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MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8 August 1998 The purpose of the Minnesota Herpetological Society is to: • further the education of the membership and the general public in care and captive propagation of reptiles and amphibians; • educate the members and the general public in the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians; • promote the study and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

MHS Board of Directors President Vice president Recording Secretary Membership Secretary Treasurer Newsletter Editor Member at Large Member at Large Member at Large Member at Large Member at Large

Herp Assistance

George Richard Barbara Buzicky Bruce Haig Amy Anderson Marilyn Blasus NancyHaig Fred Bosman Laurie Grassel Gordon Merck Janell Osborn, D.V.M. Sarah Richard

(612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612) (612)

639-6368 291-1132 434-8684 922-4066 925-4237 434-8684 476-0306 428-4625 566-2001 455-6540 639-6326

Specific questions concerning amphibians and reptiles are best answered by contacting the following individuals. Please be reasonable aoout the time of day and how frequently you call.

Amphibians Greg Kvanbeck John Meltzer Chameleons Vem & Laurie Grassel

(612) 388-0305 (612) 263-7880

Amphibians and Reptiles in Minnesota (612) 388-0305 Greg Kvanbeck John Moriarty (612) 482-8109

(612) 428-4625

Crocodilians Jeff Lang

(612) 434-8684

Big Lizards, Monitors Bill Moss (612) 488-1383


Nancy Haig

(701) 772-0227

Large Boas and Pythons Tina Cisewski (612) 856-2865

Other snakes Jeff LeClere John Meltzer

(612) 488-6388 (612) 263-7880

Terrestrial Turtles Fred Bosman John Levell

Aquatic Turtles Gary Ash John Levell

(612) 753-0218 (507) 467-3076

(612) 476-0306 (507) 467-3076

Special Committees: Adoption Chair

Sarah Richard

(612) 639-6326

Education Chair Sean Hewitt (612) 935-5845

UP NORTH (Bemidji) Jeff Korbel (218) 586-2588

Snakebite Emergency

MHS Voice Mail (612) 624 - 7065

Hennepin Co. Regional Poison Center (612) 347·3141 Minnesota Poison Control System Local: (612) 221·2113 Out of State: (800) 222 • 1222

E-mail: Internet The rvillmesota Herpetological Society Newsletter is published monthly by the Minnesota Herpetological Society to provide its members with infonnation concerning the societis activities and a media for exchanging infonllation, opinions and resources. Printed on r"rycied paper.

© Copyright Mirmesota Herpetological Society 1998. Contents may be reproduced for non-profit use provided that all material is reproduced without change and proper credit is given authors and the MHS Newsletter citing; volume, number, and date.

MHS News/elfer Volume 18 Number 8

NEWS, NOTES & ANNOUNCEMENTS Upcoming Meeting Highlights September Meeting: Veterinary Clinic Speaker: Dr. Janell Osborn The MHS is lucky to have a number of talented members willing to share their experiences and knowledge with the society. Tbis month's speaker is Janell Osoorn, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM). Although the exact subject of her talk was not known prior to the printing of this newsletter, parents should be aware that her program may contain some graphic examples of veterinary care or procedures.

Reminders: Due to the Labor Day Holiday the September Meeting is one week later on Sept. 11, 1998. The September Meeting will be held in 335 Borlaug Hall at 7:00 P.M. Thanks for the refreshments

Our donors are shy but venj generous, 'l1tanks again for the treats. -ed.

Thanks to Dundee Nursery For the hanging flower baskets for Como Cottage at the Renaissance Festival

State Fair Volunteers August 27 - September 7 The MHS exhibit is being updated. The display will be moved to the north wall of the DNR Building, on the wall with the fish tanks. The exhibit will include six species of snakes and four species of turtles. The species

August's "Critter of the Month" "Mid -evil Herps" included:

Joy Norquist

Pogona vitficeps Heidi Davenport

Wood Turtle, Blanding's Turtle, Painted Turtle and Common Snapping Turtle. The exhibit will need to be checked each day during the fair, which runs from August 27 to MHS members will Sept 7. receive 2 free fair tickets for each day they check cages. Daily inspections normally take 10 to 15 minutes and are done at 9:00 p.m We still need aoout 7 more volunteers to check animals, if you want to help please contact Nancy Haig (612) 434-8684 to sign up for the available nights.

Area Code Changes Just after we published the MHS White Pages the new area codes went into effect If you were among the lucky ones please send your code change to the Membership Secretary c/o MHS, and let us know if you would like your new number published in the newsletter.



Iguana iguana


Timber Rattlesnake, Bullsnake, Fox Snake, Massasauga, Milk Snake, and Western Hognose.

Bearded Dragon


Sara Knez

White-lipped Treefrogs

LeptodaehjlllS (??) "Jake" Jacobsen

Timor Monitor

Varanus timorensis

John Moriarty

Wood Turtle

Clemmys inseulpta Bill Moss

American Alligator "Smi1ely"

Alligator mississippiensis

Help A Hapless Herp Finding homes this month were: 1 Three-toed Box Turtle 1 African Spur-thigh Tortoise 1 Common Boa 1 Ball Python Still needing homes are: 1 Spectacled Caiman 1lg Burmese Python 1 4 V, ' Nile Monitor 1 Savannah Monitor

And 18 Iguanas If you are interested in any of these animals please contact the MHS Voicemail at (612) 624-7065 and press 2 for the Adoption Line.

