Page 1








Guest Speaker:




September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

Board of Directors

Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church Street Southeast, Minneapolis Minnesota 55455·0104


Jodi L Aherns 612.588.9329


Vice President


Tony Gamble tgamb! Recording Secretary Becky Girard


MHS Webpage: http://ww\\' . bell museu m .0rg/heroetology/Mai n. h tml

Membership Secretary

Nancy Halg


Minnesota Herpetological . c 1 e t y o


MHS Group Email: Voice Mail: 612.624.7065

Treasurer Marilyn Blasus

952.925.4237 . . . . . . . . . . . . ._ . . . . . . . . . . ._ _ _ _. . . ._ _......._ _. . . . . . . . . . . . . ._ _....


September 2002

Newsletter Editor


Bill Moss Members at Large

Nancy Hakomak! 651.631.1380 nancy-hakomak! Brian Ingbretson 763.572.0487 Jody Holmstrom


Volume 22

Number 9

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. Barb Buzlcky

612-916-7575 763.572.0487 Heather Ingbretson

Committees Adoption Sarah Richard

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.


Education Jan Larson


Northern Minnesota Jeff Korbel


LIbrary Beth Girard

763.691.1650 bg

Webmaster Anke Reinders

Herp Assistance Amphibians Greg Kvanbek John Meltzer John Moriarty

651.388.0305 763.263.7880 651.482.8109

Chameleons Vern & Laurie Grassel


Crocodilians Jeff Lang Bill Moss

701.772.0227 651.488.1383

LIzards Nancy Haig Heather Matson

763.434.8684 612.554.8446

Large Boas, Pythons TIna Clsewskl


Other Snakes Jeff Ledere John Meltzer

651.488.6388 763.263.7880

Aquatlc Turtles Gary Ash John Levell

763.753.0218 507.467.3076

Terrestrial Turtles Fred Bosman John Levell

763.476.0306 507.467.3076

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. 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 and should be in electronic file format if possible. The business card rate is $5/month. Submissions may be sent to: -orBill Moss The Minnesota Herpetological Society Attn: Newsletter Editor 75 Geranium Ave East Bell museum of Natural History Saint Paul, MN 55117 -or10 Church St. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55455.0104

Copynght2002, Minnesota Herpetological SOCiety. Except where noted, contents may be reproduced for nonprofit, non-commerdal use only. All material must be reproduced without change. Proper credit will be given including the author/photographer and the MHS Newsletter citing: volume, number and date.

Minnesota HeI1Jetological Society 1vlonthly Newsletter

The Vice-President's Report By Tony Gamble October General Meeting Friday, October 4th, 2002, 7:00 PM


Strange, True Tales from the Brookfield Zoo Reptile House Guest Speaker:

Ray Pawley

September 2002

Volume 22

the herp and mammal collections at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. While there he assisted Perkins as an animal trainer/manager for the "Wild Kingdom" programs that were televised out of Chicago. In 1964 he moved to the Brookfield Zoo. Besides his zoo work, Ray served on the Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board for 17 years and was a charter board member of the Willowbrook Wildlife Rehabilitation Center near Chicago. He has served as an associate to the Department of Zoology at the Field Museum of Natural History and as a special associate to the Moscow Zoo park in Russia. Ray continues to stay active in the zoo community as a consultant and trainer.

There has been an explosion of herp information in the last few decades. Despite this, there are still surprising discoveries being made. For 33 years Ray Pawley and his staff at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago "listened to the animals" Upcoming Meetings: and had some interesting ques- Friday, November 1st, 2002 - TBA tions. Why don't Goliath frogs and their kin vocalize? How can a female snake produce offspring Friday, December 6th, 2002 - Bill years after her last potential breed- Love - Splendid Isolation ing? Do the giant tortoises of the Exploring Madagascar's Galapagos Islands do anything Herpetofaunal Diversity other than eat or sleep? These questions and others produced some surprising answers. Ray's Saturday, December 7th, 2002 talk will focus on these remarkable (MHS Holiday Banquet) - Bill Love cases, and others, drawn from his New Caledonia's Gecko years at the Brookfield Zoo. Grandeur Ray Pawley is well known in the zoo community and his career started many years ago at the Black Hills Reptile Gardens in South Dakota. From there he went to work at other zoos and animal dealers in Michigan, South Dakota, and Florida. He was eventually hired by Marlin Perkins to manage

Number 9

September Raffle Donors Thanks to the following people as well as many others who don't write their names on the donor list for donating items to the raffle table. Because of your generosity the MHS raised almost $100 in the raffle. Dan Monson (Blue Lagoon) Candles Brian and Heather Ingbretson SW Reptiles Postcards

September Critter of the Month The following people were good enough to bring animals to talk about at the meeting. The theme was "Your healthiest herp" Jodi L. Aherns Albino African Fat-tail Gecko Heather Ingbretson Corn Snake; Ball python; African spurred tortoise Thomas Armstrong Leopard Gecko Mark Schmidke Bullsnake

October Critter of the Month:

Jeff LeClere Corn Snake and Black Rat snake

Your strangest herp -or- your herp that does the strangest things.

Page 3

Newslelter of the


HCTvetological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

News, Notes & Announcements The following animals found homes:

Wedding at Ren Fest Tony Liebsch and Paul Vetrone will be wed outside the cottage at the Renaissance Festival on the last day of festival - September 29. Congratulations Tony and Paul!

Original Artwork for the Holiday Banquet Needed Gordon Merck, the MHS Holiday Banquet Chairperson, is asking the artists among the group for a donation of artwork to be raffled as a major prize at our banquet in December. The work can be in any media and should feature (what else?) herps. Your time will count as MHS volunteer hours. This may also qualify as a donation to a non-profit organization.

The 18th Annual Midwest Herpetological Symposium This years edition of the Midwest Herpetological Symposium will be held in Peoria, IL, October 11 th-13th. The symposium is being jointly hosted by the Champaign Area Society of Herpetoculturists and the Central Illinois Herp Society. For more information, visit the official symposium website at: Page 4

Please contact Gordon at 952471-3582

September Adoptions by Sarah Richard, Adoption Chair

Thanks to everyone who applied and took home animals. You make the adoption program a success. Without your help it wouldn't be possible. In addition to finding homes for 34 critters we raised $205.00 for the society!

Red eared slider, Irg Burm python, sm Alligator, sm Caimen, med 2 Ball Python's 2 Boa's, 6 Corn snake's Turtle, Stink pot Turtle, Mud Turtle,snapping sm Turtle,snapping med Turtle, Asian pond Box Turtle, M Bearded Dragon, M Chameleon, Veiled M Collard lizard 2 Geckos, White Stripe Gecko, Golden 4 Iguana's, and 4 African Clawed Frog's Animal's still waiting for homes: Six Iguanas of various sizes, (Contact Liz Redmond for Iguanas) 2 small Alligators.

Nc\vslcttcr of thc Minnesota Hcrpetological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

by Kirsten Love With any animal, the eyes correcting the humidity and wait are the 1st feature we tend to until the next ecdysis. If this still notice. If you've ever wondered does not remove the scales, surbe the option. Since about your reptile's eyes and how

our eyes (all black for example). Rods are the other light receiving structures and see black and white grayscale; which is the clearest

they work, this and article a few ofis t~r~e~ilm~~aJ~路~oMre~;H~~~~~~~i~\~J~~~f~stress and sharpest vision. which Diurnalact repdiseases; for tiles have oil droplets to Reptilian eyes are more resolution in certain specavian eyes than mam by filtering light before in 2 major areas. reaches the retina. skeleton made les, topical reef h have been called scleral an different types of acid) to further the large projects range. snakes which eyelid s up to but not to 625nm abilities the

skin the other retai vete snakes, eye can removal "tt,~mnt" cate nature of the treatment initially



is so the eye is blind. YA\/;,,;nn to feed, ltlrfeSS worsens the P.fir,iArllw~ To correct the water soluA i from your



snake in a damp lined with After 24 hours, surface of the eye ton or tissue paper and uSllailyllfi~;? or spectacle comes off. If there been several sheds, each with retained spectacles, the stack is received sun recently or not much more difficult to remove. (plants can "tan" with sunlight The least invasive step is to cor- exposure), and sex characteristics rectthe husbandry environment by in animals that appear similar to

until signs resolve; oral intramuscularly once are poorly absorbed. supplement the food with food rich in vitamin A: algae, pond whole fish. weeds, small Resolution can take any where from 1 week to 1 month depending on the severity at presentation.

Page 5

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

Minnesota's wild turtles are a hot commodity, sold by the thousands as pets or for food. But can they be harvested sustainably? Bell Museum graduate student Tony Gamble is trying to find out.

The Tu .. tle T .. ap by Jennifer Amie

Gamble will set traps on two dozen Minnesota lakes, catching, counting, marking, measuring, and releasing turtles as part of a study sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

depleted from lakes that have been harvested.

Last June, Bell Museum graduate All turtle species live a long time, student Tony Gamble launched a reproducing over many years. In small boat onto a central Minnesota lake. It was the first of many expedinatural populations, mortality of young turtles is very high. However, tions he will undertake through September 2002. Steering among Gamble will compare the relative once surviving turtles outgrow the the reeds and lily pads, Gamble set abundance of turtles in lakes that early, vulnerable egg and hatchling out a series of floating traps that have been commercially harvested stages, adult mortality is very low. Turtle harvesting specifically offer an inviting perch for basking increases adult mortality; the painted turtles, which crawl up on the traps to sun themselves. jI¡~~f~SJf~1 question is whether this increase When they dive off the trap, the ¡~IJ)z~-;~;ii~ is sufficient to put the population unsuspecting turtles are caught • at risk. in an underwater net. The survival of older juveniles, sub-adults, and adults is crucial to The same type of trap is used by maintaining a healthy population, commercial trappers, who harvest, on average, nearly 32,000 says turtle expert Jeffrey Lang, a professor of biology at the wild painted turtles in Minnesota University of North Dakota. ''The each year. Snapping turtles are turtle's long life span has imporalso trapped at an average rate of 3,400 per year. Gamble is try- . tant implications for turtle conservation;' he says. ing to determine the effects of this activity on the state's turtle Ironically, the turtle's evolutionary populations. strategy makes it especially vulnerable to human exploitation. "Research with snapping turtles in Michigan and Canada shows "Any harvest of larger, older indithat even small harvests can have devastating effects;' says viduals can easily jeopardize long-term survival if adult losses Gamble. One study (Congdon et outpace the recruitment of juve~I, 1994) found that harvesting an adult snapping turtle niles," says Lang. Just 10 percent of a populatton (Chelydra serpentina) per year could result in a 50 perDepletion of larger, older individucent reduction in adult snapping tur- to the relative abundance of turtles als may be greater among snapping in lakes that have not been harvest- turtles, which are harvested for tles within 15 years. ed. He is also attempting to discover food, than among painted turtles, Over the course of the season, whether or not older turtles are which are harvested for the pet Page 6

Newsletter of the .Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

trade where a smaller size is pre- end of the resource we've all the recovery of turtle populations is ferred. depended on for a long time. I'm not very slow, especially with species against regulating the industry, but like the softshell and snapping turTrapping, in fact, is but one of many we want to go out and harvest and tie. These factors affected our decichallenges still make a living sion to close Wisconsin to commerturtles face. at it:' cial trapping." "With the increase of Johannes, of the In Minnesota, the DNR is currently u r ban DNR, notes that promulgating an administrative rule s p raw I , the hard part is change that would afford greater discovering what protection to turtles while still allow[ hum a n s 1 moVing onto level of trapping ing a commercial harvest. The lakeshore is sustainable. department has also proposed legpro per t y, "Given the islation that would create new and wetnature of reptiles licenses and limit nonresidents from lands being and all the things taking turtles. that are stacked d r a i ned, up against them, Currently, Minnesota regulations we've seen a decline in you need to take prohibit all trapping of Minnesota's logical steps to two threatened turtles, the habitat for reptiles and A group of basking painted turtles ensure that Blanding's turtle and wood turtle. (Chrysemys picta) they'll survive for amphibians," says Roy all the citizens of Regulations regarding snapping turJohannes, a commercial fisheries the state;' he says. "If it happens ties limit the number of traps an indiprogram consultant with the that commercial exploitation is vidual can set and dictate a miniMinnesota Department of Natural affecting turtle populations, then mum size for turtles taken from the we'll have to deal w i I d . Resources (DNR). Snapping with it. But we Although trapping may be only one have to take some t u r tie s are profactor affecting the health of con s e r vat i ve now. t e c ted Minnesota turtles, it has become a measures central focus in the debate over their We're not waiting d uri n g their eggprotection. for the population to crash before we I a yin g As the DNR has moved to enforce react:' season, existing regulations, the debate over between commercial trapping has been In Wisconsin, May 1 played out in the courtroom, in the where turtle trapand June legislature, and among industry and ping had been vir30. conservation groups. tually unregulated, DNR officials There are Common Snapping Turtle no state At the heart of the debate is the imposed a perma(Chelydra serpentina) reg u I aissue of sustainability; on this point, nent ban on comall parties agree. mercial turtle harvesting in 1997. tions limiting the season, size, or Rex Campbell, a commercial trap- "Based on what I have seen over the number of traps for painted turtles. per from Grey Eagle, Minn. who has years, I believe that turtle densities harvested turtles for 25 years, says, are way down;' says Wisconsin Map turtles and softshell turtles can "The last thing I want to see is the DNR herpetologist Robert Hay, "and be taken at any time and with no Page 7

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

size limits, though these species are vesting is concentrated in the lake not the primary component of country of central Minnesota. Most In 1997, the number of painted turMinnesota's turtle industry. trappers operate in Stearns, ties taken in Minnesota was 22,578. The following year, after the 1"' ••-.":'tr-a-p-p-e-r-s'"'lhr-a-r-v-e-s"":'te-d-:-:5:-:0:-:0:--s-07':ft-s":-h-e"::lI~tr--r":':tl-e-s-p-e-r-d"":'a-y-o-n"1 Wisconsin ban, that number jumped u to 69,887. Though the numbers the lower Wisconsin River during the two years declined to 43,997 in 1999 (the before the activity was banned, says Hay. most recent year for which statistics ' - -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.....1 are compiled), they were still nearly However, many predict that the mar- Douglas, Morrison, and Pope coun- double the 1997 harvest.

ket for softshell turtles will increase because of their popularity, especially in Asia, as a food source. In neighboring Wisconsin, trappers harvested 500 softshell turtles per day on the lower Wisconsin River during the two years before the activity was banned, says Hay.


As demand for turtles grows and Sources in the turtle industry and in trappers face increasing scrutiny by the DNR indicate that a group of regulators, the commercial turtle about a dozen licensed trappers harvest the vast majority of all turties taken in Minnesota. A trapper can sell live snapping turtles for 50 cents to $1 per pound, "We've got softshells here in the while painted turtles fetch from $1 to state, and there's a strong market $1.50 each, says Campbell. for them:' observes Ben Hedstrom, a turtle wholesaler in Alexandria, Not all turtles that are caught in Minn. Hedstrom is opposed to trap- traps are taken from the lake. Many ping softshells. ''They're a unique are thrown back because they are turtle and there aren't that many of the wrong size or have damaged them to start with:' he says. shells. In 2000, Hedstrom purchased 20,000 painted turtles from trappers, about half the painted turtles harvested in the state that year, according to his estimate. "We've sold turtles for 50 years:' Hedstrom says. "My dad did it since the 1920s:'

Spiny SoftshE!1I (Apalone spinifera)

The primary market in Minnesota is for snapping turtles, which are sold for meat, and painted turtles, which are sold as pets. Painted turtle harPage 8

industry is poised to evolve. Though the outcome of that evolution is yet to be determined, its course will inevitably be shaped by the health of Minnesota's turtle popUlations-and their vitality is now a point of contention.

"I can go out and catch more turtles Hedstrom has observed an increas- today than I did 10 years ago:' says ing demand for Minnesota turtles Campbell. "I don't see that it's hurtsince the Wisconsin ban on com- ing the turtle population:' mercial trapping. "Wisconsin is closed, and it's putting pressure Other observers offer a different over here:' he says. point of view. Brian Mies, a conservation officer with the ON R in Statistics reported to the DNR by Kimball, Minn., says, "I've seen a trappers show a sharp increase in major decrease in snapping turtle the number of painted turtles har- populations and a decrease in paintvested in Minnesota after 1997. ed turtles on lakes that have been

Newsletter of the Minnesota Hell)etological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9


In spring, the turtles will emerge August Speaker Review from their hibernation and return to Johannes reports that, "anecdotally, the lakes, along with Gamble, who 'Veterinarians and Reptiles' the DNR has received information will study them for a second season. from peofinal Presented by Kirsten Love His ple over results will be time that published in Kirsten Love, a U of M Veterinary turtle popa report that Student, participated in a precepulations will be avail- torship with Dr. Doug Mader at the able to the Marathon Veterinary Hospital in have been '2~sf • 'c. public. "My south Florida. in decline:' ·is·.~ But, he goal is to adds, "we bring some Although the visit lasted only two need to objectivity to weeks, it was packed with new get more the debate experiences and learning opportui nformaover com- nities. Kirsten briefly discussed tion about mercial trap- some of the interesting cases she turtle popping;' says assisted with. These included a ulations:' Gamble. "I small snake that had been hit by a want the . car, an iguana needing a tail Although study to be amputation, and a soft shell turtle he stresses the need to act now to used by anyone who's concerned:' with multiple fishing hooks embedprotect turtles, Johannes says that ded in it. She worked with animals "we need to put things in place so that were obese, emaciated, that we can better track the effects This article is reprinted with permis- burned, and some with intestinal of wetland loss and the commercial sion from IMPRINT, the magazine worms. However, the majority of harvest. Any time you increase your of the University of Minnesota's Bell her time was spent at the Turtle knowledge about a species you Museum of Natural History, 612- Hospital. increase your ability to make better 624-7083. decisions:' Kirsten was able to work with sevEditors note: I would personally like eral species of endangered sea It is to that end that the DN R is sup- to thank Jennifer Amie for her assis- turtles. Upon their arrival many porting Tony Gamble's research, tance in providing material for this patients exhibit signs of dehydrawhich will gather objective informa- reprint. tion, anemia, or pneumonia, and tion about turtle populations. are in need of injections of iron Though scientists have researched and fluids, and are sometimes the effects of trapping on turtles in tube-fed squid. Some turtles have similar environments, Gamble's is signs of injury from boat prothe first study to focus on Minnesota pellers, such as cracked shells. turtles. One of the tanks at the Turtle

•.· ., . , ,.

His preliminary results indicate that painted turtle populations are smaller on harvested lakes, but that the What did the snail say when he demographic makeup of popula- jumped on the turtles back? tions is the same among harvested and non-harvested lakes. Weeee!

Hospital houses the "Bubble Butts". That's right, "Bubble Butts"l These are turtles that have sustained injuries to their shell,

.. .. Speaker continued on page 13 Page 9

Newsletter of the 1-1innesota Herpetological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

l1ll.'" " land RaHdni..HfI A By John P. Levell

"Alias - the Constrictor?" Although not strictly confined to Southeastern Minnesota, one of the more spectacular reptiles of the Bluffland region is the Racer, Co/uber constrictor. This lean, mean, fighting machine of a snake is known locally as the "Blue Racer" due to its uniform light greenish blue dorsal coloration as an adult, which is an unusual color for a snake indeed. In the opinion of some authorities, however, this widely utilized common name is incorrectly applied to the Racers residing here in Minnesota. This confusion is due to the fact that our "Blue" is just one of the twelve to fourteen currently recognized geographic varieties or subspecies of Racer occurring throughout the North American Continent. Found in parts of all 48 contiguous states and adjacent southern Canada, as well as through Mexico to as far south as at least northern Guatemala, the species is in fact one of North America's most widely distributed reptiles. As might be expected from any animal with such an extensive disPage 10

tribution, significant differences in coloration are evident both among and within the various geographic populations, a fact that is typically reflected in local common names for the Racer. In addition to our "Blue" for example, such basic descriptive appellations as Green,

Black, Tan, Yellowbelly, Brownchin, Black-masked, and even Buttermilk are used to distinguish most of the ten or eleven Racer varieties found within the political confines of the United States.

These U.S. subspecies currently include the "true" Blue Racer, Co/uber constrictor foxii, which occurs, often abundantly, throughout much of the southern Great Lakes region. States where this form has traditionally been considered typical include all of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan (Harding 1997), southern Wisconsin (Vogt 1981), virtually all of the more northerly portions of Illinois and Indiana (Minton 2001) and northwestern Ohio (Denny 1990). Reliable records of this subspecies exist for eastern Iowa as well (Christiansen and Bailey 1990). Many of the previously cited authors also consider Minnesota's Racers to be C. c. foxii. This viewpoint is likewise held by Conant and Collins (1991) and Wilson (1978), as is evident from the range maps included in their respective discussions of the species. Contrary opinions have been expressed by a number of different authors including Breckenridge (1944), Oldfield and Moriarty (1994), and LeClere (1995). These latter authors instead view all Minnesota specimens as the Eastern Yellowbelly Racer, C. c. f/aviventris. Clouding the issue still further several authorities including

Ne,,'sictter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

Auffenberg (1955), Fitch (1963), and Smith (1961) have treated the two taxa, C. c. foxii and C. c. flaviventris, as synonymous. If this is indeed the case, all Blue Racers are Yellowbellys, as the name flaviventris has priority according to the rules of zoological nomenclature. This would introduce, however, even more variability in color

and overall average adult size into the subspecies flaviventris, a form that already exhibits significant variation in these and other traits over its comparatively extensive geographic range. Officially recognized species checklists for North American amphibians and reptiles offer little in the way of resolution; with the subspecies foxii alternately included (Schmidt 1953, Crother 2000) or omitted (Collins 1990, 1997, Collins et al 1978, 1982) depending upon the taxonomic viewpoint of the compilers. All of which leads to the dilemma of exactly what to call the Racer in Minnesota. With the name foxii currently again "officially" available (Crother 2000), determining the correct scientific designation will depend largely on a more thorough systematic review of the physical characteristics of Minnesota's Racers. This may be easier said than done, however, as comparatively few specimens are recorded within the state on an annual basis. This, in turn, means that relatively

September 2002

Volmne 22

few museum specimens are available for study. With the conservation status of Minnesota's Racer population still unclear, the biological preparation of any collected live animals as preserved specimens clearly cannot be advocated at the present time. Herpetologists and other individuals traveling through areas of the state inhabited by Racers, however, should salvage any useable dead specimens encountered. Road killed and other salavaged dead Racer specimens should then be deposited in the Bell Museum of Natural History herpetological collection as soon as possible. In addition to their possible taxonomic value, such specimens may provide much additional data on the distribution and status of the Racer in Minnesota. Theoretically, Racers should occur throughout much of the Blufflands region, although verified records are still utterly lacking for Fillmore County. Other southeastern Minnesota counties with verified Racer records include Olmsted, Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona and Houston. Elsewhere in the state the species is known to occur as far west as the Minnesota River in both LeSueur and Blue Earth Counties, with specimens also recorded in Anoka, Dakota, Hennepin, and Washington Counties. Reported reliable sightings of Racers in the extreme southeastern portions of Pine County represent the northern most record of the species in Minnesota. Returning briefly to the subject of common names, what exactly is the "best fif' for the Racers of Minnesota? Based upon the limited data available, Minnesota specimens do appear to fall somewhat outside the classic definition of C. c. foxii. The inherent variability of the form flaviventris, on the other

Numbcr9 .

hand, makes accurately defining this subspecies equally problematic. Of course, it is possible, perhaps even probable, that Minnesota specimens incorporate traits of both foxii and flaviventris. Certainly, wide areas of such integration between Racer subspecies are commonplace throughout the entire geographic range of the species. The vernacular name Blue Racer, however, is undoubtedly much more widely utilized than Yellowbelly in discussions applicable to both foxii and/or flaviventris. A fair number of color based common names including Green, Gray, and most notably "Blue:' have likewise been applied to Racers falling well within the geographic range of "true" flaviventris as the subspecies is currently defined. These facts strongly support the assumption that Blue Racer will be recognized by the greatest number of individuals regardless of level of overall herpetological expertise. Be that as it may, the well-deserved pugnacious reputation of the species also makes "Yellowbelly" seem a most inappropriate name for any Racer indeed!

As if not enough already, controversy over common and subspecif-

ic scientific names of the Racer is simply the latest chapter in a long saga of confusion dating back to the original description of the Page 11

Ncwsletter of the


species. Named Coluber constrictor by none other than founder of modern taxonomy the great Linnaeus himself back in 1758. Only problem is, Racers do not use constriction when killing their prey. Instead, captured animals are simply overpowered by force of superior strength. That however, is a completely different story. Until then, 'Nuff Said,' JPL. Literature Cited: Auffenberg, Walter. 1955. A Reconsideration of the Racer, Coluber constrictor, in the Eastern Unite States. Tulane Studies in Zoology 2(6): 89-155. Tulane University Press. New Orleans, LA.

HC1l)ctoiogical Society

September 2002

Collins, Joseph T. 1997. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians and Reptiles, 4th Edition. Society for the Study of Amphibians


Schmidt, Karl P.1953.AChecklistof North American Amphibians and Reptiles, 6th Edition. American Society of Icthyologists and Herpetologists, University of Chl·cago Press Chl·cago IL Reptiles ., . Smith, Philip W. 1961. The Amphibians and Reptiles of Illinois. Illinois Natural History Survey. Urbana, IL.

and Amphibians of Eastern and Vogt, Richard C. 1981. Natural Central North America, 3 rd Edition. History of Amphibians and Reptiles Houghton Mifflin Co. Boston, MA. of Wisconsin. Milwaukee Public Museum Milwaukee, WI. Denny, Guy L. 1990. Ohio's . Reptiles. Ohio Department of Wilson, Larry D. 1978. Coluber conNatural Resources. Columbus OH strictor. Catalogue of American , Amphibians and Reptiles. SOciety Fitch, Henry H. 1963. Natural for t~e Study of Amphibians and History of the Racer Coluber con- Reptiles. Oxford, OH. strictor. University of Kansas Museum of Natural History 15(8): 351-468. Lawrence, KS.

Collins, Joseph T., Huheey, James E., Knight, James L., and Smith, Hobart H. 1978. Standard Common and Current Scientific Names for North American Amphibians and Reptiles. Society for the Study of Reptiles Amphibians and Herpetological Circular No.7. Harding, James H. 1997. Oxford,OH. Amphibians and Reptiles of the Collins, Joseph T., Conant, Roger, Great Lakes Region. University of Huheey, James E., Knight, James Michigan Press, Ann Arbor, MI. L., Rundquist, Eric M., and Smith, Hobart H. 1982. Standard Common LeClere, Jeff. 1995. Snakes of and Current Scientific Names for Minnesota: Eastern Yellowbellied North American Amphibians and Racer, Coluber constrictor f1aviventris. Minnesota Herpetological Reptiles, 2nd Edition. Society for Page 12

Number 9

the Study of Amphibians and Society Newsletter 15(9): 9-10. Reptiles Herpetological Circular No. Minton, Sherman A., Jr. 2001. 12. Oxford, OH. Amphibians and Reptiles of Indiana, Collins, Joseph T. 1990. Standard Revised 2nd Edition. Indiana Common and Current Scientific Academy of Sciences. Indianapolis, Names for North American IN. Amphibians and Reptiles, 3 rd Edition. Society for the Study of Oldfield, B. and Moriarty, J. J. 1994. Amphibians and Reptiles Amphibians and Reptiles Native to Herpetological Circular No. 19. Minnesota. University of Minnesota Oxford, OH. Press. Minneapolis, MN.

Breckenridge, Walter J. 1944. ~e~p~to~~ical Circular No. 25. Reptiles and Amphibians of x or, . Minnesota. University of Minnesota C t R d C II· J h MN onan, oger an 0 inS, osep Press. M·mneapo I·I S ,. T. 1991. A Field Guide to Reptiles Christiansen, James L. and Bailey, Reeve M. 1990. The Snakes of Iowa. Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Nongame Technical Series No.1. Des Moines, IA.

Volumc 22

Newsletter of the i\1innesota Herpetological Society

September 2002

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: President Jodi L. Aherns

Volume 22

Number 9

Members at Large Barb Buzicky Heather Clayton Jody Holmstrom Brian Ingbretson Heather Ingbretson Alex Schmoll Brent Wold Philip Woutat

Vice President Tony Gamble The above ballot is not final and will change before election day. Recording Secretary

Call for Nominations Membership Secretary Nancy Haig Nancy Hakomaki

Treasurer Marilyn Blasus

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.

Newsletter Editor Bill Moss

.... Speaker continued from page 9

and are no longer able to dive well. Current studies are underway to determine where and why air is being stored in the body (causing flotation), as this is not yet known.

The steps used to treat this at the Turtle Hospital are as follows: 1- Remove tumors from eye area. 2- Recover and gain weight. 3- Radiology, and if necessary, an

Next we learned about Fibropapilloma, a problem discovered only about ten years ago. Fibropapilloma causes tumors or lesions on sea turtles (mainly juveniles). These may be found externally, or internally. They often begin around the turtles eyes and on the flippers, restricting their movement and ability to find food.

If internal tumors are discovered, the animal must be euthanized. An effective method for removing and stopping the re-occurrence of internaltumors has not yet been found. Many veterinarians are beginning to agree that Fibropapilloma is a form of the herpes virus.

endoscopic procedure.

4- Remove external tumors, or, if internal tumors were located, euthanize the animal.

Kirsten Love shared many wonderful photos and a lot of interesting information. ยง

5- Keep turtle at the Hospital to check for re-occurrence, or necropsy. Page 13

Newsletter of the :Minncsota Hell)etological Society

Page 14

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

Nc\-"slctter of the ~Ifinncsola Helpetological Socicly

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

Page 15

Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

DECLARED DEAD, 20-FOOT PYTHON REVIVES AT LANDFILL Detroit Free Press (Michigan) 8/06/02 Escanaba, Mich. (AP): Playing possum seems to come naturally to a 250-pound python named Ariel. After three days without moving, the 20-foot Burmese python was declared dead and hauled off to a landfill. Thats when the snake decided to wake up, giving a start to two teenagers working who were unloading it. The python revived when it was dropped several feet at the Delta Township landfill, the Escanaba Daily Press reported in a recent story. "It was at that point they realized it was alive," said landfill manager Don Pyle. "It was really alive. Then the snake got out of what they had it in. All of us were surprised. It wasn't supposed to be alive .... "It woke up and decided it didn't want to be there." It turns out Ariel had most likely gone into a state of "suspended animation, deeper than hibernation," according to her owner, Larry McCoy of Pets Plus. McCoy said the snakes state probably was because of stress from traveling over several days. McCoy, who travels to schools and other places to educate others about responsible animal ownership, had brought the snake from Traverse City to her new home. The python then traveled from Escanaba to Manistique for a showing, and back again. Page 16

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

"Like an excited parent, I wanted PUSHING PAPER NOT SAVING to show her off," said McCoy. "Of SPECIES course her environment changes drastically every time shes put into that transportation mode, whether A new GAO report finds that the its from overheating or from heat to USFWS is "so bogged down by air conditioning, which puts (rep- lawsuits and other paperwork they have little time for conservation or tiles) under extreme stress. "And like most reptiles that are recovery of endangered species" says ENN, AP 7/24. under stress, there is a buildup of lactic acid, which can potentially According to the report the agency kill them." "lacks financial controls to ensure After returning from Manistique, that money targeted for endanthe snake wound down -- way gered species programs is spent lawfully" and "blames the paperdown. "The next day, there was no move- work glut in part on unclear guidement," McCoy said. "I figured she lines that make it difficult for workwas in a rest period, and I figured ers to designate critical habitat that she was just calming down. I left are not vulnerable to legal chalher alone. I didn't want to try and lenges." USFWS staff now spend provoke her. "The next day, the "more than 50% of their time on smell was there. And a friend of paperwork for litigation or attemptmine, who has a lot more experi- ing to avoid it" compared to "just ence with reptiles than me, he over a quarter of their time recovmoved her, lifted her up. Still, she ering endangered species." didn't move .... By the next day, the The report is at snake still wasn't moving, and Http:// there were no other signs of life." 581.pdf ยง Snakes lack eyelids, so open eyes (Herp Digest Vol 2 no 49) are not a clue. "Snakes always have a dead, blank stare," said McCoy. After giving up hope, McCoy got two volunteers to take the snake to the dump. It was not long after they left the store when McCoy got a phone call, saying the snake was alive. Now, Ariel is recovering in a sauna-size glass enclosed room at the store. She is on a strict feeding schedule of two rabbits two times a week. "These animals have a better home than I do," McCoy said. ยง (Herp Digest Vol 2 no 51)

Newslclter of the 1\.1inncsota Hellletological Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

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


Jim's Rabbit Shack

For the Month Ending: August 31, 2002

"Whel8 Spots A~ Tops"

JIMOALUGE (763) 29$.2818

8700 Ja~r Ave. NE Monticello, MN 55362

Income: Membership Sales (Net) Donations Raffle Mise

0.00 301.00 306.99 94.50 87.94 790.43

Total Income: Expenses: Newsletter Printing & Postage Other Printing & Postage Program Conservation/Donation Supplies & Refreshments Mise .' .

, . t


Total Expense: Net Gain/(Loss):



705.40 10.30 81.83 0.00 10.65 513.84 1322.02 (531.59)

•Reptiles' Ampbibians -Invertebrates' Small Mammals· Fish' Complete Line of Cages, Food, Books &Supplies for ALL Animals

.. . ..~~~ .- ..... . .. ~~ .....




~lN CIl'" Hours: 1 ~J' The LARGEST, Mon, • Fri, 10.8 .BEST Selection in the Twin Cities Sat. 10-6 Since 1979 Sun. 12-5 REPTILES


~~ tI\l~

Only $5 Per Month ...... $60 Per Year

2363 University Ave. W. St. Paul, (1/2 Blk E. of Raymond)

(651) 647·4479 GEI"-"'HE FAeTS Ne.,. THE IflRE III



- - ----------------

Page 17

Newsletter of the Minnesota Hel-petologic:u Society

September 2002

Volume 22

Number 9

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

For Sale FOR SALE:2.3 2001 Southern Brown EggEating snakes for sale. All captive hatched and eating. Please contact Michelle or Sean for more information at (651) 6040314. Price is $175 each. Also. we have a female 1999 hatch Malaysian Blood python for sale. Never been bred. Price is $250.++ FOR SALE: Ornate Diamondback terrapins(malaclemys macrospilotas) C.B. $125.00 ea. call jim 651 5783401++ Frozen Rabbits - all sizes. Prices very 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. Discount 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 unusual monochromatic brown. $100. 1.0.0 Sonoran Gopher Snake. adult. $50. All animals are captive bred and in good condition. Call Randy at 952-9254237 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 hyde; (large). $5/culture or $25/6 cultures. Each culture contains 30 to 50 adult flies and has potential to produce several hundred young. Also. Mealworms. two sizes available - regular and mini. $5/1000. Can be delivered to MHS meetings. Call Tony Gamble 612747-6682 or email

FOR SALE: Reptiles Magazines $2 each plus postage. I have the following back issues in excellent condition: April. May. August. October 1995; Jan. April. May. June. October 1996; Jan. Feb. Sept thru Dec 1997; 1997 Annual; June thru Oct 1998; August 1999; May 2000 Call Paul at (218) 384-9857 or e-mail FOR SALE: 5 almost new melamine enclosures. 3 are 24"w x 36"h x 12"d. 2 are 24"w x 48"h x 12"d. Were used for small arboreal lizards. $45 each or all 5 for $150. New Guinea artifacts collected from areas along the Sepik river:storyboards.figures. masks.etc .... add some Original New Guinean tribal art to your homel Contact John Hogston. 952-8914371.


Wanted Wanted: An adult slender glass lizard and a baby black ratsnake to photograph. For sale or loan. Please contact Jeff LeClere 651.488.6388 or WANTED: Reptiles Magazine Jan. Feb. and July 1999 and 1999 Annual Reptile HobbyistVols 1.2. 5- Call Paul at (218) 384-98570r 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); Caplive Breeding (Vol 3.#2); Reptilia (Spanish ed)(#1). I will pay postage. Denis Baird. 4809 S. Luna; Chicago. IL 60638+++



Pinkies Fuzzies Hoppers Adults






8m Adult

$15/dz $18/dz


Med Adult Lg Adult

$24/dz $30/dz



$7/dz $7/dz

For pick up at monlhly meetings only. Orders Must be placed at least one week advance of date of meeting at which the frozen rodents are to be delivered. Place orders with Jody Holmstrom @ 651.224.7212 Page 18


@[§I]'W@1!!J1ru !j)j][§®®£@i§ I]'@ W©1!!J1ru 1]'£IruQ @[§I]' £I!!J[ID~[§~©[§ W~I]'[}{I !A llU~ [P!A@i§ £[ID.

®ll ® [P[§1ru !j)j]@~I]'[}{I ®ll ~® [P[§1ru W[§£1ru

r.1I~§;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;~~.~ 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 adverllsed In

Ihe MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space !imitations, 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

Business card 1/4 Page 1/2 Page

advertisement monthly as space permits. Due to federal restr!clions on Non-profit mail·

$5/Month $60Near $10/Month $120Near $20/Month $240Near

i09 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. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Deadline Is the nIght of the General Meellng for Inclusion In the next newsletter. Make checks payable to: Minnesota Herpetological Society.

r-----------------------------------------------, Name

New Renewal Membership#

Address Cily, Siale, Zip, Phone

Type Check #


List in MHS Directory?



Herp related interests




. .

Minnesota HerpetologIcal SocIety Membership ApplicatIOn Aclive Memberships: Sustaining ($60/yr)

Contributing ($30/yr)

Basic ($15/yr)

Corresponding Memberships: Basic Commercial ($25/yr 2 Bus Cards) Bronze ($50/yr 2 1/4 pg ads) Silver ($75/yr 2112 pg Ads) Gold ($100/yr 2 Full pg Ads) check info. Drivers Lic # State DOB L Required _______________________________________________



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Next Meeting: Friday, October 4, 2002 7:00PM Room 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M SI. Paul Campus


MHS Voice Mail:



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Vol. 22 (2002), No. 9  
Vol. 22 (2002), No. 9  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter