Page 1

Board of Directors President Bill Moss

Ben Museum of Natural History, 10 Church Street South East, Minneapolis Minneso1a 55455-0104

651.488.1383 mngatorguy@qwest.nel

Vice President Tony Gamble


Voice Mail: 612.624.7065

Recording Secretary

Julie Beauvais


Membership Secretary Nancy Haig Treasurer Marilyn Blasus


952.925,4237 Newsletter Editor

Heather Matson


Members at Large Jodi L Aherns Nancy Hakomalti


mngalorgal@qwesl.nel Brian & Heather fngbretson Keith Tucker

763.572.0487 612.321.0958


Committees Adoption Sarah Richard



Jan Larson

The Minnesota Herpetological • e t y S o C 1

MHS egroup email:

November 2001

Volume 21 Number 11

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. The Minnesota Herpetological Society is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization. Membership is open to all individuals with an interest in amphibians and reptiles. The Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter is published monthly to provide its members with information concerning the society's activities and a media for exchanging information, opinions and resources. General Meetings are held at Borlaug Hall, Room 335 on the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota, on the first Friday of each month (unless there is a holiday conflict). The meeting starts at 7:00pm and lasts about three hours. Please check the MHS Voice mail for changes in schedules or cancellations.

507.263.4391 jan.skunkhollow@juno,com

Northern Minnesota Jeff Korbel



Beth Girard


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 business cards are run for $5/month. Items may be sent to:

Herp Assistance AmphibIans Greg Kvanbek John Meltzer John Moriarty

651.388.0305 763.263.7880 651.482.8109

Chameleons Vem & Laurie Grassel


Crocodilians Jeff Lang 8ill Moss

701.772.0227 651.488.1383

Lizards Nancy Haig Heather Matson

763.434.5684 612.554.8446

Large Boas, Pythons Tina Cisewski


Other Snakes Jeff Leclere John Meltzer

651.488.6388 763.263.7880

Aquatic Turtles Gary Ash John Levell

763.753.0218 507.467.3076

Terreslial Turtles Fred Bosman John Levell

763.476.0308 507.467.3076

The Minnesota Herpetological Society Attn: Newsletter Editor Bell museum of Natural History 10 Church st. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55455.0104

Snake Bite Emergency Hennepin Regional Poison Center


Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society 2001. Contents may be reproduced for non-profit use provided that all material is reproduced without change and proper credit is given author and the MHS Newsletter citing: volume, number and date.

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

November 2001

Volume 21 Number 11

News, Notes & Announcements Critters of the Month

Black Milk Snake Lampropeltis t. gaigae

Start Preparing for the Great White Snake Sale in . March

Mexican Rosy Boas Uchanura t. trivergata

Look in our closet. Get out the quarters for those killer garage sale sale and prepare for more killer contests.

John P Levell Black Pine Snake Pituophis m. lodingi

Heather Clayton American Alligator "Popeye" or "Ben Murphy" Jeff LeClere Tiger Salamander Ambystoma tigrinum Carol Hall Four Toed Salamander Hemidactylium scutatum Spotted Salamander Ambystoma maculatum

Raffle Donors Scott Virginia Larson Glow in the dark Gecko Cloth Snake Aaron Heit Heat Rock 2 Water Fountains Laim & Richard Bonk Rabbit cage 29 Gallon w/top Live Plants MHS Adoption Program Others

Round up cages, cage supplies, books, magazines and reptile art for the Great White Snake Sale this r coming March. It's the Largest fund raiser for the society, which in turns using the money to help fund herp related research and education.

Photo Contest!


Bumper sticker Contest

We need your help designing a new MHS bumper sticker that will help make drivers more aware of turtles on roadways. MHS members will vote for their favorites at the March, 2002 meeting (aka White Snake Sale). Remember to keep things simple (these things are read at high speedsl). Good luckl

There are three categories: Herps in a Natural Setting Herps with People Miscellaneous styles (Miscellaneous styles may be replaced with another category a n d L . . - - - - - - - - - - -........ two other categories maybe added, like; Digitally Rendered and Kids Category. We'll keep you up dated as new developments occur)

We Need Your Ideas!

These are the Rules: 1. 4x6, 5x7, 8x10 mounted and matted, not exceeding MHS is considering a major update to its webpage and we are looking 11x14. for your ideas. What would you like 2. Identified on the back with to see on a new MHS site? Photos? entrants' name, address Caresheets? Natural history inforand category. Do not mation? If you have thoughts, ideas, place names on the front or are willing to contribute content, ofthe prints. an email to MHS Vice-presisend 3. Members may submit up dent Tony Gamble to five prints. We are looking forward to your Bring submissions to the ideasl February General Meeting. Winners will be selected by the members during the White Snake Sale.

