Sunday, April 13, 2014

Thoughts On The 2014 LIHS Reptile & Amphibian Show

See the title, it says thoughts on the show. The main reason it says that is because someone was running late and did not think about double checking to see he had everything before leaving for the show and thus forgot his camera. yes that would be me. So instead of having at least even a few photos of the event, all I have is thoughts and they don't even cover the whole show because I had to leave early.

The show was small, smaller than I would have hoped for, but there were some nice animals on display. They included either a green tree python (or emerald tree boa), a Texas rat snake, a boa constrictor, a ball python, several corn snakes, a few crested geckos, a few Chahoua geckos, a Central American wood turtle, a red foot tortoise, a couple of Egyptian tortoises, a Hermann's tortoise, and a ribbed newt. There also were others that I cannot remember right now. In all, they were some pretty nice herps. The judging started earlier than I had thought it would and I think was over by around 2:30, the same time I had to leave since I had a relative's birthday to attend. Thus, I missed the awarding of prizes. I did not bother entering my three animals into the contest because I had to leave early but apparently the judges included them in the contest anyhow. I know because I just got an email from Rich M saying he had a ribbon or two for me. That was nice of the judges.

All in all it was a nice show and I met a couple of new folks to the society (sorry I am terrible on names). It could only have been nicer if we had more participation from the membership. It's always nice to see familiar faces at these things and plenty of them. I hope more of the members, yes you, turn out at the next meeting and the auction (that must sound great coming from me since I missed most of the meetings this season). Oh well, hopefully there will be a good turnout at the auction and as I said, the show was nice regardless.

If I get the list of who won and for which animals, I will post it here later.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, April 12, 2014

LIHS Annual Judged Show

The Long Island Herpetological Society's annual judged show is set for Sunday April 13, 2014, at SUNY Farmingdale commencing at 1PM. Note that this is not the equivalent of our previously annual herp expo - this is a judged show only and not a sales event; our herp expo is a thing of the past.

Anyway, the judged show should be interesting and fun. Based on my past experience with it, there are going to be, or should be, a wide variety of herps entered. As with our past shows, prizes will be awarded. The prizes will consist of ribbons for the various winners and there will be a $50 gift certificate, from Nicebalz, for the overall show winner. Entries of herps into the contest are open to LIHS members and non-members alike. There are no entry fees for members but there is a $1.00 entry fee per animal for non-members. The show is open to the public at no charge.

For more info about the contest, see: http://www.lihs.org/files/Show2014.pdf

Hope to see you, and your herps, there.

All the best,
Glenn B

 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

I Have Loved Tortoises...

...since I was a young kid. I remember going to the Bronx Zoo, or maybe it was the Catskill Game Farm (or both), when I was 8 and younger, and riding on giant tortoises. At least the tortoises seemed huge to me and chances are that they were big ones that they let kids climb aboard, back then, for the slow motion ride of their lives. I was heart broken when the practice was no longer allowed.

Tortoises are magic reptiles, even more mystical than are turtles. While many folks, if not most of them, have an aversion to other reptiles and to the amphibians, almost everyone likes a turtle or at least finds them less repulsive than a slithery snake or a slimy frog. Yet, some few (in the overall scale of things) find even turtles to be repugnant. Somehow though, when it comes to their dry land cousins, even most of us seem to have an open space in our hearts for tortoises. They exude a personality (or is it an animalality because they surely are not persons) that says love us because: they are responsive to those who care for them or otherwise give them love, they give everlasting hope to those who have been the targets of the abuses at the hands of others (even of time itself since they live so long), that says even though I not aggressive - I am not defenseless, that shows them to be survivors because they have survived some of the harshest climates, on land, on our planet against all odds - even including relocation to inhospitable climes, that says 'be my friend and I will reciprocate'  - as they are among the most responsive reptiles known to mankind, and they have a look about them that makes them appear to hold the wisdom of the ages. They have more human-like attributes than may other creatures including some primates. My bet would be, that even if you don't love them, you find them at least somewhat fascinating.


Jonathan, a Seychelles Tortoise living on the island of St. Helena,
may be 182 years old. Thus, he well could be the longest lived land
animal currently surviving on the planet earth or even in the universe.
So when LIHS member Deb Hoppe sent me the following very interesting tortoise and human interest article, about Jonathan, I knew I would eventually have to post a link to it on the LIHS Blogger. (Sorry it took so long, about 3 weeks, but I am The Great Procrastinator). See:
 
http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-26543021

Once again, my thanks to LIHS member Deb Hope, whom I would bet loves tortoises too, for another great blog submission.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, March 29, 2014

A Hair of the Dog That Bit You...

...or an early morning drink of whatever you had the night before, that gave you your hangover, is supposedly a hangover cure. I think though, to this tortoise it means something else altogether. Well, maybe not altogether different. After all, the dog is being a pain in the tortoise's neck and the tortoise is apparently biting the dog on his short hairs to make himself feel better but it sure doesn't make the dog feel too good.



Hat tip to Deb H for this one.

All the best,
Glenn B

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Russian Has Invaded My Home

Not a mad Russian like Rasputin, not Czar, nor a Russian leader like Putin or a soldier or diplomat, not even a Russian citizen but definitely a Russian by name if not by origin. Truth is, this little Russian, a tortoise - Testudo horsfieldii or the Russian Tortoise (aka: Horsfield's Tortoise among other names) - could be from a number of places like: Afghanistan; Armenia (Armenia); Azerbaijan; China; Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Pakistan; Russian Federation; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan (source).


I got rid of 8 bearded dragons today and was able to pick this guy in doing so. The dealer gave me a 20% break from his asking price and I could not resist. I was hoping to get a sexed pair but the only females I saw were at another dealer than the one where I got this one. Those others looked pretty lame (closed puffy eyes, not attentive, not moving, limp necks or in other words like they were ill). So me having a pair will have to wait. The one I picked up was active, alert, eyes wide open, had no mucous or dried out secretions around the eyes, nostrils or cloaca and had a good body weight making me think it is on the healthy side. I am anxious to acquire a female so I can try a breeding project. In general these tortoises are from semi-arid to arid regions in the above listed countries. They endure fairly hot summers and long cold winters during which they brumate. In nature they eat what plants they can find such as grasses, weeds and broad leafed plants. Since they brumate for at least 6 months, and aestivate in the hot summer months, they have little time to achieve peak condition for breeding and eat as often as they can do so in nature. A sample of what they can be fed in captivity can be seen on the page at this link:

http://www.russiantortoise.org/russiantortoisediet.htm

They are pretty easy to care for if some basic principles are followed. I have kept Hermann's and Redfoot Tortoises with some success and should have little difficulty, if any, with the Russians - certainly fewer and easier problems than Obama is having with Putin. If you are interested in keeping Mediterranean tortoises, the group in which the Russian Tortoise is a member, some basic care information for them can be found here:

http://theexoticvet.com/care-sheets/russian-tortoise-care-sheet/

http://www.tortoisetrust.org/Downloads/Taking_care_of_pet_tortoises_web.pdf

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hairy Bush Viper (Atheris hispida) Video

Hat tip to Meg Chan for sending in a link to a video of a Hairy Bush Viper (Atheris hispida):


All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Indonesian Autumn Adder?

Well, here is a photo of a snake that Deb H sent me back in November (during the right season):


I found it to be absolutely awesome, so much so that I had to wonder if it was a Photoshop job. I kind of figured I would have seen this particular snake on some nature show or another before then, but I never had seen one before, so I did a little checking. Here is another version of what appears to be the same photo that has been flipped around and had the coloring changed:

 
Nice snake in either photo but I still figured it was so striking in yellow that I certainly would have remembered having seen one before, at least on television or in a magazine. Yet, it was unfamiliar to me and still extremely awesome looking - almost too good to be true. So, I checked more, this time using the scientific name that accompanied the second picture on the site where I had found it.
 
An Internet search of the name Atheris hispida revealed several online photos of that species and revealed its common name as the African Hairy Bush Viper . Most of them were markedly different from either of the above two photos in that the colors shown in the other photos mostly were nowhere nearly as vivid. Still though, what I came up with were some pretty nice photos of a pretty impressive looking snake but also that, by my guess, were probably closer to reality. One example of what I found is shown below:
 
 
Still a very impressive looking snake but the coloration and markings are somewhat different than the other two. So what is the bottom line, are the other two Photoshop jobs and the last one the real McCoy or are they all the genuine item? I cannot answer that with any certainty, so if anyone knows for sure, please leave a comment about it. More info on this species can be found here:
 
 
and here:
 
http://reptile-database.reptarium.cz/species?genus=Atheris&species=hispida (the pic at this link looks a lot like the snake in photos 1 & 2 but with a more washed out appearance).
 
Once again, my hat is doffed to Deb H for another submission for the blog.
 
All the best,
Glenn B
 
 
 


The Force Is Strong With This One...


A hat tip to Deb H for this one.

All the best,
Glenn B

LIHS March 2014 Meeting

First off, allow me to apologize to the LIHS membership for not keeping up with the blog for way too long. It was not that there was enough material to post, Deb H sent me articles and pics as usual and I came across others. It was more along the lines of a lack of interest in posting on my part. That snaked its way over to my attendance at meetings too. Until today, I had not been to an LIHS meeting in sometime either. I think today's monthly meeting was the first I have attended since October. Shame on me and I offer my apology for letting down the LIHS as far as that goes. My apology also to Deb H for not publishing the stuff she took the time and effort to send me. That will be corrected forthwith.

Anyway, the meeting today was excellent. John Heiser did a presentation about Salamanders and newts of LI. It was nice to see the other members who showed up, I think there were a dozen to maybe 14 of us there today.

News from the meeting today was that the LIHS judged show will be held at the April meeting. In addition, the annual dinner may be held later this month, the tentative date was for March 29th. I am pretty sure that an email will be sent out to the membership soon.


Finally, Deb H notified the members in attendance at the meeting that there will be a reptile lecture and field trip given at Connetquot River State Park Preserve in Oakdale on Sunday March 15th. It will be held from 1:30 to 3PM. Please note that advance reservations are required and that this is an adults-only program. The cost is $8.00 for parking. For more information and to make reservations, call: 631-581-1072.
Hope to see you all at the next meeting and or at the LIHS annual dinner.

All the best,
Glenn B

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Birthday Surprise

No, it's not my birthday but it is someone in my family's birthday today. The surprise was not what she got for present but that my large female Hermann's tortoise laid 4 eggs today. I did not think my two year + old male was ready nor big enough but apparently he was good to go. So, in another 65 to 90 days or so, there should be a batch of 4 new Hermann's tortoise hatchlings scampering around my herp room.

All the best,
Glenn B