erpetoculture agazine Issue #16 - February 2021
Strophurus Geckos Insect Reproduction
Get to know Keeping Owen Ameerga Blood Python McIntyre hahneli Basics
-- On the Cover -Unquestionable Carlos OliveiraQuality Colubridsfb.com/endlessserpent - Chondros - & More Herpetoculturemagazine.com
This Issue... Page 4
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Copyright ÂŠ 2021 by Herpetoculture Magazine all rights reserved. This publication or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Sixteenth Edition www.herpetoculturemagazine.com Herpetoculture Magazine
Contributors Justin Smith - Publisher -
Billy Hunt - Publisher -
Phil Wolf - Executive Contributor -
Nipper Read - Executive Contributor -
Kori Martin - Contributor -
Paul Donovan - Contributor -
Meeker Reptiles - Contributor -
Graham Battison - Contributor -
Owen McIntyre - Contributor -
Tijl @urban_Jungles - Contributor -
From The Publishersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Desk Welcome to Issue number 16, the second issue of 2021! With 2020 finally over, hopefully 2021 will let us get back to as close to normal as we can get. I, for one, miss shows and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t wait for them to be back in full swing. The biggest thing I missed the most this year was not being able to go to shows and reconnect with hobbyists in person. Shows have always been my reset button if you will when it comes to the hobby. Also, putting down the phone or computer and actually spending time in the snake room. This past year definitely reminded me multiple times that social media can make you grow tired of the hobby sometimes. Without the opportunities to go to shows and be around people in person that love the hobby, you can get caught in the trap of paying too much attention to things that donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t matter, I know I did. So, I am optimistic that 2021 will get us all back on track. Which is to spend more time with your collection and enjoy Herpetoculture Magazine!
Justin Smith & Billy Hunt -Publishers-
Herpetoculture Magazine 2
BLOODS Blood Pythons with Graham Battison
Photo>> Tontan Travel - tontantravel.com It was in the early 2000s when I first developed a fascination with the blood python. I was breeding ball pythons at the time and would be fixated on VPI's website waiting for daily updates on the latest and greatest "morph" or mutation of regius that cropped up in the hobby that they occasionally uploaded to their diary section. Occasionally, They would post pictures of boas and other species of pythons they were keeping out on their ranch in Bourne, Texas. One day I came across a python that had the short squat look of a ball python, but with a completely different colour palette, a bulldog looking head and a kind of menacing look on its face. It reminded me of a Gaboon viper from West Africa. I was intrigued and wanted to know more. Information on these particular snakes wasn't out there. Sure, there was the occasional forum post, there were one or two websites with some information but not the in-depth, kind of nitty gritty, that an enthusiastic young herpetoculturist craved.
Graham Battison breaks down the truth about these misunderstood pythons! Pro Exotics began working with these snakes and their sister species, the Borneo Short-Tailed Python (Python breitensteini) and the Sumatran Short-Tailed Python (Python Curtus). They had pictures on their website of HUGE blood pythons, T+ albinos and even a video of a baby developing in the egg complete with a visible heartbeat. But, again their husbandry information was not detailed. The one good resource was the curtusforum. Keith McPeek was a moderator and he has always been the number one source of information on this species, always keen to share and help other keepers develop an insight into these animals. To find out how I was going to be able to keep these things, I had to turn to the animals' natural history, life cycle and adaptations to its environment. So let's get into it.
Natural History Blood Pythons are southeast Asian snakes that inhabit the areas of Southern Thailand, Sumatra, peninsular Malaysia and the Riau islands, as well as Bangka. Temperatures are warm year round, though they rarely get above 90 degrees. Humidity is high and elevated during the rainy season. In their pristine habitat they are found in lowland swamp areas, along the banks of rivers, in tree stumps, hollows, subterranean disbanded rodent burrows and more. They can be very cryptic and, in their niche habitat, very hard to spot. Blood pythons have adapted very well with the growing oil palm monoculture in these areas. Oil palm brings palm nuts, palm nuts bring rodents, rodents bring snakes and lots of them. The workers who harvest the oil palm often cut off old palm fronds from the lower sections and toss them into the centre of a row of trees to decay. These make ideal ambush spots for bloods to sit and wait for a passing rat. In fact, Blood Pythons are a prime example of a "sit and wait" predator. It is these oil palm plantations that have been the main source of blood pythons for collectors from both the skin trade, and commercial export. An interesting note Is that blood pythons are VERY SELDOM seen in this pristine habitat making wild "in situ" photographs very hard to come by. The best place to find one is within these oil palm plantations. Another interesting thing about blood pythons is that they rarely defecate. They hold onto their waste for many months at a time. It's an adaptation to ambush predators that sit on a scent trail, spoil this trail with the smell of your waste, then the prey will be wise to you. I've noticed in captivity that Blood Pythons often defecate at the same time they have a damp or wet cage. Now this may be anecdotal, but I believe that this furthers the ambush adaptation theory. In the wild I believe they are waiting for rains to come before they pass waste. Rains mean their waste is washed away leaving no scent for a cautious rodent to pick up on.
Photo>> Tontan Travel - tontantravel.com
CAGING - I find that adult blood pythons are best maintained in a cage that has a footprint of 4ft x 2ft. This is all the space that all but the biggest bloods need. Now you can choose whether to use a rack system with a large 4ft tote or a sliding glass cage but remember to maintain humidity and security for the animals in whichever one you choose. I will note that when I was using sliding glass vivaria for bloods I experienced a more flighty captive that struck the glass more often.
CAPTIVE CARE - Blood pythons are ambush snakes, without question. They don't move a lot, if provided with a cage that meets their requirements of security, correct temperatures and correct humidity. Now I say they don't move a lot, that is the case when they're comfortable with what is provided. If they're not comfortable then they DO move a lot. Please don't mistake this behaviour for "an active snake is a happy snake". In this case, it's not. This is your snake under stress. Stress leads to problems that will make your blood python go downhill fast. As humans, we may find it hard to understand what suits an animal like a blood python and we may think we need to give it three hundred options to keep it happy. Wrong. Blood pythons have very simple requirements. Complicating these requirements will add to the number of variables that cause stress.
These snakes can be sensitive to the sliding of the glass and viewing their large, ape-like keepers through the glass which may not exactly be the highlight of the snakes' day (sorry guys). Remember these are chin-to-the-ground, ambush snakes so when they feel that glass running along as it opens, it can trigger a reaction. Babies and juveniles are easily maintained in rack systems exactly the way adults are until they are full grown. Layers of paper make the perfect hiding spot for a blood python. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t forget, these guys lay out under dry palm leaves in nature so paper layers are an excellent choice. Baby blood pythons can have a hard time finding their water dish to drink from. This is something Keith Mcpeek shared many years ago after working with hundreds of neonates. He found that a simple solution to this issue is to keep hatchlings in a shallow substrate of water only. This is replaced often and presents zero issues with scale rot or other issues that may kill any other species.
Temperatures should be warm, but not too warm. In fact, I keep and breed my blood pythons at an ambient room temperature of 78-82 degrees. I don't provide a thermal gradient at all. This is not an animal that basks in the full sun in nature. Blood pythons will always choose security over temperature and will either cook themselves sick or cool themselves sick depending on where they are most secure in the cage when provided a hot and cool end. By providing this happy medium, the snake is able to complete all of it's cellular and biological processes, breed, eat, drink, use the bathroom etc. Humidity is kept around 60% by simply keeping a large dog bowl of freshwater in the cage at all times. Too much ventilation may dry the cage out and cause shedding issues. But in well hydrated, properly heated animals these issues rarely arise.
FEEDING - I find that blood pythons are great feeders on a variety of food items. Rats, mice, quail, and day-old chicks make great food items that I switch up often. I shy away from large, fatty, retired breeder rodents as they put the wrong kind of weight on an animal. I want a snake that maintains its muscular look throughout its growth and still shows a visible ridge down the spine. Overfeeding these pythons can lead to a fat sausage that lives a third of its life expectancy and never reproduces. Raise them slowly and you'll be rewarded with a pristine healthy animal that lays eggs and lives for a long time. Getting hatchlings to eat can be tricky at times but often hatchlings can be teased to strike by tapping the tail with a fuzzy rat or hopper mouse which elicits a defence strike from the snake. After this defence strike, most of them will get wise and grab and constrict the prey item. Some hatchlings will take time and patience and occasionally need assist feeding. But these are the minority. Once a blood python starts taking food, it rarely quits.
CAPTIVE REPRODUCTION - Breeding blood Pythons isn't a difficult chore, provided you have healthy animals, a good understanding of what the triggers are for reproduction, and are willing to observe your animals and keep records. When it comes to breeding size, I wait until animals are at least 4 years of age for females and I've had males breed as young as 18 months. Animals should have good body weight, no signs of respiratory infections and be fed on a relatively sparing diet prior to introductions. I introduce the males into the females cages as the nights draw in and Halloween approaches. The snakes seem to appreciate the shorter day lengths. Pairing a male to a female when she is deep in shed and sitting still is often a great time to observe copulations without the female kicking up too much of a fuss. Pairs can lock for several days before being separated. That's when I split them and offer food. Once copulations are observed, I feed the female on a more regular cycle, maybe once every ten days. Males get a chick or a small tidbit to keep them ticking over but not sessile and inactive. I keep pairing until I see they no longer lock or the female swells up to ovulate. Once you see a female ovulating there's no mistaking it. It's a huge rock hard swelling two thirds down the body that looks painful to us humans. This is the point of fertilisation. If you kept temps right the whole time then there's visible sperm
to meet (hopefully) viable, mature follicles. Too hot of a male snake means sperm with poor motility (no fertilisation) and, consequently infertile eggs. Too hot of a female snake and she may have ovulated immature ova that aren't at size and you'll get slugs. Heat is bad when breeding pythons. Following ovulation females will go into a long shed cycle and will lay eggs around 40-50 days following. Clutches can be up to 25 eggs in big animals, sometimes more. Oftentimes around 15 is more typical. Eggs are incubated in damp, loose vermiculite at 87 degrees and take 60 days to hatch. Babies are then transferred to small 5qt shoeboxes until they outgrow them. Feeding trials begin after a few weeks and babies can take 3-4 months to have their first sheds.
MORPHS/ CULTIVARS - Blood pythons come in a number of wild colour phases. Reds, brown's, yellows, oranges, even pinks. They are very polymorphic even within the wild type animals. But there are also a number of inheritable traits that are now common in the hobby. Albinos, both tyrosinase positive and negative, a multitude of stripe lines with different looks and patterns of inheritance, a leucistic type that looks like the magpie and ivory, both of which are homozygous forms of beautiful incomplete dominant genes. I myself have proved out a new gene called blackeye as a dominant trait. In a few years I will attempt to produce a "super" homozygous form. I firmly believe there is more potential in blood python morphs than in ball pythons. I think this is helped by the fact that there are so many wild type colour phases to work from when selectively breeding for those looks.
SUMMARY- Blood pythons are fantastic snakes that aren't the mean, flighty, wild caught nightmares that they used to be. Captive breeding efforts and understanding what these animals require has made them affordable and available in a wide variety of colours, patterns and appearances to go with it. They are so easy to handle when done right and become very tame. I really encourage every python enthusiast to try a couple. I guarantee you'll be intrigued, amazed and learn a few things along the way.
Herp Room Must-Haves With Snake Hooks
Kori Martin of
Snake hooks are my number one must have. I have hooks in every room where I keep snakes. I have a pretty significant carpet python collection, and having them all hook trained has made a huge difference in keeping everyone calm and collected when I need to access cages for cleaning, water changes, etc. In addition to making handling easier, my hooks double as great bin pullers for snakes in rack systems. When I open a bin with a hook, I don’t have to worry about a food-motivated snake flying out and wrapping
2 18 inch Hemostats
my arm. Hooks might not be necessary if you are only keeping smaller colubrids or ball pythons, but for keepers of arboreal and semi-arboreal snakes and larger species pythons/boas, they are a must.
Call me crazy, but I’m not a fan of taking feeding bites. I love using long hemostats when feeding, because they offer much better control than tweezer style tongs and keep my hands far away from the prey.
3 Paper Towels
Paper towels are one of the workhorse items in my snake room. I go through several
I don’t live in an area that is prone to a lot of big storms
rolls a week cleaning out snake enclosures
that would knock out power for days, but we do have
and messes in the snake room. I also use
occasional power outages. To protect my incubator from
paper towels as a substrate for my hatchlings
short term temperature fluctuations due to power loss, I
and for animals in quarantine, so I can keep a close eye on them. Empty paper towel rolls are great
use a UPS back-up. In addition to providing a couple of hours of battery power supply, it has an alarm that goes
to toss in with my juvenile carpets and I keep a few along the walls of my
off the second there is a power loss to the room, so that we
snake room to provide an attractive hideout in case of an escape. After the
can quickly investigate the cause of the outage. It’s proven
supply issues from this past spring, I keep cases of paper towels on hand to
itself useful several times already in the year or so that I’ve
ensure a steady supply.
been using it.
SensorPush Sensors & Gateway
My sensor push system allows for incredibly easy monitoring of temperature and humidity conditions throughout my collection in one handy spot on my phone. The sensors are small, you can easily monitor overall room conditions or individual enclosures, depending on your needs. I also like that you can set alarms for each sensor so that you are immediately notified if conditions deviate from your ideal range. The gateway gives you access to this data when you are out of bluetooth range. When I am
out of town for a show weekend, it gives me so much peace-of-mind to be able to remotely monitor my animals from afar thanks to this system.
Husbandry and Care of the Strophurus Geckos by Meeker Reptiles Herpetoculture Magazine
The Genus Strophurus spinigerus Photo >> Alexandre Roux Members of the genus Strophurus are endemic to Australia and found throughout the continent with exception of mesic areas along the eastern coast and Tasmania. With 20 recognized species, this is the third most speciose gecko genus after Diplodactylus and Gehyra. These species share the presence of caudal glands that secrete a sticky, odorous substance down the dorsal region of the tail and most species exhibit brightly colored oral cavities ranging from dark blue to vivid yellow. As part of their threat display, this genus may open mouth gape and elevate their tail high above their body, similar to a scorpion. If they are unsuccessful in deterring their adversary, they may then aim and forcefully expel this viscous substance at their perceived antagonist. Despite sharing these commonalities, Strophurus is characteristically separated into two subgroups – the spiny-tailed geckos and the jeweled/striped geckos. This separation is based upon their distinct habitat niches of occupying shrubs and trees or spinifex grasses respectively. The spiny-tailed geckos (S. assimilis, S. ciliaris, S. intermedius, S. krisalys, S. rankini, S. spinigerus, S. strophurus, S. wellingtonae and S. williamsi), are arboreal or semi-arboreal in nature and derive their name from the presence of tubercles or elaborate spines, extending down the tail and around the eyes. S. taenicauda is the one exception to this rule. S. taenicauda lacks both spines and tubercles, but is often categorized within this subgroup. The spiny-tails commonly inhabit arid to semi-arid woodlands and Acacia shrublands, and they are known for basking in full sunlight among small branches. Ranging in size from
2.5 to 3.5 inches (60-89mm) snout-vent length (SVL), this group includes the largest gecko of the genus, S. ciliaris. The spiny-tailed geckos tend to be greyish and silver in coloration. Dorsal pattern is variable and may include dark speckling, like granite, such as seen in S. williamsi, or the bolder spotting as exhibited by S. taenicauda. Some species exhibit dark, contrasting dorsal lines that may extend in a zigzag fashion longitudinally down the back of the gecko. S. ciliaris is often considered the most vividly colored species of this group and can undergo changes of cream to a chocolate brown based on time of day, temperature, lighting or temperament and may exhibit a highly contrasting colored tail with splotches of bright yellow to orange. The second subgroup consists of the striped or phasmid geckos (S. horneri, S. jeanae, S. mcmillani, S. michaelseni, S. robinsoni, S. taeniatus, and S. wilsoni) and the jeweled gecko (S. elderi). These geckos are specialist species of Triodia or ‘spinifex’ grasslands and have a maximum size of 2.5 inches (40-66mm) SVL. This group lacks spines, tubercles, and pre-cloacal pores and parades a series of yellow or cream stripes on a grey or brown background that run longitudinally down the gecko, to include the tail. S. elderi is the exception to these stripes and is dark brown to charcoal grey with a scattering of white spots. Two new species were recently described by Eric Vanderduys, S. congoo (2016) and S. trux (2017). S. congoo was described as “resembling the phasmid geckos in appearance, habitat and behavior, but was not closely related to the phasmid geckos,” and S. trux was described as being similar in appearance to S. congoo, but noticeably different in possessing a vividly colored yellow to golden eye. How these two new species will be grouped appears to still be open for debate.
Captivity and Housing Strophurus ciliaris Photo >> Alexandre Roux About seven of the spiny-tailed geckos are well represented in United States captive collections and we are currently working with two species, S. ciliaris and S.t. taenicauda. Being a smaller gecko, this genus can be kept in relatively simplistic enclosures to recreate their arid habitat. Individuals, pairs, or trios may be housed in a 12 x 12 x 18in (30 x 30 x 45cm) enclosure or larger. Height is much more important than floor space, and a combination of vertical and diagonal branches should be provided for this arboreal to semi-arboreal group. These geckos have the ability to climb smooth surfaces and may rest where the enclosure walls intersect and some keepers provide textured backgrounds as additional climbing surfaces. Although they are perfectly comfortable out in the open and in plain view, these gecko species are known to occasionally hide under exfoliated bark, therefore bark slabs or another refuge may be appropriate. Some of our enclosures include dried grasses and our S. t. taenicauda can be found hiding among or behind these bunches on occasion. A layer of sand measuring ½ -1 inch (13-26mm) is used as a substrate.
Temperatures, Lighting & Diet A photoperiod is provided throughout the year with 14-hours of daylight during the summer months, which is decreased to 6-hours during the winter. A high temperature of 90°F (32°C) may be provided at the top of their enclosure with a temperature gradient down to the upper 70°s to low 80°s (2527°C) at the bottom for self-regulation during the summer period. At night, no additional heat is provided and the night ambient temperatures may drop into the mid to upper 70°s (25°C). A UVB gradient is provided for our geckos with a 3.0 ultraviolet index reading at the highest part of the cage. The numerous branches and grasses provide shade options for selfregulation. Humidity and water is provided by lightly spraying the cage sides and branches at night twice weekly. Little to no evidence of water droplets should be present in the morning. Spiny-tailed geckos are most active in the evening after the lights are turned off, which provides an ideal opportunity to observe their health and feed. They can be rather bold, scurrying down their branches as the cage door is opened in an effort to meet their prey as it is tossed into their enclosure. Their natural diet consists of arthropods in the wild and they actively forage at night among the branches and may occasionally traverse the ground while moving from shrub to shrub. They will readily accept most commercially available insects from crickets to cockroaches. Worms such as black soldier fly larvae or hornworms may be offered on occasion as part of a varied diet. Adults are fed gut-loaded prey three times a week, and a calcium and vitamin supplement is provided in accordance with the manufacturer’s direction.
sexing & Breeding Juveniles of this subgroup may generally be sexed around 6-12 months in age with the development of hemipenal bulges in males. Sexual maturity for most is around 12-18 months, but some may take upwards of 24 months. This genus has been known to breed year round under captive conditions, but in general follows a seasonal breeding pattern. We’ve had the most success with seasonal separation of males and females, but many are successful with keeping pairs together year round. Males are removed from the female’s enclosure in late fall as ambient temperatures and photoperiod decreases. Our room temperatures are variable based on outdoor temperature fluctuations, and daytime temperatures range from the mid-70°s (24°C) to the mid-80°s (29°C). At night, no additional heat is provided and the night ambient temperature may drop as low as the mid to upper 60°s (18°C). UVB is continued during this cool down with an approximate 2.5 ultraviolet index reading due to natural bulb decay. Misting is reduced to one time per week and an occasional small, prey item may be offered to help maintain bodyweight. Prey is only offered when the temperatures are on the high end of the range to ensure proper digestion. After an 8-10 week cooling period, breeding activity will commence following an increase in food, temperature and photoperiod.
S. ciliaris and S. t. taenicauda reproduce on a consistent basis with a clutch interval of approximately 21 days. A moist nesting area (sand, sand/peat mix) such as an overturned terra cotta saucer or nest box with a hole cut in the top should be provided at ground level for the female. The nesting substrate should be about two inches (5cm) deep, and the female will typically deposit her eggs at the very bottom. Clear nesting boxes are ideal as they make for ease when locating the exact position of the eggs post-deposition. Gravid females undergo a pre-lay shed one to seven days before laying and are easily recognized by their distended abdomens. Females will enter the nesting area once the lights are out and will reemerge by morning. It is usually evident that eggs have been laid due to the displaced nesting substrate. Normally two eggs are laid at a time, but on occasion only one egg may be laid. Eggs are gently removed from the nesting area and may be incubated using a 1:1 ratio of perlite to water at a temperature of 80-84°F (27-29°C) , hatching around 60 days. Hatchlings are quite small and can be reared individually in 32oz deli cups with a modified screen lid. They are kept in the same fashion as adults and will accept small crickets, D. hydei fruit flies, and bean beetles. Babies are initially fed daily and then moved to every other day as they mature.
This genus can be quite prolific, with records of S. ciliaris laying upwards of 10 clutches per year. Therefore, it is recommended that the amount of food is reduced after about three clutches to slow the reproductive process, for the health and safety of the female. Despite this food reduction, females may still reactively lay 1-2 more clutches before winter. The spiny-tailed geckos are a delightful genus to keep with their bold coloration and diurnal basking. They are hardy and small enough that several small groups can be kept in a relatively small space such as an apartment or bedroom. Communal keeping of a trio has proven trouble-free with no noticeable aggression or negative effects to the animals over the summer months. Their lifespan ranges from 6-10+ years in captivity and they will certainly continue to grow in popularity as more people have success with their husbandry and discover their captivating personalities.
The Papuan Carpets
By Billy Hunt
Papuan carpet pythons, or Irian Jaya carpet pythons, are a subspecies in the carpet python complex under the nomenclature, Morelia spilota harrisoni. They are the smallest of the carpet pythons and a personal favorite of mine. Papuan carpets are found on the island of Papua New Guinea. Not a lot is known about their natural history compared to other carpet pythons due to how difficult it is to get to their native range. Papuan carpets are also the only carpet python that is native somewhere outside of Australia. This also means that Papuan carpet pythons are able to be imported legally for the hobby. This is a big deal because the potential for genetic diversity is there and the possibility of starting new lines with fresh blood is still an attainable option with these animals. Papuan carpets get to about 5-6 ft in length but there have been reports of larger specimens. They are less arboreal than other carpets but one thing that seems to be attached to this subspecies is their affinity to soak in their water bowl. This behavior has been noted by tons of keepers. Temps were appropriate and no mites were found. So, if you see a Papuan carpet soaking and everything else checks out, it's just one of the quirks of this subspecies. My personal reason for loving this subspecies is their appearance. They are an earth toned animal but there is still an unbelievable amount of potential with these guys. Brown, black, tan, cream, lavender, orange, and all shades in between. Banded, striped, or aberrant patterned. The amount of different looks these animals can have through selective breeding is mind blowing. Not to mention the fact that we are still able to get our hands on wild caught and farm bred animals gives us the tools we need to create phenomenal animals. Look what we were able to do with jungles and jungles didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have half of the tools we have with Papuan carpets. A few select breeders are working towards that very goal. The future is very bright for Papuan carpets.
Photo >> Matthijs Kuijpers
in the Mist
With Tijl of @urban_jungles
First, a quick introduction! My name is Tijl and I am a frog enthusiast from Belgium. I have been keeping and breeding different species of dart frogs since 2010. Back in 2014 I decided to purchase 4 Ameerega hahneli ‘Tahuayo’ from Ruud Schouten, the owner of the company ‘Dutch Rana’. Who, in his turn, imported them from Understory Enterprises, Canada. At the time of purchase these captive bred frogs were still young and too small to sex. Over time, the group turned out to be 3 males and 1 female. I bred with this group from 2015 to late 2020. Currently the group has been moved to a friends’ collection where breeding efforts will continue. Since these frogs are becoming difficult to acquire in the hobby in recent years and breeders are having little to no success with them, I decided to write a report on how I’ve been able to breed this species and successfully raise them from tadpoles to adult frogs.
The Frogs A. Hahneli are tiny poison dart frogs native to South America, the specific local morph described in this topic can be found in Tahuayo, Peru. Males measure 17–19 mm and females 19–22 mm SVL. Their back and limbs are finely granular and goldish-brown in colour, with or without black spots. The flanks are black and bordered above by narrow, white or cream coloured dorsolateral lines that extend from the tip of the snout to the groin. There is also a white or cream coloured labial stripe that does not extend onto the arm. The ventral is blue with black reticulations. There are yellow-orange-red oval spots on the ventral surfaces of the arms, inner surfaces of the shanks, and in the groin. The iris is dark brown. A. Hahneli reach maturity and are ready to breed around the age of 1 year old after morphing out. Males produce a territorial call which consists of a long series of short "peep" notes, whereas the courtship call is similar but consists of only three notes. Females lay 6–33 pigmented eggs on the leaf-litter or in empty film canisters that I like to use in their enclosure. Eggs hatch after 4–16 days and tadpoles are carried on the back of their father to a creek and deposited. After this, the parental care stops. The tadpoles are brown, with a depressed body, and long tail. They metamorphose after two months depending on the water temperature.
Herpetoculture Magazine 16
Specializing in Morelia & Old World Ratsnakes.
uwabamireptiles.com @uwabamireptiles Herpetoculturemagazine.com
hahneli housing + Care I housed this group in a 50x50x50cm custom built vivarium with a floating bottom. I like to use setups like this to make sure the substrate is always drained properly after misting. This way the excess water flows through some pond foam into a small gutter in front of the tank. I drain this gutter from time to time with a basic aquarium siphon making sure there is never more than 0.5-1 cm of water in that area. The misting schedule is 3 times a day for 12 seconds in this setup, the relative humidity stays around 65-90%. I always use RO water mixed with 15% tap water. During the 3-month dry season, which I recreate from December to February, misting is only done once by hand for around 10 seconds in the morning. During that time I don’t drain the enclosure so the frogs can always have access to a little water. The lighting consists of 2 T5HO lamps that are put outside of the enclosure and they are also used to heat the tank. This keeps the temperature regularly around 19°c-25°c, night-day. UV is not required. The enclosure is decorated mostly with driftwood, a few small bromeliads and some broad leafed plants. I used Epiprenum ‘Aureum’ and ‘pinnatum’ mostly. The floor area is covered with branches, bark, seedpods and nutshells on top of a thick layer of leaf litter. For leaf litter, I always like to use a mix of oak and magnolia. All this is on top of some pond foam covered with aquarium gravel. The staple insect will always be fruit flies for dart frogs since they are very easy to breed and supplement. That is why the A. hahneli are mostly fed Drosophila melanogaster due to their size. They are able to consume them from when they reach 3-4 months old. Adults will also take Drosophila hydei, but I noticed they would often skip these if they could. My guess is they are slightly too large for them.
I choose to supplement the flies with Repashy Calcium Plus. This is probably the best complete supplement available for dart frogs. The product is also designed to be used every feeding. This makes sure the frogs get all their necessary vitamins and minerals every time they are being fed. You also won’t experience problems with overdosing the vitamins this way.
Aside from Calcium Plus, I also use Repashy Vitamin A Plus once or twice a month. This depends on the health of the clutches they produce. Aside from their main staple, I always try to give the largest If the clutches are good, I only dust the flies once a month with this variety of insects possible from the day they hit land. supplement. If they get to be less viable then it is twice monthly. Their diet will always include : isopods, springtails, aphids, Another supplement that could be used to enhance their diet would greenbugs and meadow plankton during the spring and be Repashy SuperPig, but I did not find a lot of benefit in using this summer. product for the A. hahneli since the Calcium Plus already contains a good amount of the carotenoids found in SuperPig . Their flash marks only seem to be getting more red when using carotenoids containing high amounts of red pigment.
The Social Side + Breeding In my experience, the frogs seem to be most active in the early morning and late afternoon/evening and tend to be more shy or less active during the rest of the day. At dusk and dawn you can hear the males calling/singing almost nonstop. After dark, you can find them spending the night on a broad leafed plant in the upper parts of their enclosures and sometimes the males are nearby or on top of a clutch of eggs they are trying to protect during that time. These frogs do well in groups unlike most common dart frogs in captivity. I have never seen any signs of aggression among the males or females in this breeding group or the other (larger) groups of A. hahneli I have worked with. Getting these frogs to breed is very easy. When the temperature, humidity and the frogs’ health are on point, the adult frogs will start to breed non-stop during a simulated ‘wet’ season from MarchNovember and lay up to 2-3 clutches a month.
"Getting these frogs
to breed is very easy. When the temperature, humidity and the frogs’ health are on point, the adult frogs will start to breed non-stop during a simulated ‘wet’ season
When it comes to raising tadpoles in captivity, I recommend pulling these eggs a few days before they are completely developed so you can raise the tadpoles by hand. Over time I learned if I left the males to do their normal rearing routine, they would never drop off the tadpoles and they always carried them on their backs until the tadpoles died. I tried to add water dishes, raise the water level in the gutter, check the bromeliads. But I had never had any success in letting the males deposit their tadpoles on their own. This was quite an interesting find. I also noticed when I tried to raise the tadpoles in still water* the tadpoles would die within the first 2-3 days. This is probably the main reason why the males never found a suitable deposition site. There was no moving water! So I figured out that I needed to recreate a small pond with a slow current or stream and had to start collecting the eggs to raise them myself. After collecting them, I kept them in a petri dish filled with a few drops of water until the tadpoles hatched. After that, it was simple to transfer them to water by using a spoon or a pipette.
*Most common Dendrobatidae in captivity like tinctorius, Ranitomeya, Phyllobates, Epipedobates are easily raised in still water. Usually, I raise a single tadpole in a plastic cup filled with tap water that first sits for a day, add an oak leaf and that’s it. From there the tadpoles only need to be fed, I never even do water changes. Only adding some water if required. 19
For the A. hahneli tadpoles I set up a basic aquarium, added an aquarium filter/pump to create the stream and did a weekly 50% water change to keep the oxygen level up. I used a big rock as land access for the newly morphed and added some tiny gravel and oak leaves to shelter the tadpoles. An aquarium heater was not used since the room temperature is already 19Â°c (66F). You want the tadpoles to grow at a normal rate so raising tadpoles in water with a higher temperature can have them grow faster, but it often leads to complications since they might grow too quickly. Feeding them was also a bit of a search at first. I tried to give them a variety in commercial aquarium fish food and found the tadpoles only consumed the algae tablets I gave. I used algae wafers from the brand Hkari since I have had great results with their Koi Staples for raising other speciesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; tadpoles. After 2 months of growth and seeing the tadpoles developed their front legs, the first ones hit land. 99.99% of the time they kept their tail when leaving the water, so it is important to keep an eye out when their front legs break through! Now that the froglets started to enter land, they get transferred to a plastic container with a simple minimal setup ventilated to raise them during the first month of their lives. This makes it easier to keep count and monitor their development and health. I believe they also benefit from a higher relative humidity at this stage of life at +-80-95%. A month after they are introduced to their grow-out container, the tail has been completely absorbed and their colour and markings start to show. At this point they are also able to eat all sizes of springtails, aphids, greenbugs and a few Drosophila melanogaster.
At the age of 3 months, they are ready to move to a larger container similar to their parentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; enclosure where they can grow up to adulthood. When they reach their 6th month out of water, the frogs become more shy during the day, just like their parents. I feel that the frogs can be treated and taken care of as you would take care of any other adult A. hahneli. The first males always started calling/singing at the age of 7 months old. After this it is just a matter of waiting for the females to respond. They are able to produce their first viable clutches around one year after they set their first steps on land and continue the circle of life. You can find me sharing daily dart frog and vivarium content on Instagram at @urban_jungles. Feel free to check out the page and come say hi!
Product Review By Justin Smith
The BLACKBOX XT-4
The first time I got to see the racks and cages from BlackBox Cages first hand was at the 2020 NRBE Daytona show. I was blown away by how smooth the action was with the tubs in the racks while still having virtually no gap between the shelves and tub. Fast forward several months and the good folks at BlackBox offered up one of their models for me to review here. The timing was perfect because I had a Tanimbar scrub python from one of our executive contributors, Phil Wolf, that was in need of an upgrade. After looking at the options, I decided that an XT-4 would work for this male scrub perfectly. I don't know about you, but I always have a tendency to underestimate the size of a set up. When I picked up my XT-4 (from Casey Cannon who was kind enough to grab it from BlackBox for me) it was definitely bigger than I expected! Not in a bad way by any means since I knew my scrub would appreciate the space. This model is made from ½” thick PVC and measures 4’ by 2’ by 2’ with a ton of add-on options. I had mine come with a dimmable LED light and an 80 watt Vivarium Electronics heat panel. Other options include door locks, cut outs for you various bulbs, a thermostat, and hides made from the same thick PVC their other products are made from. When it comes to these add-ons, BlackBox definitely doesn’t skimp! The LED light goes nearly the length of the cage and the heat panel is sized to make sure the entire set up gets the heat necessary instead of using a smaller panel that might struggle to keep steady heat. The only thing I would have added if given the option was a knob on the doors. They open fine without one but as a personal preference even a small one would be a nice addition and one I could easily add myself. These really are impressive, solid cages. My time with this XT-4 has the gears already turning for what else needs upgrades in the coming months. After playing with the racks at Daytona I also foresee myself getting some of those as well! For more information or to see the BlackBox catalog go to blackboxcages.com!
y r t s u d t n h I otlig p S Owen McIntyre
Of Rogue Reptiles & MPR
Owen McIntyre of Rogue Reptiles and Morelia Python Radio is our industry spotlight this issue as he tells us how he came to be a host of one of the most influential herp podcasts of all time and more! HM: How did you get into the hobby? OI: Before college, I was actually afraid of snakes. My freshman year, I decided it was time to get over that (plus, they’re way cooler to keep than just cats and dogs). I got my first Cali king in 2004 and I was hooked. I got my first carpet a few months later and Rogue Reptiles was born.
HM: You are well known for being the co-host of Morelia Python Radio. How did you and Eric connect to start MPR?
OI: Eric had put out a thread looking for a co-host and I saw the post. I had only known Eric by reputation and the fact that he had like 18 snakes I was interested in. I messaged him about it, we spoke online for a bit, and then over the phone for an hour. After that, we recorded the second ever MPR episode and now we’re on our tenth season.
and got to see all his colors on full display. I’m sitting here now being watched by my three adult rhino rats. I think having some variety in a collection is a great thing.
HM: We all have people we look up to in the hobby. Who
was someone that you looked up to or taught you a lot about keeping?
OI: There are too many to name in such a small space. I am only here because of all the great help and advice I’ve received over the years. Awesome keepers like Eric Burke, Jason Baylin, Eric Koller, Mike Curtin, Nick Mutton, Will Leary, Rob Stone, Keith Mcpeek, Justin Julander, and Buddy Busemi are only a few. All guys who didn’t have to give me the time of day but who willingly shared information and talked me through keeping and breeding.
HM: You used to work in the zoo sector. What are some
valuable things you learned there? And what do you still implement in your collection today?
OI: The most valuable thing I learned was good quarantine practices. I firmly believe that it is one of the most important things a keeper can implement. Too many people seem to think it’s something they can skip, but skipping it can seriously endanger your whole collection. I’ve heard of entire collections getting sick and many of the animals dying. That could’ve been avoided if the new animal had been quarantined properly. Next, I would say that enrichment for reptiles is something else that has stuck with me. Just because a snake doesn’t play with a ball doesn’t mean you can’t provide them some form of entertainment in their enclosure. It could be another snake’s shed or something different to eat or something new to hide in. Anything to make the day different for them.
HM: We all know you are a Morelia guy at heart, but you do have a quite diverse collection. What is your favorite nonMorelia species to work with?
OI: It varies from day to day to be completely honest. Just today, I was handling my Cribo female and was totally obsessed with how she was moving through my hand. Yesterday I caught my gold phase white lip basking in the sun
HM: Besides Morelia, what else do you work with? OI: Lots! My python collection includes Olives, Macklotts, Waters, Dunn's pythons, gold and black White Lips, Ringeds, Timors, and Womas. My colubrid collection includes Vietnamese Blue Beauty’s, Cribo, Madagascar Hognose, Rhino rats, Chinese King rats, Cali kings, and Pines. I’ve also got Rainbow boas and Dominican Red Mountain Boas…. and I know I’m missing other species.
"The most valuable thing I learned was good quarantine practices. I firmly believe that it is one of the most important things a keeper can implement."
HM: Since you have made the trip to Australia, did you
experience anything that changed your way or outlook on keeping any of your species?
OI: I would say it definitely has. Before that trip, my assumption was that reptiles would love constant temps in the high 80s to low 90s. But to be honest, when the air temperature got above 82 degrees, the snakes disappeared. We had the best success finding them at night when the air temp was in the 70s. Since then, I have been letting my cage temps spike during the day and drop at night year round. During the summer, the drop is not as dramatic. The whole snake room and the cages themselves might only get as low as 80 degrees at night. I feel this gets the animals moving and exploring their habitat more. It also allows them to feel a significant difference in the winter night drops to get ready for breeding season.
HM: With MPR being on as long as it has, what is the most valuable thing you have learned from the show?
OI: That there are a thousand ways to keep and breed snakes successfully. You just have to figure out what works best for you and the animals you want to work with. And you should always be open to new ideas and how you can make new and/or different techniques work for you.
HM: Out of all the species you keep or have kept, which one has been the biggest challenge and why was it a challenge?
OI: I would say my white lips are my biggest love-hate relationship. I have loved them for years, but I always have issues getting them to breed and I have had some truly heartbreaking moments. They have taught me that you just have to keep moving forward and keep improving how you work with them. One day, when I finally start to get clutches, it will make those eggs all the more special.
"There are a thousand ways to keep and breed snakes successfully. You just have to figure out what works best for you and the animals you want to work with."
HM: Last question, what advice do you have for anyone that is just getting started in the hobby/breeding scene?
OI: READ!!! There are tons of books out there, so find the species you are interested in and read every book and article you can find. Then listen to every podcast episode involving breeders of that species. Then buy the animal from the top breeder in the country if you can manage it. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it backwards! You should always be as well informed as possible BEFORE bringing any animal into your house.
Part 3 of 3 by Paul Donovan
ike so many people who start out keeping reptiles, I also migrated towards keeping invertebrates as well. The two seem to go hand in hand. I think the more simple animals are, the more interesting they are. And this, for me, is certainly true with insects. Just as astronomy throws up incomprehensible numbers in terms of how many stars there are (I read somewhere there are more stars in the universe than there are grains of sand on the earth [who counted them?]), so do insects. No one knows how many species of insects there are, but somewhere approaching one million have been described so far. However, this may just be the tip of a very large iceberg because some authorities speculate the total number could reach 30, if not 50, million species! If that were not staggering enough, some scientists estimate that, at any one time, there could be 10 quintillion (10,000,000,000,000,000,000) insects alive, meaning they are by far the largest biomass of any terrestrial animal type. That is just a mind boggling number, but I will give you an even more staggering one in a minute. There are many reasons why there are so many insect numbers, but by and large reproduction is at the root of it. I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t think of any insect which has just a single offspring at a time. Most have multitudes of young, and some churn them out like they are doing piece work at a factory. Termites are a great example. The queen is nothing more than a baby making machine. Some have been reported to lay an egg every two seconds throughout their life. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 43,200 eggs each and every day, amounting to 15,768,000 per year. Is it any wonder termite colonies are so huge?
Most insects reproduce sexually, that is they require sperm from a male to fertilise the egg of a female. This is usually achieved by some form of internal transfer with the aid of specialised copulatory organs usually at the rear of the insect’s body. Some insects, such as stick insects can reproduce asexually. Asexual reproduction is the ability of a female to produce eggs/young without the need for a male. This form of reproduction is commonly known as parthenogenesis. I will talk more about this later in this piece. By and large most insects are oviparous, that is when the eggs are laid outside the female’s body. The egg is surrounded by a tough protective shell called a chorion from which the fully formed young must break free. There are a number of ways in which this can be achieved. The egg may have a weak point, the embryo can secrete an enzyme which softens the chorion or, in some species, the young have a specialised egg tooth to tear it. In almost all cases, hatching from the chorion is aided by the embryo taking in liquid or air and swelling, so increasing pressure on the chorion causes it to split. Insect eggs can vary in size, shape and number depending on the insect species. Some insects will lay them in small clusters on the underside of a leaf, while others sprinkle them over the ground.
With such a diversity of insect species, it should not come as a surprise to learn that the mode of reproduction exhibited, follows innumerable courses which have evolved to strengthen the challenges insects face in the environments they live in, and ensure their survival. Before we look at the different types of reproduction, let’s briefly look at the two general phases insects are categorised in; ‘in-complete metamorphosis’ and ‘complete metamorphosis’.
In-complete metamorphosis’ (Hemimetabolous) is considered a primitive mode of reproduction, while ‘complete metamorphosis’ (Holometabolous) is a more advanced form. Whether incomplete or complete metamorphosis, they do both share two characteristics in common, and that is once the adult stage has been reached, with very few exceptions (bristletails and fish-moths) no further growth through moulting of the skin takes place and only the adult form can reproduce.
Incomplete metamorphosis In-complete metamorphosis involves three stages of development. This reproductive cycle is typical of grasshoppers, locusts, mantids, cockroaches, etc. in which there is an egg stage, nymph stage and an adult form. When they hatch, the nymphs resemble miniature adults; they have mouthparts, compound eyes and, in many cases, feed on the same type of food source as the adults, but are wingless. With each successive moult, called an instar, the nymph grows in size and increasingly becomes more adult-like. The major transformation occurs during the final moult with the development of wings and sexual organs. Though pretty uniform through the various insect species, there are a few exceptions to this rule; dragonflies and damselflies for example have an aquatic nymphal stage that differs appreciably from the adult form.
Complete metamorphosis Unlike incomplete metamorphosis, complete metamorphosis involves a four-stage reproductive cycle, and is typical of insects such butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, etc. The female will lay her eggs in a variety of locations (usually on a host food plant), which then hatch into larvae; in flies these are commonly called ‘maggots’, and in moths and butterflies ‘caterpillars’. The larvae are little more than cylindrical feeding machines with chewing or sucking mouthparts at one end and an anus at the other. They may have small eyes, or no eyes at all, several pairs of appendages for movement, and are often brightly coloured or covered in hairs to ward off potential predators. To achieve growth, the larva undergoes several moults. When it reaches the final moult (usually following 4 to 8 moults depending on the species), the larva ‘turns’ into a pupa commonly called a ‘chrysalis’.
Most insects reproduce sexually with internally sperm transfer
Some insects lay clusters of eggs on leaves, while other sprinkle them over the ground.
Beneath the tough outer skin, a great transformation is taking place. Tissue is being reabsorbed and reassigned to ‘new’ purposes; wings are beginning to develop, as are complex compound eyes, strong legs, reproductive organs and the digestive system. The pupal stage may exist for several days, as is the case with flies, or months in the case of butterflies and moths; the pupal stage of many moths and butterflies may actually over winter and hatch the following summer when food is in abundance. Only when conditions are right, does the final stage of pupation into an adult take place. More often than not, the larvae of holometabolous insects feed on a completely different food source than the adults, and may only have a short time frame where a particular plant source is available, as is the case with the Mopane worm. Amongst the holometabolous insects, occurs one very interesting group of insects called bagworms. What separates these mothlike insects, from other insects, is that the newly hatched larvae construct a nest in which the female spends her entire life in the larval form, while the male pupates into a moth-like insect that lacks mouthparts and is unable to feed. His sole purpose is to locate a female and mate her. Once mated, the female lays her eggs and dies. Now that we understand there are two development phases insects are categorised under, lets now turn our attention to the type of reproduction insects undertake to propagate.
Oviparity – By and large, the greater majority of insects
reproduce via the laying of eggs. The number of eggs a female will lay can vary from a handful to several hundred. Once the egg has been laid, embryonic development occurs within the shell via nourishment derived from a yolk.
Viviparity – This is essentially what we know as live birth.
The fertilised egg develops inside the female where the embryo derives nourishment directly from a placenta, or placentalike structure. The young are born fully formed and fully independent. Of course, if it were any other group of animal, we could leave things at that, but insects being insects, things are never quite that simple, as four types of viviparity have been observed.
(i) Ovoviviparity – This is a mode of reproduction,
in which the fertilised eggs are retained within the mothers reproductive tract in an ootheca up until the point where they are ready to hatch. Typical species which exhibit Ovoviviparity include a number of beetles, flesh flies, and some cockroaches. An ootheca with well-developed embryos inside will protrude from the rear of the cockroach’s abdomen.
(ii) Pseudo-Placental viviparity – The female retains an egg in the ovariole which has very little, or no yolk, up until the point of hatching. The embryos derive their nutrients from a placenta-like tissue. Aphids are typical of this form of reproduction.
(iii) Haemocoelous viviparity – A specialised form of viviparity in which the embryos feed on the females haemolymph (the equivalent of blood in most invertebrates) where the nutrients are taken up through osmosis. Some gall midges reproduce this way.
Most insects are oviparous
(iv) Adenotrophic viviparity – The larvae are
poorly developed when they hatch inside the uterus, and feed on a secretion (milk) the uterus exudes. The larva is born fully grown, and immediately pupates. This type of birth is widely seen in flies such as the Tsetse fly and bat flies.
Parthenogenesis One of the most remarkable forms of reproduction, is the ability of a female to give birth without the intervention of a male; socalled ‘virgin birth’. The female gamete (egg) develops into a fully formed individual without the need for fertilisation with a male gamete (sperm). It is typical in species without sex chromosomes such as wasps, bees, ants. Stick insects, some reptiles and fish are also capable of reproducing using parthenogenesis. Parthenogenesis is sometimes referred to as a form of ‘sexual reproduction’, but this is a rather ambiguous term, for in fact it should be more correctly called an ‘incomplete form of reproduction’, as it involves the production, initiation and growth of a female egg which is a dedicated gamete. There are a number of different types of parthenogenesis, the two most common of which are facultative parthenogenesis and cyclical parthenogenesis. Facultative parthenogenesis is the ability of a particular species to ‘hop’ between sexual and asexual reproduction. These species, such as Orders Coleoptera (beetles), Hymenoptera (bees and wasps), Thysanoptera (Thrip’s), and Hemiptera (true bugs) can produce eggs which are capable of being fertilised with or without a male. Depending on the environment and other factors, unfertilised eggs will develop into one sex, and fertilised eggs into another. Cyclical parthenogenesis, on the other hand, is seen in some insect species whereby parthenogenetic generations are alternated with fertilised generations. Those species which can do this, produce some eggs which can be fertilised, while others which cannot. Furthermore, those species also have the ability to determine whether an egg is laid parthenogenetically or fertilised and, at what time. Parthenogenesis probably evolved as a survival strategy, as it ensures the continuation of the species can still take place in particular environments, or where males are uncommon.
Complex Life Cycles
The reproductive life cycle of aphids is a complicated affair and unlike that of any other insect species. Reproduction follows two courses, depending on the time of year. During the summer months, aphids produce only female offspring that in turn only produce females. Come the autumn, females give birth to males, which mate and then produce large eggs. These eggs are the new generation for the following summer, and can survive harsh winters, before hatching out as wingless females. An aphid infestation usually arises from a small number of winged adults that arrive at the plant and then begin to feed on it. If it shows to be a viable host, these ‘scouts’ will deposit a dozen or so wingless young on the tender tissue before departing to search out further host plants. The immature aphids left behind begin to feed on the sap and grow. Within about seven to ten days they then become viable adults ready to give birth to live young. As almost all the adults are females, and each capable of producing upwards of 60 offspring, the colony soon increases in size. This is compounded even more by the fact that this cycle is repeated several times leading to a massive population explosion. These dozen or so females who first arrived at the host plant, have the potential of producing several thousand offspring within a few weeks. The overburdening numbers, as they jostle for position, quickly create winged forms that take to the air in search of new host plants, and the cycle repeats itself all over again. Oh, I almost forgot, I promised to give you an even more staggering number, didn’t I? Well, here it is. If every descendent from a single pair of House flies, Musca domestica,survived, in a five month period, there would be a monumental 190 quintillion individuals. Thank goodness there’s a lot of hungry predators out there!
Pythons of the World Volume 3: The Pythons of Asia and Malay Archipelago By Dave and Tracy Barker and Mark Auliya Review by Billy Hunt This book is the third volume in the Pythons of the World series from the Barkers. If this is your first time reading a Pythons of the World book, you should be aware that this book primarily focuses on natural history, scale counts, and other taxonomy topics pertaining to each species covered in this volume. This book can be used as a resource for a herpetologist or a learning tool for a hobbyist that wants to learn the more scientific aspects of the species covered in this book. Each chapter that is dedicated to each species and subspecies is broken down as follows: Size, appearance, head scales, body scales, habitat, and one of my favorite aspects of this book, it points you in the direction of more information of telling you where you can read papers consisting of more information than the book has. After that, it has fantastic field pictures with locale info for each picture. Then each chapter ends with a map showing where that species or subspecies for the chapter is found. I personally found the spotted python chapter and the breakdown of multiple subspecies for white lip pythons the most interesting. There are a few subspecies that were only identified from wet specimens that were found in different areas than they are known to inhabit. If you like high quality pictures of animals in the wild with locale info, this book is definitely for you. I would highly recommend anyone that keeps any of the Asian pythons or just has an interest in that group of animals to add this book to your library.
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