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

Herping Holiday Gifts By Randy E. Blasus "bib'Ii'o'hol'ism (bib' I? e h?I' iz'em) [<Gr biblion] n. [BIBLlO+HOLlSM] books, of books: the habitual longing to purchase, read, store, admire, and consume books in excess." As the holiday season appmaches, your thoughts may turn toward your loved ones, maybe even your favorite herper? The question then becomes one of what to get this 'special' person. Perhaps they are eyeing a new snake or lizard. This kind of present, however, may require the addition of many ancillary pieces. Caging, heating, furniture and many other items must be considered before purchase. Then there is always the conundrum. The future owner of an animal really should be the one who makes the selection in order to be perfectly satisfied, but this spoils the surprise. A possible solution to the problem is to switch to inanimate presents. Many things can fit into this category, such as items to enliven the display of an existing animal all the way to artwork, or publications, etc. However, the focus of this article will be on the written word. This year, as usual, there are a variety of publications offered for everyone from the generalist to specialist, herpetologist to hobbyist. Periodical subscriptions are a gift that keeps on giving. These may be general in content such as Reptiles Magazine ( published by Fancy Publications and

November 2001

Volume 21 Number 11

available online. Others, such as Borders, Half Price Books, and Magers & Quinn (the last store primarily deals in used) also have herp titles. Diligent searching of most any bookstore (check the yellow pages) will reveal items of interest, often at Perhaps consider a subscription to reasonable prices with occasional another herp society publication great deals. such as the Bulletin of the Chicago Hemetological Society Often pet stores will carry some gen(; the Kansas eral books as well as herp related Hemetological Society material, such as Petsmart. Most pet (, stores offerings, however, tend s/khsmain.html) or a variety of oth- toward one publisher, namely TFH, ers. MHS receives a variety of these with authors such as Jerry G Walls publications by exchange with these (The Living Boas) so selection can other societies- see the librarian. be somewhat limited. Exceptions, Journals such as the recent though, do exist. Twin Cities Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Reptiles (owned by an MHS founding (www.hemetofauna.coml, or maga- member) has perhaps the widest zines returning to publication such as range of titles, but has a small invenElll!ill! ( also make excellent gifts. is in other pet stores, is on the animals. Books can make great presents as well, be they used or new. These Some of the newer interesting titles items can be obtained through the cover the whole spectrum of the World Wide Web by services provid- field, and as is the case with the ed by Barnes and Nobles ( hobby, seemingly, the offerings and other general become more numerous each year. booksellers. More specialized sell- Recent specialized titles include the ers are also available such as following. Anuran Communication Bibliomania ( by Michael J. Ryan (published by the Zoo Book Sales (www.zoobook- University of Chicago Press) examsales. com). and NorthStar ines the physiological mechanisms Herpetological Associates' Turtle and of frog and toad vocalizations. The Tortoise BookShop (www.turtlebook- Herpetofauna of New Caledonia by, with both of the later Aaron M. Bauer and Ross A. Sadlier owned by MHS members, coinciden- (published by the SSAR) is the first tally. modern review of this area. Plus North American Box Turtles by C. Those who wish for a more instant Kenneth Dodd, Jr. (published by the gratification with their purchase University of Oklahoma Press) which should know that some bookstores in is a general overview of the Genus the metro area carry selected titles Terrapene in America with comments as well. Barnes and Noble's HarMar on future direction for study. Mall store carries perhaps the most titles of interest to herpers of all their More general titles include field locations, but it's selection is still guides such as: Texas Snakes, Identification, small when compared to what is available at most book stores, to those for specialized audiences such as Herpetological Review, a Journal published by the Society for the Study of Reptiles and Amphibians (

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

Distribution. and Natural Historv by John E. Werler and James R. Dixon (published by the University of Texas Press). The Amphibians and Reptiles of Missouri. second edition b~ Tom ~. Johnson (published by the Mlssou[J Department of Conservation): . . AmphIbIans and Reptiles of IndIana by the late (& great) Sherman A. Minton (published by the IndIana Academy of SCIence). Amphibians and Reptiles of Pennsylvania and the Northeast by Arthur C. Hulse, C.J. McCoy and Ellen J. (published by Cornell Umver~lty Press). AmphIbIans and Reptiles in Colorado Field Guide 2nd Edition by Geoffrey A. Hammerson (published by University Press of Colorado and Colorado Division of Wildlife).

November 2001

Life. Love and Reptiles, an Autobiography of Sherman A. Minton, Jr., M.D. that give depth and perspective to our hobby as well as entertain the reader There are many other neat, useful and interesting publications available and more are being written daily. The greatest tool for finding these is the World Wide Web, but large numbers of these can be found by connecting with booksellers by mail or by asking your local bookstore to help in the search. Books and periodicals dispense important information, enlighten and entertain; fulfilling a portion of our niche by helping us become more knowledgeable of our wild animals, pets and hobby. Of the range publications previously mentioned, it should be possible to find an item that will please the recipient. The more specifically cited texts together contain a wealth of information. This is true whether a specific animal or group (i.e. as Rhacodactylus: Biology, Natural Historv and Husbandrv or Treefrogs of Africa) is treated; local knowledge, sometimes of great depth (i.e. of Amphibians and Reptiles Pennsylvania, or Indiana Amphibians and Reptiles) is imparted or history and entertainment (i.e. Tales from the Golden Age of Rattlesnake Hunting and Life. Love & Reptiles) is provided. The added bonus of not needing to clean, house and feed these new additions may also help make for a happy holiday season. Please check out some of these items, support those who provide t~em and if anyone has any questlons, please do not hesitate to ask the author.

The Grim Reality: Unwanted Reptiles by Melissa Kaplan This arlic/e is reprinted from The Michigan Herpet%gist September 2001 Sad to say, the increase in popularity of reptiles, in the United States at least, has put too many of these animals in the same situation as dogs and cats and, increasingly, potbellied pigs and house rabbits: abandoned, neglected, dumped at路路 shelters and rescues, or worse - in the parks and neighborhoods and wild areas around our cities. Iguanas now exceed Burmese pythons in the rate at which they are being discarded by owners. For some idea of the impact this has outside of strictly reptile circles, check out the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's Up For Discussion: Ethics and Resources. The most common reasons for getting rid of a reptile are:

Perhaps care guides more suit your needs. These include titles such as The Ultimate Guide to Crocodilians in Captivity by Christopher T. Dieter. Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry, Edited by, KeVin M. Wright and Brent R. Whitaker is one * "It's too big." (Mind you, new item for those interested in husmany people know that iguanas get to be 6 feet and Burmese pythons bandry and veterinary aspects. Other captive care offerings like 16+ feet, but suddenly being faced Desert Lizards: Captive Husbandrv with a 3 foot iguana or 8-10 foot and Propagation by Randall L. Gray, python, the whole thing isn't so cool any more...) Kreiger Publishing, ( may also be worth a second glance. Species or taxon * "It's not nice." (Most people specific publications such as expect reptiles to be tame and docile Rhacodactylus: Biology. Natyral from the moment they bring them Historv and Husbandrv by Robert home, especially iguanas. Once they Seipp and Friedrich-Wilhelm Henkle realize that it takes much work to or Treefrogs of Africa by Arne Schiolz make them tame, the fun seems to (both translated and published by g? out of it. It's tough to impress your Edition Chimaira) may pique your f[(ends when your arms look like intended's interest. Lastly, there are you've been through a document biographies such as Tales from the shredder...) Golden Age of Rattlesnake Hunting Good luck and good hunting (book* "It's suddenly vicious." (Like, by Donald G Wheeler (published by hunting that is)! when the only time they spend with E.C.O. and their 12 foot python is feeding it, and

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

so the snake associates the owner's appearance with food. Or when an iguana hits sexual maturity and the owners don't want to deal with 4 months or so of male machismo.)

* "It takes too much time." (Thanks to pet stores and the pet trade associations who say that reptiles are easy-to-care-for, low maintenance pets, people who suddenly find out that they require daily care, proper foods, etc., aren't 50 enchanted with them any more.)


"It's sick." (Why should they spend good money on a vet when they can give the animal to someone else who will spend the money on it and meanwhile they can go buy another $50 python or $10 iguana or turtle ... ? Worse are the parents I hear in the background when I'm on the phone with their tearful children, yelling at their kid "11'5 just a damn turtle! Let it die and I'll buy you another one I")


"11'5 my kid's and I don't want to care for it..." ... as parents come to the realization that their kid is bored with it or their kid can't afford the animal because it takes daily care, requires special foods, proper environment, veterinary supplies, etc. Of course, their making the kid give it away is preferable to what I hear too many parents doing: sitting back while the animal dies for lack of proper care or veterinary attention to "teach" their child a lesson in responsibility [no, I have not been taking recreational substances; this is really happeningj. And we wonder why the world is in the mess it is today... To be fair, there are people whose lives change so dramatically and suddenly that there is no way they can continue to care for their animals. Unfortunately, these folks who

November 2001

really need assistance and assurance that their animals will be found good homes are competing with the vastly more numerous animals coming from homes where the owners did not do their research first or were misled by the pet trade, the very peopie who purport to be experts. Herpetological societies typically have adoption programs wherein members volunteer to take in animals that are not wanted and foster them until proper homes can be found. There is also an increasing number of individuals and organizations not associated with herpetological societies who are doing the same thing. Unfortunately, these same organizations and individuals are so inundated with cast offs, especially iguanas and large boids, that they may simply not be able to take in any more. If you are looking to get another reptile, please consider adopting one who needs a home. II may not be perfect, it may not be completely tame, it may need some tender, loving care (and injections and assisted feeding and hydration), but you will be helping out an animal in need. Reptile rescues are individuals and organizations who take in animals and adopt them out. They mayor may not ask for an adoption fee. If they don't, please consider giving one anyway. The vast majority of these people are caring for these animals out of their own pockets, even ones doing it for herp societies. People who give away their animals generally do so with nothing elseno caging, no food, no medications, no donations-and caring for dozens of animals, many of whom require veterinary care, medical supplies and special foods, is not cheap, especially when one is also caring for one's own animals and families. Some herp societies also have members or committees who take in reptiles needing homes and then find

Volume 21 Number 11

new homes for them. Just in case you are looking for someone to treat and care for your sick animal for you so you don't have to go to the vet, think again. Not only is it illegal for anyone who is not a licensed vet or working under direct supervision of a licensed veterinarian to provide veterinary services to other people's animals, you are asking people to payout of their own pockets to pay for the care your pet needs. Pets - no matter the species - are a responsibility. When you get an animal for a pet, even if it is "for" your children, you are the one who is responsible for it and all of its needs: proper housing, diet, and medical care. If you cannot afford to provide this care for and the investment in time such care requires, for the natural life of the animal, then don't get one.

Available online http://www.sonic.netlmelissk/ grimreality.html

Endangered Species Under Threat from Richer China National Tree Day CHINA: November 5, 2001 HONG KONG - Growing prosperity in China has led to an insatiable demand for things exotic, and endangered animal and plant species from southeast Asia are coming under increasing threat,

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

conservation experts said last week. Cobra, box turtles, crocodiles, pangolin and freshwater turtles are wideIy hunted in places such as Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia to satisfy palates in southern China, particularly Guangdong, they said. Plants such as rare orchids, with roots said to bring health benefits, have also become part of the illegal trade. The clandestine business came to the fore this week when customs officials in Hong Kong seized some 2,700 kg of pangolin scales hidden in 45 bags in a container that was believed to have been bound for mainland China. The cargo, from Surabaya in Indonesia, was valued at HK$1.35 million (US$173,000). Scales of the pangolin, or anteater, are used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure skin diseases. Authorities are still investigating the case. An expert from Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said the illegal trade in the region has become more rampant since Asia's financial crisis in 1997. "With the recession, more people (in southeast Asia) have turned to wildlife, to natural resources to make a living," said Cheung Chi-sun, an endangered species protection officer. "And in China, when they get richer, they start eating and using more things. First around themselves, and when they can't get enough, they turn to overseas," he added. FEW SPARED' While China has its own pangolin and box turtles, these have been relentlessly hunted over the years and are now no longer able to sustain domestic commercial demand. As a result, Chinese demand for box

November 2001

turtles and snakes, such as the comman and king cobra from southeast Asia, have soared over the last five years, said another conservationist. "The box turtles are the most threatened. The Chinese buy from southeast Asia, even America," said Lee Kwok-shing at the Kadoorie Farm and Botanic Garden in Hong Kong. "I don't think it's true that eating the box turtles will bring any special benefits. It has the same effect as eating chicken or pork. We really need to stop it urgently." Conservationists, however, agree that seizures of endangered species in Hong Kong have declined In recent years due to successful enforcement and stiff penalties. Importing undeclared cargo carries a maximum fine of HK$2 million and seven years' jail. Importing endangered species without a licence carries a HK$500,000 fine and a year's jail. Story by Tan Ee Lyn REUTERS NEWS SERVICE Submitted by Becky Helgeson

Ask the Vet

Volnme 21 Number 11

15 years, and is a member of the Association of Reptilian and Amphibian Veterinarians, the Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians and NOAH. Dr. Randall has been a frequent contributor to magazines such as Ferrets USA, rabbits USA, and Critters USA. Dr. Randall welcomes your questions and will try to cover as many as possible in this column. Questions may be edited for content. If you have a question, please send it to Dr. Randall at: or mailto: Ask the Vet, PO Box 712, Westfield Center, OH 44251.

I have an adult eastern box turtle. i have noticed that in the winter it doesn't eat much and is rather inactive. I have haerd about hibernating box turtles; I have also haerd that hibernating them can be dangerous to their health. Do you recommend it? If so, what is the proper procedure for box turtle hibernation? This is a terrific question, and since it is the appropriate time of year to begin thinking about hibernation for box turtles, i am going to answer at length.

First, box turtles in the wild do hibernate, usually from October or November through March or April. Originally printed in "Notes from Since most people do not simulate Noah" Volume XXVIII September 24, the box turtle's natural environment 2001 www.noahonline.netincaptivity.this response to decreasing daylight and lower temperatures Dr Linda Randall received her DVM is not stimulated. It has been recentdegree from the Ohio State Iy shown that box turtles need to University in Columbus, OH. She is hibernate. It may be that this long also a Board-certified specialist with period of decreased metabolism the American Board of Veterinary plays an important role in the maintePractitioners (ABVP). Dr. Randall nance of an intact immune system. owns Cloverleaf Animal Hospital in Those that are not hibernated often Westfield Center, Ohio. She has show progressive decline in both worked with reptiles, amphibians, mental and physical health, and and small exotic mammals for over By Dr. Linda Randall

November 2001

decreased life span. decreased activity. That is the time I strongly recommend hibernation for for you to withhold food for approxiall healthy captive box turtles. mately two weeks. The gastrointestinal tract should be empty before It was observant of you to notice that hibernation begins, or the ingesta will your turtle does not eat as much in ferment in the GI tract and possibly the winter and also becomes lethar- cause problems. During this time, gic. Keeping a dairy of what your keep the temperature and humidity eats and how much it eats is often at normal levels. key to recognizing cycles of eating habits and knowing what is normal Also during this two-week period, of and what is abnormal for your partic- should soak your turtle in warm ular pet. It is normal for a box turtle water for a half hour every other day. to decrease its food intake when the The depth of the water depends on days get shorter or the ambient tem- the size of the turtle, but about one perature decreases. If an appropri- inch or less is usually suffiCient. ate substrate is provided, you may Remember that box turtles do not even notice burrowing activity at this swim and can easily drown, so the time. water should not flood the front of his shell when he retracts his headl This The first thing you need to do before "spa treatment" will encourage the preparing your turtle for hibernalion turtle to empty its GI tract, and will is to make sure it is healthy. You help it to hydrate. They will not only should routinely plan to have a vet- drink, but will absorb the water erinarian experienced with reptiles through the mucous membranes of examine your turtle, and included a their cloaca. (Please us a container fecal exam, accurate weight in specifically designated for this procegrams, and possibly a radiograph or dure, such as a plastic box, and do depending on the not sue the bathtub or sinkl You blood work, results of he external exam. Be pre- don't want to spread a possible pared to produce a detailed list of Salmonella bacterial problem). what foods your turtle is ealing, How frequently it is fed and what supple- After the tow week period of fasting, ments you are providing. You should the next step is to start lowering the also be able to tell your veterinarian turtle's environmental temperature the temperature and humidity of your by 5 degrees every 3 days. Start at turtle's environment and a descrip- a room temperature of about 65 tion of the caging. An ill box turtle degrees, and go down to 50 degrees should never be placed into hiberna- in 3 day increments. While you are lion. doing this, prepare the hibernation area, known as a "hibernaculum." once the turtle is deemed healthy enough for hibernation, you have to Many people choose to hibernate determine the correct time to begin their turtles indoors, often in a the process. This will depend on garage, wine cellar, basement, porch where you live and on weather pat- or back room, rather than in the terns. As the daytime temperatures unpredictable outdoors. This is fine. cool down in late september early Select an area that is dark, dry and October (a month later as you go free of drafts, and that can e kept south), watch your turtle for signs of between 45 and 50 degrees F. If the decreased food intake and temperature rises to 60 degrees for

Volume 21 Number 1J

an length of time the turtle's metabolism will increase and it will starve, if the temperature decreases below 35 degrees you run the risk of freezing. (In the wild turtles dig deep enough that they are below the freeze-line and usually stay at temperatures around 40 degrees. They may even be freeze-tolerant, but why risk it with you pet, when sager temperatures will accomplish what you need?) use a plastic box, approximately a good in length and width and 2 feet deep if possible. A cooler, a Rubbermaid container or similar item will work well. drill several small holes, at least 6, on the sides and top of the container for air. Fill it with at least 1 inches of humid, peat-based potting soil and moisten it slightly. Top this off with a frosling of 6-8 inches of hay. The turtle will burrow into this comfortable bed for its hibernation. Tow very important things to do when you hibernate box turtle: Keep the turtle hydrated by removing it and soaking it in warm water every 2 or 3 weeks for 2 hours. - Monitor the turtle when you remove it for soaking. Weigh it, check for a nasal discharge, swollen eyes or any other sign of illness. A healthy hibernating turtle is expected to lose 2% of its body weight. Aweight loss of 1or more, or any sign of ill health, necessitates cessation of hibernalion. Hibernation can range from 6 weeks to 4 months, depending on the area of the country you live in and where your turtle originate. The shorter period is for turtles from the southern regions. You do not need to stop hibernation based on a pre-determined time period if your turtle is sta-

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

November 2001

ble and maintaining hydration and The article below, while it might weight. appear to be about alligators in Florida, is really not. It has a far To end hibernation, move your hiber- more meaningful theme that I naculum to an area that is bout 60 though was appropriate to submit to degrees for 3 days. Then remove a conselYation-oriented organizathe turtle from the hibernaculum, and tion. place e it in an environment that is 65 degrees for another 3 days. Once Bill Moss the turtle is placed at 65 degrees, begin soaking the turtle in warm water for 30 minutes every other day. After 3 days at 65 degrees, place the turtle in room temperature for 3 more days, then begin feeding. Be sure to continue the every other day soaking until the turtle is eating.

Real Florida: Leave the big boys alone

Volume 21 Number 11

When I saw the photograph of Dade City alligator trapper Charles Fagan posed next to his trophy, I first felt only awe. I've seen hundreds of alligators in my half century in Florida. But never a gator so large. I imagined how my heart would pound if such a monster were to venture near my fragile canoe. A true leviathan, the alligator measured 13 feet, 111/4 inches, making it the third largest ever documented. "It was just about 101 percent alligator, about as perfect as you get," said

Juvenile turtle may not need to be The third-largest alligator Fagan, who caught.the whopper at a hibernated during their first year or ever documented was killed Polk County ranch In September. two, as long as they remain active and ~ealthy: ~ut you ust be sure to prOVide artifiCial sunlight for them during the winter months. use several appropriate UVB bulbs for a minimum of 10 hours a day and monitor them closely. In the spring, summer and early fall, nothing bears an outdoor enclosure, sage from predators, with shade, water and plenty of food for foraging. Although all box turtles will benefit from this outdoor arrangement, it can be critical for the youngsters. If a young turtle starts showing any signs of slowing down or decreased food intake even if it is in late winter or very early spring, a short hibernation may be beneficial at that time, provided it is healthy.. If in doubt, seek the advice of your veterinarian.


by a trapper in Polk County It was the phrase "about as perfect recently. But what does that as you can gef' that gnawed at me. ?

do to the gene pool. By JEFF KLiNKENBERG .

Š st. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2001 [photo, APJ

I don't mean to criticize Fagan. He is in the trapping business to make money, and if I were in his shoes, I might have killed the alligator too. After all, I'm no New Age Guy. I have been known to eat hamburger. I have even sampled alligator meat, a product Fagan supplies to restaurants. I consider myself a conservationist. I also know that alligators that have lost their fear of humans, usually because they have been stupidly fed by homo sapiens, need to be removed from civilization. That's another part of Fagan's statelicensed job, thank goodness. But Fagan's alligator was living in a pond, on an isolated ranch, bothering nobody.

Several veterinary hospitals provide hibernation services to their clients. This service is usually relatively inexpensive. Now is the time to start thinking about hibernating your box turtle. Let me know about. your experiences.

The best place for a "perfect" alligator is in the water - alive.

In September, alligator rancher and trapper Charles Fagan took this gator out of a Polk County pond. It measured 13 feet, 111&Mac218;2 inches and weighed 880 pounds.

Of course, alligator attacks anywhere, anyplace, any time, are extremely rare. Never in my life - a life filled with canoeing, wading and swimming among alligators - have I

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

been menaced. And I guess that is probably true of most Floridians. Whenever I see a really big alligator, say a 10-footer, I am thrilled. The world is an exciting place.

Volume 21 Number 11

November 2001

he can have other spectacular bulls. The very fastest race horses, after retirement, aren't sent to the glue factory. They're rented out for stud. If I grow a wonderful crop of tomatoes this fall if I'm smart I'll will save When a .22-caliber slug ended the seeds f~r next spring. life of the 800-pound alligator in Polk County, Flbrida, at that instant, If an alligator trapper wants to continbecame a less exciting place. ue harvesting quality alligators, he leaves the big boys alone. If we want To keep Florida wild, we need to smaller alligators, by all means let's treasure our largest animals, from kill the very largest ones and remove bears to panthers to rattlesnakes. their genes from the pool. And big alligators, too. Especially big alligators. I don't mean to sound self righteous. I grew up in Florida at a time when They're the rarest of the rare. Few catching the biggest fish, and bragever mature to gargantuan size. ging about it, was my manly goal. I Nature is against it. Just think of what was more likely to read Field and has to happen for any alligator to sur- Stream under the covers than vive. A heavy rain will flood out an Playboy. On Saturdays I'd pedal my alligator nest. Raccoons eat alligator bike to the House of Snook tackle eggs. Alligator hatchlings are con- store in North Miami to soak up the 'sumed by great blue herons, large- fish talk and see if I could learn mouth bass and snapping turtles. something. When I caught a good Small alligators are killed by larger fish, I bragged about it and got my ones. Some die of disease. Some Mom to grab the old Brownie and perish crossing roads. Sexually snap a couple of photos just in case mature alligators - the bull males I needed proof. competing for mates - will fight to the death. When my dad got home from work early, sometimes we'd visit Pier 5 on Only the strongest and wariest sur- the downtown waterfront to meet the vive. And very, very few of the sur- returning fishing路 boats. Captains vivors possess the genes to grow hung the day's catch, usually dead longer than 10 or 11 feet. Even those barracudas and tarpon, from scafof us who have spent much of our folds. The dead fish attracted tourists lives outdoors have never seen a who might hire the captain the next certifiable 12-foot alligator. day. Since barracuda and tarpon lack food value, they were discarded into A 12-footer is an astonishingly rare the bay after serving their purpose. I animal. A 13- or 14-footer is close to never saw anything wrong with it. But being a miracle. If such a beast I was only a kid. leaves us alone - does not menace us or our pets - why harm it? On my desk I have a photograph of a youthful, bearded fellow posing with What I'm proposing isn't rocket sci- a very large snook, a spectacular ence. Ask a cattle rancher. When a game fish. Caught in Miami's rancher is lucky enough to develop a Biscayne Bay, it weighed 28 pounds, spectacular bull, he doesn't send it to a trophy by any standards. After the the slaughterhouse. He breeds it so

handshakes and photographs, the angler - yours truly - got out his fillet knife. When I gutted the snook, pounds of roe spilled out - future snook. My family ate snook fillets for about a week. Snook fillets taste very good. But even now that photograph haunts me. Not every snook grows up to be 28 pounds. Only the strongest, wariest, luckiest snook do, the ones with the best genes. If I had to do it over again, I would let the big snook go. Same with the Loch Ness Monster. I'd put him back too. If I ever see a 14-foot alligator, I'll darn sure keep it to myself. I want to keep Florida wild.


Crl" tte r 5 I" tte r Heather Ingbretson 763.573.0487

Vacation! Holiday Critter Caretaker

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly NelVsletter

November 2001

Volume 21 Number 11

....--------------tMinnesota Herpetological Society Treasurer's Report Prepared by Marilyn Brooks Blasus, Treasurer For the 'Month Ending: October, 31, 2001 Income: Membership Sales (Net) Donations Raffle Misc Total Income: Expenses: Newsletter Printing & Postage Dutch Other Printing & Postage Program Conservation/Donation "\oWJere Spots Are Tops' Supplies & Refreshments Misc JIMDALUGE 8700 Jaber Ave, NE (763) 295路2818 Total Expense: Monticello. MN 55362 ....._ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _....1 Net Gain/(Loss): English SPOt

Jim's Rabbit Shack

800.00 64.45 (203.21) 26.25 1251.00 1938.49

10.69 50.00


11806.28 1

Reptile Events Dec. 9 Livonia MI Great Lakes Reptile Sale and Swap. Ever 7 Hall. 27531 Grand River. 517.339.7908 Dec. 9 St Peters MO Exotic Pet Expo and Consignment Sale, St Peters Knights of Columbus Hall, 117 Mcmenamy Rd. Ken 314.427.6341 or Dec. 16 St Louis MO Reptiles the Right Way Captive Bred Show, Holiday Inn Airport, 4545 N. Lindbergh. 314.961.2634

Helpful Hints for Hands -on I'm glad to see so many people coming to our events. Here are a few things to remember: 1) Know the following about your animal. a) What kind it is. b) What it eats c) Where it lives in the wild d) Life expectancy 2) Never allow anyone other than yourself to hold your animal. 3) Try to be polite - even answering really dumb questions! 4) Come often - Thanks! Jan Larsen

MiIUlesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

October 2001

Volume 21 Number 10

Classified Advertisements Classified ads are free to the member ship. Deadline Is the night of the general meeting to be Included In the next newsletter. 1.0.0 :::: mats, 0.1.0 = female, 0.0.1 :::: unsexed, cb :::: captive bred, obo = or best offer, + :::: limes run( ads are run only 3x unless requested to continue).

For Sale Tiger Geckos CB 2001 $30 each. 4 or more $20 each. email: Heather, or call 612.554.8446+ LARGE ANIMAL DISPLAY CAGE - ONE OF A KIND 8' L x 3.25 ' D x 4.5' H, BEAUTIFUL GLASS AND WOOD FINISH INCLUDES HEAT LAMP, FLORESCENT LIGHTING, LOGS AND SHELF $600 OR B/O, CONTACT ROB AT 763-531-1924+++ 2 2001 Leopard geckos 100% Hel. Albino Tremper, from my giant blood line, 1st male jungle 4 spot nice yellow $100.00, 2nd male full body & tail striped $125.00. Giant frog-eyed gecko; 2@6wks$75nice, 1@11 wks $100.00 very nice. Viper gecko; 4 wks feeding on pinheads $30.00, 14wks feeding on small crickets & mealworms $50.00 In 2002 3 of the 4 types of albino leopard gecko will be available; Tremper- albino het, Rainwater= albino & het, Bell= het's in 2002 albino's in 2003 For sale: 2002 Turtle Calendars $12 + $2 postage Great New Book "Turtles, Tortoises & Terrapins: Survivors in Armor" by Ron Orenstein, 2001. 300+ pages list price $45. MHS Special $35. + $3 postage. Turtle & Tortoise Book Shop 507.467.3076 Prices very Frozen Rabbits - all sizes. reasonable - pinkies to adults. Jim Daluge 763.295.2818

Flightless FruitFlies - Excellent food for dart frogs, mantellas, hatchling geckos, baby chameleons, spiderllngs, and other small herps. Two species available Drosophila (small) and D. hydel (large). $5/culture or $25/6 cultures. Each culture contains 30 to 50 adult flies and has the potentail to produce to several hundred young. Also, Mealworms - Two sizes available - regular and mini. $5/1000. Can be delivered to MHS meetings. Cal Tony Gamble 612.818.6861 or email

For Sale: 1.1 Adult Ornate Uromastyx $950/pair 1.1 Egyptian Uromastyx $450/pair 0.0.3 Uromastyx Acanthanurus (Juveniles) $500/trio 0.1 Adult Mali Uromastyx $60 0.0.1 Rainbow Uromastyx (Juvenile) $120 1 Adult Bearded Dragon $70 Call Matt at (763) 781-5871 +



Eastman Nature Center is looking for a Milk snake, Fox snake, or a Black Rat snake. Snake will be used for school group and family classes and must handle well. Please call Kim at 763/4204300.

All the shed snake skins in the world. African Side-necked Turtle - 2 yr old Needed for giveaways at educational Contact Bob Duerr male in need of a loving home. This programs. sweetheart needs better heating, UVB 612.541.0362 lighting, filtration and larger Aquaria. Call the Tri-county Humane Society in Male Sail Tail Dragon to entertain my SI. Cloud 320.252.0896 or call Tina female. Large Male Northern Jacques 320.240.7943 "Slither-by blue tongue skink of at least 2 years of Rehab & Resources" We need your age. Contact Domonie at 763-424-4243 help with cash donations, herp equip- or ment, and other rehab suppliesl Male Desert box turtle to keep my girl -Helping people Help Animalscompany. Female Gulf Coast Box Turtle. Looking for a girl to keep my fella company. Or a pair for breeding. Contact Heather Matson 651.647.3444 or

MHS Rodent Sales Mice

Pinkies Fuzzies Hoppers Adults

$7/dz. $7/dz. $8/dz. $10/dz


Sm Pups Lg Pups Juvn Rats Adults

$12/dz. $18/dz. $24/dz. 6@$15 or $30/dz.

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 Cisewski at 763.856.2865 All Proceeds go toward the operating costs of the society. The MHS is a completely volunteer run, non-profit organization.



Opening Soon!! "Slither-by Rehab & Resources" We will be opening our individual rehab center in our home soon for wildlife rehabilitation. Specializing in ALL injured/sick Minnesota herps, we also take in unwanted/abandoned habituated Minnesota herps! we need your help! Heating pads, lighting, UVB lights, rodent feed, extension cords/surge protectors, caging, medical supplies and other herp supplies. Cash donations are greatly needed to help pay for medical expenses, educational programs, and many other things that are needed, such as nurses, and materials for out door enclosures. Anything you can give would help greatly! Thanks!! Please call Tina Jacques 320.240.7943 -Pre-veterinary med. student, Licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator.

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. Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads may be ran three consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted. Corresponding members are allowed a complimentary business card advertisement monthly as space permits. Due to federal restrictions on Non-profit mailing permits, we are not allowed to run ads for travel, credit or insurance agencies. Business card advertisements may be purchased at $5/ad, per month. For other rates please inquire. Submissions: Al! 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.

r-----------------------------------------------, Minnesota Herpetological Society Membership Application New Renewal Membershlp# Type Check #

Name Address City, State, Zip, Phone


List in MHS Directory?



Herp related interests

Active Memberships: Sustaining ($60/yr)

Contributing ($30/yr)

Corresponding Memberships: Basic Commercial ($25/yr 2 Bus Cards) Silver ($75/yr 2 1/2 pg Ads)

Basic ($15/yr) Bronze ($50/yr 2 1/4 pg ads) Gold ($1 OO/yr 2 Full pg Ads)

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 Sl. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Please allow 6-8 weeks L_~ _____________________________________________ for processing.



,., /0 Hwy35


_j I





~'rL ~~!

~'(../-.:::::::~~V :/' LS p iSM~1 ls~l L~

!CENTERl ,\ .





( ] i'al\uN};W'.UIDIot






,~""" H ••

........ N

Next Meeting: December 7, 2001 Room 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M St Paul Campus @7pm

MHS Voice mail: 612.624.7065 http://W\V\




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

Vol. 21 (2001), No. 11  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter