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OF EVENTS August, 1992: 2nd International Symposium on Turtles and Tortoises - Conservation and Management Exact date and location to be announced. August 2-6, 1992 Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles University of Texas-EI Paso.

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The purpose of the Minnesota Herpetological Society is: to further the ~ducation of the membership and the general public in care and captive propagation of reptiles and amphibians; to educate the membership and the general public in the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians; and to promote the study and CODSelVation of reptiles and amphibians.

~~-~~jl.-~-~~-~~~.-~ . ~ ~~ . ~. .~ .. ~~.- .... ~ . .~-- . -~~.......... . . . . . II ~









. . . . . . . . . . .-.. . . . . . __. . . .-.. . . . . . . . . . .






John Meltzer Terry Scheiber Dennis Daly Michele S1illinger Marilyn Brooks Jo Anne Wetherell-Moriarty Glen Jacobsen VenceJimerson Greg Kvanbek Bill Moss JohnMoriarty

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(612) 263-7880 (612) 440-7482 (612) 633-8370 (612) 588-4613 (612) 533-7723 (612) 647-1334 (612) 757-8268 (612) 869-8547 (612) 533-7723 (612) 488-1383 (612) 647-1334




Š Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society. The contents of this newsletter may be reproduced for inclusion in the newsletters of other herpetological societies provided that the material is reproduced without change and proper credits are given to the MHS Newsletter citing volume number and date.

Next Meeting DATE: Friday, Januru-y 3,1992

PLACE: 335 Borlaug Hall St Paul Campus University of Minnesota

TIME: 7:00 PM

PROGRAM: Minnesota Laws and the Herp Enthusiast SPEAKER: Del Bloucher

This program was re-scheduled from November's snowed out meeting.

Mr. Bloucher is a practicing attorney in the metro area and will discuss the legal aspects of keeping herps in our modern day society. Some of the topics to be touched upon include: how and why laws restricting helpS are enacted, how to be involved in the lawmaking process, how to work to change existing laws, and the individual's personal liability should a herp cause harm to someone. This topic affects everyone who keeps helpS. CRITTER OF THE MONTH: HelpS that have caused you the most problems

Be sure to bring a proper container to display your animal during critter time. Animals are not to be displayed during the meeting except during critter of the month period. megal species will not be allowed.. Members who do not comply will not be allowed to display their animal.

Elections 1992 elections are coming up. All MRS officers and board positions are up for re-election. Any member in running for an office should contact John Moriarty at 647 -1334 or Ann POtwoll at 489-7853. John and Ann can also provide you with infonnation about the different offices.

Upcoming Meetings Pebrumy 7: The Great White Snake Sale - See page 3 for details. March 6: John Moriarty: BuDsnake Re-introduction in Hennepin Parks MHS annual meeting and elections. .

Next Newsletter Deadline January 1

MHS Newsletter, Vol. Xl, No. 12


Board Meeting Minute.s A brief December board meeting was held during the break at the last meeting. There nonnally is no December board meeting because of the Holiday Banquet There were only a few items discussed at the meeting. John Moriarty brought up a proposal from the DNR's Project Wild to fund the printing of a Turtle Hurdle supplement. The board approved sending $100.00 to help with the printing. The board also sent a letter to Dr. Birney at the Bell Museum supporting the Museum's effort to stay open. A $50.00 contribution was sent with the letter to help in their fund raising effort. . Bill Moss reported that Calhoun Square made a $200.00 donation after last week's hands-on. John Meltzer appointed an election committee for the 1992 elections. The committee is John Moriarty and Ann Porwoll. Bruce Delles purchased one of the ftre extinguishers and the other one will be put up for sale. Bruce informed John Moriarty that he was still available to assist in MHS projects.

Editor's Note Other time commitments (Caitlin and Daniel) have caused me to decide that it's time to give up editing this newsletter. Recently, I have felt that I haven't had enough time to do as good a job as I'd like. If anyone is interested in running for newsletter editor please contact me (Jo Anne) at 647 -1334. I can explain the position and assist the new editor in getting started.

Get Involved With MHS Listed below are several MHS activities for which volunteers are needed. Please be an involved member and give a few hours of your time. Last year those members with a significant number of volunteer hours were rewarded with MHS mugs. White Snake Sale Committee Chairperson - Coordinate volunteers and organize bid sheets and items for the sale. See John Meltzer or call 1-263-7880. Grants Committee members - help fmd organizations with grant programs, write grant proposals,

and organize projects. See Marilyn ~rooks or call 533-7723.

Refreshments At the last meeting Tom Jesmer brought apples to share with everyone. Thank you, Toni. If you'd like to help provide treats for a meeting please talk to Candy Ashbach or Nanette Jimerson at the meeting to fmd out about what's needed.

MHS Newsletter, Val. Xl, No. 12


Snake Welfare by Bmy Hammer Hoosier Herpetological Society I am sure that you are probably aware of the popularity of "professional wrestling". You may have heard of one of the participants in this so-called sport by the name of Jake "The Snake" Roberts. This individual is known for bringing large pythons into the ring where he procee~ to swing them around and handle them in a rough manner. . Apparently this is no longer sensational enough, for Mr. Roberts has now begun to do the same thing with cobras. Judging from the way in which these cobras are handled, I would tend to think that they has been rendered harmless in some way, however, this is irrelevant. A recent episode involved a large King C.obra. This snake was dumped into the center of the ring where it rose up and spread its hood for a moment before Mr. Roberts picked it up and thrust it in the direction of his rival. The snake bit and began to chew the arm of Mr. Roberts' opponent Viewers were treated to a lengthy close-up of this. Meanwhile, the announcers made comments such as, lilt better be de.. venomized!" and flDh my God, it's biting him!" and generally added to the sensationalism of this deplorable act When the snake released its grip, the bitten man got up and attempted to retaliate, staggering, falling, and behaving in a manner to suggest that he had been envenomated. Mr. Roberts continued to brandish the snake as if it were a weapon, at one point stepping on its dragging tail. Cose-up views of the man's bleeding arm and crying children in the audience further enhanced the shock value. These programs are enormously popular and when they feature snakes jn tbis way they can undermine the effectiveness of educational efforts by herpetological societies. I feel that a handful of letters from one organization or another is not sufficient to bring an end to this sort of problem.. It is for this reason that I am sending copies of this letter to over flfty different regional herpetological societies I urge you to write letters of protest to the World Wrestling Federation. Perhaps a concerted effort can .bring an end to this. Thank you for any assistance you may provide.

Address protest letters to:

Titan Sports, Inc. 1055 Summer Street Stanford,c:r 06906

Get Ready for the MUS White Snake Sale The February meeting will be devoted to the annual MHS white snake sale. This is a fund-raiser for MHS. Save your herp-related items to donate to the sale. Items that mightbe donated include: jewelry, books, cages, art, and any other herp-type item you might come up with. Now is a good time to clean. out those attics, basements, and spare rooms. Don't forget to save your money and bring it with you to the sale. Money raised will go to cover MRS operating expenses and activities throughout the year.

MHS Newsletter, Vol. Xl, No. 12


Vivariums by Merlin Rosen Apart from accommodating technical support, a vivarium provides an environment that is as favorable as possible for the reptiles or amphibians kept within. There are many different types of housing and the purpose of this article is to discuss some of the more popular set-ups and some methods of cage hygiene. To simplify things, in this article housing will be divided into two categories - sanitary and display. Display-type housing will again be divided into wet and dry vivariums. Reptiles are dependent on the environment to maintain their body temperature and usually have both slower metabolisms and immune processes than other pets. Therefore, when a new specimen is acquired for a collection a primary concern would be the bacteria or viruses or stresses to which this animal has been exposed that may jeopardize it and others in the collection. As a result of this concern, many people isolate any new animal in a sanitary cage for a reasonable length of time * before moving the new animal to a display or other type of cage. Even if the new specimen is healthy, it is wise to continue to assure the cleanliness of the cage in order to prevent the transfer of potentially harmful microorganisms from one enclosure to another. Everything that will be placed in side the vivarium must be thoroughly cleaned before use. A simple solution for disinfectant is a moderate amount of bleach * and water. There are also several good hospital-type products available. The most basic of all sanitary housing consists an aquarium with a paper substrate, a water bowl made of non-porous material and a screen or other aquarium top. These are an items that can be disinfected or sterilized if necessary. The paper can be diSposed of when soilirig occurs. Be sure that the aquarium is wen sealed and free of cracks. H it is cracked a coating of aquarium silicone can be applied over the inside surface of the tank. Newspaper is readily available and can be cut to fit any size enclosure. Newspaper is considered clean although some people has questioned the long tenn effects of petroleum-based ink. H in doubt, white paper towels can used. A screen tOp. is, ideally, made of plastic and screen material rather than wood. Wood as a vivarium lid absorbs liquids and may warp or be difficult to completely disinfect. A glazed ceramic, glass, or plastic water dish is also easily disinfected. If necessary, a non-porous hide box may be provided. Remember, the key to a sanitary cage is the ease in disinfection. Once you have detennined that you~ specimen is healthy enough to be placed in a new enclosure or desired. A key such as a display-type cage you must detennine what kind of display is factor in successful reptile keeping is knowing exactly what kind of animal you have, where it came from, and its habitat requirements. There are desert, ram forest, and neotropical habitats to consider. Check with a local expert, herpetological society, or library for this kind of information. Keep in mind that even though they may be of assistance, not all pet stores are accurate sources of infonnatlon. The type of habitat the animal comes from will help to determine temperatures, humidity levels, and natural substrates. Keep in mind what you plan on doing with the animal. If you plan to breed it items such as temperature, humidity, and light cycles may be vital in the set-up of your cage. If an animal is strictly a pet the accuracy of these requirements will be less of an issue. Remember that anitna1s avoid the extreme of their environments (e.g. excessive'heat, drastic cooling, excessive dryness). Sensible vivarium techniques add to the success of the cage. One of the most common misconceptions is that reptiles require consistent and constant temperature. In reality, all natural habitats vary greatly in daily and seasonal temperatures. Allowing some portions of the vivarium to remain cooler than other areas provides the animal with the opportunity to regulate its own body temperature such as it would in the wild.

MHS Newsletter, Vol. Xl, No. 12


• The author recommends that you consult with a veterinarian for specific times, amounts, etc. Next month this article continues with ideas for display cages. Any comments? Ideas? Please write Merlin Rosen, 536 Sheldon Dr. Fort Collins, CO 80521.

in Pope . . ~ . . . .

IlU!L ....

by Dave Hoppe 18 November, 1991 en route to Morris for a guest lecture appearance, Dr. Robert McKinnell and his w@, BW(Kly, noted "1@av:es" or s~ blovling across highway 19 A@ar Westport Lake in Pope County. Beverly suggested that they were not leaves but rather were frogs hopping ooross the pav'ement: but bOb at the time felt this ~ras too unlikely to ~rarrant stopping from 55 During the return trip on 19 November, he slowed at the alleged leaf crossing and soon "'.......,..il1I"~ three (dead on highway) Leopard Frogs. the grass bordering a nearby, n'nl'r'rn'7t~'il'lI slough connected to Lake, he then found at least 20 mature Leopard Frogs, as Leopard Frogs are wont to do (albeit rarely in . alive and wen and hopping to November). This was year of the infamous HJfalloween Mega-storm," you may recall. And The Blizzard was followed by several days of zero to ten degree F weather in Pope County. What are Leopard doing out of their comfortable hibernating waters on 19 November? Perhaps the sudden onset of bad weather October isolated them from the lake, perhaps too cold to move but insulated from freezing by a blanket of Halloween snow. We can only hope that they reach hlbemacula safely in the face of an unfamiliar froggish November danger - snow snake predauon!



The Leopard Frogs of Minnesota are not free of the dreaded snow snakes. Barney Oldfield.and Dan Keyler were notified of a Milk Snake on the front steps of the O.L. Kipp State Park manager's house on 22 November, 1991! John Moriarty found a Plains Garter Snake sticking out of the snow on 2 December, 1991! The snake was needless'to say frozen stiff, but it appeared fresh and since the area was plowed that morning, it had not been there very long. These records are not ~ormal for Minnesota snakes, but the weather has also been strange this year.

MHS Newsletter, Vol. Xl,¡ No. 12


Building An Inexpensive Outdoor Enclosure For Tortoises by William Ness Keeping tortoises happy and healthy in an indoor cage can be a challenge. Such things as natural sunshine, wide open spaces, and fresh plants for grazing are somewhat difficult to duplicate indoors, especially in the winter. Most tortoise keepers would like to let their critters roam free in the backyard, but lack of an adequately secure backyard makes this unfeasible for most of us. Even if the backyard is surrounded by a tnrtle/tortoise-proof fence, your own children or the neighbor's kids have a tendency'to leave gates open. The solution, then, is to have an enclosure that ideally has plenty of room, access to a fresh chemical free lawn and plenty of sunshine, some shade, and is relatively escape proof.. I have come up with a relatively inexpensive pen that can be constructed with a minimum of carpentIy skills. The materials required are some wood glue, some exterior paint, a drill, a screw driver, a saw, and some lumber. If you are not familiar with the workings of a drill, screw driver and saw you can save yourself some effort and time by having a friend with those skills fmish reading this article for you and have that person do the work. I start with a standard four by eight sheet of plywood. I have been buying whatever is on sale, usually NBN or NC Ngrade sheathing plywood in either 1/2 or 5/8 inch thickness. The cost is usually around $10.00 on sale. You can spend over $20 if you want and get" A" grade 3/4 inch plywood, but I don't think it is necessary. While you are at Menard's, Knox, or whichever lumber supplier you patronize, pick up about 5 ,eight foot 1 x 2's (about a half a buck apiece) and if your critters are real diggers a couple of 1 x 3's or I x 4's. While there, pick up about 70 sheet rock screws (about 1 1/4 inch long should work). Now that you have everything you need. find a wOrkspot big enough to move around a 4 foot by 8 foot chunk of wood. I back the car out of ~e garage and work inside (it usual1y rajnswhenlplan onpain~ordoinganything else outdoors)~ _ _ __ Begin by measuring along the four foot end of the plywood and marking it at 16 and 32 inches. Mark the other end and then cut along your lines. This will give you three pieces of wood 8 feet long and 16 inches wide. Then take one of the 16 inch wide pieces and cut it in half at the four foot mark. Now you have two 16 inch by 8 foot long pieces for the sides of the pen and two 16 inch high by four foot long pieces for the ends. The next step is to glue' and screw 1 x 2's along the top and bottom edges of your plywood to stiffen it up and prevent it from delaminating when exposed to Minnesota weather. If your critters are diggers, use the 1 x 4's edgewise on the bottom to form a 4 inch lip that should discourage some digging. Once the four panels are edged with the 1 x 2's, I give each piece 2 or 3 coats of exterior pamt. I have found that unpainted cheap plywood starts to come apart when exposed to lots of moisture, especially when not reinforced with the 1 x 2's. Once the four panels are painted they are simply screwed together. You may want to run 1 x 2's vertically in the corners to reinforce them. Once assembled you have a four foot by eight foot portable enclosure for grazing your tortoises. I have found the 16 inch height to be adequate, (so far) for large Red-footed Tortoises and also for my crew of Wall Oimbing Elongated Tortoises. For tenacious wall climbers you can increase the width of the overhang. If predators are a concern, a wire mesh top can be installed. For real diggers the bottom could probably be covered with chicken wire or some other mesh, but I haven't found that to be necessary so far. A board can be laid across one end of the enclosure to provide shade, but now that you have successfully completed this project why not build a tortoise house. You could start with some dog house plans and scale them down, insulate it, add a heating pad, maybe some lights, a couple of windows, a skylight, some furniture, a VCR .....

MHS Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 12


Herp Definitions by Drew Newman Anyone who has read any herp literature of substance knows the value of good glossary. But in

all the glossaries I've read they've seemed to have left out some key words and phrases. What I've compiled below are some of the lesser known tenninology of the herp enthusiast.

A Real Monitor: What your fat, lazy Savannah Monitor became after attaching itself to your feeding hand for forty five seconds.

A Good Haul: What the Grey Treefrog and two Garter Snakes became while bragging about your latest herping expedition.

A Normal Life: What non-herp spouses claim they would have had if they never met you. A New Cage that Won't Cost Anything: Rationalization of liberating the big Refic into the spare bedroom.

A Perfect Water Dish: The bath1nb in the bathroom connected to the spare bedroom. Home Improvement: Going to ornate hinges and staining the outside of the cages. A Terribly Important Engagement: What those of us who have to work nights often have the frrst Friday of the month.

Kind of Like a Chameleon. How yoa deSLTibe your .evil tempered tega to yom prospective landlord.

N octomal Species: Handy reason why you arrived home at 4 AM.. Basier to Find if They Get Loose: Good argument for the keeping of large boas and pythons.

An Unpleasant Task: Checking your recently imported adult Nile Monitor for mouth rot

Seven Cobras and an Adult Caiman: Herps you are going to add to your collection if you ever fmd yourself single.

Summer Iguana Bnclosure: What the screened porch starts looking like every spring. A Great Project for Science Class: How you tried to get your children interested in breeding rodents.

No More Mter This: Promise made to self and others preceding each herp purchase. Opposition: What you get when you suggest renting the Freshmen for the ninth time. Somewhere in the House: Where the absent half of the pair of Milk Snakes you bought is residing.

That Terrible Night: How your non-herp spouse refers to the evening your in-laws found the thawing pinkies on the stove.

MHS Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 12


All My Most Important Phone Numbers: VVhat the JvlHS White Pages becrune known as after it was lost. .

Because We Don't Have Scales: Why some family members feel they don't get enough . attention from you. A Sound Investment: Any two specimens of any species of herp thought to be male and female.

In Case there's a Shortage: .Why buying hundred lots of frozen mice makes penect sense. A Real Nut: What you overheard the pest control man refer to you as, after you asked him how you could attract snake to your home.

Florida:, 1hird choice of a vacation spot after Borneo and Brazil.

1.0;0 = male; 0 1 0

= female;

0 0 1 = unknown

FOR SALE: Solomon Island prehensile tailed skinks, $175 ea. Call Chris at (612) 459-2725 or 451-7441 (work). FOR SALE: 5.1.0 baby Corn Snakes, nice colors, some with reddish bellies, hatched 9/91, $25. ea. Will deliver to n:teeting" Call Vince at (612) 647-0910. FOR SALE: Newly hatched Corn Snakes, just in time for X -mas, $35. ea. Call Brenda Bell at (307) 742-0556 -leave message.(CO) WANTED: One female Burmese python for breeding loan. Also any information on breeding Varanus exthanmaticus; Call Drew at (612) 489-5104. WANTED: I need all the shed snake skins in the world - always - to give away at reptile programs. Contact Bob Duerr at (612) 541- 9417.

INSTRUCTIONS: Ads are run as a free service to paid members. Ads for venomous species, illegal species, or sick animals will not be run. MRS takes no responsibility for legality or health of any animal advertised here. Ads may be tun for three consecutive months at which time ads may be re-subnrltted. The editor reserves the right to omit ads when space is limited .so as to allow all members a chance to advertise. Size of ads is limited to 4 typed lines or 1 standard size business card. Deadline for all newsletter items is the 1st of the month. Send all newsletter items to : ATIN: Newsletter Editor, Minnesota Herpetological Society, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. S.B., Minneapolis, MN 55455-0104.

MHS Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 12


MEMBERSHIP AND T-SHIRT ORDER FORM MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY NANm(S) ______________________________________________________ ADDRBSS ______________________________________________________ CITY _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ PHONB _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __

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_ _ SUSTAINING __ •__ ..• $60_00

_ _ INSTITUTION ._._ •. $25.00

_ _ CONTRIBUTING .. __ .$30.00

_ _ BASIC •• _•••• _.•••.• _$15.00

OFFICIAL (ORIGINAL) MHS T-SHIRT - $7.00 includes postage (indicate how many of each) Adult:

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Please enclose payment. MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: Minnesota Herpetological Society. Membership is for 12 months from date of joining. A membership card will be sent by return mail. A receipt will be sent only on request. MAIL TO: Minnesota Herpetological Society, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. S.E., Minneapolis, Iv1N 55455-0104


u.s. Postage SOCIETY

Mpls. MN Pemrlt No.2275


RECYCLED PAPER cooseMng Ow Resources

Vol. 11 (1991), No. 12  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

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