrate this technology into a biological study, a researcher attaches the tag to an animal and places the tag reader in a spot that is regularly and reliably visited by tagged individuals, such as a nest, den, or birdfeeder. The researcher sets the amount of time the unit will spend reading (probing the antenna’s range for a tag) and resting (intervals in between read attempts) to best balance the collection effort and energy use. The more time the system spends reading, the more battery it will use. If you are placing the antenna at the entrance to a nesting cavity where birds typically pass by through quickly, intervals will have to be set shorter. If you are looking at tortoise movement through culverts, you will have a little more time!

cheapRFID_in waterproof case_animalmigration dot org

Waterproofing on the cheap: the DIY RFID ready for the field Photo: Eli Bridge, University of Oklahoma

Although Bridge and his colleagues designed this do-it-yourself reader with birds in mind, it can be applied to a wide range of taxa. The tag does not require batteries and so is both lightweight and …read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Build Your Own RFID

By Herp News

RFID race tag_on runner_rupp.de-WikimediaCommons

Last month, we highlighted wildlife tracking hardware and software that allows

An RFID chip worn on a triathlete’s ankle strap at right is read by the receiver on the left to record their start, finish, and passing by of course markers. Photo: rupp.de, Wikimedia Commons

Commercial applications of RFID technology have been common since the 80’s – it is found in badges worn by medical or security staff, electronic toll readers, and hotel or office entry key cards. Only recently have scientists begun to apply RFID to wildlife research beyond merely mark-recapture purposes. Bridge has created a website that provides information and instructions to build the reader system, ranging from a list of parts to a complete circuit board design and accompanying instructional videos. The website is directed specifically at animal researchers with limited budgets.

“People are sometimes surprised when I say that I started with no engineering background and figured out how to build an RFID reader by surfing the Internet,” said Bridge. “But that sort of thing is becoming commonplace. I’ve corresponded with several people, also non-engineers who have done the same thing.”

How does the RFID work?
RFID technology requires three main components: a uniquely identifiable tag, a reading device with an antenna, and software. A passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag is activated as it comes into contact with the electromagnetic field created by the antenna. When the tag passes near a reader, it is activated to send its unique alphanumeric code to the reader module that is then stored in a memory chip.

The system uses radio waves to capture data from the tag, so while the tag must be relatively close to the reader to be recognized, it doesn’t need to be in line of sight.

Use in the field
To integrate this technology into a biological study, a researcher attaches the tag to an animal and places the tag reader in a spot that is regularly and reliably visited by tagged individuals, such as a nest, den, or birdfeeder. The researcher sets the amount of time the unit will spend reading (probing the antenna’s range for a tag) and resting (intervals in between read attempts) to best balance the collection effort and energy use. The more time the system spends reading, the more battery it will use. If you are placing the antenna at the entrance to a nesting cavity where birds typically pass by through quickly, intervals will have to be set shorter. If you are looking at tortoise movement through culverts, you will have a little more time!

cheapRFID_in waterproof case_animalmigration dot org

Waterproofing on the cheap: the DIY RFID ready for the field Photo: Eli Bridge, University of Oklahoma

Although Bridge and his colleagues designed this do-it-yourself reader with birds in mind, it can be applied to a wide range of taxa. The tag does not require batteries and so is both lightweight and …read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 30

Herp Photo of the Day: Boa Constrictor

Clean, simple and classic. What other way could we describe this Anery Boa in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user pythonas !

Be sure to tell pythonas 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 29

Herp Photo of the Day: Australian Water Dragon

Follow the lead of these Water Dragons in our herp photo of the day and spend hump day with someone you love, uploaded by kingsnake.com user cochran !

Be sure to tell cochran 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 29

The Whitaker’s Boa: The common crossbreed snake of India

I’m sure a person who is very passionate about breeding reptiles would consider crossbreed reptiles as a major part of his passion, and even a reptile lover is always fond of seeing some crossbreeds. In India, luckily you can find a crossbreed snake known as The Whitaker’s Boa, Eryx whitakeri, named after the renowned herpetologist Romulus Whitaker.

The Whitakers Boa is a cross of the common sand boa, Gongylophis conicus, and the red sand boa, Eryx johnii, and it shows the characteristics of these two snakes. It has blotches on its body and a similar head like common sand boa and smooth scales, short tail and reddish body color are the characteristics of the red sand boa.

The maximum length of this snake is 80cm, and it is viviparous by nature, giving birth to 5-9 young ones.

I’ve found this snake twice on herping. The last time was last summer while herping in a sanctuary of Goa with a group of people. We saw a bison grazing, so we moved back and changed our direction. After reaching a safe distance we sat on a rock and saw this Whitaker’s boa snake beside the rock. It was around 40-50cm in length and a beautiful one. “Sometimes, changing your path has great benefit.”

Photo: Riyaz Khoja

…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 29

Eastern indigo snakes heading back to native range

Zoo Atlanta is set to release nine threatened Eastern indigo snakes in Alabama woodlands where they once ranged.

From the Atlanta Business Journal:

“A collaborative effort by Zoo Atlanta, the Central Florida Zoo’s Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation and Auburn University will result in the latest release of this iconic reptile in Conecuh National Forest in southern Alabama,” Zoo Atlanta said in a prepared statement.
Sign Up for Newsletters & Alerts

Three of the nine snakes were reared at Zoo Atlanta, which has reared around 60 eastern indigo snakes for release since the program’s inception in 2008, the zoo said.

Read the full story… …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 28

The Colorado Wood Frog

Dorsal aspect of the 'Rocky Mountain' wood frog.

You go to the campground and the frogs will be at the pond. Of course, the fact that the campground and pond were a couple of thousand miles west of home in Colorado complicated the search for a while. But then on a late summer day I decided to make the drive and search for the frog.

“The frog” was a high elevation population of wood frogs, the ones that were once known as Rana maslini. They were dark of color, somewhat warty, a little short-legged and squatty, but overall they were quite pretty — or at least interesting.

Although wood frogs are widely distributed from Labrador and Newfoundland to northeastern Georgia to northwestern Alaska, in the continental west they are found in only a few small montane populations in CO, adjacent WY, northern WY, and northern ID.

The fact that they were geographically isolated and seemingly genetically incompatible with other populations prompted systematists of the day to name them Rana maslini. It was later found that they could interbreed successfully with other populations of wood frogs and this led to Rana maslini being considered a synonym of Rana sylvatica. With today’s concept that the ability to interbreed is a primitive characteristic, I must wonder whether the status of these frogs will be revisited.

But anyway, there I was in Colorado. I found the pond. But after two days of not finding any frogs I declared myself a failure and drove back home. Three days later I was discussing the frog with a friend and learned I had been at the wrong pond. The one I really wanted was about 3/4 mile farther, down a road closed by nearly impenetrable mazes of fallen trees. So what could I do?

I drove back. I parked the car in the same spot as before, made the hike and found the frog. It only took a week and a half and a few miles over 10,000 to succeed. I’d call that dedication.

More photos under the jump…
Continue reading “The Colorado Wood Frog” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 28

Is antivenin manufacturer ripping off snakebite victims?

First a rattlesnake took a bite out of Todd Fassler. Then the bill for the antivenin that saved his life took another.

From the Washington Post:

The bulk of his hospital bill — $83,000 of it — is due to pharmacy charges. Specifically, charges for the antivenin used to treat the bite. KGTV reports that Fassler depleted the antivenin supplies at two local hospitals during his five-day visit. Nobody expects antivenin to be cheap. But $83,000?

There’s currently only one commercially available antivenin for treating venomous snakebites in the United States — CroFab, manufactured by U.K.-based BTG plc. And with a stable market of 7,000 to 8,000 snakebite victims per year and no competitors, business is pretty good. BTG’s latest annual report shows CroFab sales topped out at close to 63 million British pounds, or $98 million dollars, last fiscal year. The antivenin costs hospitals roughly $2,300 per vial, according to Bloomberg, with a typical dose requiring four to six vials. In some cases multiple doses are needed, according to CroFab’s promotional Web site.

BTG has fought aggressively to keep competitors off the market. A competing product, Anavip, just received FDA approval this year and likely won’t be on the market until late 2018. This lack of competition is one reason that snakebite treatments rack up such huge hospital bills — $55,000. $89,000. $143,000. In May of this year, a snakebit Missouri man died after refusing to seek medical care, saying he couldn’t afford the bill.

Read the rest here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 28

Herp Photo of the Day: Eastern Garter Snake

A keen eye will pick up this well camouflaged Garter in the field, but thankfully we make the job easy for you in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user snakekate !

Be sure to tell snakekate 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 27

Scientists study predator-prey behavior between sharks, turtles

By Herp News

A new collaborative study examined predator-prey interactions between tiger sharks and sea turtles off the Northwestern Atlantic Ocean. The research team used long-term satellite tagging data from large tiger sharks and adult female loggerhead sea turtles, common prey of tiger sharks, to examine their movement patterns and evaluate if turtles modify their behaviors to reduce their chances of a shark attack when turtle and shark home ranges overlapped.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 27

Life in the fast spray zone: Four new endemic tooth-frog species in West African forests

By Herp News

Up until recently there was a single known species in the only vertebrate family endemic to West Africa, the torrent tooth-frog. Based on morphological and molecular results, however, four new species are now described. Unfortunately, they might all be at a risk of extinction. Their habitat needs and small distribution range call for immediate conservation measures.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 27

This snake's feet weren't made for walking

The fossil record tells us an ancient snake had four feet — but he wasn’t using them to run any marathons.

From Mashable:

The roughly 120 million-year-old snake, dubbed Tetrapodophis amplectus (literally, four-legged snake), likely didn’t use its feet for walking. Instead, the appendages may have helped Tetrapodophis hold onto a partner while mating, or even grip unruly prey, said study co-researcher David Martill, a professor of paleobiology at the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom.

Previous research has detailed two-legged snake fossils, but this is the first known snake ancestor to sport four legs, he said. It likely evolved from terrestrial-burrowing creatures, and was a transitional animal that lived during the shift from ancient lizards to modern-day snakes, he added.

Read the full story… …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 27

Forsten’s Cat Snake: The big guy in the cat snake family

When a snake lover imagines seeing a cat snake, he or she probably expects to see a thin snake on a tree with beautiful color pattern and vertical eye pupils. That was my expectation when my friend Riyaz Khoja called me up and said, “Sachin, I have rescued a Forsten’s cat snake! Come to my place right away!”

I accelerated my bike toward Riyaz’s house and was trying to picture the cat snake while on the way. I had never seen a Forsten’s cat snake, boiga forsteni, so even I was expecting a thin cat snake with a length of 3-4 ft.

But when I reached his place and saw the snake I was like, “OMG!!! Bro, are you serious? This is a species of cat snake, are they really so big?”

The size of that cat snake was 6 ft, and it was fat like a rat snake. It had a triangular body like a cat snake with vertical eye pupils and rest of the characteristics of the cat snake family.

That happened three years ago, and I still remember each and every moment of that beautiful scenario. After that I came across many species of cat snakes but never found any of them as big as a Frsten’s cat snake. I would definitely call this snake “the boss of the serpentine cats.”

Photo: Riyaz Khoja

…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 27

Herp Photo of the Day: Panther Chameleon

This Ambilobe Panther Chameleon is all fired up in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user vinniem1210!

Be sure to tell vinniem1210 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 24

No babies yet for last female turtle of her species

The last surviving female turtle of her species has laid only infertile eggs.
From Scientific American:

Two months ago the world’s conservationists crossed their collective fingers and waited to find out if a 100-year-old female Yangtze giant softshell turtle (Rafetus swinhoei), the last of her gender, would—after artificial insemination—finally lay fertile eggs and save her species from extinction.

I’m sorry to say that those hopes have, at least temporarily, been dashed. The Turtle Survival Alliance reported this week that the centenarian did lay 89 eggs, but all were infertile.

That doesn’t mean the quest is over, however. The female is expected to lay one or two more clutches of eggs this year. They’ll try to inseminate here again before then.

Read the full story, and more about turtle reproduction, here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 24

Herp Photo of the Day: Asian Vine Snake

What a beautiful shot to end our week! But really it is hard to not see beauty when you look at the Asian Vine Snake (Ahaetulla prasina) our Herp Photo of the Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user 13lackcat! Be sure to tell 13lackcat you liked it here!

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


   Jul 23

Four-legged snake fossil found

By Herp News

An “absolutely exquisite” fossil of a snake that had four legs has been discovered by a team of scientists and may help show how snakes made the transition from lizards to serpents.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 23

Loggerheads: Don't try this at home!

More Florida sea turtle adventures, this time with a guy who loved them so much he brought them home. Too bad that’s totally against the law.

From Tech Times:

Officers from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission visited the home of William Henry Jowett after receiving a tip that he was keeping two of the threatened reptile at home.

The 53-year old eventually received a misdemeanor citation after he was discovered keeping two loggerhead sea turtle hatchling. The penalties for this included up to one year imprisonment and a potential fine of up to $1,000.

Jowett reportedly obtained the animals from the canal in his backyard two months ago and decided to place these in a saltwater aquarium to show to his daughter. He said that he had plans to release the turtles but became attached to the animals.

The animals were taken from the aquarium and moved to the Loggerhead Marine Life Sanctuary Center. The turtles were later released offshore.

Read the full story here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 23

Mid-Kansas Herping

Central Plains milk snake, Lampropeltis triangulum gentilis.

Kansas is a state about which I know very little. I have driven across it a couple of times on my way home from Colorado and I’ve driven to it another couple of times to look up some exotic lizards. But I had never visited the state to witness the great snake emergence from hibernation that I had so often heard about.

So when Kenny said, “This spring it’s Kansas,” I said OK. It was past time, and Kenny is a great field companion. So when the time came we loaded the car and were on our way.

Kenny knew just where we should be so when once in the state, after a couple of false turns, I was staring in awe at a rock-strewn series of hills that seemed to stretch forever. Fortunately it was not necessary to go to “forever” to find the snakes we sought. The first 50 or so rocks that we flipped produced nothing, but following that dry start it seemed that every second rock sheltered a lizard or snake.

We found prairie ringnecks by the score, a fair number of lined snakes, some Great Plains skinks were seen, and then, in quick succession, 2 Central Plains milk snakes, Lampropeltis triangulum syspila. I’m told that we actually missed the major herp emergence but as far as I’m concerned we just couldn’t have done better.

In fact, I liked it so well I may actually try it again.

More photos under the jump…
Continue reading “Mid-Kansas Herping” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 23

Herp Photo of the Day: Eastern Box Turtle

This is an attractively marked Eastern Box Turtle is named Louie and the owner says he is 9 years old! Louie the Box Turtle is our spotlight in our Herp Photo of the Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user terrapene! Be sure to tell terrapene you liked it here!

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


   Jul 23

Frankie Tortoise Tails – Dr. Super Sleuth and the Case of the Wobbly Frankie

A good veterinarian needs the skills of a super sleuth…in the category of Sherlock Holmes or Poirot….given that most of their patients don’t speak. The super sleuth veterinarian must draw on excellent skills of observation and deductive reasoning to figure out what is wrong with their patient.

Owners need the same super observation and deductive skills. Regretfully, my skills were slow to notice that something was wrong with Frankie. In the last few weeks I was slow noticing what was going on and wrongly deduced the situation. I mistook Frankie’s lack of “getting around the yard” to mean “it’s to hot to walk around the yard.”

Frankie wasn’t getting around the yard much and it was defiantly hot outside. Frankie would find a cool spot in the yard and stick there for most of the day. That I noticed.

The bigger clue that got me thinking something was wrong was Frankie wobbled when he walked. Still, I just watched.

It was cooler outside one evening so I took Frankie for a Big Walk. He walked, slowly, down four houses, sat on the neighbors lawn, and then sat to grazed eating only the the grass that was within “head reach”

The walk back to the house, took an soooo long and Frankie kept stopping to rest. I started adding up everything I’d seen in the last two weeks and came to one very sure result: Frankie was having mobility issues.

Frankie’s local veterinarian was unable to do an x-ray saying his equipment was not appropriate for large tortoises. He suggested I find a horse veterinarian to have them do the xray on a portable machine.

The equine veterinarians I called would have this very long pause when I explained that I needed an xray of a 100 pound sulcata tortoise. Only one would consider doing the x-ray and it would be another week before they could see Frankie.

I had a sense of urgency that Frankie needed to be seen SOON, and I needed a very confident veterinarian could do the job.

So I drove four hours to Birmingham, AL to see the best turtle doctor in Alabama: Dr. Alvin Atlas.

Yes, I did. Just Frankie and me, in the car, for four hours.

At the vet’s office, they sent staff to help me get Frankie out of the car and into the building. It took some time to get the limping Frankie inside. Just walking into the examination room was painful. Unlike his last visit to see Dr. Atlas, Frankie just sat there.
Posted Image This is far enough. Not walking another step.
When Dr. Atlas came in to see Frankie all I told him was Frankie was having mobility problems. Dr. Atlas sat on his stool and he and Frankie just stared at each other.

Dr. Atlas said, “That is unusual.”

“You mean Frankie just sitting there?”<br …read more
Read more here: Turtle Times


   Jul 22

A frog's best defense may threaten its future

The beautiful pygmy frog, Microhyla pulchra, is a one-of-a-kind amphibian. But its uniqueness, known as crypsis, is making conservation efforts challenging.

From io9.com:

Crypsis is an entity’s ability to avoid detection. It can be a predator’s ability to avoid being spotted by prey, or prey’s ability to avoid being spotted by predators, or, in this case, an animal’s ability to avoid being spotted by biologists. Although I know it’s a valid term for a behavior, I can’t help but admire the ability of biologists to make their own failure to find an animal into a recognized property of the animal.

Read the rest here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 22

My reptile management lecture ends up with the best audience

I have been giving lectures and conducting workshops on reptile management and awareness for some time. I’ve never written about them until now because, to be frank, I never found anything special to be shared. That changed with my last workshop, however, and I would love to share it.

My soccer coach, Mr. Savio Dsouza, has always been supportive of my passion for snakes, and he was the one to organize the reptile management workshop. It was conducted in a boarding school named Rishi Gurukulam Ashram. The best thing about this school is that it is situated in a valley with only greenery and mountains to be seen.

The lecture was conducted by me and my partners Akshay Parahlkar (Axy) and Anirudh Rathod, and we had carried four snakes to show them: The common krait, the common trinket snake, the checkered keelback water snake, and the most common of all, the rat snake.

If I were to try to praise the students and teachers of the school, it would take ten more pages to write. The reason why I loved this school so much is because each and every person there loves snakes and respects them because they have been encountering them regularly and they are very well aware that these slitherins are harmless.

During the lecture the students were very interactive, and I was very amazed to see that even a first grade student was able to identify the snakes found in that area and there was not a single person in the crowd who was scared of snakes. Being a snake conservationist I would say these are the actual people who I respect a lot because after all the thing which makes me happy is that even people who are not into herpetology or the reptile world are trying their best to conserve and protect these magnificent creatures.

Photos: Chetan Waga

…read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 22

Herp Photo of the Day: Cat Snake

Snakes and Cats living together, it will be anarchy! Wait what? Nah it is just a nice shot of a Cat Snake (Boiga cyanea) in our Herp Photo of the Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user ptahtoo! Be sure to tell ptahtoo you liked it here!

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


   Jul 21

Man shot with his own gun while trying to protect sea turtle babies

Apprently the friend of your enemy is your enemy, when it comes to sea turtles — at least in Florida, where a Vietnam veteran was allegedly shot with his own gun by someone who took exception to his efforts to protect a sea turtle nest.

From Local10.com:

A Vietnam veteran was shot while trying to save baby sea turtles at a South Florida beach.

Stan Pannaman, 72, of Tamarac, was shot Friday night near a sea turtle nest in Lauderdale-by-the-Sea.

Pannaman said he and Doug Young, a fellow volunteer trying to protect the nest, were confronted by Michael McAuliffe, who approached them and said he didn’t like sea turtles.

“He got more aggressive and he got up and he came towards us and he started pulling the stakes away from the nest area,” Young told Local 10 News.

Read the full story here. …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 21

Camouflaged tortoises, hiding in plain sight

Easily seen in the open, it takes only a few blades of grass to disrupt the outline of many tortoise species.

This past winter, as a cold front came barreling through, I decided to make certain that all of the tortoises were snug in their heated winter houses. I quickly scanned the pens and saw only a few desert box turtles, Terrapene ornata luteola still out. Although I probably needn’t have worried about them I quickly shepherded all into their warmed quarters and then took a head count of the tortoises already slumbering soundly in the houses. Hmmmm. One missing leopard tortoise, Geochelone (Stigmochelys) p. pardalis, and 2 missing desert box turtles. Well, those shouldn’t be hard to find so I began a search of pen. Under the ground level philodendron leaves? Nope. Resting quietly on the grassy substrate? Nope. Hidden by the few patches of tall grasses? Nope. No chelonians to be found. So I started over and again came up empty handed.

“Patti! Could you please help me find this tortoise?”

We both looked and we both failed. Still no star.

Then when I looked down I was standing right next to a patch of tall grass that was about 12 x 14 inches. Way too small for a 10 inch long leopard tortoise, right? But that’s where it was, smack in the middle and all but invisible. Those camouflaging carapacial markings sure are sure effective. We didn’t find the desert box turtles that night but they showed up again when the weather moderated. And I won’t mention the several times I’ve looked for an hour or more for an Indian star tortoise in their 30 x 40 foot pen.

More photos under the jump…
Continue reading “Camouflaged tortoises, hiding in plain sight” …read more
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 21

Herp Photo of the Day: Black Headed Python

No longer just black and white, these snakes show some of the variety in color that the Black Headed Pythons have in our Herp Photo of the Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Tom_Keogan! Be sure to tell Tom 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 21

Black Headed Python

No longer just black and white, these snakes show some of the variety in color that the Black Headed Pythons have in our Herp Photo of the Day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user Tom_Keogan!

Be sure to tell Tom Keogan 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
Read more here: King Snake


   Jul 20

Studying world’s rarest penguin leads to the discovery of a new species

By Herp News

Researching one of the world’s most endangered penguins in New Zealand, the yellow-eyed penguin, has led to a remarkable discovery. DNA from 500-year-old penguin fossils has shown that the country was once home to not just one penguin species, but two. The DNA has resurrected an unknown extinct penguin, which researchers have named the Waitaha Penguin.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 20

South Korea to lease half of Madagascar’s arable land for corn, oil palm production

By Herp News

South Korea’s Daewoo has signed a 99-year lease for half of Madagascar’s arable land, reports the Financial Times. The agreement covers 1.3 million hectares (3.2 million acres) — an area half the size of Belgium. Daewoo says it plans to plant corn on 1 million hectares in the arid western part of the island and 300,000 ha (740,000 acres) of oil palm on land in the tropical east, a region that is home to the bulk of Madagascar’s rare rainforests. The company will produce the food for export and plans to import workers from South Africa, although a Daewoo spokesman said that the project could create up to 70,000 local jobs.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com


   Jul 20

Scientists can’t explain cause of amphibian extinction crisis

By Herp News

Scientists have yet to conclusively explain the underlying cause of global declines in amphibian populations, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research says that two leading theories for the demise of amphibians — both related to the emergence and spread of the deadly chytrid fungus — are not supported by scientific data.

Go to Source

…read more
Read more here: herpetofauna.com