Thursday, December 25, 2014

Season's Greetings

Wishing a Very Merry Christmas To All and a belated Very Happy Chanukah too. Sorry that last comes late, I have not had much time for the blog lately.

All the best,
Glenn B

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

This Too Shall Pass...

...or so one sure to be hurting Spur Thighed Tortoise is hoping. The tortoise had reportedly been feeling ill after not having pooped for a month so his owner finally brought him to see a vet. (Imagine not pooping for a month and waiting to see your doctor for that long - this tortoises owner must have been clueless to have waited that long but what other type of person would name a male tortoise Lola than a clueless one.) Well, the vet took an x-ray and was probably very surprised to see a turtle inside the tortoise. It seems that the tortoise must have not paid much attention to what it was eating and along with its food it swallowed a turtle pendant. (source)

While the vet and the owner are hoping that the adage "This too shall pass" is true, and that the vet can get it to pass without surgery, I would bet that the tortoise is probably hoping so more than either of them. Of course the tortoise probably also is hoping for it to pass quickly. The odds are against that happening quickly though, I mean have you ever heard of a fast turtle? While it may be true that this too shall pass, it seems it will pass only very slowly at that.

All the best,
Glenn B

Sunday, October 26, 2014

A New LIHS Program Just For Kids

At the Long Island Reptile Expo, held last Sunday, a few families approached the Long Island Herpetological Society's (LIHS) table with the same question: 'Does the LIHS offer a children's program?'.

While we had to answer no to that specific question, we reminded folks that we are a family friendly society. However, I had some communication with John H, one of the board members, during the past week and I brought up the subject. He informed me that the idea of a children's program has been discussed by the LIHS executive board in the past and that apparently the stumbling block was the lack of volunteers to run it. I told John I would do it but only if we can get another dedicated LIHS member to volunteer.

Today, at the LIHS monthly meeting, John brought it up and asked for volunteers. Tara F volunteered and it looks as if the program will be taking off soon. In addition, John made a motion to the board to funnel a couple of hundred dollars into the program from the LIHS treasury. They voted on it immediately and all of the board members who were present voted in favor of it.  

Tara and I spoke about it a bit and we will be brainstorming to see what ideas we can come up with for fun things for the LIHS kids to do and how to incorporate them into the program. We did not name the program but I think that The LIHS Tadpoles might be in order or we could just call it LIHS Kids but I will run that by Tara and the board at a later date. Tara and I also discussed timing and we think we can get the program up and running by the January LIHS meeting. We will probably discuss it further with the membership at the November and/or December meetings.  

Speaking of the membership, we will be looking for temporary volunteers to participate once we get it up and running. We may need help with field trips, transportation, helping to keep and eye on the kids and so on. We don't expect any one person to volunteer for every event we have planned with the youngsters but maybe to volunteer just for an individual event now and again. If you think you might have an interest, let us know. Of course, if we go on a field trip, say maybe to the zoo or field herping, we would ask at least some of the parents to help with those. We have not discussed the age of the children yet, which is another thing to consider. I am going to guess that younger children who are under a certain age will always have to have a parent present and that kids over a certain age may be allowed to join in the kids' group activities without a parent remaining present so long as they are well behaved and respectful. It is another thing we need to discuss between Tara, the board and myself. As I said though, we will figure it out as we move between now and the January meeting when we expect to commence the program.

So far, I have pretty much been writing this for the adults - now let me get to wrting something for you who will make up the program - you LIHS kids. We need to know if you are interested in this program. If you are, you can give us some ideas for programs and events you think would be fun. So far we have a few ideas but more would be better. Some possibilities are a zoo trip, a field herping trip, animal feedings, show and tell with live reptiles & amphibians, a take care of a herp for a month foster type program, vivarium building and a herp photo contest. If you can think of anything else that might be fun, let us know. You can either leave a comment to this post, send me an email (via the link in the profile for the blog), or send Tara F an email via the link under Executive Board on the LIHS website.

We will try to let you know more about the LIHS kids' program by the December meeting (holiday party) at the latest. Tara and I are looking forward to making LIHS meetings much more fun for our younger members!

All the best,
Glenn B

Last Chance - October LIHS Meeting Is Today

Just a reminder that the regularly scheduled monthly meeting of the Long Island Herpetological Society is being held today - Sunday, October 26th - and runs from 1PM to 4PM in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale. For directions to the school, click on this link. For a campus map showing the location of the Conference Center click here.

The presentation today will be on Corn Snake Morphs and will be given by the esteemed corn snake breeder - Rich Hume.

This will be your last chance, for this meeting year, to nominate someone for the LIHS Executive board. Elections are scheduled for next month's meeting.

As usual, there should be animals on display during the meeting and likely will be some up for sale and or adoption.

As usual, the meeting is open to the public and admission is free.

Hope to see you at the meeting.

