Page 1


Upcoming Meeting October Program :

Unknawn at the time of printing, but I'm sure John has something great planned. Date: October 1, 1999 Time: 7:00 PM. Location: Borlaug Hall, Room 335, U of M St. Paul Campus

The I. V. A. The International Varanid Association (l.V.A.) is an international monitor lizard association dedicated to the care and understanding of captive monitor lizards. The l.V.A. was founded in 1996 and was Originally the Northern Ohio Varanid Association (N.O.V.A.). Since its inception, the association has grown at a steady pace nationally and overseas. The association's membership includes everyone from the casual herpetoculturist to zookeepers and professional herpetologists. The l. V.A. is networked with the Dutch varanid society, the Russian varanid society, several Australian clubs and many domestic herp clubs and zoos. The l.V.A. mission is to educate monitor lizard keepers and Potential keepers about our responsibilities in keeping these animals, as well as our responsibilities to others who may not be so interested. The l.V.A. places great emphasis on captive breeding. Networking is always encouraged to hopefully establish some breeding groups of commonly held species.

Volume 19 Number 9 Membership to The International Varanid Association is open to anyone who has an interest in the care and understandingof monitor lizards. Membership includes 3 issues of DRAGON NEWS (the journal of the l.V.A.), a yearly membership directory and an "annual" "Year in Review''' issue. For l.V.A. membership information Contact: John Hogston 3008 42"d Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55406 Phone 612- 722-8514 Email;!lizard chaser!

Sean McKeown Fund The special collection at the September meeting brought in $220.00 add $150.00 in matching funds and the MHS will be donating $370.00 to the Sean McKeown Special Fund. Thanks to everyone who contributed to this worthy cause, For those that would still like to contribute- Send your donations directly to: Sean McKeown Special Fund Bank of America, l.os Osos Branch #1710 1076 Los Osos Valley Road Los Osos, CA 93402-3237

Project Complete! After more than 4 years in the works, we finally have a packet to give new MHS members. This packet contains a wealth of information for any member. Starting with a warm welcome from our President, it contains a summary of benefits, dues information, a short description of Board and other volunteer positions, bylaws, and policies. This information is contained in a folder with other valuable materials like the white pages, current newsletter, map to the monthly meeting location, future meeting dates, and the blue - welcome to a meeting sheet. Lastly, the packet has a gift for new members including the Bell Museum Leaflets (ie. the frogs & toads of MN that we just mailed), occasional papers, the 'care of .. : series (that we give out at Hands-on), and other items. Now you may think that this is great for future new members. But what if you can't find your copy of the MHS bylaws? Or you would like to read a description of the Board positions because you are thinking of running next March. Current members can pick up a copy of the information section from the Membership Secretary, Mark, at the next few meetings. All other materials mentioned above will be brought to the monthly meeting only if you make a special request in advance to Marilyn at 612-925-4237. Requested material can also be mailed.

Questions or comments can be directed to Marilyn at the above phone number or any Board Member. MBB

Board of Directors President Bill Moss

(651) 483-1383

Vice President John Levell

(507) 467-3076

Recording Secretary Julie Beauvais

(612) 321-0958

The Minnesota Herpetological Society Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church Street, SE, Mirmeapolis Mirmesota, 55455-0104

Membership Secretary

Mark Schmidtke

(651) 481-0127

Treasurer Marilyn Blasus

(612) 925-4237

Newsletter Editor NancyHaig

(612) 434-a684

Past President George Richard

(651) 639-6368

Members at Large Todi Aherns Nancy Hakomaki Gordon Merck JaneUOsbom

(612) 583-9329 (612) 203-5295 (612) 566-2001 (651) 455-6540

(651) 639-6326

Northern Minnesota Jeff Korbel

(218) 586-2588

Occasional Papers John Moriarty

(651) 482-Jl109

Rodent Sales Tina Cisewski

(612) 856-2865

He!!, Assistance (651) 388-0305 (612) 265-7880 (651) 482-Jl109

Chl'lnleleQ!ls Vern & Laurie Grassel (612) 4284625

(701) 772-m27


Volume 19, Number 9

The purpose of the Minnesota Herpetological Society is to

(651) 604-0314

CrocNllianc; Je££Lang

September 1999

Education Sean Hewitt

Amphibians Greg Kvanbek John Meltzer John Moriarty


Internet http:((!mhs(

Committees Adoption Sarah Richard

Voice Mail: (612) 624-7065

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.

The Minnesota Herpetological Society is a non-profi~ tax-exempt organization. Membership is open io all itldividuals with an intereSt in amphibians and reptiles. The Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter is published monthly to provide iis members with infonnation concerning the society"s activities and a media for exchanging information" opinions and resources. General Meetings are held at Borlaug HaIL Room 335 on the Sl Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota, on the first Friday of each month (unless there is a holiday conflict). The meeting starts at 7:00 pm and lasis about three hours. Please check the MHS Voicemail for changes in schedules or cancellations. Submissions to the Newsletter Ads or Notices must be submitted no later than the night of the General Meeting to be included in the next issue. Longer articles will be printed as time and space allows. All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space penniis. Business cards are run for $5.00 per month. or Emailed to: Items may be sent to: The Minnesota Herpetological Society Attn: Newsletter Editor Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church St, SE Minneapolis, MN. 55455-0104

bruchaig@citilink .com


(612) 434-Jl684

Big lizards, Monitors Bill Moss

(651) 483-1383

large boas, Pythons Tina Osewski

(612) 856-2865

Snakebite Emergency

Jo1m Meltzer

(651) 488-6388 (612) 265-7880

The Snakebite Emergency has changed Hennepin Regional Poison Center

Aquatic Turtles Gary Ash John Levell

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

Other snakes Jeff LeOere


Fred Bosman

John Levell

(612) 476-03()6 (507) 467-3076

1 - (800) - 764 -7661 This should work for both Io<al and out state calls Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society 1999. 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 Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

NEWS, NOTES & ANNOUNCEMENTS Critter Of The Month Eric Patnoe

Common Garter Snake

T1mmnophis sirtalis Xauthlc x flame Hatchling Painted Turtles Chrysemys picla

Liam Bonk Sara Knez

Mexican Leaf Frogs Pachymedusa dacnicolor African Bullfrog Pyxicephalus adspersus

Jim Gerholdt

Blacktail Rattlesnake Crotalus molossus Northern Bluetongue Skink Tiliqua ssp. Bumsi Phase Leopard Frog Rana pipiens

Holiday Banquet Saturday December ~ 1999. TItis year's banquet will be held at the VFW HalL 648 E. Lawson in St Paul. For those unfarniliar with the area, it's a little east of 35W and south of Maryland Ave. E. Our September Speaker, Barney Oldfield, donated one of his great photographs, already framed to start off the raffle prizes. More details will be in the October newsletter.

Duane McDermott

Thanks to Raffle Donors jan Anderson

LlLemon Gator'~

Karin Rea Laurie Grassel

Hair clip water bowl! rock

Adoption comm.


Help a Hapless Herp Adopted August were: 2 Ball Pythons 1 Western Hognose Snake 1 Three toed Box Turtle 2 Green Basilisks 1 WhIte throat Monitor 1 Savannah Monitor 1 Red bellied Newt 1 Baby Burmese Python 1 Albino Comsnake Still needing homes are: 1 Ig Burmese Python 1 19 Albino Burmese Python 3 Red..,ared Sliders 6+ Common Boas 3+ Iguanas

The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) will be conducting an auction of an excellent herpetological library. Proceeds from the sale, to be conducted entirely by the post, will be used to support student projects and publication of books. joseph R Bailey, was a leading expert on the snakes of tropical America and co-author of the book Amphibians and Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia" (Dniv. North Carolina Press, 1980). He died in 1998. His wife has donated joe's herp library to SSAR on the condition it be auctioned with the proceeds being used to continue joe's interests in the 1/

New DNR Brochure The new large format brochure available from the DNR, "Snakes and People" is the type of brochure you want to have around when your neighbor or coworker starts to complain about the snakes in their yards or in their basements. (why does this always happen to other people?). This is a guide for dealing with snakes, deterring snakes and removing snakes. It answers some frequently asked questions and includes a one page identification guide with photos of the common garter snake, fox snake, redbelly snake, bullsnake, massasauga and timber rattlesnake. There is also a listing for the DNR rattlesnake relocation team. They provide advice and/ or assistance for people in southeastern Minnesota that encounter

rattlesnakes. Their number is 507-28{}5070. The brochure can be obtained from The Minnesota Dept of Natural Resources Nongame Wildlife Program 500 Lafyette Rd. St PauL MN 55155-4007

If you are interested in adopting animaIs

please contact Sarah Richard at (651) 6396326.

Postal Auction of Joseph R. Bailey's Herpetological Library

1-88S-646-6367 www.dnr.state.mnus 3

society's activities.

Some of the books have been donated to Duke University where he was a professor of zoology. The rest of the collection of about 400 books and monographs will be auctioned. The collection is rich on North and South American topics. A full list can be obtained on request from: KraigAdler Neurobiology and Behavior Seeley G. Mudd Hall Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-2702 Voicemail607-254-4392 Fax 607-254-4308 Email: kka4庐

Send a self addressed mailing label with you request or even better路 send your Email address.

Full auction instructions are given with the list Deadline for receipt of bids will be February 1, 2000.

MH5 Newsleffer Volutlle 18 Numher 9

FROM OUR MEMBERS Back to the Basics By Jesse Black My back is still sore as I prop myself in front of the computer screen. Thafs right, it was tree viper feeding night. Those of you who have ever worked with the various tree vipers, green tree pythons, emerald tree boas, Of Sanzinia boas, know'all too well what I mean. Small arboreal snakes are more easily startled and distracted than a classroom full of five year olds. On this particular night I was feeding my whltelipped Vipers, Trimeresurus albolabris, pink rat !1partsfl as they are too small to eat even pink mouse heads. I still can't ÂŁod anything that they like to eat besides tree frogs, so I must cut a frog shaped piece of rat pink and tap the diminutive snake's tail until it strikes at the annoyance. These snakes use caudal luring in their prey-securing bag of tricks, so a rat part extended on long forceps and tapped on the tail usually eUcits an immediate strike. That's where the fun begins. As soon as the snake grasps the rat part you freeze in motion. You don't just hold still, you freeze stiff as a corpse. Any movement, even heavy breathing, will cause the snake to drop the food item, but not immediately, no sir. They would much prefer-to hold the food item in their tiny little mouths for ten or fifteen minutes (or half an hour!) and then drop it Then the game starts all over again. It's lots of fun when you've got fifty hungry babies waiting for food. And people wonder why I don't breed eyelash vipers anymore!

Now, if you are smart,. which I am usually not, you get a chair and offer the food while sitting in a comfortable position that you can maintain without too much discomfort. I usually find myself on my knees or sitting Indian style, any position that is guaranteed to produce muscle spasms within the first five minutes. Tonight, as my leaf-green Uttle friends stared back at me daring me to move, I had a lot of time to think and waoch the nocturnal activities of some of the animals in my reptile room.

As rve written in a previous article for the League of Florida HerpetolOgical Societies, my wife and I have tried, with great success, a harem breeding Set-up for our leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, breeding program. We now house 2.25 adults in each python sized enclosure. These cages are landscaped with logs and several hiding spots. A single sheet of newspaper at one end acts as a Ulitterboxuâ&#x20AC;˘ For us, this has been a successful breeding set-up and is more pleasing to the eye than racks of sweaterboxes. We like to see our animals. Since I've described this arrangement in detail elsewhere, JIll avoid a lengthy description, but suffice to say that our geckos seem lthappierH in a large cage. Production has also increased

As my hamstrings tense up in that all too familiar manner, I watch the little geckos cruise the cage. Some are chasing down crickets; one male is pursuing a mate, and others are just laughing at my lack of planning as they stare back at me in my painful position. It has been a while since I just sat and watched the geckos. Unfortunately, my life, just like everyone else's, is a hectic mess most of the time. rm ashamed to say that sometimes the animals become mere objects to feed, clean, and place on price lists, all in the most timely manner. Sometimes I forget that these are individual lives that rely on me for their very existence. They are not merely numbers, or pattems, or color phases, but lives. That is all too easy to forget sometimes. It's been rather cold lately lat the time of this writing] so I've had to bring the veiled chameleons, Chamae/eo calyptratus, into the reptile room at night When they go to sleep on their perches nothing seems to disturb them, not even the fact that I have the lights on at IIpm. To my left, right at face level, is my big breeder male. He is c1uoching a ficus limb in a vertical position~ his tail curled up tight as a snail shell. During the day his colors (except when breeding) are never as bright as they are at night when he's sleeping. I usually can't get as close to him as my face is right


now. What a magnificent animal. It wasn't all that long ago that I remember seeing them on price lists, when they were available at all, for prices of well over one thousand dollars. Now that hatchlings can be had in wholesale quantities for twenty dollars or less, people take them for granted. There are several breeders/dealers who are fond of using the slogan Uno junk" or something to that effect We arentt talking about used cars here folks, how can we feel good about ourselves calling the animals we used to love Ujunk H ? If an animal is sick from parasite load or importation stress it is not "junkll but in need of help. After all, this animal would not be in the shape it's in if there were not a demand created by us. And even though an animal may be common where it was once rare, we should not take them for granted. Indeed, we should puff our chests out with pride over these "common!! animals for it is due to our blood, sweat, and dedication that they can now be labeled as Hcommon". Scarcity should not detennine an animalts desirability. Captive breeding in the private sector works, we have proven that over and over, but the work cannot stop once large numbers of a species have been reproduced. In my opinion, that is when the real work begins. The albino Burmese python, Python molurus bivittatus, is a prime example.

In 1983 a single albino was bred to a r~ormal Bunnese. The resulting heterozygous offspring were then bred back to each other. In 1986 the first albino Burmese python was produced in captivity. Now let me count on my fingers here for a minute, .. 8,9,10,12. Twelve years. Okay, again with the fingers, 2, 3, divide into ten three to four. It takes most Burmese pythons two to three years to reach sexual maturity, unless they are "pumped n with an unhealthy amount of food. So that means that at the most, we have produced four, maybe five generations of albinos. Tha~s barely a start when you consider how long we've been breeding some other types of reptiles. Yet in that short period of time we have seen millionaires made and the most

MHS Newsleller Volume 19 Number 9

From the Members sought after snake in the world crash down to a reptile that can now be hard to give away. But now is when they need the most breeding attention and outcrossing to keep the strain strong and viable. We started with one snake and are already seeing inbreeding depression in some animals. The people who have maintained

almost one thousand babies and is still going strong. Below his cage is a heavily gravid female due in a few weeks. I know several now successful breeders whose first snake, other than the backyard kind, was one of this male's offspring. To me thafs pretty neat to think about to whom each of my babies has gone.

meticulous records and were selective

about their stock should be commended. In ten more years they may be the only ones to produce this gorgeous yellow beast as it appeared in the beginning, big, strong, and regal. Finally, the little white-lip finishes his rat part and my tingling, numb legs get a much needed reprieve. As he takes rat part number two off of the forceps (after the first part is down subsequent offerings are more readily accepted) I'm able to turn Sideways from my prior position and observe the nocturnal doings of some of my other animals. Above my head and to the left is myoid male ame1anistic com snake, EJaphe g. guttata, the last of two that remain from days gone by. He is a huge snake, solid orange, and patterned with giant symmetrical saddles that hint of his Okeetee bloodline. He was my first and most beautiful albino. Way back before dealers invented the commercial name that labeled him as a "no white strain' people would marvel at his shocking orange splendor with moutha agape. Now, amongst the rarities and more expensive reptiles in my collection, he is hardly noticed by visitors at all. That is, until a novice's eyes grow wide at the orange snake nestled among the cages of more drab species. Thank god there Me still people who don't "know any beÂŤeru and my albino is once again, briefly, the center of attention. With my toe, for I dare not move too much, I slide his cage door open. The big colubrid slides up into my lap. Instantly, I am fifteen years younger, reliving past pride and satisfaction. Behind those shiny pink eyes I hope he is remembering the countless hours spent in my lap from years almost too distant to believe. I looked over some records later and find that he has sired

Like I said earlier, I am as guilty as anyone when it comes to getting away from what is really important with the animals that take up a significant part of my life. Hell, they are my life, or at least my life's work. I can't even begin to imagine what I'd do without them. Maybe thafs why I can't relate to "normal" people wheo they say they are bored with life. Aren't there always cages to be built and incubator thermometers to check? Aren't there always meticulously planoed breeding programs to initiate? My parents accuse me of not knowing how to relax and unwind. I tell them it is driving devotion and passion. The school psychologist used to tell them it was !tobsessive-compuIsiveTt â&#x20AC;˘ Can any of

you relate? All of this comes one week after my wile and I attended the Annual All Florida Herpetological Conference in Gainesville, Florida. At the beginning of his fantastic lecture entitled "Uncommon Behaviors of Common Amphibians and Reptiles" Tom Tynlng (Massachusetts Audubon Society) held up a small book. He asked how many received this tiny book as their first reptile book? He then asked how many people still had it crammed in their libraries somewhere? The same number of hands, including mine, stayed in the air amid a chorus of laughter. My "Little Golden Book of Reptiles and Amphibians", the one that used to go to elementary school with me every day, is still alive and still has the snakes checked off as I either caugh~ saw, or got bitten by them. Tom urged us to study the common anima1s we first fell in love with while they are still around and not take them for granted, for we still know so little. Two hours earlier I was punching calculator buttons trying to figure out


my profit margin on bearded dragons, Pogo,", vitticeps, after a panicky friend (who bet his financial life on dragons) told me of the expected drop in wholesale prices this year. I felt mighty ashamed of myself for being so tied up in profit that I forgot to be excited that this was going to be a banner dragon year for us. Tom Tynlng brought me back to reaUty as I recalled my little "Golden Book" and the pictures of then-elusive anima1s now labeled "conunonHâ&#x20AC;˘ I still remember each one and how I handled those anima1s like they were made of gold. Al Baldogo's (Baldogo Reptiles) lecture on the "Natural History of the Green Tree Python, Morelia viridis, and Boelen's Python, Liasis boeleni, also impressed me and led me to stop and think about a few things. AI is a charming, modes~ and highly personable fellow, a neat guy. I met him a few years ago in Eugene Bessette's (Ophiological Services) living room follOWing another All Florida Herpetological Conference. Al had delivered a great lecture the day before on his bearded dragon breeding program. Three years later I still can't help but crack a smile at recalling his dragon photography as he showed his animals going through the four seasons. Well, I guess it wasn't funny unless you were there, but close your eyes and try to picture a bearded dragon on snow skis with a Santa Claus hat on! Ai's lectures are definitely worth attending! This year's lecture chronicled his adventures on the Irian Jaya side of New Guinea studying green tree pythons and Boelen's pythons in the wild. Al had as many photographs of the fascinating native people he lived and collected with as snake pictures. Patty and I were most impressed that he referred to his hosts as "my friends" on every occasion. To me this shows a

great respect for the country's indigenous people rarely expressed by Westerners. In return for this respec~ they worked tirelessly for Mr. Baldogo, helping him "only out of friendship" as

MHS Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

From the Members he put it All of this occurred through a considerable language barrier. He also tramped through areas of New Guinea that few Westerners have probably ever seen. For his effort, AI showed the privileged audience photogmphs not only of green tree pythons, but photos (the first that I know of) of Boelen's pythons in their natural habitat And not just one Of two snakes but many, many different animals including nesting sites.

To protect the greedy I won't name names, but there were a couple of the nation's big names in the crowd that were excitedly whispering about how many Boelen's they'd have shipped back to American soil if they had been there. I'm sure I may have been tempted too (maybe just a little) given that Boelen's pythons are among the most beautiful, expensive, and enigmatic snakes known. But they are also among the most difficult to keep, most die early on because, they are so poorly understood. Ifs a crime for such a beautiful animal to wither and die because we just plain don't know how to maintain it In my opinion, they should be left alone until more fieldwork has been done that can guide us better. AI's opinion turned out to be the same, for he did not bring one boeleni back with him. And although he says there are many more New Guinea trips (take me! take me!) in his future, he stated that he probably never will try to set them up, preferring to observe them in the wild. The wild populaticn appears to be in good shape for the time being, and given the torturous terrain, remoteness, and protective native tribes, I think it may stay that way. Others in the audience thought AI a bit esentric for not bringing a small fortune home from the mountains of New Guinea. But he sure gained my respect (or rather added to what was already there) proving that sometimes it is better to hold on to the love of animals and natural history that enveloped us totally and honestly when we were young. Ifs embers still burn in all of us I think.

How many of us still catch every racer we see even though we know we are going to get bitten and bloodied, only to release it a few moments later? I know I always have fresh battle wounds on my hands and forearms. My tree vipers finished their meals long ago and the patter of raindrops is now blending nicely with the chirping sounds from the tubs of crickets. I cut the lights down to one small fluorescent over the cricket cages and open the sliding glass doors all the way. Yes my friends, spring is here, my favorite time of year. The dragon prices may drop, the freckled pythons, Liasis macklali, are too small to breed this season, and that big female carpet python, Marelia spilotes mcdowelli, may not become gravid this year, but so what? I've already got tons of eggs incubating, lots of gmvid females, and one hell of a collection of neat animals. But thafs still not the point I can feel proud of the way that I maintain the lives that count on me. And like Al Baldogo's friends, they reward me handsomely, sometimes financtally, but most importantly, spiritually. i, like most people, got into actually breeding reptiles to cover the mounting costs that arose from keeping the animals I'd have anyway. Along the way, however, a calculator fell into my hands and greed popped up its ugly head. Now there's nothing wrong with making a good living doing what you love, thafs the American dream. Well, that and Lotto! But it is wrong, terribly wrong, when the animals are forsaken.

When my wife and I recently lost what was supposed to be our first baby, we were comforted, not turned into the objects of disappointment by our friends and family. Yet how many of us have found ourselves getting angry at a reptile (as stupid as that sounds) because it laid infertile eggs after we had already punched the calculator keys? More people than will admit to it Scary when you think of it like tha~ huh?


I think I'll sit on the floor in the dim light for a little while longer. I also think I'll almost be happy that my white-lip vipers take forever to feed. And I'm not going to worry about the price of bearded dmgons this year. And I know now that somewhere, somewhere in the deep folds of my mind is a little boy toting around his Little Golden Book of Reptiles and Amphibians. He's almost aching with the anticipation of the day when he can hold and gaze "upon animals he can only dream of for nown, I realize that each and every day I am living that little boy's dreams and I will not let them become stale or unimportant just because they are now familiar. I'm perfectly happy pressing my nose to the glass returning the smiling grin of a happy, common, little gecko.

This article, contributed by Ted Schave, was reprinted with permissi<m from the August 1999 Newsletter of The League of Florida Herpetological Societies. The MRS exchanges newsletters with a large number of herp societies. Current issues are available at the library during the General Meeting -ed.

Jokes Two little snakes were wiggling along the side of the road when the first little snake turned to the second little snake and asked. "Are we poisonous?' "Why?" asked the second little snake, to which the first little snake replied, "Because I just bite my lip!" 9-7-99 America Online

What do you get when you cross pasta with a boa constrictor? Self -winding spaghetti From a restaurant placemat

MHS Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

From the Members

Ask the Herpin' Man? Dear Editor-

I would like to see "Herpin Man" continue in the newsletter, yet I noticed it did not appear last month. Is it possible that the less-than-serious tone of the first colUtnn scared people off? I can't believe that our members don't have any questions. Perhaps the first colUtnn was intended to be a onetime-only funny article. It was hard to tell. So ... if the colUtnn is meant to be a serious service to our readers, which I think it should be, I have included a couple of questions here that,. if answered seriously, may encourage more members to submit questions. Sincerely, Laurie Mahling

[Most of the contributions to the newsletter are on a casual "when abie basis from people volunteering their time and efforts. Although I can't speak for the HHerpin' Man" or promise he will respond to questions, I think wurie has a good suggestion that we use the newsletter as a forum for questions and answers. Because there can be several ways to handle herp issues, I am printing some questions in hopes that our members will send in responses that may be beneficial to olhers. H

Dear ?,

Dear ?,

After working at several HandsOns, I have heard cerlain questions asked on a regular basis. Sometimes the person is really interested and will listen to a detailed response but usually they only want to hear a good short reply. I would like to be able to give an interesting and educating answer to these basic questions.

All the information I have been able to find on Sulcata Tortoises stress the importance of not keeping them in northern climates where they can't be kept outside all year round. That's not much help for us northerners that already own suleatas. Can you give some helpful hints for keeping these huge critters happy inside? My 4 year old male paces his room when he can't go outside, depositing his copious amounts of manure in his favorite route. You can guess what happens. Do other sulcata owners see this behavior and if so do they have creative ways of dealing with it? i'Fancy' 811 Maid

"Why are all these cornsnakes different colors?" (talking about variations in colors of regular snakes not color morphs from special breedings). "Why does a snake stick out its tongue?" (Looking for a simple answer to explain the Jacobson'S Organ or its purpose). "Do they like being touched or petted?" "Why is this snake rough feeling while that other one is smooth?" "How can you tell if it's a boy or a girl?" "Why is it called a (bull.nake,

ratsnake, milksnake" etc.)?"


First in line on # de fence"

Don't Forget! Last chance to register for the

Dear ?i

My adult male Horsfield's tortoise stalks my adult male Red Foot in a way that appears to be misguided mating behavior. He bobs his head and bites at the Red Foots head and front legs. I don't really want to get another tortoise nor do I want to deal with nesting and eggs, but I've wondered if getting a female Horsfield would solve the problem or if the aggressive behavior toward the Red Foot would continue anyway. My tortoises have plenty of room so most of the time the Red Foot can avoid his stalker but other times the Horsfield goes out of his way to find his "victim". Tortoise Referee

Full conference $62 Banquet $25 Contact Iowa Herpetological Society P.O. Box 13102 Des Moines, Iowa 50310-9998

15th Annual Midwest Herpetological Symposium

Or Ed Twedt 515-292-3074

October 15-17

For rooms : Four Points Sheraton 11040 Hickman Road Des Moines, Iowa 515-278-5575

Four Points Sheraton Des Moines, Iowa 7

MHS Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

Field Trip 1999- Part II By John P. Levell THE MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY'S 1999 FIELD TRIP TO FILLMORE COUNTY "tlre adventure continues .. ,," Following Sunday morning's breakfast of boiled coffee and waterlogged donuts, the remainder of the group first struck camp and then piled into our vehicles to head over to inspect the Mielke property just off Fillmore County Road 17 near the MN DNR1s Isinours Management Unit. Enroute" however, we again somehow took a wrong hun and our caravan was lead on a merry tour of not only the Qly of Preston but a fair percentage of the surrounding countryside as well. While it's impossible to know for, we strongly suspect that it was quite a shock to see a seeming endless procession of jeeps, cars and trucks snaking up their driveway for the owner's of the property where we finally did managed to turnaround. Although now headed off in the right direction,. our group never-the-less just had to stop 50 everyone could get out and examine a three foot long Milk Snake that had re<ently been killed on the road While the circle of maniacs surrounding the unfortunate snake1s still quivering carcass undoubtedly provided quite a spectacle for the passing cars filled with homebound church goers, we did manage to figure out just who could lay claim to the 1xx!y without too much cussing and screaming! Alter Levell finally finished crying (yep, he lost), we all climbed back into the vehicles and continued on our way. Not surprisingly considering Levell's unparalleled navigational skills, we somehow completely bypassed the Mielke's driveway and ended up in the parking lot of the ever popular Old Bam Resort. Here we regrouped, turned around yet again and set off once more bound for (you guessed it) the Mielke property. TIlis time, however, we actually found the place and as we reached the end of the driveway found the entire Mielke family anxiously aWaiting our arrival. After the obligatory introductions, not to mention a brief discussion regarding our navigator's abilities and sanity, Joel Mielke along with his wife lead U8 off for a grand tour of their property.

The Mielke's relatively extensive estate incorporates a variety of different habitats including uplaod grasslands and fields (both fallow aod cultivated), heavily wooded rocky bluffsides and a steep low lying valley complete with a small intermittent creek Also encompassed by the property's bouhdarles are an assot1:nlent of old building foundations, unused. cisterns and wells, and other associated old farming equipment and debris. Best of all, Je>el is extremely interested in knowing exactly what species of animals (including reptiles) occur on his laod and he has already begun laying out pieces of sheet metal and plywood specifically to attract snakes. \'Vhile we only managed to tum-up a single graVid female Common Garter Snake during our initial visit, everyone eagerly shared their opinions regacding the best locations for usnake sampling stations" with Joel and the site promises to be very productive indeed in the very near future. From the Mielke place we next proceeded to lanesboro via a narrowing and winding gravel road, which led past the Avian Acres Petting Zoo (complete with Llamas, Emus, Goats, etc.) as well as a hairraising bluffside hairpin tum overlooking the city. In Lanesboro we ate a quick lunch at the Trail Inn Cafe, where we must admit the Levell's have trained the waitresses very well as they never even blinked an eye at our unending conversation about snakes, before visiting the living Museum of Natural History. While still very much a work in progress, a fairly substantial assortment of both native and exotic amphibians and reptiles as well as other natural history artifacts were on display at the museum and we had an opporhtnity to view first-hand some of the projects that have been funded by the MHS Grants in Herpetology program. After finishing up at the museum a few additional members of the group departed for home, leaving exactly four of us to conclude the weekend's festivities. This abbreviated band of rabid herpetologists once again hopped into a couple of cars and headed northward out of Lanesboro to what Levell insisted on calling his "secret destination." Imagine our surprise when a few minutes later we parked alongside a pasture and proceeded to take a walk down the Root River State BiIdng and Hiking Trall! There, aod despite some recurring doubts regarding our leaders mental health, we almost immediately found what


some would consider lithe crown jewel" of

the entire hip, two beautiful Timber Rattlesnakes, Crotalus Jumidlls. Needless-tosay, both snakes instantly became the subject of multiple photographs with the four of us all jostling with each other (again with a minimum of cussing and screaming) in quest of absolutely the most perfect camera positions. Finally we all ran out of film aod reluctantly headed on back to Lanesboro for a few well- deserved beers. While sometimes hectic and definitely not always blessed with the best of weather, the 1999 MHS field trip to Fillmore County certainly provided a most enjoyable weekend for everyone in attendan:e. We had such a good time in fact, that we're

already looking fonvard to doing it again next year. Heck we might even let Levell think he's the leader agam, although he'll have to promise to quit watclUng all those birds. In any case, we strongly encourage more MHS members to join us on future field trips as that will surely just further increase our fun.

Amphibian aod Reptile Species Recorded During the MHS 1999 Fillmore County Field Trip

American Toad (8ufo ameriamtts)

Gray Treefcog (Hyla versi",l.r) Green Frog (Rana ciamitans)

Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) Couunon serpenHna)




Timber Rattlesnake (Crotalus lwnidus)

&stem Milk triangulum)



Red-bellied Snake (Storeria ocdpitomaculata) Common Garter Snake (l1uumwpllis sirtaIis)

MHS Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

M.H.S. BUSINESS Treasurer's Report of August 1999

MRS Coming Events

Prepared by Marilyn Brooks Blasus Beginning checkbook balance: Income: Membership: Library Fines Raffle Sales Rodent Sales Donations Adoption/placement

October 1, 1999 MHS General Meeting. 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M, St. Paul Campus, 7:00p.m October 15-17, 1999 -15'" Annual Midwest Herpetological Symposium - Iowa Herpetological Society, Des Moines, Iowa. Call Ed Twedt (515) 292-3074 or Tom Weidner (515) 2760 3059 for more information

14,025.92 330.00 2.00 64.50 210.00 398.00 254.03 35.00

Hands-On No Hands-On(s) are scheduled for August or September due to our schedule at the Renaissance Festival


Total income: Expense: Newsletter Misc. prt/ post Program Library Supplies Refreshments Sales costs Misc. (vet exp) Misc. (renfest) Misc. (rt chk)

Hey Rickl Thanks a lotI Once again the friendly people at Dundee's have generously donated the hanging flower baskets that adorn our cozy Como Cottage at the Renaissance Festival.

264.00 0.00 100.00 51.92 46.12 0.00 698.90 44.00 264.96 44.00 1.513.94 (220.41)

Total Expense: Net income/ (loss)

Stop by the nursery and say thanks for the flowers and while you're at it, show them the MHS can be generous as well.

Ending checkbook balance: Funds allocated to unpaid expenses (grants) (other) Funds available

(/ Check Box) )<{RICK EUTENEUER 0 PAUL COUTURE OCHRIS HEAD 0 JAN STYVE (612) 559-4016 Fax: (612) 559-8483

16800 Highway 55 Plymouth, MN 55446









Shelley LeTendre 612-943-4011 Call For An AppOintment

13,805.51 1,775.00 632.80 11,397.71

MHS Newsletter Volume 19 Number 9

CLASSIFIED ADVERTISEMENTS Oauifl.ed ads are free to the membership. Deadline is the nlght of the general meeting to be included in the ne\t newlilelter. Mail 10: MHS Edilor, Bell Museum of NaturaJ mlory, 10 Chun.::h $l,SE, Minneapolis, MN, 55455 1.0.0" male, 0.1.0'"' female, 0.0.1 .. unsexed, cb"" CdptiW bred, obo '" or best offer, +~ times run. (ads are run only 3x unless requa;b!d fo continue.)

For Sale:


Veiled Chameleons, babies $40., Adult Breeders $50., Screen cage setups $75. Call Vern (612) 428-4625 +

All the shed snake skins in the world. Needed for giveaways at educational programs contact Bob Duerr 5410362

Yearling Carpet Python, excellent colors, good feed response, $150. obo. Jake (SW) 433-3006 +

Information Request: Please send the following: 1. A complete inventory of all reptiles and amphibians living in your collection as of January 1. Include numbers of males, females or unknown sex. 2. A list of all species bred during the previous year. Bare minimum would be to mark the species bred and indicate if they laid eggs or gave live birth. If possible include more detailed notes of a paragraph or more. 3. List of all species, living or dead which you may believe may be record length. 4. Be sure to list your name, address and telephone number, fax as you want them listed. Please be legible. Anonymous submissions will be considered, try to at least list your name and state. 5. If you know of a person keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity that has not responded please encourage them to do so. All collectors should respond. Send to Frank L. Slavens, PO Box 30744, Seattle, Washington, 98103, or Fax 206 546 2912

1.0.0 cb Florida Keys Cornsnake, Exceptional specimen, $80. Contact Richard or Liam Bonk (612) 727-3562 + 1.3 CB 89 Hog Island Boas, Sear's strain, proven breeders, $1000; 1.2 CB 89 Brazilian Rainbow Boas, proven breeders $500; 1.3 CB 97 Brazilian Rainbow Boas, unrelated litter picks, $500; 1.1 CB 98 Dumeril'. Boas, unrelated litter picks, $700; 1.1 CB 97 Dumeril's Boas, $700; 1.2 CB 96 Jungle Carpet Pythons, exceptional, $1,000; CB hypomelanistic Fox Snakes, Ivory with light beige pattern, $500. Ea. Mark Wendling, (319) 857-4787 (Iowa) ++ Leopard Tortoise. Cb 10" 5 yr old, $95.00 Excellent health. Contact Mark (612) 434 4374 +++

3- Central American Banded Geckos $25.00 each; 20+ assl color & pattern phases Leopard Geckos $10.00 to $75.00 '99 hatchlings; *- patternless Leopard Geckos $25.00 each. Call Jodi L. Ahems at Ground Gecko Freak (612) 588-9329 +++

MHSHATSAvailable in white with our blue logo or khaki with our logo embroidered in green, one size fils all. Order at the next meeting $8.00 ppd or $10.00 if you want your name embroidered on the back!

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

JODI L. AHfRNS c;DQund (;ecko freak English Spot


African Fat~Tailed Gecko Leucistic Leopard Gecko

Jim's Rabbit Shack

5 Other Morp/ts of Leopards Homonota Horrida

"Where Spots Are Tops"

JIM DALUGE (612) 295-2818

Proud Member M.H.S. G.G.A. I.G.S.

8700 Jaber Ave. NE Monticello, MN 55362

Dr. Janell Osborn, DVM "Herpetocultura/ Housecalls"

(612) 599-5476 Veterinary Medicine for Reptiles and Amphibians


2946 Thomas Ave. N. Mpls.• MN 55411 612·588·9329

Advertising Policies MHS 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.

MHS Rodent Sales Mice Pinkies Fuzzies Hoppers Adults

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

Minnesota Herpetolo ical Socie



Membershi #


Sm. Pups LgPups Juvn Rats. Adults

$7.00 dozen $7.00 dozen $8.00 dozen $10.00 dozen $12.00 dz. $18.00 dz. $24.00dz. $15.00 six $3O.00dz.

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) 856-2865. All proceeds go toward the operating costs of the society. The MHS is a completely volunteer run, non-profit organization.

Membershi T

lication Check #

Name _________________________________________________________________ Addffi$ _______________________________________________________________________ City_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ State Phone

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) ads) ____ Bronze Commercial ($50Iyr 2 1/4pg ads)

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

Required check info Drivers Lie # 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 SI. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Please allow 6 - 8 weeks for proce$ing.







10 Snelling~


Next Meeting:

r = = = = = 1

October 1, 1999 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/

Non-Profit Rate U.S. Postage PAID MpJs.MN Permit No. 2275







Vol. 19 (1999), No. 9  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

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