Page 1

The Newsletter of the

Minnesota Herpetological S o c 1• e t y

July 2002

Volume 22

Number 7

8ell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church Street South East, Minneapolis Minnesota 55455·0104 Board of Directors President Jodi L Aherns 612.588.9329

Vice President Tony Gamble




Herpetological e t y


763.424.2803 tgamble@attbLcom

Recording Secretary Heather Ingbretson


MHS egroup email:

MHS Webpage:{Mnhemsoc Voice Mail: 612.624.7065


Membership Secretary

Nancy Hatg


Treasurer Marilyn Blasus


Newsletter Editor

Sill Moss


Members at Large Nancy Hakomaki


Brian tnghretson

763.572.0487 651.224.7212

Jody Holmstrom


Barb Buzicky

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. Becky Girard


Committees Adoption Sarah Richard

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.



Jan Larson


Northern Minnesota Jeff Korbel Ubrary 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 $5imonth. Items may be sent to:

218.586.2568 763.691.1650

Herp Assistance

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


Greg Kvanbek John Meltzer John Moriarty

651.388.0305 763.263.7880 651.482.8109

Chameleons Vern & Laurie Grassel


Crocodi!Jans Jeff Lang Bill Moss

701.772.0227 651.488.1383

lizards Nancy Halg Heather Matson

763.434.8684 612.554.8446

Large Boas, Pythons Tina Cisewski


Other Snakes Jeff Leclere John Meltzer

651.488.6388 763.263.7680

Aquatic Turtles Gary Ash John Levell

763.753.0218 507.467.3076

Terrestial Turtles Fred Bosman John Levell

763.476.0306 507.467.3076

Snake Bite Emergency Hennepin Regional Poison Center


Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society 2002. Except where noted, contents may be reproduced for nonprofit use provided that aU material is reproduced without change and proper credit is given author and the MHS Newsletter citing: volume, number and date.

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Nelovsletter

Upcoming Meeting The Vice-president's Report By Tony Gamble August General Meeting Friday, August 2 nd , 2002, 7:00 PM Program:

Herpes and Herpetology: How Minnesota's Leopard Frogs Could Help Cure Cancer Guest Speaker: Dr.

July 2002

Volume 22 Nmnber 7

cer is no less groundbreaking. He McKinnell has authored three and his colleagues wanted to see books on cloning: "Cloning: Transplantation in how cancer cells would respond to Nuclear cloning so they took the nucleus Amphibia" (1978), "Cloning: A from the kidney cancer cell of a Biologist Reports" (1979) and leopard frog and inserted it into an "Cloning of Frogs, Mice and Other egg cell where nucleus had been Animals" (1985). He is co-author of removed. To their surprise, a nor- the textbook, "The Biological mal tadpole developed. This Basis of Cancer" (1998). He has experiment showed that all cancer also conducted fieldwork on the cells are not pre-programmed to Burnsi and kandiyohi morphs of become tumors and, under certain the northern leopard frog, the circumstances, can produce nor- decreased adult size of northern mal cells. Current cancer treat- leopard frogs in Minnesota, and ments usually involve killing the frog malformations. In 1999 Dr. tumor cells (and often the healthy McKinnell was awarded the Prince cells surrounding the tumor) with Hitachi Award for Fundamental radiation or chemotherapy but Cancer Research by the Japanese Institute. Dr. McKinnell is the tumor cell ~ri';'+">,+f,'j; could e~!~~~~nh~ speaker and his talk ;rt the value of applied normally -"'r,,,,c";;r Don't miss it!


At least two have been frog studies. I that viruses cer in humans. doctor knew that developed it WUUlU tumor cell. Dr. Bob the University of been at the forefront research that has changed these views. A number of human now known to be aSi,oc:i~ herpes viruses. among many nth,,,,,,', phoma, ma, and Kaposi's frog research that coveries Inv,olv,e(

frog """,Mr:h that suggests that ""rnA" herpes virus infections may not th necessarily be intractable. He will Friday, December 6 , 2002 how his 'H!J\,""~U" to chasing fro,ga [ri,

and kidney m~;~~~~~~~l'! leopard frog and was largely by Dr. McKinnel1. ,'((wen'ten years before Dolly sheep was born) that cloned a frog Dr. McKinneli's research into can- using nuclei from adult cells. Dr.

the Month: learned the

Minnesota Helpetological Society Newsletter

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

News, Notes & Announcements Two-Headed Bearded路 Dragon Hatched By Sarah Richard

Welcome Back to the f Renaissance! A Time o Chivalry, Romance, and ...

Arbor Mist, charity wine auction 9/27, 9/28 & 9/29 - Chocolate & Romance wooing & pie-eating contests

Don't worry if you don't have a costume. Yes, you do need to "stay period" while on On May 5th 2002 an otherwise normal by Ellen Heck stage, but not having a costume or not clutch of 22 bearded eggs produced a knowing what is "period" shouldn't stop "Will that snake sting me?!" Questions like bicephalic bearded dragon. you from coming out. Our Cottage has costhis are just one example of the many things tumes available for people to borrow. MHS volunteers hear while participating However, you will need to provide your "on fence" at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. This Festival year starts August 17th and runs every weekend until September 29th. Don't worry if you can't come every day, just sign up for as few as one day to as many as you can because this is truly a unique hands-on experience.

The dragon was semi functional with locomotion being a bit shaky, one head and then the other leading the way. It was eating and defecating normally. One head (the smaller of the two) appeared to be doing all the eating. I fed it by pulling crickets apart so that they couldn't get away but were still moving. The lizard didn't seem interested in greens. Water was consumed by both heads when droplets were placed on the nose. It did fairly well for one month at which time mealworms were offered. The larger head became very active and ate a mealworm. Soon after that, it started going down hill.

Kati Marier and Jeff LeClere enjoying a free moment at Ren. Fest.

Tom Bliese helps make this an unforgettable experience for this young patron

On Sunday June 9th I took it in for x-rays and it died 4 hours later. Cause of death is unknown but I believe that the other head Weekend themes this year are: eating seems to have been the staring point 8117 & 8/18 - MidEast Mirage ofit's down hill trend. belly dancers, Arabian horses It's top weight was .1310 of an ounce on 8/24 & 8/25 - Royal Ale 5/29/2002. The measured weights were as beer tasting, battle of the bartenders 8/31, 9/1 & 9/2 - Italian Carnivale follows: pasta eating contest 917 & 9/8 - Irish Heritage 5125/02 .1135 oz 6/01/02 .12750z Guinness tasting, Celtic storytelling 5128/02 .1210 oz 6/04/02 .1230 oz 9/14 & 9/15 - Highland Fling 5129/02 .1310 oz 6/05/02 .12550z highland games, men in kilts! 9/21 & 9/22 - Wine Gala

own footwear (and no, sneakers are not period!). If you anticipate joining us for many days, consider a costume of youI own. Remember, just because you bought it at Festival doesn't mean it's appropriate! If you want to make your own costume, questions can be answered by "Gator Gal" a.k.a. Nancy Hakomaki at 651-631-1380. A tent is available if you want to work both days in a weekend. Just bring your own sleeping bag. Even if you do not have an animal, we can teach you how to walk the tortoises or guard the tail on a "snake walk." If you do have animals, consider what animals you want to bring carefully. Since it is a long day, more than one tends to be best. Any of your reptiles that can tolerate being at any other hands-on event will work well at Festival. However, due to the added

Minnesota HeI]letological Society Monthly Newsletter

stresses of heat and additional public exposure, sometimes this isn't a good p1ace to "break in" new animals, or bring very young ones. Also, if you suspect ANY diseases or parasites such as mites, do not bring the animal to Festival. There are always extra animals that people will let you use, or you can work the tortoise pen. We will find something for you to do.

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

outside "C" gate to get a daily pass, which will allow you to get onto the Festival July Raffle Donors grounds at no cost. Stay all day if you like and if you brought food, join us for potluck Thanks to the following people, the MHS and fun after the public has left Saturday added $60 and change to the operating night That is all there is to it! Before the big fund. day make sure you have brushed up on you Marilyn and Randy Blasus: hands-on rules and know basic info about Socks, Game, Container your animal. Remember- "Anything with a mouth can bite if provoked (including me)" Blue Lagoon (Don Monson): and "No, it is not venomous." Then, a11 Fancy Plants there is left to do is HAVE FUN!! Hope to see everyone there! Dick Palmetier: rarious herp supplies MHS Adoption Committee: 55 gal/on aquarium and supplies.

July Critter of the Month participates in the Grande Parade each day.

After hours on Saturday nights we have a potluck where we get together and party. Bring a dish to share and drink then, if you are of age. We have new themes each weekend so ask what is needed when you sign up for the day or call. As for being able to see the shows and shops, there should be ample opportunity for that. When you arrive, we will schedule you for two shifts of two hours each (out of a 10 hour day). Between those shifts you are free to do whatever you wish on the grounds. (Unfortunately your' animals cannot go with you while you wander away from the Cottage- Festival rules!) Try to stay in character if you have not changed into street clothes. You can sometimes get participant discounts in the shops and no one will try to sell you a pickle! Now, here are the particulars. In order to participate, call or email Ellen Heck at (763) 593-5414 or emheck@earthlinknet by the Tuesday before the weekend you want to participate. On the day you have volunteered to attend, arrive at Festival by 8: 15am with your animals CONTAINED IN BAGS OR A CARRIER. Go in what is normally the exit and head for the booth

The following people were good enough to bring animals to the meeting. Beth Girard: Western Hognose snake (Heterodon nasicus) Heather Clayton Savarmah Monitor (raranus exanthematicus) Jeff LeClere: Eastern Hognose snake (Heterodon platirhinos) Sarah Richard: Bicephalic Bearded Dragon (deceased) in acrylic (Amphibolurus paperweightus)

The New MHS Webpage is Up by Tony Gamble

The MHS webpage is up and running. I'd like to thank George Richards, Heather Matson, Randy and Marilyn Blasus, Bill Moss, Anke Reinders, Beth Girard, Jeff LeClere, Joe Monahan, and others for providing content and design help with his project. Jennifer Arnie and the Bell Museum of Natural History deserve special thanks for agreeing to host the webpage. There are still some changes that will be happening over the next few weeks but take a look at let the board know what you think. You can find the site at: http://www.bellmuseum.orglherpetologylMain.html

~,.~ ~

Minnesota Helpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

Volume 22 Number 7

aspects of the sea turtle's life history will be discussed, including reproduction, hatchling emergence, orientation mechanisms, and the open sea migrations of adults.

to male interactions. Males are prone to injury from other males who are courting the same female, and who bite each other in attempt to dismount their rivals (Lutz & Musick, 57).

Other than the female coming Studentashore to nest, sea turtles spend their Reserve

After copUlation, the females return to their native beach to nest while males return to the foraging grounds. Nest site selection is a frequently studied event. Researchers attempt to analyze the nest site selections of different turtles, in order to understand the qualities that sea turtles look for in a nest site and the characteristics that are beneficial to the survival of the hatchlings. Studies have shown that in coarse or dry sand, the turtles will dig several holes termed "body pits," and often emerge onto the beach several nights in a row before they find a spot that fits their "criteria" (Mortimer, 1990). It was found that turtles who nest on beaches with fine-grained sand often emerge only once and make only one egg chamber before depositing their eggs (Mortimer, 1990). These discoveries are most likely linked to the fact that the survivorship of the eggs is lower in dry, coarse sand than it is in fine-grained moist sand (Mortimer, 1990). This finding may also explain why studies have found that turtles are more likely to nest in the monsoon season than in the dry season (Seabrook, 1989). Other studies have shown that sand softness, distance from human settlements, the presence of lagoons, beach length. and beach height are all important factors in the nest site selection of sea turtles (Kikukawa et aI., 1999). The beach height specification is thought to be due to the selection of sites that are high above sea level to keep the eggs from being swallowed by the tide (Kikukawa et aI., 1999).

Life Hi~tory of the Sea Turtle by Brian Clagett Undergraduate Case Western University

July 2002

Sea turtles belong to the families Cheloniidae and Dermochelyidae, of the order Chelonia. These two families are grouped together because of their obvious similarities. They are the only turtles whose forelimbs are more strongly developed than their hind limbs and whose forelimbs have evolved into long paddle-like appendages (Pough, 97). They are also both exclusively marine, and remain in the sea their entire lives, with only the female coming ashore to lay her eggs. The main difference between the Dermochelyidae family and the Cheloniidae is in the arrangement of the shell. The Dermochellds have a leathery skin-covered shell that forms rows that streak down the back, while the Cheloniids have a "typical" Testudlne shell. The family Cheloniidae consists of several species: the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas). the Black Turtle (Chelonia the Flatback (Natator agassizil) , depressus), the Hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), the Olive Ridley and the Kemp's Ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea and Lepidochelys kempl). There is only one species of Dermochelyidae. the Leatherback (Oermochelys coriacea) (Lutz & Musick, 17-24). All sea turtles share a similar life history. Different

entire lives in the open sea. After hatching, the males migrate to the sea, never to return to land. All seven species of sea turtles share a common life cycle. They migrate from foraging areas to mating areas, and after mating, the males return to the foraging areas while the females return to their native beach to nest (Lutz & Musick, 52). Males and females meet in mating areas which arc not too far from

the nesting areas in order to copulate (Lutz & Musick 58). Very few accounts of sea turtle mating are known, but it is believed that courtship rituals have a greater significance for the females than the males because of the willingness of males to mount objects that are of the "right size and general shape" (Lutz & Musick. 57). The courtship and mating process are believed to be very aggressive. Females come ashore with open sores from bites to the neck, head, and flippers, as well as damage to the shell from the males' claws (Lute & Musick, 57). The aggressiveness of courtship is further evidenced in male

Mirmesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

The careful selection of the nest site by female sea turtles helps to insure a clutch with high survivorship. This is important for the hatchlings during the first stage of their life, the dispersal to sea. Perhaps the most Important factor in the survivorship of the turtles during this frenzied scamper to the sea is the number of other hatchling sea turtles making the pilgrimage at the same time (Pough, 2001). The turtles are subject to high levels of predation In their unprotected state. That is why the hatchlings work together to dig out of the nest cavity and then wait until nightfall to make their sprint to the sea (Pough, 2001). If the hatchlings dispersed one by one, the predation rate would be much greater.

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

darkened silhouettes and move towards the horizon (Lutz & Musick, 115). Once the hatchling reaches the sea, it begins to swim. Studies have shown that the turtles will align themselves in respect to the direction of the oceanic waves and swim away fram land (Goff, Salmon, & Lohmann, 1998). Once a turtle reaches deep waters, the contact with the coast is lost, and lost with it is the sensation of the waves. Therefore it is important for the turtles to use some other mechanism of orientation. The sea turtles will then transfer their orienta-

migrations that lead to and from common "meeting" areas, such as feedIng grounds, mating areas, and nesting beaches. Satellite tracking of sea turtles has become very popular in the last two decades. Satellite tracking is accomplished by attaching a clock radio-sized transmitter atop the turtie's carapace. There are four polar orbiting satellites (the same satellites used to monitor weather patterns) that are equipped with Instruments that detect animal tracking transmitters (satintro.htm). Signals sent from the transmitter Include such data as approximate latitude and longitude, number of dives within the last 24 hours, the duration of the most recent dive, the water temperature, and the average speed (satintra.htm). The satellites circle the earth about every 101 minutes and therefore are only over one place on the planet for about 10 minutes. It takes about 3-5 minutes for a transmitter to be detected. Furthennore, the transmitter can only send a signal if it is very close to the surface and therefore It is uncommon to receive a location from a turtle each day (satintro.htm).

The single most important decision a sea turtle must make in its life most likely comes as it emerges from the nest.

The single most important decision a sea turtle must make in its life most likely comes as it emerges from the nest. Sea-finding behavior has been studied in order to find the factors that are responsible for the hatchlings' remarkable seaward journey. The dependence on visual cues for sea-finding has been demonstrated by the fact that hatching sea turtles cannot find the sea when their eyes are covered (Lutz & Musick, 110). It was also found that loggerhead hatchlings orient towards violet, green, and red light, and show an aversion to yellow and yellow-orange light (Witherington, 1991). Studies have also shown that hatchling green turtles are more strongly attracted to blue light than red (Lutz & Musick, 111). The aversion to colors like yellow and yellow-orange may function in preventing the turtles from leaving their nest in the light of day. The preference for shorter wavelengths like blue and green most likely aid in detection of the sea .. Fonn vision was also shown to be important, with studies showing that sea turtles avoid

tion from one induced by waves to one of a magnetic compass (Goff, Salmon, & Lohmann, 1998). A study that placed hatchling turtles in a tank with a wave oscillator surrounded by Helmholtz coils showed that turtles who have swum Into waves for 30 minutes will continue their direction even after the waves have stopped (Goff, Salmon, & Lohmann, I 998) So, the turtles begin their voyages by aligning themselves with waves and then after a short time, make a transition to a magnetic eompass. Once hatchling turtles reach the open sea, they will often remain there for 5 to 20 years during a period coined "the lost years" (Pough, 2001). The "lost years" are still not well understood, but recent evidence indicates that they spend their lives drifting in currents and feeding on food that accumulates in drift lines (Pough, 2001). At some point in their lives, the juveniles must return to the foraging areas and begin their lives as adults. The adult life consists of a cycle of

Satellite transmitters arc often fitted to females as they come ashore to lay their eggs; therefore nearly all of the satellite-tracked turtles are females. Studies of a female green turtle tracked by a satellite show that the foraging grounds for this particular turtle were located over 600 km from the nesting graunds (Papl, et ai., 1995). This turtle followed a slightly curved path to reach its destination and traveled 669 km to the feeding grounds that were 607 km away (straight-path) with an average speed of 2.23 kmlh (Papi, et ai., 1995). In a related study, loggerhead turtles were tracked by satellite and found to migrate fram 545 to 1000 km from

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

their nesting grounds to the feeding grounds (Papi, et aI., 1997). Another study utilized a captive-raised loggerhead and found that it migrated a distance of 11,500 km across the Pacific Ocean from Baja California to Sendai Bay, Japan (Nichols, et aI., 2000). The results from this study are surprising, since the animal spent ten years in captivity. The life of a sea turtle seems to be governed by its instinctual behavior. It begins with the synchronous emergence of hatchlings frantically scurrying, empowered by cues of light intensity, color, and form that aid them in their quest to the sea. Then, the rhythmic movements of the ocean's waves guide them on their trek across the vast ocean. Soon they sense the earth's magnetic field and let their internal compass direct them where to go. Years later, they somehow find their way to the group feeding grounds, and later still, to the mating grounds where they will eventually begin to create young that will follow the same journey as their parents.

July 2002

tion. Animal Behavior. 55:69-77. Nichols, W.J., Resendiz, A., Seminoff, Resendiz, B. (2000) Transpacific migration of a logger turtle monitored by satellite telemetry. Bulletin of Marine Science, 67(3), 93747. Papi, P., Liew, H. C., Lusehi, P., & Chan,E. H. (1995) Long range migratory travel of a green turtle tracked by satellite: Evidence for navigational abililiy in open sea. Marine Biology, 122:171-75 Papi, F., Luschi, P., Crosio, E., & Hughes G.A., Satellite tracking experiments on the navigational ability and migratory behaviour of the loggerhead Caretta caretta. Marine Biology, 129:215-220 Pough, F. Harvey, et al. Herpetology. 2nd ed Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall,2001

Works Cited:

Seabrook, Wenday. (1989) The seasonal pattern and distribution of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) nesting activity on Aldabra Atoll. Indian Ocean, J. +Zool. Lond, 219: 71-81.

Kikukaw, A., Kamezaki, N., and Ota, H. (1999) Factors affecting nesting beach selection by loggerhead turtles (Carretta caretta): A multiple regression approach. J Zool., Land. 249:447-454.

Witherington, Blair E. & Bjorndal, Karen A. Influences of Wavelengths and Intensity on Hatchling Sea Turtles Phototaxis: Implications for SeaFinding Behavior. Copeia 1991:106069.

Mortimer, Jeanne A. (1990) The Influence of Beach Sand Characteristics on the Nesting Behavior and Clutch Survival of Green Turtles (Chelonia mydas).Copela 1990:447-451.

http://www. cccturtle. ora/satintro, him ea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program: How Satellite Tracking Works"

Musick, John A. and Peter L. Lutz, eds. The Biology of Sea Turtles. Boca Raton: CRC Press, 1997. Golf, Matthew, Salmon, Michael, & Lohmann, Kenneth J. (1998 Hatchling sea turtles use surface waves to establish a magnetic compass direc-

Reprinted from Notes from NOAH, the newsletter of the Northern Ohio Association of Herpetologists, Vo1.29, No 6, March 2002 MHS editors note: Photo and text box blow-up were not part of original paper but were added for interest. II

Volume 22 Nmnber 7

July Speaker Review by Heather Ingbretson

Hognose Snakes Presented by Curtis M. Eckerman at the MHS General Meeting, July 2002 Hognose snakes are widely known for their infamous death feigning when scared or threatened. They may start by

Ithooding" or flattening out the skin on their head like a cobra and if the threat continues, they will often flip over with their tongue lolling out oftheir mouth and play dead. As if that weren't enough, they will do as much as they can to make them appear as disgusting as possible. They

can emit a rotting smell from their mouths, they can bleed out of their mouths and their cloaca's, they will often

defecate and sometimes even vomit up an old meal. Experienced herpers can attest that they will sometimes flip their head over and smell the air to see ifthe danger has passed and if danger is still present, they will flip back over into their flaccid, death feign again. Although Hognose snakes are probably best known to herpers for this death feign, they are named for their snout which is upturned at the end and is great for digging in the ground. Hognose snakes are most active in the morning and the evening and typically live in loose or sandy soil areas. Curtis discussed the differences between the three types of Hognose Snakes, the Eastern (Heterodon platyrhinos), the Western (Heterodon nasicus) and the Southern (Heterodon simus). The Eastern Hognose is about 0.5 m long and varies in color from totally black to just darker with larger blotches and is found in the Eastern U.S. The Southern Hognose is smaller, about 0.25 m long with the "typical" Hognose pattern. The Western Hognose actually has 3 official subspecies and they can be found

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Nc,Yslcttcr

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

from Minnesota down to Texas and into And when he returned, the snake was gone. that we want a young adult) - this way the The moral of the story? Playing dead onlookers can see them easily in the display. works. II As stated above, the turtles can be small One ofbis main goals was to find out which (but not baby size) to medium. We will have ofthe two species were most closely related two aquariums for us to separate the sizes. to each other and which one was the tlfirstl! Snakes will be housed separately and each Mexico.


Other research available was conflicting and inconclusive, but most of the evidence

pointed to the Southern and the Western being most closely related. As it turns out, during the Pleistocene, the oceans level receded enough to allow access to the continental shelf near the Gulf of Mexico enough to allow passage of many animals. Normally the passage is blocked by forests and other non-friendly habitats, but the sandy continental shelf floor gave a great habitat with its grassy plains and sandy soils.

Q: What do a Herp and a

Cow have in Common? A: The Minnesota State Fair Again, this year, we are looking for volunteers and animals to help in the DNR building's reptile display at the MN State Fair from August 22 to September 2. Volunteers are needed to check animals each day ofthe fair. Work is minimal,

and With this information, he showed that the Southern and the Western were, in fact, the most closely related with the Eastern being the first species that occurred.

and nasicus.

However, Kennerly (the Mexican Hognose) is here to stay. And we were left with a short story of him finding a pop can "slithering" across the

road. It was a snake with its head stuck in a Coke can. He stopped to try to help the snake get it's head out of the pop can and when all was said and done, the poor snake lay limp in his hand, obviously dead from the struggle to get him out. So, not wanting the poor snake to go to waste, he went to his

car to get a bag so he could bring the "specimen" back to the museum for preservation.


two FREE tickets into the fair. If you

Curtis also talked about the 3 subspecies of Western Hognose snakes. He did a lot of research to find out which of those species were most closely related and which subspecies came first. However, after all ofthe scales counts and dorsal blotch counting and all of the land mapping and looking at habitats, he actually concluded that it is not three subspecies, but in fact, only two. With this new information, we can expect to see some name changes happening to gloydi




will have a large, clear water bow1. Animals

should not be fed for two weeks prior to the fair, so they will be 'cleaned out' and thus less likely to make a mess in the display visitors don't need to see poop. Marilyn will accept the animals a day or two before the fair, arrangements will need to be made

with her. Accordingly, the animals will need to be picked up the day after the fair. We are looking for one volunteer per day. This person is to arrive at the DNR building prior to 9:00 PM (building closing). At that time, the animals will be checked, cleaned and watered as necessary.

All cleaning supplies, equipment,

etc. will be behind the display and any tasks should take no more than

think you can make it, maybe your animal a few mincould. We utes and you need the will be on following way. your animals to Two of the fill the dis- The MHS display at the Minnesota State Fair snake cages play inside will be filled the DNR building. with MN's venomous reptiles - these will be locked and are not to be touched. If any Snakes: Bull, Hognose, Fox, Milk, Water problems happen with them, there will be and Garter two 'hot' emergency contacts to call. A meeting will be scheduled a day or two Turtles: Any MN species of a small/medium before the fair starts to meet with everyone who will be volunteering. This meeting will size go over all details (where the sink is, etc.) The reptiles just need to sit and look 'pret- and hand out free passes. Days are selected ty' as people view them. All animals need to on a first call, first get basis, and the weekbe in good, healthy condition. The pro- ends go fast. longed display period in an uncontrolled If you are interested or have any questions, environment may be detrimental to animals get on the 'stick' (ha hal and contact not in prime condition. Sick animals will Marilyn or Randy at 952-925-4237 or blanot be accepted for this activity. The snakes Il should be full-grown (except the bull - for

MiImesota Herpetological Society :Monthly Newsletter

July 2002

college friends talked me into joining the Minnesota Herpetological Society. The Step From Zero To Hmmm ... why not? I'd always been a little One is Greater than from bit interested in snakes anyway. It didn't take me long to discover that it was really One to Many. hard at Adoption time to turn my back on various of the creatures that came through, By C. M. Larson needing a new home and a little attention. When I was growing up as a kid on a farm, I'm a member of a healing, helping profeswe always had animals. And, as anyone sion! We're soft-hearted... aka we're who owns a creature is well aware, animals SUCKERS for a sob story. But I gritted my mean chores. Feeding, cleaning, medical teeth every time I saw something that care, maintaining fences and barns, etc. piqued my interest, knowing that I didn't Every morning I got up at six am to feed the horses before school, and

MRS Members Write

our family never went on a vacation

without asking the neighbors to feed the horses, dog, rabbits, and cats. It was just a part of life, to take into account whenever plan-

Renaissance Festival for nearly two seasons

now, why not have my very own? Of course, I knew it'd open up a floodgate ... but it's just one! So, after asking lots of questions (where do I get mice? how often should I feed him? what sort of environment does he need?) and definitely against my better judgement, I became the proud owner of a tiny baby corn snake, soon

dubbed Ben. As a vet student, I saw sick, ill, and desperately unhappy animals all day, every day. That's depressing, and enough to turn even the most devoted pet-lover into something of a pessimist. It was a relief and a pleasure to be able to come home to one healthy little animal, bright-eyed and growing like a little went to school with me several times so I could show him off to my friends (and scare my poor patient professors!).


Well, imagine my surprise and pleasure upon attending college, and discovering that I didn't have to bundle up every winter morning to go feed horses before class. I could sleep in till all hours on weekends, take a trip to the Twin Cities at the drop of a hat; in fact, I could go a whole week without walking on dirt ... but I digress. Suffice it to say, the freedom from daily animal care was a heady draught.

And I have to laugh every time my parents come to visit; my dad, a

have the experience to tackle a tough one nor the money for fancy facilities. And then I'd get on email and write that friend of mine to tell about the newest one that'd caught my eye (always thanking my lucky stars that I'd successfully restrained myself After college, I went to vet school. A vet from putting in to adopt it!) student with no pets. What's wrong with Ah, but even iron willpower can be waythat picture? There certainly wasn't a shortlaid. This fall, that same friend walked up age of animals coming through who needed

there a shortage of animals that just needed a little love while they were staying at the hospital. But I loved the freedom of being pet-free, and also was well aware that I had little money to spare on doctoring up something that needed lots of care. Fortunately, any time I started to yearn after a dog of my own too much, a friend or colleague would ask me to pet sit for a weekend or a few weeks, and that would pop my daydreams in a hurry!

friends' animals to show off at the

weed. Ben, the baby corn snake, even

ning anything outside the normal

a new home, a second chance. Nor was

Volume 22 Number 7

farmer, considers animals to be dirty things that don't belong in the house, and my mother has grown up around poisonous snakes. Neither one could ever be considered a snake person. But last time they visited, my mom stood on her tip-toes to peek into Ben's aquarium, and was disappointed that he was hidden under the coconut bark. Another convert? Maybe not, but she thinks he's cute nonetheless!

Ben is a living jewel, growing ever more to me one day with, HYou've always want- beautiful as he attains his adult coloration

ed a corn snake, right?" Vh-oh. Even I could smell a trap in that statement. The bait? Babies. Baby corn snakes, to be precise! I managed to retain just enough sense to stall for a day to think about it. I do know the step from zero to one is greater than from one to many, and I was full well aware of the fact that ifI were already in the habit

bit by bit, nose to tail. He provides a touch of perspective at the end ofa long day, making me smile at the reminder that healthy animals do, in fact, exist. He has gifted me the confidence to say, "Yes, I can take care of a snake," and given me the desire to reach

out to help other herp owners where I can. Ben reminds me to think of his giver, every of caring for one snake, it wouldn't take once in a while. And Ben was indeed the one to open the floodgate to the possibility long for me to volunteer for more. of tackling tougher projects, like a sick After playing both sides of the scenario boa ... but how I took the step from one to through my head that evening, I thought, oh Early in my vet school career, one of my many is another story. well, why not? I've been borrowing

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

The Glacial Lakes Survey

June, 2002 by Randy Blasus MHS Survey Chairman

July 2002

Volwlle 22 Nmllber 7

Saturday dawned a little humid but stilI somewhat cool. As animals were most likely to move diurnally, avoiding the midday heat, everyone was asked to arise early in anticipation of a warm day. The survey crew started from camp at about

The second survey of the 2002 season took place in a prairie and oak forested state park in western Mitmesota. Here, we were to trap for turtles, and search for serpents. Our DNR mission was to find Blanding's turtles (Emydoidea blandingii) which are present only one county south. In addition, we were asked to verify undocumented reports of Western Hognosed snakes (Heterodon n. nasicus) in the park. Friday's setup time allowed for only a few observations of frog choruses near camp. These calls MHS herpers head out into the bush .... were comprised of Chorus frogs (Pseudacris I. triseriata) and Cope's Gray Treefrogs (Hyla chlysoscelis). Turtle traps were set while camp was made. Jeff LeClere assisted most ably in the former, having the most trapping experience amongst the group. He also provided a specimen for the Cope's record, and did so while showing his uncanny 'herp-sense' by capturing the hapless frog in one of the turtle traps! After all was prepared, the tired group soon split to their respective shel- ... and return to ters which totaled four tents and two vans to weather a peaceful night. 9:00 AM and began working some of the The night remained cool and breezy short grass prairie nearest to the camp. thanks to a front that had moved through The path for the day would lead from this early in the day. This day was, unfortu- spot on to the main park entrance, where nately, and unknown at the time, to be the we took a short break. From the park headquarters, a large loop was made to the best weather of the weekend. south and east canvassing areas near the

western park border eventually returning us full circle. Finds began almost immediately after leaving camp. The first sighting of the day was a Green snake (OphiodlYs vernalis) that eluded capture. This was followed by Prairie skinks (Eumeees s. septentrionalis) Plains, Eastern and Red-sided Garter Snakes (Thamnophis radix, s. sir/alis and sirtalis parietalis). At camp, the traps were emptied; all contained only Painted turtles (Chlysemys piela bellii). After completing the morning round, we took lunch in camp. The intention was to break during the hot midday, but it actually became the end herping of the day. A wind, gentle by morning, soon picked up. Gusting up to 30 mph, it would blow down the authors' tent and the tent of shared food and drink. The temperature steadily rose to an unbearable level even with the wind. On the plus side, other than the ticks, no stinging or biting insects were in any abundance. Some members left to run errands, see relatives, etc. One or two hardier members, more adjusted to the heat continued to search. However, even this attempt seemed futile for several more hours' search turned up only a couple of specimens. One of these proved valuable, however, as it represented a new species to add to our list, Wood frogs (Rona sylvatiea). The rest of the day was spent fighting gear, consuming water and in organization of the campsite and documentation of the finds. Work did not resume on Saturday until nearly ten-o'clock when five members went road cruising for herps. Again, the fruit was meager and yielded calling

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

Chorus frogs and a few moving Leopard frogs (Rana pipiells). One eager member of the party helped lift everyone's spirit with her enthusiastic drive to capture frogs crossing the road. In fact, the other hapless herpers sitting nearest her soon learned the error of slow response! She soon positioned herself nearest to the door to facilitate a more immediate response

upon the call of 'Frog!' This strategy worked as she soon apprehended her first slippery friend of the evening. The rest watched as she eagerly caught the frog, and caught it, and caught it, finally showing oITher triumph! For those 'old hands' of the field, bored with anything less then a large snake, introducing novices to the fast action found in pursuit of 'mundane'

herps, brings back the memories and the wonder found many years ago.

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

was made in the park at the Ranger RQ where we briefly explained the events of the weekend and promised to be in touch with soon.

Many more people volunteered for this survey then any previous one, yet fewer

showed up. Weather probably discouraged some as the forecast was for a rainy weekend, but for those who attended it was still worthwhile to spend time immersed in herps and herping with fellow enthusiasts (personally one of my main reasons for coordinating these). A total of 18 MRS volunteers performed 82 hours of survey time making 38 collection records comprised of ten species. Thirtyseven encounters were either a sighting or a capture, only one was based on an anu-

ran call.

Sunday forecasts looked to be an almost Using the most recent information, some repeat of the prior day. However, late new records were made and a few species night thunderstorms circled over the for Pope County may change in status prairie braking only after sunrise having when compared to Oldfield & Moriarty's sent two sets of campers on the road book Amphibians & Reptiles Native to home. The storms pushed back the hot Minnesota, 1994 and Moriarty's 1996 weather until somewhat later in the morn- (Vol. 16 No.5) MRS Newsletter, article ing, allowing those left to make another Updates to the Distribution Maps in try while the breeze cooled the surveyors Amphibians & Reptiles Native to rather then flattening them. Those Minnesota. A report will be filed with remaining were soon joined by members the MNDNR and an abbreviated version of a DNR survey crew who had requested will be placed in the MHS Library. to tag along. This time the hike was longer and into areas previously unex- A sampling of some of the animals found plored to the south and east of camp. The on the survey: extensive rolling land supported numerous good quality prairie sites which were mapped plus one more species was added to the list for the Park, the Leopard frog, previously found outside of the border. One Leopard frog, even startled it's soon to be captor by leaping out from a mammal burrow near his feet! The trek proved long and wearing as the heat began to quickly rise to boiling, similar to the previous day, but without the wind. A number of animals were found on the trek, but the hotter weather was only conducive to the more thermophilic species such as the garters. Back at camp, everyone pitched Cope's Grey Treefrog (HyJa chrysoscelis) in to break down tents and pack up; soon leaving the camp empty. One last stop

Prairie Skink (Eumeces septentrionalis)

Plains Garter Snake (Thamnophis radix)

Smooth Green Snake (Opheodrys vernalis)

Minnesota Herpetological Society Monthly Newsletter

e) English Spot

July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

Minnesota Herpetological Society Treasurer's Report Prepared by Marilyn Brooks Blasus, Treasurer


Jim's Rabbit Shack

For the Month Ending: June 30, 2002

"W1lere Spots Are Tops'

JIMDALUGE (763) 295路2818

8700 Jaber Ave. NE Monticello, MN 55362

Income: Membership Sales (Net) Donations Raffle Mise Total Income: Expenses: Newsletter Printing & Postage Other Printing & Postage Program Conservation/Donation Supplies & Refreshments Mise Total Expense: Net Gain/(Loss):

OFFICIAL NOTICE: Friday November 1st, 2002 willbe MHS's official election day for 2003's Board Members. All members present at the meeting will be voting on the following positions:

640.00 77.32 217.00 71.00 70.00 1076.32

758.47 1000.00 68.12 690.58 2517.17 (1441.85)

Members at Large Nancy Hakomaki (incumbent) Jody Holmstrom (incumbent) Brian Ingbretsson (incumbent) Becky Girard (incumbent) Barb Buzicky (incumbent)

President Jodi Aherns(incumbent) Vice President Tony Gamble (incumbent) Recording Secretary Heather Ingbretson(incumbent) Membership secretary Nancy Haig (incumbent) Treasurer Marilyn Blasus (incumbent) Newsletter Editor Bill Moss (incumbent)

The above ballot is not final and will change before election day. Incumbents will not necessarily run for their current position, but are listed for information only.

Call for Nominations The official election ballot for the November election still has plenty of room for members to run. Please let any current board member know of your intentions to run for a position and we will place your name on the official ballot for election day. We strongly encourage all members to run for a position on the board. You must be 18 years or older to hold a board position.

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter July 2002

Volume 22 Number 7

Classified Advertisements Classified

ads are free to the

member ship.

Deadl,'ne Is the night of the general meeting to be included In the next newsletter.

For Sale

FOR SALE: Reptiles Magazines $2 each plus postage. I have the following Gargoyle gecko (R auriculaitus) $250 for back issues in excellent condition: April, striped male. email: May, August, October 1995; Jan, Heather, or call April, May, June, October 1996; Jan, 612.554.8446+++ Feb, Sept thru Dec 1997; 1997 Annual; June thru Oct 1998; August 1999; May 2000 1 Male Baird's rat snake Adult $35 Call Paul at (218) 384-9857 or e-mail Call Kati 763.506.0488+++ Heather C Matson Photography 612.554.8446 HCMPHOTOGRAPH~COM

Portraits, Weddings, Fine Art prints. All MHS members will receive a 10% off of contract price.+++ Prices very Frozen Rabbits - all sizes. reasonable - pinkies to adults. Jim Daluge 763.295.2818 FOR SALE: Well started Jackson's Chameleon babies. Four months old (as of 7/13), Big and healthy babies. Still have males and females, but you had better hurry. DiscOlmt for Herp Society members. Call Amy Squires (763)422-8429 or e-mail: Reducing collection: 1.0.0 Red-Footed Tortoise, juvenile, $125. 1.0.0 Albino Bull Snake, adult, $50. 1.1.0 Baja Gopher Snakes, adult, $100. 1.1.0 Rosy Boas, adult, male Imusual monochromatic brown, SIOO. 1.0.0 Sonoran Gopher Snake, adult, $50. All animals are captive bred and in good condition. Call Randy at 952-925-4237 or email .

Flightless Fruitflies - Excellent food for dart frogs, mantellas, hatchling geckos, baby chameleons, spiderlings, and other small herps. Two species available: Drosophila meianogaster (small) and Drosophila hydei (large). $5/culture or $25/6 cultures. Each culture contains 30 to 50 adult flies and has potential to produce several hundred yOlmg. Also, l\Iealworms, two sizes available - regular and mini. $5/1 000. Can be delivered to MRS meetings. Call Tony Gamble 612-7476682 or email

1.1 Green tree pythons, 4 yrs. 1st clutch 16 egg in January Complete with rain chamber cage, 1. Brazilian rainbow boa, 2 yrs, 1. Ball python. Also need to find home for Sulcatta tortoise. 2 - 40 gal critter cages with stand, tall oak chameleon cage, very large nice wood cage for iguana or monitor, much more and misc. stuff too. All offers considered. Vern and Laurie Grassel 763-428-4625 <>

Pinkies Fuzzles Hoppers Adults

$7/dz $7/dz $8/dz $101dz

Wanted Male Desert box turtle to keep my girl company. 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 Female corn snakes 2-3 feet in length Call Kati 763.506.0488 WANTED: Reptiles Magazine Jan, Feb, and July 1999 and 1999 Annual Reptile Hobbyist Vols 1,2, 5-12, 14,15, 17-26, 28-41, 45-50. Call Paul at (218) 38498570r e-mail Wanted: Reptiles Mag.(Feb.'96) Reptilian Mag. (Vol 1, #1; #4; #5: Vol 2, #8, Vol 4,#3); Vavarium Mag. (Vol 3, #2;#4); Reptile and Amphibian Mag. (Nov-Dev '89; Mar-Api '90; May-Jun '90); Captive Breeding (Vol 3,#2); Reptilia (Spanish ed)(#1). I will pay postage. Denis Baird, 4809 S. Luna; Chicago, IL 60638

Rats Pinkies Fuzzies SmAdult Med Adult Lg Adult Jumbo

$9/dz $15/dz $18/dz $24/dz $30/dz $36/dz

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

MHS Rodent Sales 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 Jody Holmstrom @ 651.224.7212




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.

Classlfled 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 resubmit~ ted. Corresponding members are allowed a complimentary business card advertisement monthly as space permits. Due to federal restrictions on Non路profrt 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: All advertisements should be submitted to the MHS Editor, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. SEI 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, Email


List in MHS Directory?



Herp related interests

Active Memberships: Sustaining ($60/yr)

Contributing ($30/yr)

Basic ($15/yr)

Bronze ($50/yr 2 1/4 pg ads) Gold ($100/yr 2 Fuli 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 St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Please allow 6-8 weeks L for _______________________________________________ processing. Corresponding Memberships:

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




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Next Meeting: Friday, August 2, 2002 7:00PM Room 335 Borlaug Hall, U ofM St. Paul Campus


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MHS Voice mail: 612.624.7065




Non-Profit Rate U.S. Postage PAID



Vol. 22 (2002), No. 7  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

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