More on the LIHS here: www.lihs.org.

All the best,
Glenn B



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October LIHS Meeting

The October meeting of the Long Island Herpetological Society is scheduled for this coming Sunday, October 26th at 1PM, in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale off route 110. For directions to the school, click on this link. For a campus map showing the location of the Conference Center click here.

As usual, this meeting is open to the public and all are welcome to attend. The speaker for this meeting will be LIHS  member Rich Hume who will give a presentation on Corn Snake Morphs. As usual, Rich should have some really nice snakes on exhibit for his talk.

In addition, this meeting should conclude nominations for LIHS board member positions. If you want to run for a spot on the LIHS executive board, make sure to come to the meeting, likewise if you want to nominate someone. If you are happy with the LIHS and the way it is being run, then you don't need nominate anyone as the first nominations at the September meeting wound up in having all existing board members, save I think one who resigned, nominated for reelection. If you want to see some changes, then October is your last chance to nominate someone for the upcoming election in November.

Hope to see you at the meeting.

All the best,
Glenn B

That Frogs Are Opportunistic Eaters...

...should be obvious from the video at the link below. That some people are, at least in my opinion, pretty much absolute idiots in how they feed their herps should also be easy to grasp while watching it. I just figure there is no way that a mouse that size should have been fed to a frog that small (and you will note that the video does not show the frog being completely eaten, maybe because the frog could not get it all down). It also probably would have been much wiser to have used a dead mouse to avoid a couple of things like the mouse's obvious unnecessary suffering and the frog being bitten by the mouse. I am certainly not an animals rights extremist (not even a moderate) but I have respect for animals and would much rather feed a dead mouse, that had been dispatched rapidly, to a herp instead of watching it suffer, if indeed the herp would accept a dead mouse. In this case, the mouse was simply a ridiculous for a frog that size and to me it seems that the video was made for the shock value or wow factor of it. I think most people get passed that stage of their lives and rise above such insensitive immaturity, as to get a rise out of stuff like that, when about 12 or 13 years old. Then again, some of us never grow up.

I link to the video here only to demonstrate a terrible way to feed a frog. You should avoid doing likewise.

http://youtu.be/ByQU-JD6okE

Video submitted by Deb H, my thanks to her for it.

All the best,
Glenn B

The Darned Sprinkler Head Was Clogged Again...

...and when it was inspected just look at what was found to have been plugging I up.



Submitted by LIHS member and contributor extraordinaire Deb H, my thanks to her.

All the best,
Glenn B

LIHS Members At The LI Reptile Expo

There was another Long Island Reptile Expo at the Hilton in Melville, NY today. As usual the Long Island Herpetological Society was represented by a fair number of LIHS members. Both Harry F and myself manned the LIHS table for the day and Vin R (and his daughters), Rich H, John H and Tim (?) had space at the adjoining tables. While Harry and I kept busy trying to drum up new LIHS members, the other guys were busy selling herps from there tables. Other members at the show included Mike V, Tony C, Mike R, Chris M, Dave F and Tara N (hope I did not forget anyone).

As usual there were good deals to be found on herps, herp accessories and equipment and on feeders. There was a pretty good variety of both reptiles and amphibians but as Harry F pointed out there seemed to be a dearth of water turtles. The customers came and went throughout the day and it looked as if it was busier mid show than at the beginning and certainly was busier then than near 3PM which was closing time.

As for visitors to the LIHS table, there were quite a few folks who stopped by. I think we usually get more inquiries about herps and herp care than about memberships but this time seemed just the opposite to me. We had several people stop by for membership information which could wind up being a good thing in the form of increased LIHS membership. At least two and I think three families stopped by to inquire about memberships and whether or not we had any sort of children's programs. I imagine, if we get enough interest we could set some sort of program up for our younger members. I would definitely be willing to help out with that and if anyone else among the membership is willing, please let me know and I will bring it up to the board members.

This expo, or so I heard, will have been the last one held at the Hilton on Route 110. The next one is supposedly going to be held at a location further east - Suffolk County Community College which is just off of exit 53 on the LIE. That one is scheduled for Marc 15, 2015. Of course, the NY Reptile Expos/Shows are still being held in White Plains.

Hope to see you at the show in March.

All the best,
Glenn B

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Turtle Thighs???

Just this past August a man was caught attempting to cross the border, into Canada from Michigan, with 51 turtles strapped to his thighs. Read about it here:

http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2014/09/25/man-tried-smuggle-reptiles-pants-across-detroit-windsor-border/16203929/

It gets more complex because the same guy and an accomplice were reportedly arrested in September too - the charge - more turtle smuggling.

Thanks to Mike G for sending me that info.

All the best,
GB

About To Catch Dinner?

It looks as if the monitor may have dinner, in the form of the bearded dragon, on its mind and I can almost hear it thinking: "Oh boy am I actually gonna catch this tasty morsel?"

 

Luckily, the beardie had an answer already prepared: "NOPE!"

Thanks to Deb H for the submission.

All the best,
GB

Sunday, September 21, 2014

LIHS Call For Care Sheet Submissions

Right now, the Long Island Herpetological Society has only nine (9) herp care sheets linked on its homepage and blog. The reason we have those is because they were written by LHS members who submitted them to the LIHS for publication on our website (and now they get a link on the blog too).

The care sheets that we have linked are:

  • Ball Pythons
  • Bearded Dragons
  • Boa Constrictors
  • Bull, Gopher & Pine Snakes
  • Corn & Rat Snakes
  • Hermann's Tortoises
  • Hognose Snakes
  • Kingsnakes & Milk Snakes
  • Leopard Geckos

  • There have got to be at least a few to several of you, LIHS members, who keep herps other than those in that list. I am going to ask that if you have been keeping them successfully over the long term, and maybe even breeding them, that you write up an original care sheet and submit it to one of the LIHS board members for inclusion (a link to it) on the LIHS webpage and blog. I figure it would be really nice to have care sheets on some popular and even not so popular herps that are currently in the trade. Some suggestions are care sheets about:

    Axolotls
    Ribbed Newts
    African Clawed Frogs
    Dart & Mantella Frogs
    Fire Belly Toads
    Pacman Frogs
    Red Eared Sliders
    Other Sliders and Cooters
    Ornate Box Turtles
    Central American Wood Turtles
    Russian Tortoises
    Red Foot Tortoises
    Star Tortoises
    Crested Geckos
    Tegus
    Monitors
    Anoles
    Chameleons
    Tri-color Milk Snakes
    House Snakes
    Green Tree Pythons

    The list could go on and on and we sure can make good use of the care sheets. One of the main goals of the LIHS is to educate folks about how to care for herps properly and posting care sheets on the website and blog would be a great way to achieve that. Hope to receive at least a few of them from you, the membership.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Okay WHAT Do I Do With It Now???

    When you grab a tiger by the tail you had better hope that you had a plan beforehand and it seems the same could be true when you grab an Anaconda likewise. The guy in the boat apparently gets talked into grabbing a big Anaconda's tail but seems to have no clue what to do once he has it.



    This tale seems to have turned out for the best because they evidently let it go.

    Video submitted by Deb H and another hat tip is sent her way, thanks Deb.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    Tegu Invasion

    I am pretty sure that is you are at all into herps or nature, you probably have heard of several invasive species of reptiles that are on the loose in Florida. The Burmese Python is probably the first that comes to mind with Green Iguanas not far behind. Brown Anoles and other species also are breeding rampantly throughout the state. One species I had not realized that was and remains a problem for Florida's ecology is the Argentine Black & White Tegu.

    Florida seems almost custom made for these ravenous predators and they are multiplying there in good numbers since their release into the wild. In fact, they may soon expand their range far enough to endanger the American Crocodile. Tegus are probably more of a threat to the ecology in FL and in states further north than FL because they are more cold tolerant than many of the other invasive species that are thriving in that state.

    My source for the above info was a nice article submitted by LIHS member Deb H. Read it here:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/05/science/a-lizard-interloper-presents-challenge-in-florida.html?_r=2

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Sea Turtle Rescue

    Nice video of a sea turtle rescue. The turtle in the video to which they keep referring as "the animal" is a Leatherback Sea Turtle.


    Thanks to Deb H for sending in this one.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    LIHS: First Meeting of the 2014/2015 Meeting Year

    Did you miss the first meeting of the LIHS 2014/2015 meeting yesterday? If so, that's too bad because it was a good one. To open, business was discussed as usual. Business included holding the nominations for the LIHS executive board.

    As pretty much has been usual for the past few years, most of the board members are unopposed so far. I say 'so far' because their will be an additional chance to nominate someone at the October meeting before the election in November. One board member, Kirk P is not running and has dropped out of being the 2nd Vice President. Wayne (don't know his last name) has been nominated for that spot. If you want to run, ask someone to nominate you at the next meeting (you'll need a second to the nomination too).

    Other business included mention of the up coming Long Island Reptile Expo at the Hilton Hotel in Farmingdale, NY on October 19th. It is expected that the LIHS will have a table there. Volunteers to help out at the LIHS table during the day might be needed. Check with one of the board members on that if you want to volunteer. I will probably be helping out at the LIHS table for the entire expo.

    After business was discussed we moved onto the presentation for the meeting. That turned out to be a show and tell sort of an exhibit given by some of the members. Rich Hume did a short talk on his breeding efforts with a few morphs of corn snakes and hognose snakes. Mike V also gave a presentation ion Ball Python morphs and showed an exceptionally nice one that looked as if it had ink blots on its sides. You have to see it up close to see how awesome is that snake.

    After that, just about everyone remained for an hour or so and chatted. it was nice to see some folks I have not seen over the summer and I think there were some new faces there too. All in all, I am guessing we had about 20-25 folks in attendance. Hope to see more of you at some of the future meetings. The remainder of this season's meeting dates are:

    October 26
    November 16
    December 7
    January 18
    February 15
    March 15
    April 12
    May 3
    June 7
     
    As usual, the meetings are held in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale. Directions and a link to a campus map can be found at the page at this link:
     
     
    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Sunday, September 7, 2014

    Today's NY Metro Reptile Show

    The reptile expo, today up in White Plains, was pretty much par for the course or in other words was a good one. I only got there at about 1:15PM, instead of the more usual 0830, but that was fine by me. Late starts can be a good thing on some days. Once inside, I bypassed saying hello to some friends and went straight to the Slither & Swim tables where I said hi to Paul (the owner as far as I am  aware) and I grabbed two 40 quart bags of cypress bedding before it sold out as it often does. Paid for that and promised him I would be back for something else later.

    After getting the substrate, I headed over to the table of John H & Rich H who both had herps for sale. John was offering some really exceptional crested geckos and Rich was selling corn snakes and hognose (I think) but at that moment only Tim was there watching the table while they were at lunch. Tim had a nice selection of leopard geckos for sale. Vin R was set-up next to them and as usual he had his ball pythons, boas and I think some hognose snakes for sale. Being in the market for a female crested gecko, I looked over what John was offering. He was out to get some lunch when I got there but Tim pointed out that he mostly had males for sale but also had two females. Somehow I had missed the females when I had just looked - I must be getting old. I looked again, this time at both females and grabbed the larger one of them and put it under the table as sold to me. I'd pay John later.

    I helped out at the table a bit until John and Rich got back from lunch, then I took a walk around the expo center to see what was there. Mostly the same old stuff from what I could see, nothing new or unusual enough to make it very exciting but it was still all good. I took several walks around the center today, trying to make sure not to miss anything as happens all to often when I am stuck helping out at the table more. I had nothing to sell today and no obligations to help out (although I did help out when needed) so I had more time than usual at the show.

    I wound up getting just about everything I needed but not quite all of it. The two bags of substrate, a thousand 1/4" crickets (but forgot to get super-worms), a jar of tortoise pellets (the pellets are what I bought later on at Paul's table) and a nice piece of hollow cork bark for one of my gecko tanks. I got a really good deal on the gecko from John, quite a bit less than the asking price, but I still wound up spending more than I had planned on spending and that was because I bought the gecko. I am not complaining. Sooner or later she will breed with my male and start producing eggs. If I am lucky, selling some of the babies may help defray the costs of my reptile hobby/addiction.

    I have to say that the place was pretty much packed when I got there and remained that way up until at least about 3:30, then it started to thin out markedly. Lots of folks were buying and that was a good thing.  John said he sold a decent number of crested geckos, Rich a couple to a few snakes, Tim a few leopard geckos. It looked as if Vin R was doing okay, which he confirmed later, and most of the dealers around us also seemed to be doing well. One of the busiest vendors at these expos winds up being Slither & Swim, whose table was right across from us, they had a steady flow of customers during most of the time I was there. They don't sell any animals at the expo, only herp food, accessories, tanks and other herp equipment.

    I don't think all of the crowd was there to buy. I am pretty sure that many folks attend just to see the reptiles and amphibians. There is a pretty decent variety of what is available in the herp trade there each time they hold the expo and that brings in those who just want to gawk. Mostly though, the attendees are indeed buyers or at least are shoppers. Whether they buy or not depends on what they are looking for, what is offered for sale, the prices and so on. As I said though, the dealers seemed to be doing well and a lot of folks were carrying purchases.

    I did come across something else that interested me there but did not purchase any. The dealers right behind John's table had ribbed newts. Sub-adult, but sexable, pairs were going for $50.00. Not a bad price and they would have given me a discount making it $40 for a pair. I had to hold off but am pretty certain I will get a pair or maybe even four of five of them from those guys at the next expo. I want to have a tank already set up and seasoned before acquiring any of them.

    I must say I had a good time there, I stayed until closing. Traffic was fair going there and pretty light going home, so that with a good show made for a good day all in all. Hope to see you at the next one. Speaking of the next one, there will be a Long Island Reptile Expo on Sunday October 19th at Huntington Hilton Hotel located at 598 Broad Hollow Rd. (Rt. 110) in Melville, NY  11747. It runs from 9AM until 3PM. You can find more info at this address: http://www.reptileexpo.com/lifirst.htm

    All the best,
    Glenn B








    Egads Is It 1030 AM Already?

    That means that the New York Metro Reptile Expo, up in White Plains, has already opened its doors. It also means, I am late, very late. I usually get there by about 0830 to lend a helping hand to some friends who have a table at this event. Not helping out today though, but will be attending anyway, and am getting there later than usual.

    Anyway, it is a great way to spend part of your Sunday and you still have plenty of time to enjoy it since it runs until about 4PM. Good deals are to be had on herps and herp supplies of all sorts. LIHS members Vin R, John H and Rich H will have tables there. Today I'll probably be picking up some things like: two large bags of cypress substrate, a thousand crickets, maybe some super worms too, and some gecko feeding cups and who knows what else. I'll get at least a couple of those items from Paul at Slither & Swim; he was a long time vendor at, and supporter of, the old LIHS annual show. Of course, me getting anything there will only happen if I actually get there. It's only about a 40-45 minute drive from mid-Nassau County but there is always the chance of traffic and since I want to spend as much time there as I can, no more dallying for me.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    Look There's A Snake In Our Yard

    Being a herper, if you see a snake crawling around in your back yard, your first idea may be to catch it and check it out. It might even seem especially appealing an idea if the snake is an albino. Hopefully you will think again because caution may be the prudent thing to exercise.

    It seems an albino monacled cobra (Naja kaouthia) is on the loose in Thousand Oaks, CA (source). This is not one of those frantic fantasy reports of a loose exotic animal, this report has been accompanied by both photographs of the snake and of an instance of a dog apparently having been bitten by it (the dog is supposedly okay). Authorities are urging folks to stay away from it if they spot it; they are also trying their best to capture it before someone is bitten by it. Chances are though, if someone is bitten by it, it will be because they attempted to handle it or because they have cornered it. These normally are not aggressive cobras and usually flee when threatened but will certainly bite in defense if cornered or handled. Their venom is mainly neurotoxic and deadly.

    My son and wife once spotted a snake crawling along side our garage. My son was about to pick it up but I told him to hold off until I could get a flashlight to illuminate it better to make sure it was safe (it was just after dusk and darkening quickly). Turned out that it was a Yellow Rat Snake, certainly not a native NY species so it must have escaped from somewhere. I knew from where it had escaped, mine had been missing for at least several months. Since it was early spring, I can only deduce that it had overwintered by bromating outside, or in my basement unseen, and had made its way outside on what was the third day of that year with temps in the eighties. Had it been outside before that day, chances are we would never have seen it again.

    You can probably safely bet that the cobra on the loose in CA is also an escapee either from a zoo, or from a personal collection. When dealing with venomous species extra care to their security must be given. They are often kept in locked enclosures which are themselves kept inside of double doored, locked, virtually escape proof snake rooms. Right now the priority in CA is catching the snake. Once it has been captured, my guess would be that the priority will become finding out who is responsible for it getting loose.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Be Careful What You Prepare For Dinner - It May Get The First Bite...

    ...and that bite might just be fatal as it reportedly was in the case of chef Peng Fan late of China. Yes, that 'late of' part means he is now deceased. He had been preparing a culinary delicacy of Spitting Cobra when he picked up the severed head to discard it and the perky little thing chomped down on him, injecting him with a lethal dose of cobra venom. As too many people learn, the hard way, he learned too late that a snake's severed head can still bite, after death, due to reflex action. For more on the story, go to the following link but be advised there are some graphic pics of decapitated snakes: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2732523/Chef-dies-spitting-cobra-cooking-bit-hand-20-minutes-cut-head-off.html#ixzz3BDxjApWc

    A hat tip and my thanks to Deb H for this contribution to the LIHS Blogger.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Pepe The Missionary...

    ...may be a strange name for a tortoise but that was his name since he lived a good deal of his life at a Franciscan monastery in the Galapagos. Deb H sent in a link to an article about it so you can read about him here: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2732515/Famous-giant-tortoise-Pepe-Missionary-one-photographed-animals-Galapagos-dies-aged-60.html

    Since the author of that piece seemingly has a difficult time with basic math, you can also read more about Pepe here, they seemed to have accounted for his age a little better than in the first one:
    http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/lifestyle/2014/08/23/famous-galapagos-giant-tortoise-pepe-missionary-dies/

    For some reason, now I have an urge to lose some weight.

    A hat tip and my thanks to Deb for the link.

    All the best,
    GB


    Monday, August 25, 2014

    LIHS Meeting Dates 2014-2015

    The LIHS monthly meeting dates for the 2014-2015 membership year are as follow:

    September 14
    October 26
    November 16
    December 7
    January 18
    February 15
    March 15
    April 12
    May 3
    June 7
     
    I don't have any information as to meeting topics or speakers but will post it when I get it. The meetings are held at the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale, usually beginning at 1PM and ending by 4 (almost always end somewhat earlier). For directions click on the link: http://www.lihs.org/files/meetingplace.htm. Hope to see you at some of the meetings.
     
    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Monday, August 18, 2014

    Summer Is Almost Gone - Did You Take Any Herp Photos

    I hope everyone of the LIHS membership had a great summer so far and will enjoy what we have left of it. My guess would be that at least some of you got some nice herp photos over the summer. I would be very happy to publish some of them here on LIHS Blogger if you want to share them with the LIHS membership and the blogosphere. Of course, I'll take any herps photos that you took and want to share, they don't necessarily have to have been taken over the summer. For instance my tortoise eyed view of my Hermann's tortoises - taken just a couple of minutes ago.

    Female Hermann's Tortoise (left) with male on the right
    and just a small bit of a Russian between them.


    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Turtle Talk - Maybe Dr. Doolittle Had Something There

    It seems that turtles have been talking to one another, actually communicating with one another. That goes for at least one species of river turtle (species name not given - what an omission by the reporter) in South America. Scientists believe they are communicating with their offspring and actually showing a low level of parental care. An interesting article about this can be found at this link which was supplied by Deb H (hat tip for and my thanks to her): http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28807901#?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter.

    So it seems that Dr. Doolittle may have known something with all his talking to the animals.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Herp News: Now That Was One Big Gator

    It was 15 feet long and weighed in at 1,011.5 pounds. In fact, it has been reported as the largest alligator ever taken in the state of Alabama. I keep using the past tense because it was taken by hunters, during Alabama's alligator hunting season, and now is pretty much a memory (probably lots of photos, maybe several dinners and a few suitcases and who knows - maybe it will be mounted).

    I have fished and hunted (collecting trips) for herps in swamps down south. While I have been mindful that I may encounter an alligator (or even a crocodile in some locations in Florida), and have encountered several - even some large ones, I have never really been concerned about running into a monster sized one like that. While I have always exercised a respectful amount of caution, I guess that the next time I am in the Everglades or maybe the Dismal Swamp, I will be a lot more cautious. Wow, that was a big one and I sure would hate to be the guy in the headlines if one like that grabbed hold of me cause chances would be it would be the last story ever about me.

    See this article for a bit more info: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/08/18/15-foot-1000-pound-alligator-captured-in-alabama/

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014

    Florida - Another Alien Invasion Underway

    Deb H sent in a link to this interesting article about the Argentine Black & White Tegu which is yet another invasive lizard species in Florida.

    See: A Hungry Little Squatter...

    It makes an interesting read and reminds us of how we, as herp keepers, need to be responsible with the animals we keep. I agree with a lot of what they say but have to point out that I highly doubt their assertion that reptile breeders let loose tegus with the hopes they would breed in the wild and then could be caught to sell in the pet trade. Their reasoning that this would be less expensive than breeding them seems pretty far fetched as a lizard in the enclosure is worth about 5 in the bush. You would have to be either or both a reckless gambler thinking you would ever catch as many as you could have bred or a moron to think releasing them would create a steady flow of wild caught animals on which your business could depend.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

     



    Leaping Lizards Batman - What A Telling Tail...

    ...to illustrate why lizards should never bungee jump.
     

    Thanks to Deb H for that one.

    All the best,
    GB

    Monday, August 11, 2014

    Saturday, August 9, 2014

    Do Kids Really Get Salmonella From Putting Turtles...

    ...into their mouths or is it that turtles get salmonella from putting kids into theirs?

     
    Maybe kids should come with a salmonella warning sheet.

    All the best,
    Glenn B



    Thursday, July 31, 2014

    Almost Breaking News - Geckos Declare Independence From Russia...

    ...and hijack control of an orbital Russian research vessel. Well, maybe they didn't really hijack it but there are geckos on the spacecraft and the Russians have lost control of it (so who knows maybe a herpetist revolution is underway). Read about it here:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/07/24/there-is-a-lizard-sex-satellite-floating-in-space-and-russia-no-longer-has-it-under-control/

    Hat tip to Deb Hoppe for that.

    Update: I heard today on the radio news that the Russians have regained control of the spacecraft.

    All the best,
    GB

    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    I Took The Advice...

    ...of Long Island Herpetological Society president Vin Russo and got myself a couple of Russian Tortoises. I had been thinking of getting at least a pair of them for over a year now but as usual I was The Great Procrastinator. Then Vin mentioned them either during a talk or just in passing at an LIHS meeting and happened to say that he thought they might soon wind up on a protected species list and become difficult to obtain. He certainly knows the reptile trade so I guess that was all it took to convince me that the best time to get them was now (relatively speaking).

    The male.
    A couple of months ago, at the Long Island Reptile Expo, I picked up a male. Then just a couple of weeks ago, at the NY Metro Reptile Expo in White Plains, I was lucky enough to find a nice looking female and I bought her too.

    Both of them appear to have been wild caught. I am guessing the male may have been a recent import because he was a little on the light weight side and had recent abrasions to his carapace as from shipping in a crowded shipping box. The female, on the other hand, was said to have been a long term captive. Maybe she was just that and I say so because her shell was in better condition and her weight was quite a bit better than that of the male when I first got him. She was not quite up to what his weight was by the time I bought her but she
    was pretty close, meaning her weight at time of purchase was better than was his when I bought him. So, I figured, she was in good shape and I paid a bit more than I had wanted to for her. Not much more, I figure $85 was a good buy but also felt that the dealer could have come down somewhat more in price. Not complaining though, she is a nice tortoise.

    The female.
    I am hopeful that next spring, she an the male will have been conditioned well enough by my care for them to breed. This is a species that is still imported in high numbers as wild caught adults but has only a small base of breeders willing to give them the attention they need in captive bred breeding programs. It is about time that we, as the herp community, establish a good captive bred population of them to help assure they are not wiped out in their natural habitat! I do not in any way oppose well regulated (not over regulated) wild caught collecting - in fact I support it but I certainly also support captive breeding programs to make sure we prevent over collection of species from the wild. This is a species that needs serious consideration among herpers as to captive bred breeding programs. I plan to give them good care and just that type of consideration.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Beat It...

    ...used to be the name of a popular song by who I think was one of the most detestable singers ever. I guess then that 'beating it' makes it natural for me to detest the actions of a group of Mexican villagers who reportedly beat to death a large snake purported to be 25 feet long. While I may detest it, I can understand it in the face of their likely ignorance about snakes and the potential they cause for danger.
     
    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2674096/Mexican-villagers-beat-giant-25-foot-snake-death-sticks-swallowed-child.html

    Thanks again to Deb Hoppe for sending that in for inclusion in the blog. Deb, I do not know what the LIHS, or at least the LIHS blog, would do without you and I mean that most sincerely. Thanks.

    All the best,
    GB

    Sunday, June 29, 2014

    LIHS Annual Auction

    Well folks, it looks like we are still in business as the LIHS. We raked in about $860.00 at our annual auction earlier this month. Since our treasurer Rich H said that was very good, I am imagining we have enough in the treasury to carry out LIHS functions as usual next year. I consider us lucky since the attendance at the auction seemed less than normal to me and since it appeared as if herps were not getting many bids if any depending on the item offered for bidding. Oh well, what do I know? Of course, the answer to that must be, as usual: "Next to nothing"! The rest of the story in pictures and captions.


    Our supreme leader and his very competent assistants commence the auction.

    
    One of the assistants, now a seemingly an erstwhile one, is noticeably
    missing as this Texas Rat Snake goes up for bidding. Note the sparkle
    in its eye, like it expected to latch onto Rich Meyer's finger but
    the snake was disappointed cause Rich M was not there.
     
    As you can see, the bidding audience was not huge but that lady, (in pink,
    over to your left - second row from front) must have had lots of cash since
    she was bidding like there was no tomorrow and the place was on fire.
    What we lacked in numbers, the bidders made up with enthusiasm.
    
     
    
    I had promised myself to only donate herps so I could get rid of them, instead
    of buying more of them. It is amazing, I cannot even keep promises that I 
    make to myself and I wound up taking these two baby corn snakes home
     along with a ball python someone gave to the LIHS.
    
    I also had the high bid on this wonderful device that
    for some reason I thought would be great in my 40
    foot wide backyard. Anyone have a large yard and
    a medium sized dog that needs this, let me know.
    If you were not there, you missed out on some really great items up for sale and we missed you. Hope to see you all at the auction next year.

    Remember the next LIHS general meeting will be in September 2014. It has not yet been scheduled but you can check on the LIHS website, maybe in late August and hopefully the info will be up by then.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Expert Snake Handler

    Here we have a fine example of an Expert Snake Handler giving his best impersonation of an expert snake handler:



    Thanks to Deb H for sending me this.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Thursday, May 29, 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. 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. Took me awhile but at last, here it is. 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

    LIHS DINNER REMINDER and LIHS AUCTION REMINDER

    The deadline to reserve a spot for the LIHS Annual Dinner is rapidly approaching. Last chance to pay for the dinner is Jun 1st. The dinner will take place on Saturday June 7th, at 7PM, at SUNY Farmingdale, more info here: .

    Directions to the event can be found here:

    http://www.lihs.org/files/meetingplace.htm

    A campus map here: http://www.lihs.org/files/dinnermap.png

    Also, don't forget that the LIHS Annual Auction will be held in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale on June 8th commencing at 1PM. Fpr more info, see this link:

    http://www.lihs.org/files/auction.pdf

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Friday, May 2, 2014

    LIHS May Meeting and Other Upcoming Events

    The Long Island Herpetological Society's Monthly meeting for May 2014, will be this Sunday, May 4th, in the Conference center at SUNY Farmingdale, NY. It is slated to run until 4PM but may end earlier. Open to members and the public, no admission fee. The will be a presentation called Madagascar Live by Erik Callendar !

    Please also remember that the LIHS Annual Auction will take place during our June meeting on Sunday June 8th at 1PM in the Conference Center at SUNY Farmingdale.

    Directions to SUNY Farmingdale can be found on the page at this link:

    http://www.lihs.org/files/meetingplace.htm

    A campus map showing the location of the Conference Center can be seen on the page at this link:

    http://www.lihs.org/files/FSUNY_MAP.jpg

    One other even is also coming up, the LIHS Annual Dinner. It will be held on Saturday evening, June 7th, at 7PM in the Campus Center, Building 08, at SUNY Farmingdale. A campus map showing the location of the Campus center can be found at this link: http://www.lihs.org/files/dinnermap.png. Please bear in mind that the dinner is open only to LIHS members. Payment for the dinner must be made by June 1st.

    All the best,
    Glenn B

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Upcoming LIHS Events

    Hello Long Island Herpetological Society members and all non-members too. Just wanted to remind you about a few upcoming LIHS events:
     
    MAY LIHS MEETING
     
    The LIHS monthly meeting for May will be on Sunday, May 4th, from 1 - 4 PM in the Conference Center, at SUNY Farmingdale. Directions to SUNY Farmingdale here. The topic for the day will; be MADAGASCAR LIVE Live by Erik Callendar. As usual, the meeting may end earlier than 4. Meetings are open to both LIHS members and non-members. There is no admission fee.
     
     
    ANNUAL LIHS DINNER
     
    The annual LIHS dinner will beheld on Saturday evening, June 7th, from 7 - 10 PM. Unlike most LIHS events, THIS IS A MEMBERS ONLY EVENT. It will be held at SUNY Farmingdale but in a new on campus location for us, the Campus Center Building. Directions to SUNY Farmingdale hereThe price of the dinner is $25 for adults and $10 for children. First come, first serve on ticket availability. For more information, please see the page at this link: http://www.lihs.org/files/events.htm.
     

    ANNUAL LIHS AUCTION  (and June Meeting)
     
    C/B 2012, 100 % het for albino, 1.0 ball python
    to go up for bids at the auction. Starting bid $70.00.
     
    2013 Baby Redfoot Tortoise, about 3" long will be
    looking for bids and a new home.
    Captive bred. Starting bid $70.
     
    The LIHS Annual Auction will take place on June 8th from 1 - 4 PM at SUNY Farmingdale in the Conference Center
    Directions to SUNY Farmingdale here. This event is open to both members and non-members. For more info on the LIHS Auction, please visit this link:
     
    http://www.lihs.org/files/auction.pdf
     
    Some items donated by Zoo-Med
    for inclusion in the auction.

    Don't eat to much the night before at the LIHS Dinner or you may oversleep and miss the auction and you sure don't want to miss your chance to be the high bidder on some fine auction items. A preview of some of the auction items can be found here. If you are donating items or animals to the LIHS for the auction, please contact: Info@LIHS.org. Likewise if you have pictures of auction items for posting on the site.
     

    REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN APPRECIATION DAY

    The LIHS will be participating in Reptile And Amphibian Appreciation Day at Cold Spring Harbor Fish Hatchery & Aquarium on Saturday June 14th from 10 AM until 4PM. As usual we are seeking volunteers to display herps at the LIHS tables. While only LIHS members may volunteer to display animals at the LIHS tables, the event itself is open to the public. The hatchery charges a small admission fee that also covers the event. Note that there is no admission fee for LIHS member volunteers.
     
    There will also be a Turtle and Tortoise Pageant the same day and that is open to the public and their turtles and tortoises for participation. Don't forget, if you want to participate in the pageant, you must meet the June 9th registration deadline. I am uncertain as how you go about registering but you can email the hatchery staff for information at this email address: info@cshfha.org or you can call them at this number: (516) 692-6768.
     
    This is a great way to spend the day or part of it. The hatchery has several trout tanks, a couple of ponds, and a few exhibit buildings; see this link for info on exhibits. I think that the CSFH&A has an excellent display of native American fish, reptiles & amphibians that is not to be missed and that if you at all like turtles (or have kids that do) then you should make certain not to miss the baby turtle tank. 
     
    If you are into fishing, they also offer a catch and keep program geared toward the youngsters. They supply fishing equipment and bait at $5 per fisherman. You and your kids can then go fishing but the catch is you must keep what you catch and pay a $4.00 fee per fish; more info here.
     
    Of course, lest you forget, there should also be a fine outdoor display (weather permitting - otherwise indoors) of reptiles and amphibians exhibited by LIHS members.
     
    Directions can be found here.
     
    Hope to see you at all of the above events.
     
    All the best,
    Glenn B

     

    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

     

    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