MHS Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8

NEWS, NOTES & ANNOUNCEMENTS Presidential Pabulum By George Richard - MHS President There are a lot of perks being President of the MHS, the fanfare of trumpets when you enter a room, the secret service, sworn to secrecy, the awe and esteem of your fellow society members and of course first crack at the mail and incoming exchange Newsletters. Wait a second, the secret service can't keep a secret, the trumpets are out of tune and that awe and esteem ain't all it's cracked up to be, but the newsletter part makes up for it all. I get a chance to see an entire month of newsletters and periodicals (about 50) from societies and organizations across the nation. It gives me a good look at herpers across the country, how they're working on problems and are trying to take positive steps to protect herps, herpetology and herptoculture. There's a lot going on and some recent articles in exchange publications might be worth examining. There are articles on the Sea turtle-shrimp net controversy and the Cape Cod turtle patrol in the NEHS and San Diego Turtle & Tortoise Society newsletters. There's an article on Rattlesnake roundups in NOAH, an appeal to Save our Snakes (Lake Erie water snakes) in the Upstate Herp Association NL and in another HERPtales (NEHS again, nice NL), a reprint from Reuters regarding Iguana's running rampant in LA and other southern environments. That article includes the news that LA Animal Regulation the Commission recently approved guidelines requiring pet stores to inform potential buyers that a $70.00 permit is required to legally

own an Iguana and provide details on care, handling and potential risks. There's news that Australia may open up for export (Colorado HS & LIHS); the problems of Wild Tortoise populations (Tortuga Gazette - Cal Turtle & Tortoise and on rattlesnake Club); conservation (League of Florida HS). Many of the newsletters publish care guides, how-to articles and the experiences of their members as well as scientific papers. Recent articles include those on Tegus (San Diego HS); Gopher Snakes (Pacific Northwest HS); Old World Chameleons (ARAV), Savannah Monitors (Hoosier HS); and "A preliminary report on the Herpetology of Fillmore County, MN" in the CHS (?) newsletter. But of all the "how-to" articles at hand my favorite is "Envenomization: It's not a pleasant experience" in The Forked Tongue (Greater Cincinnati HS). Envenomization should be required reading for anyone even considering keeping "hot herps". The final group of articles I'll point out are all about legal issues, with John Level's talk last month on the law, you might consider checking out some of the following articles. "HerPet-Pourriu in the CHS Bulletin; "As to snakes, state law lacks fangs" (HERP beatUpstate HS); Kansas DWP Herp Sting (Cold Blooded News - Col. HS); Reptile Arrests in the News (SDHS); and as mentioned at the meeting the Hoosier Herp Society Newsletter the Monitor has an article on the recent Indiana DNR raid on a swap there. Then When you read the Herp Perspectives column in the Vivarium #5 of this 2

year a rather disturbing pattern emerges. All these different perspectives have a common thread, concern for herps, their habitat and well-being. As has been said before if we don't protect what we really care for there will be nothing left to protect. Whether it's with a calm voice teaching at a Hands-On or at a political meeting, with a checkbook or a ballot or just a simple choice, there are things that must be done across the nation, around the world and here in Minnesota. I'll get off the soapbox now. I'd just like to say that it's good to realize we're not all alone, herpetology is big and getting bigger, if we are all "weirdo's" there's quite a few of us around. The Library offers copies of all the periodicals mentioned in this column, and many more, free to MHS members. Since they're all sent to us on an exchange basis, free between societies and members, they offer a great way to find out what's going on in other areas. If you have friends out of state (anyone know anyone in Iowa?) you may be able to get them hooked up with a local herp group. That's all for now, See you in September and enjoy the summer while you can! GWR

Holiday Banquet Chairperson needed! Okay, the Holiday Banquet isn't until December, but now is the time to start getting ready for it. The Speaker has already been selected so we need someone to rest of the organize the preparations and coordinate with the Student Center. If you are interested contact George Richard at (612) 639-6368. -ed.

MHS Newsletter Volllllle 18 NUlllber 8

GENERAL MEETING REVIEW Comments on Reptile Laws Speaker: John Levell John Levell is a long-time member of the MHS and the author of A Field Giude to Reptiles and The Law, a listing of U.S. federal and state laws regarding amphibians and reptiles. It was actually Eric This's idea to write the book. He showed John a couple of other books on the subject and suggested it wouldn't be too dificult for John to use them as a base for an updated guide. It didn't turn out to be so simple as some of the states were less than totally cooperative in providing information. Nonetheless, he did manage to get the information and even contacted the states a second time for the second edition published in 1997. One of the first things John pointed out is that C.l.T.E.S. is nill an international endangered species act. It is the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, providing guide lines for the trading of animals across international borders. It does not provide for any habitat protection or any means to protect the listed animals other than regulating international trade in protected species. Even that can be compromised by lax enforcement by participating countries and provisions allowing exemptions for particular species for individual countries. The U.8. Federal Endangered Species Act is more far-reaching within the U.S.. It prohibits the taking of protected species within the territorial limits of the U.S. or the high seas without permit, interstate and international trade of protected species without permit, and the possession, purchase or sale of illegally obtained specimens. In addition, it allows for govenunent protection

By Bruce Haig Recording Secretary

and! or acquisition of habitat deemed necessary for species survival. Unfortunately, merely listing a plant or animal as protected does not automatically protect it's habitat or other factors affecting it's future survival. For example, the use of TEDs (turtle exclusion devises) by shrimpers has been circunlVented for years while they continue to kill sea turtles in the process of catching shrimp. Some laws enacted for one purpose actually have the effect of harming the animals they are aplied to. The law preventing the trade of turtles under four inches long for the pet trade was originally enacted for health purposes. It's effect has been to shift sales from baby turtles that are easily obtained from captive breeders and from the wild to sales of adult turtles that come almost exclusively from the wild. Baby turtles have a very low survival rate in the wild so their capture denies a predator a snack but does not affect the long term Adult survival of the species. turtles take a long time to reach breeding age and their removal has a devestating effect on future generations. State laws are highly variable, contractadictory, and often ineffective. If they had been effect when Roger Conant wrote his famous field guide, he would never have gotten it done. He would have been prevented from collecting and! or keeping many of the specimens needed for observation and descriptions of individual species. Some of John's favorite examples of strange laws

When asked what would be the characteristics of reasonable laws, John suggested that •

• •




In California, all laws are protecting frogs superceeded by the law regarding contestants in frog jumping contests. This law allows frogs to be taken at any time without a license or permit and permits a person to pocess any number of live frogs to use in frog jumping contests. The comission has no power to modify the provisions of this article by any order, rule or regulation. It is illegal to collect diamond back terrepin in California, a species that doesn't exist within 3,000 miles of there. It is legal to import any species of the genus 11Iegalochelys into Hawaii. They have been extinct for 50,000 years. The only snakes that you can possess without a permit in Iowa are timber rattlersnakes and garter snakes.

Nothing should be totally illegal, animals dangerous to humans and the environment In should be regulated. you can own Florida venomous reptiles after serving an apprenticeship with an experienced keeper and obtaining a permit. Animal protection laws should also protect their environment. Laws protecting animals in the wild need to have teeth to nab poachers and punish them severely. State agency personnel should be educated before they try to tell people how to keep their animals.

MHS Newleltel' Volume 18 Number 8

SNAKE HANDLING By Randy Blasus In a recent conversation at a Herp Society Meeting, the topic turned toward the difficulties encowltered in handling serpents. The person with whom I conversed had a small Red-Spotted Garter Snake (77lamnophis sirtalis cOllcinnus) that resented being handled. I have had positive experiences adjusting some of my colubrids to human contact. Mainly, those I've worked with are animaIs common in captivity. A number, however, have been of the 'less desirable,' more nervous varieties. Even though this article mainly references snakes, many of these techniques are equally applicable to other herps as well.

Obviously, care needs to be taken when handling snakes. Venomous snakes should not be this nor candidates for crocodilians. Extremely large serpents, Pythons and Boids should never be handled when you are alone. If the serpent Were to attack, you may be hard pressed to defend yourself or may suffer a severe wOWld from their long teeth. The newspapers are too full of such items that negatively impact this hobby and you don't need the experience. However, caution should also be taken with rear fanged colubrids. Some rearfanged snakes possess potent venom. A bite from even those that are considered 'harmless to man' (Le. the Western Hognose Snake, Heterodoll nasictls) may provoke an allergic reaction in some individuals. Snakes not reacting out of fear, may out of hWlger. Feeding response bites can be the most traumatic to the inexperienced handler as the animal will usually need to be persuaded to release. If you are nervous about getting bitten (a natural response in any

creature) by all means wear gloves. Hesitant or fearful movements on your part may actually provoke the snake to assWlle a defensive posture. For the process of acclimation to work, you and the snake must both feel calm and reasonably confident. Most colubrid bites are fortunately more shocking than painful. At some point, almost everyone has been bitten, either from a feeding response or as a defensive nip. The possibility that you may receive a bite should not discourage you from handling or enjoying the animal.

being in the game for selfpreservation, tend to attack their prey quickly and decisively. This is intended to prevent their injwy during a predation event. Therefore, any sharp, predatory type movement or physical contact may result in a threat display by the snake. The snake may first try defensive tactics such as freezing or flight or may begin a threat display, hissing or striking at the would be attacker. The last ditch effort is usually attempted by the snake upon being grasped and consists of the voiding of the bowels and/ or musk discharge.

The first thing to realize is that individual snakes, as well as certain species, such as Garter Snakes (77w11IIlophis sp.) and Water Snakes (Nerodia sp.), may be more high strWlg than your average colubrid. These last two, tend to prefer higher temperatures, pursue more mobile prey and spend a lot more time thermoregulating in open situations; a manner not conducive to survival. Being live bearing also complicates this problem further and this entails more risk to the female because she must bask to ensure the viability of her offspring. All of these factors combine to form the basis for these species' behavioral traits. Other colubrids are generally more nervous as wild caught adults. Juveniles of most species are also more aggressive as smaller animals generally have a greater number of predators to fend off.

So as a snake, anything thing from above is suspect, and may be a potential foe. As a keeper you will need to find methods that short circuit or bypass the animals automatic defensive response. Movements must be slow, and any handling needs to be gentle and allow the serpent freedom of movement. Often, the first contact should be delayed until an Wlderstanding of how your presence effects the snake is known. These periods of just plain observation are recOlmnended and can provide you with interesting insights into the serpentine lifestyle. The snake should be able to observe you and to associate no major threat or anxiety by your presence. You should also note that it is not feasible to eliminate defensive behavior entirely, not would this be beneficial to the animal. However, you can learn to judge just how much disturbance the animal will tolerate without severely modifying its habits or feeding behavior.

A serpent's perspective also has an influence on behavior. As an animal that spends a lot of time really close to the groWld (generally) most danger tends to come from above. This is true whether the threat is airborne or merely on long (to the snake) stilt like projections (legs). Predators, 4

Do not attempt to handle an animal too soon after purchasing or after a caging change. Allow time for it to adjust to the new surroWldings. This minimizes the

MRS Newleller Volume 18 Number 8

SNAKE HANDLING By Randy Blasus the animals' disorientation which may lead result in aggressive behavior. Again, watch the snake; its behavior in your presence will tell you how it feels. Frequently, Garter Snakes I've kept quickly learned to associate me and opening of their cage with food, and would rise from hiding to accept a meal from my forceps. Handling generally takes much more time to accept and the amount that is tolerated may be very brief initially. A juvenHe female Northern Water Snake (Nerodia s. sipedoll), has just begun to sit caIrnIy on my hand and to tolerate being picked up after about six months in my care. When handling is attempted, the use of a snake hook to initially remove the animal from the substrate often does not cause alarm. Scooping the snake up slowly with an open palm, or turning the cage (i.e. shoebox) or hidebox on its side and allowing the animal to land on your hand are both effective methods. At this point, the snake will usually take a moment to evaluate the situation. Often, it will decide that flight is the best option. Keeping your hand in the animals cage will prevent the trauma associated with falling, what may be a great distance for a

smaii animal, to the floor. Also, the added stress of pursuit as you scramble in an attempt to secure the snake before it becomes lost is avoided. As the snake becomes used to being handled you may try different approaches to keep the animal with you by subtle encouragement. Rat snakes may attempt to leave if they can reach a nearby object. Usually they know just how far they can stretch; though some may test this beyond their ability. If the snake is kept far enough away from potential escape routes; it may eventually tire of the game and curl aronnd your hand instead. This will probably not work well with Water Snakes, as their life strategy is to bask in semi-open areas and to lannch themselves from this perch to the water (or your hand to the floor). A snake may be a runner, constantly trying to escape your presence. Allowing it to rnn from one hand to another may tire it. Or, this method may upset it and you end up with a hand full of musk. Do not lose your patience at this point with your pet. Instead, accept that this is the snakes saying 11 think I've had enough fnn and want to go home now,' then gently place the snake in its cage and leave the area.

You will need to be the judge of the animals temperament (and your own). If you are rushed or in a bad mood, let the animal be. It will be less stress for you and it. If the snake is not responding to your handling, increase (or decrease) the number (or amonnt) or type of Observe the contact made. animals' reaction to you at the next session. Sometimes, after many fruitless attempts, I have stumbled onto a procedure that works for one particular animal. An animal may suddenly decide to accept my contact or I have adjusted to one aspect or another of its behavior. Some species, or individuals, may never respond to any treatment (one of myoid BulIsnakes comes to mind) or it may need to reach a certain developmental stage where the snake no longer needs to aggressively defend itself. Only time will tell the outcome. However, there is nothing more rewarding, in my experience, then to work with animal and to witness it begin accepting me as a part of its environment (however grudgingly that acceptance may be given). This process will provide many chances to closely observe the nature of an animal, so fascinating, that it has drawn you to here.

To learn more about handling Reptiles and Amphibians talk to the members who present their animals at the General Meetings' "Critter of the Month" or to other members during break and after the meetings. Attending one of our "Hands-On(s) as a viewer instead of as a presenter can also help you nnderstand how to handle and present an animal to the general public. If you get the chance, visit the Renaissance Festival and watch our" pros" perform at the Como Cottage. Contact Sean Hewitt (our Education Chairperson) for more information on Hands-Oll(s).


MRS Newletter Volume 18 Number 8

ROAD THROUGH WETLANDS By George Richard Road Proposed Through Portion of Murphy Hanrehan Park The city of Burnsville is proposing to extend 150th St. through Murphy Hanrehan Park, severing one of the last remaining pristine wetlands from the rest of the park and endangering a possible Blanding's Turtle nest site according to the MRVAC Natural Resources Corrunittee Chair Katy Egan Benck. According to articles forwarded to the MHS a highly controversial proposed extension of County Road 46 has been but the proposed dropped alternative extending Burnsville's 150th StfCrystal Lake Road through the north end of the Cam Ram Park (part of the Murphy Hanrehan Park Reserve) has a high probability of implementation.

The 150th extension would sever a huge pristine wet meadow wetland from the rest of the park. It would destroy the only 10 acres of dry oak savanna, hill subtype in Dakota County according to the DNR's county Biological Survey. According to the Survey more than 97.4% of the natural communities and landscape in Dakota County have already been destroyed. Blanding's Turtles have been found at Murphy Hanrehan and could also be present at the wetlands site in Cam Ram. The Counties are taking comments before a final open house on August 27th. Please call, write or contact the following individuals and voice your concerns in a calm friendly manner.

Leslie Vermillion (Project Manager) 891-7100 Burnsville: Greg Konat (City manager), Barb Anderson (planner) and Terry Schultz (Director DNR) Or phone them at Burnsville City Hall 895-4400 Letters opposing the project can be sent to: Ms. Leslie Vermillion Dakota County Highway Department 14955 Galaxie Ave., Third Floor Apple Valley, MN 55124 If you can attend the Open House at the Dakota County Western Service Center at Galaxie Ave & Hwy 42 on the evening of September 24th, please do so.

Wanted: Homes for Rescued Turtles Several hundred turtles were recently rescued from a dealer in the United States. Although many of the animals being held by this dealer died from neglect, the local animal care facilities are trying to treat and restore the survivors. However, they are in need of people willing to provide homes for recovering Box Turtles and/or several aquatic species (red-eared sliders and painted turtles are not involved). If you can provide a home for one or many of these unfortunate animals please

Contact "Jake" at (507) 433- 3006


MRS Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8

The Herpin' Lifestyle By Greg Kvanbek A Visit to Serpent Safari In 1996, Serpent Safari was

opened iII Wisconsin Dells by Lou Daddona. Serpent Safari is located In a small strip mall on Wisconsin Dells Parkway, a busy commercial area jammed with every sort of . overpriced amusement you could imagine. The brochure promises" over 100 live reptiles". Actually, Serpent Safari had only about 50 or 60 herps on display, not counting the animals that were for sale. More on that later. This was to be a guided tour. I had already promised Cara that I would not make a scene by correcting the tour guide if she said anything incorrect. Although it was difficult, I kept my promise. We waited for our tour guide at the first enclosure, which held an albino American alligator. When I identified the animal for Cara (who knew what it was anyway), other visitors seemed surprised that I knew what the animal was, since the enclosures weren't labeled. The tour guide correctly identified the gator. I quit trying to identify species before the tour guide did, which was fortunate for me, because she did misidentify several animals. A pueblan milk snake was identified as a "pueblo" milk snake (not a big deal) and a horned frog, Ceratopimis, was identified as a "Pac-Man" frog (a really big deal)! It's bad enough when pet stores name herps after but cartoon characters, inexcusable when an institution supposedly dedicated to public education does it. Later a cooter,

PseudelllYs, was identified as a painted turtle, CJmiselllYs, by two different tour guides. Yes, we went through twice and yes, they said pretty much the same things. Also, some Argentine boas were identified as common boas. Despite these little errors that didn't seem to bother the rest of the group (could it be that they weren't paying attention?), there were some nice animals on display, and the enclosures, while small, were clean and well kept. My personal favorite was a Fly River turtle. Another highlight was a Nile crocodile, and several species of monitor were present Amphibians were seriously under-represented, the horned frog being the only example, despite the " ... beautifuI frogs speckled in fantastic colors splash in the mist under a cascading waterfall..." being promised in the brochure. The star of Serpent Safari, without a doubt, is "Baby" a 23 foot, 400 pound Burmese Python. Baby is advertised as the largest snake in the world. Several individuals in recent years have claimed to own the world's largest snake, so I don't know if Baby is the largest or not. But [' d bet it's the most obese. As our tour guide dramatically proclaimed, Burmese Pythons just aren't supposed to get this big. Baby is truly a freak of nature!" Several other dramatic exaggerations were made during the course of our tour. Albino green iguanas and albino redeared turtles on display were, we were told, the "only ones in the world". Totally false. A large alligator snapping turtle is able to 7

"snap a two-by-four in hall" our tour guide later stated. Not according to Peter Pritchard, a leading authority on alligator snappers. After exiting the display area, it was time to hit the gift shop. I collect plastic and rubber herps, and was anxious to check out the selection, when I spied an extremely detailed and lifelike alligator sculpture sitting on a low shell. Just as I reached for it, I noticed that its mouth was wrapped with scotch tape. This was no sculpture! This was a live American alligator, with its mouth taped shut! It was just sitting there by itsell on a shell. Later I watched as someone paid ten dollars to have their kid photographed with the gator on his lap. The rest of the gift store was mostly made up of kids toys - some herp related, some not. There were also a couple of dozen assorted herps for sale. They were not displayed in traditional caging or vivaria, but were in the very smallest sizes of critter carriers. Most were pretty scrawny, whether captive bred or wild caught. I watched a small child purchase a green anole. The salesperson provided very little care information, but then the child's mother wasn't paying attention anyway. Although Serpent Safari wasn't exactly what you might expect from an educational institution, I guess for $6.95. it's one of the better bargains Wisconsin Dells has to offer. II you're in the area, you might as well check it out.

MRS Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8

A BOOK REVIEW By John P. Levell A Field Guide to the Life and Times of Roger Conant. By Roger Conant. 1997. Selvaj Canyonlands Publishing Group. 498 pages, HardcoverjDJ. $49.95 For those with an interest in the herpetofauna of North America few names are more recognizable than that of Roger Conant. Indeed, over the last 40 years his identification guide to the amphibians and reptiles of the eastern United States and Canada has been the only completely indispensable piece of field equipment for virtually all herpetologists in the region. Now in its 3,d edition (and co-authored by Joe Collins), Conant's often imitated but never duplicated eastern field guide has proven invaluable to a wide variety of other outdoor enthusiasts as well and with sales now exceeding 600,000 copies the volume is widely and justly acknowledged as the best selling herpetological title of all time. While this monumental accomplishment alone insures in any Roger's place "herpetologist's hall of fame," the myriad of other significant herpetological contributions, both scientific and popular, which he has written during his long and distinguished career is equally as impressive. Prominent among these publications are Conant's indepth reviews of Ohio's reptiles, the herpetofauna of the northeastern U.S. and on the water snakes of Mexico, as well as the massive 614 page Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex co-authored

by his long-time friend, the late, great herpetologist Howard K. Gloyd. This impressive and truly comprehensive monograph, published in 1990 a full 12 years after Gloyd's death, fulfilled Conant's promise to complete his dying friend's life-long project and is an outstanding example of the respect, devotion and loyalty Roger has always demonstrated toward his many colleagues, friends and loved ones. Of all of Conant's many publications, however, none has proven more enjoyable, interesting or inspiring to read than has his (1997) recently released autobiography, A Field Guide to the Life and Times of Roger Conant. Naturally, and as one would expect in the story of a herpetological career spanning 8 different decades, tales about amphibians and reptiles as well as on many of the often "colorful" individuals who have made these animals their life's work abound in this large (approx. 8 % x 11 inches) volume's 498 pages. Fascinating "first person" accounts of field work in the U.s., Mexico and other familiar and far away places document virtually all of Roger's more exciting herpetological exploits and amply demonstrate the intensive amount of work required to produce each of his many important publications. Field research and other preparatory activities for just the 1" edition of his eastern field guide lasted nearly 7 years and the trials and tribulations involved in that volume's genesis alone is undoubtedly a narrative well worthy of telling! Roger's recollections of some of his most


famous herpetological contemporaries, 25 of whom are covered in rather extensive supplemental "vignettes" in the rear of the book, are also most entertaining and provide a personal review of their lives unavailable elsewhere. an Although providing unprecedented historical perspective on the study of amphibians and reptiles in the 20 th Century, Roger Conant's life story encompasses so much more than simply herpetology. In fact, Roger's herpetological achievements become all the more awe inspiring when one realizes that many were undertaken and completed while he was in the midst of an equally successful and hectic zoolOgical career. His 45 years of zoo work, from humble, begirulings as a cashier right on tluough retirement in 1973 as Director of the Philadelphia Zoo, are also fully recorded and provide an insiders view of the evolution of both American and foreign zoos from menageries into modern zoological institutions. Like their herpetological counterparts, many of Conant's zoological colleagues and co-workers (including 16 reviewed in extended personal vignettes) receive prominent mention as well. this well Needless-to-say, illustrated (32 color and over 140 b/w photos) autobiography has proven to be one of the most tllOroughly enjoyable natural history titles in recent memory. The chapters are all full-fledged short stories in and of themselves, which (as their author suggests) makes for excellent bedtime reading. Throughout, the many

MHS Newsleller Voillme 18 Number 8

A BOOK REVIEW By John p, Levell adventures, triumphs and heartaches of a most productive life are recounted in a refreshingly straightforward, modest and goodhumored manner. Perhaps most impressive is the incredible dignity and restraint Conant demonstrates while describing encounters or relationships with people whose habits and life styles were clearly not to his liking. At the same time, Roger shows no quahns about graciously acknowledging the assistance of everyone and anyone who ever contributed to his success. 1his is particularly evident in his comments regarding his late wife Isabelle Hunt Conant's contributions to his many projects, efforts he obviously considers easily the equal of his own.

In telling his tales, however,

Roger Conant has done more than just report on the history of herpetology and zoos. He has instead provided an all too rare glimpse of our world as it used to be, not just zoologically, but socially and politically as well. When seen through Roger's eyes, there can be no doubt that this is the world which we must all fight to regain. Thanks RC. for allowing us to share your remarkable life. Literature Gted:

Conant, Roger. 1951. The Reptiles of Ohio, 2nd edition. American Midland Naturalist. Notre Dame, IN. Conant, Roger. 1957. Reptiles and Amphibians of the Northeastern States, 3,d edition. Zoological Society of Philadelphia. Philadelphia, PA.

Conference Announcement and First Call for Papers

Conant, Roger. 1958. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians North America. of Eastern Houghton Mifflin, Co. Boston, MA.

Conant, Roger. 1969. A Review of the Water Snakes of the Genus Natrix in Mexico. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History No. 142. New York. Conant, Roger and Collins Joseph T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians Eastern and Central North America, 3,d edition. Houghton Mifflin, Co. Boston, MA. Gloyd, Howard K. and Conant, Roger. 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodoll Complex: A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles. Oxford, OH.

For Further information contact:

Sharon Mailman

The Tenth Annual

st. Croix Watershed Research Station 16910 152" Street North Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota 55047 Telephone (612) 433-5953

S1. Croix River Research Rendezvous October 20, 1998 Marine on St. Croix, Minnesota

Deadline for submissions: September 4, 1998

Sponsored by the St. Croix Watershed Research Station Science Museum of Minnesota


MHS Newsletter Volwne 18 Number 8

The 14th Annual Midwest Herpetological Symposium October 16 -18, 1998 Best Western Waterfront Plaza Hotel, Indianapolis, Indiana, Hosted by The Hoosier Herpetological Society



Jeff Wines: "Cyclura at the Indianapolis Zoo."


Ron Hwnbert: "The Box Turtles of North America. Their Natural History, Current Survival Status and Comments on Captive Husbandry."

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM • VENDORS NIGHT Open to the public

Dr. MichaelJ. Lannoo: "Issues understanding the Politics of Amphibian Declines and Malformities."

10:00PM-? • HOSPITALITY SUITE OPEN for symposium attendees only

Mike Wood: "Captive Propagation and Maintenance of Gaboon and Rhino Vipers."


Dr. Sherman Minton: "Who, When, and WhereEarly Days of Herpetology in the Mid,vest.



Tom Weidner: "Looking Back, Looking Ahead - A lifetime of Keeping Boas and Pythons."

6:00 PM- 7:15 PM • BANQUET

Dr. Bernard Bechtel: "Abnormal Snakes."


Prof.. Daryl Karns: "Ecology of Homalopsine Snakes in Malaysia and Thailand." Jim Harrison: "Radio Telemetry Field Studies in Brazil."

8:30 PM- ?? • AUCTION • HOSPITALITY SUITE OPEN After auction

Full Registration: $48.00 unit Sept.1, 1998 $63.00 after Sept. 1, 1998 Banquet: $23.50 Contact: Holly Carter H.H.S. Secretary 625 Lakeview Drive Zionsville, IN 46077

SUNDAY: OCTOBER 18 Behind the scenes tour of the Desert-Biome at the Indianapolis Zoo. For Hotel Accommodations contact:

Make check or money order payable to: Hoosier Herpetological Society

Best Western Waterfront Plaza Hotel 2930 Waterfront Parkway, West Drive Indianapolis, Indiana 46214 (317) 299-8400 Fax (317) 299-9257 For Reservations call 1-800-528-1234 Mention symposium for a $62.00 room rate 10

MHS Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8

M.H.S. BUSINESS August Board of Directors Meeting

Treasurer's Report ofJuly 1998

By Bruce Haig, Recording Secretary

Prepared by Marilyn Brooks Blasus

The MHS Board of Directors met August 8, at the St. Paul Campus Student Union. A quorum was present.

Beginning checkbook balance:


Income: Membership: Raffle Sales Rodent Sales Donations Fines Misc. (Marketfest)

There was a decrease in cash during July, principally due to the purchase of supplies for the State Fair cages and payments of two months worth of rodent bills. The cages for the State Fair exhibit are under construction. Volunteers will be contacted when they are ready for installation.

195.00 27.00 0.00 462.75 103.10 3.00 756.00

Total income:



Marilyn Blasus will reserve the room for the Holiday Banquet in December but we need a chairperson for the committee to make all the rest of the arrangements.

Newsletter 313.00 Misc. prt./post. 14.34 Program 150.50 Library 35.91 Supplies 18.88 0.00 Refreshments Sales costs 1,190.11 Donation 0.00 Other ( DNR display) 500.00

Sara Richard has been working with the Minneapolis Animal Control Agency to re-draft the city ordinance governing legal pet ownership. She will also be contacting the city of Plymouth, which is in the process of re-writing their ordinance. There were 104 people at the August general meeting.

Total Expense: Net income/ (loss)

Presented and accepted: Membership Report, Recording Secretary Report and Treasurers Report.

Ending checkbook balance: Funds allocated to unpaid expenses Funds available

2,222.74 (675.89) 112,152.35 451.48 11,700.87

MRS Coming Events Sept 11, 1998 MHS General Meeting, Program: Veterinary Clinic. Speaker: Dr. Janell Osborn, 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M, St. Paul Campus, 7:00p.m Sept. 12, 1998 MHS Board of Directors Meeting. Student Union, U of M, st. Paul Campus, 7:00p.m. Oct. 2, 1998 MHS General Meeting. Speakers: Jim Gerholdt, Dr. Dan Keyler. Oct 16-18, 1998 Annual Midwest Herpetological Symposium. Indianapolis, Indiana Nov. 6,1998 MHS General Meeting, Speaker: Jeff Lang Nov. 7,1998 MN ZOO Tour -FROGS! Dec- Holiday Banquet

Hands-On Aug IS-Sept 27. Weekends Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Contact Dennis Daly (331-8606 or 918-5064) or Franke Forstner (235-3964) you must preregister by the Tues. eve. before the weekend you want to attend. Contact Sean Hewitt (612) 935-5845 for further information of Hands- On events. 11

MHS Newsletter Volume 18 Number 8

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS For Sale: Classified ads are free to the membership. Deadline is the rught of the general meeting to be included in the next newsletter. Contact Nancy Haig 434-8684 to leave ad or mail to: MHS Editor, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St., SEt 1vlinneapolis, MN, 55455 1.0.0= male, 0.1.0 = female, 0.0.1 = unsexed, cb :=: captive bred, obo = or best offer, += timeSfl1ll..

Baby Veiled Chameleons, $35.00; Sandfire Bearded Dragon Sandfire Hatchlings, $65.00; Bearded Dragons Juveniles, $125.00; Trio of White's Tree Frogs, Adult, $40.00. Call Vern, 428-4625+ Baby Snake Sale. All CB. in August 98. Corn Snakes, $20.-$30.; California Kingsnakes (Banded Desert Phase) $40.; Mexican (Sonoran) Black Kingsnakes, $40.$50. Call after 6 P.M. and ask for Scott. (612) 757- 9766 + Common Boa Babies. Born4-2198, feeding well, shed, father has aberrant striped pattern. $75 each. Contact Michael @ (612) 754-8241 or +

4.2.0 CB 98 Ball Python, eating frozlthawed $40.00, Nice 5/98 0.0.5 Leopard Geckos $20.00, 0.0.2 Boa's 3/98 $35.00, 1.0.0 Savannah Monitor $75.00, Call Sarah, (612) 202-3567+ 1.1 Spur Thigh Tortoises. CB 91.

I've moved- they no longer have a yard. Female has laid eggs. $500/pr. Gloria (612) 235-7374 (voicemail). +++

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MHS Rodent Sales Mice

Baby Common Boas, c.b. 98,. Shed & fed, $65.00 each. Call Tina (612) 856-2865 +++

Pinkies Fuzzies Hoppers



Frozen Rabbits - all sizes. Prices very reasonable- pinkies to adults. Jim Daluge (612) 295-2818

Sm. Pups Lg Pups Juvn Rats. Adults

$7.00 dozen $7.00 dozen $S.OO dozen $10.00 dozen $12.00 dz. $IS.OO dz. $24.00 dz. $15.00 six $30.00 dz.

Critter Cagesix section pressboard and plexiglass, hinged doors, n'h x46'w x 28' d. four sections with lights. Call after 9:00am or leave message, Lynn Peters 825-6767. +++

For pick up at monthly meetings only. Orders must be placed at least one week in advance of date of meeting at which the frozen rodents are to be delivered. Place orders with Tina (Rat Girl) Cisewski at (612)


All proceeds go toward the operating costs of the society. The MRS is a completely volunteer run, non.profit organization.

Anyone who video or audio-taped any or all of the "1997 Midwest Herpetological Symposiwn" in Shakopee, MN. Please call: John Levell at (507) 467-3076, or PM (507) 467-8733 +++

English Spot

...\ '

Notice: For the first time in 6 years the MHS has had to raise its deli prices. The rodents are obtained on an as- available-basis from the vendor. Please be understanding if a particular size occasionally is not available.


Dr. Janell Osborn, DVM


"Herpetocultural Housecalls"

Jim's Rabbit Shack

(612) 599-5476

Where Spots Are Tops JIM DALUGE

Veterinary Medicine for Reptiles and Amphibians

8700 Jabe, Ave. N.E . Monticello, MN 55362 (612) 295-2818


Advertising Policies

MHS Meeting Location

MRS Ad Policy: The MHS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animal, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space limitations, unpaid and complimentary advertisements are subject to occasional omission.


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Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads


rnay be run (3) consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted. Corresponding members are allmved a complimentary business card advertisement







Submissions: All advertisements should be submitted to the MHS Editor, Ben Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Deadline is the night of the General Meeting for inclusion in the next newsletter. Make checks payable to: Minnesota Herpetological Society


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Meetings are the 1" Friday of the month. Rm. 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M St. Paul Campus Start time: 7:00 p.m. MHS Voicemail: (612) 624 - 7065 Internet: http://www.onrampinc.netlmhs/

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per Month $10.00 $20.00 $40.00 Business card advertisements may be purchased at $5.00 per ad, per month.

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Display Ad Rates: Ad Size '4 page lh page full page



monthly as space permits.

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Iication Check #

Name ____________________________________________________________________________________ Addrnss __________________________________________________________________________________ City_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ State Phone ___________________________email

Zip _ _ _ _ _ __ List in MHS Directory? _ _ Yes _ _ No

Herp related interests ________________________________________________________________________ Active Memberships: ____ Sustaining ($60/yr) _ _ _ Contributing ($30/yr) ____ Basic ($15/yr) Corresponding Memberships: ____ Gold Commercial ($100/yr 2 full pg. ads) ____ Bronze Commercial ($50/yr 2 1/4pg ads)

_ _ _ Silver Commercial ($75/yr 21/2 pg. ads) _ _ _ Basic Commercial ($25/yr 2 Bus cards)

State DOB ____________ Required check in!. Drivers Lic # Please enclose the proper payment with your application. MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Membership is for 12 months from the date of approval, a receipt will be sent only upon request. MAIL TO: Minnesota Herpetological Society, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church st. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Please allow 6 - 8 weeks for processing.

Non-Profit Rate U.S. Postage


PAID Mpls, MN Permit No. 2275







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Advertising Policies MRS Ad Policy: The MHS a"umes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animal, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space limitations, unpaid and complimentary advertisements are subject to occasional omission.

MHS Meeting Location


'" 10 Hwy36

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Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads may be run (3) consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted. Corresponding members are allowed a complimentary business card advertisement monthly as space permits. Display Ad Rates: Ad Size per Month $10.00 'Ai page $20.00 v., page $40.00 full page Business card advertisements may be purchased at $5.00 per ad, per month.


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Meetings are the 1" Friday of the month. Rm. 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M 51. Paul Campus Start time: 7:00 p.m. MHS Voicemail: (612) 624 - 7065 Internet: http://www.onrampinc.netimhs/

Membershi New


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Submissions: All advertisements should be submitted to the MHS Editor, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church st. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Deadline is the night of the General Meeting for inclusion in the next newsletter. Make checks payable to: Minnesota Herpetological Society





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lication Check #

Name ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address _____________________________________________________________________________ City_________________________________________________ State Phone ____________________________ email

Zip ________________ List in MHS Directory? _ _ Yes _ _ No

Herp related interests ___________________________________________________________________________ Active Memberships: _____ Sustaining ($60/yr) ___ Contributing ($30/yr) ___ ,Basic ($15/yr) Corresponding Memberships: ___ Gold Commercial ($100/yr 2 full pg. ads) ___ Bronze Commercial ($50/yr 2 1/4pg ads)

____ Silver Commercial ($75/yr 2112 pg. ads) ____ Basic Commercial ($25/yr 2 Bus cards)

Required check in!. Drivers Lic # State DOB ___________ Please enclose the proper payment with your application. MAKE CHECKS PAYABLE TO: MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Membership is for 12 months from the date of approval, a receipt will be sent only upon request. MAIL TO: Minnesota Herpetological Society, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church st. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Please allow 6 - 8 weeks for processing.

Non-Profit Rate U.s. Postage


PAID Mpls,MN Permit No. 2275









Vol. 18 (1998), No. 8  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

Vol. 18 (1998), No. 8  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter