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MI ESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY NEWSLETTER

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Info on Symposiums and Expos

'",'ew' 'IAV'it'""" v' II Jeremiah Easter ,....,-!l..,.., .... IIILviV

Founding members Presented with Lifetime membership

May Speaker . reviewBrian Christy

Tips on feeding your corn snake

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6


MHS Board of Directors

Minnesota Herpetological Society

President Jennifer Hensley Starbrst72@mns.com

763.862.8966

June 2009

Vice President David Dewitt Ddewitt777@comcast.net

651.983.8272

MHS Voice Mail: 612.624.7065

Group Email: HTTP://WWW.GROUPS.YAHOO.COM/GROUP/ MNHERPSOC

The purpose of the Minnesota Herpetological Society is to: 763.593.5414

Treasurer Nancy Haig nanchaig@citilink.com

763.434.8684

Newsletter Editor Kathy Claugherty iwannaiguana@gmail.com

651.771.2267

• •

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.

Members at Large Heather Clayton heethuh@netzero.com Jeff LeClere Reptilia 74@aol.com

Number 6

MHS Web Page: HTTP://WWW.MNHERPSOC .ORG

Recording Sectretary Jenna Rypka-Hauer Justna_na@yahoo.com Membership Secretary Ellen Heck Inheck@msn.com

Volume 29

651.488.6388

Chris Smith Chris.smith.mhs@gmail.com

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 website for changes in schedules or cancellations.

Jared Rypka-Hauer

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. See inside back cover for ad rates.

Committees Adoption Chair Sarah Richard realsarah@aol.com

612.781.9544

Education Chair Jan Larson Jan.skunkhollow@juno.com

507.263.4391

Web Master Anke Reinders theMHSwebmaster@yahoo.com Library Carmelita Pfar

Submissions may be sent to: The Minnesota Herpetological Society Attn: Newsletter Editor Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church St. SE. Minneapolis, MN 55455.0104 Please send email toiwannaiguana@gmail.com

© Copyright Minnesota Herpetological Society 2009. Contents may be reproduced for non-profit use provided that all material is reproduced without change and proper credit is given authors and the MHS Newsletter citing; volume, number, and date.

Cover Photo: Asra Halvorson

Snake Bite Emergency Hennepin Regional Poison Center 800.764.7661


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society June 2009 Volume 29 Number 6

Upcoming Meeting Speakers: Friday, June 5th, 2009 - Brian Crnobrna: Fauna Forever Tambopata Conservation Biology Including Honduras and Peru Friday, July 10th, 2009 - Tom Crutchfield: Invasive Species of South Florida Tom's Reptile Breeding Farm is located in Homestead,FL where they produce high-end reptiles. A few of his projects are the Albino Green Iguana and the Blue Iguana (iguana iguana iguana), several species of Cyclura,.Varanids, Gila Monsters, West Indian Boas, and many other unique and rare herps.

Friday, August 7th, 2009 -Dr. Doug Mader: TBA

Dr. Doug Mader, is the consulting veterinarian for the Key West Aquarium, the Marathon Sea Turtle Hospital and the Monroe County (Sheriff Animal Farm) Zoo. As an internationally acclaimed expert in Veterinary Medicine he travels extensively every year teaching at Veterinary Conferences, Veterinary Schools, and Specialty courses. Dr. Mader is also on the review boards of several scientific journals. He has published numerous articles in scientific and veterinary journals, national magazines, newsp~pers, book chapters, and is the author/edit.or· of Reptile ME?dicine and Surgery, 2nd ed. (2006). Dr. Mader is a Fellow in the Royal Society of Medicine. .;".

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Corn dogs, foot longs and herps! Plan your trip to the Great Minnesota Get Together to include volunteering at the DNR Building. It's easy to do and a wonderful way to promote MHS and Minnesota's native herpetology. The Chicago Herpetological Society will host the 2009 Midwest Herpetological Symposium on October 9... 11, 2009 at Georgio's Comfort Inn. 3


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009 Volume 29 Number 6

Treasurer's Report for April 2009

May Adoption Report

Prepared by Nancy Haig

$22,272.47

Beginning Checkbook Balance: Income:

W~W~~~sa~~ sale Adoption Art sale

$500.00 $1,517.50 $115.00 $309.00

Total income:

$2,441.50

Expense: Newsletter Adoption WSS Rodent costs Bulk Mail Permit Hands ons Supplies Grants Total Expense Cash increase/(decrease)

$388.30 $60.00 $87.48 $440.67 $180.00 $20.00 $142.78路 $526.00

I want to thank everyone who stepped up and took an animal home this month. The adoption program continues because all of you are willing to help out and make sure that my car goes home empty every month. Heads up that we have a couple of little Red Eared's and a Ball Python making an appearance for the June meeting.

Ending Checkbook Balance:

$22,868.74

In May we placed: a small Ball Python a smallish Boa

Placement of cash holdings Checking account Paypal acct Cash on hand Total

$22,868.74 $382.37 $15500 $23,406.11

2 Red Eared Sliders 1 Painted Turtle and 2 African Side Neck Turtles

$1,84523 $596.27

Treasurer's notes: Recipients of the grants are as follows: $500.00 Skyler Bouley - ( to offset costs of School trip) $26.00 Richard Bonk- matching funds for Frog Display donations

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Sarah Richard Adoption Chair Minnesota Herpetological Society www.bellmuseum.org/herpetology/Main.html

n ti n Zoomed donated lots of cool stuff for our White Snake Sale. Unfortunately, the package arrived too late to include in the sale. We gratefully acknowlege their generosity. Look for awesome goodie bags on the raffle table. Some of the items will be stored for next year's WSS. A sampling of items are: Zoomed t-shirts, bags, turtle and tortoise food, bearded dragon food, filtration system, and much more. Watch the raffle table!

4


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society June 2009 Volume 29 Number 6

From left to right Liz Bozman, Fred Bozman, Bruce Oelles, Ann Porwoll. Not pictured are: James Gerholdt, Pam Gerholdt, and Terry Odegaard Photo taken by Pete Kazeck at the May General Meeting.

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Newsletter of the Minnestoa Herpetological Society

June 2009 Volume 29

Number 6

May Speaker Review by Jenna Rypka-Hauer Bryan Christy, the author of The Lizard King, spoke at the May membership meeting. The idea for his book came from a misunderstanding of a magazine editor. Instead of the coin smuggling article he was writing, the editor asked about the reptile smuggling article. The idea was intriguing to him and he began doing research in the Florida court records to find the main people involved. He discovered that a few names came up over and over. He contacted these people and over the course of three years, retrieved enough information for The Lizard King. Bryan read an excerpt from his book and was more than happy to give permission to include it in this article. Bepler walked into his supervisor's office and shut the door. Miami was the largest single importer of exotic animals in the world. Fighting the illegal commercialization of endangered wildlife was their number one priority. What the hell were they doing? The CITES conference had been an embarrassment. While bureaucrats argued population theory and went shopping, Fish and Wildlife had just gone head to head with Van Nostrand and Anson Wong, the "law enforcement problem" everybody at the conference had really been talking about. The Miami office might not have lost, but seizing ninetyeight tortoises was no victory either. As far as Bepler could tell, Van Nostrand's breeder in Dubai did not exist. Abu Hanadi Ornaments' CITES permit listed only a post office box, so Bepler had demanded that Van Nostrand provide the breeder's actual location. Van Nostrand complied through his lawyer. When investigators checked the address, they found a flower shop. Every other smuggler they grabbed at Miami International and every informant who told them anything gave them a Strictly Reptiles story. It was coming on three years since Medina, and they had been able to do nothing about Van Nostrand. Less than nothing. Had word gotten around? Had they had that chilling effect on crime that they always talked about? The smugglers were still coming. A year before Bepler had arrested an Argentine man entering Miami International Airport with the exact same M. O. as Medina's. Lucio Coronel got off a plane from Buenos Aires on a Sunday morning wheeling a big, hard-sided suitcase up to the customs line. Ceramics, he said he was carrying. The x-ray showed skeletons. Insid~ his suitcase, Coronel carried 107 chaco tortoises, 103 red-footed tortoises,路 76 tartaruga turtles, 5 Argentine boa constrictors, 7 rainbow boas, 7 parrot snakes, 20 tarantuias, 1,0 scorpions, 90 tree frogs, 20 red tegu lizards, a dozen or so other lizards and 2 South American rattlesnakes. All in one suitcase! He was donating them to the Bronx Zoo, he told Bepler. Thanks to Chris McAliley's Environmental Crimes Section, Coronel was sentenced to fifteen months in prison. But catching one low-level smuggler was like seeing one cockroach in your kitchen: there were plenty more out there. By the time Coronel settled into prison there would be somebody else wheeling in a suitcase from Argentina. Argentina was minor. A suitcase from Argentina was the easy case. How many times had they gone into Strictly Reptiles themselves? Mike Van Nostrand sitting there at his desk, grave as a mortician, handing over the documents they requested, apologizing that others did not exist. All the while, at the edges of those green eyes, was that sparkle. He was laughing. Laughing at them! More proof? Bepler had it lying on his desk. Reptiles, the number one magazine in the reptile hobby, had just done an in-depth story on endangered Caribbean iguanas. The species they put on the cover was a gorgeous Cyclura rileyi cristata, the Sandy Cay rock iguana. According to the article, fewer than five hundred animals were known to exist in the wild, but you could open up the magazine and find the exact location for one of them. The photographer worked at Strictly Reptiles. Why is reptile smuggling important? Bryan's answer is diamonds. Reptiles are small, adorable, durable and hold universal value. Many people who aren't knowledgeable about reptiles, use them to move money from country to country. It is tough to get caught and the repercussions are small. The two main reasons why reptile smuggling is big are ease of transport and nonexistent penalties. The future of stopping reptile smuggling seems bleak, as the organizations built to stop it don't have many people. Also, smugglers pay the international officers, so they have little incentive to stop them. However, terrorism was great for stopping smuggling with the increase in security measures used.

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Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

Interview with Jeremiah Easter, President and Founder of Diamondbacktradingcards.com, who donated to MHS, two sets of his "Reptiles Series One Trading Cards". These gorgeous, collectible cards will be available at the June Meeting as raffle items. MHS: How did you get started with herps? JE: I grew up in rural southern California and as a young boy and one day while driving home I recall my father stopping on the road to catch a Pacific Gopher Snake. I was instantly fascinated with the creature and began reading books and field guides on reptiles and amphibians. I had many of the classics. When I was in High School I became pretty involved with the Southwestern Herp Society and met a lot of people who loved herps and had the opportunity to meet some of the bigger entrepreneurs of the herp industry. Through the years I have never ceased to be fascinated and passionate about herps. MHS: What is you favorite herp? JE: That question for me really has no good answer. I love many types of herps, especially those that show polymorphism, which I find amazing and beautiful. That said some of my favorites are Ground Snakes, Shovel nose Snakes, Northwestern Gartersnakes, Grey Banded Kingsnakes, and Rosy Boas. As you can tell, I'm a snake guy. MHS: Do you keep herps now? What are they? JE: Yes, but not many. I have kept and bred several species in the past but right now I have only a single male Spotted Turtle, and a pair of Rosy Boas. I've grown to accept the fact that I am not a very good keeper, and I find it easer to collect photographs than captives. However, I applaud the keepers who are able to do it with success. I am like a kid in a candy store every time I get to photograph one of their collections. MHS: How did you get the idea for Trading Cards? JE: About four years ago on ~he now well known FieldHerpForum.com, someone commented on some photographs saying that if there where trading cards for those animals that they would buy them. I immediately thought that was a great idea and wondered why it had not yet been done in our industry. I began working on prototypes, originally intending to make cards featuring animals from the field exclusively. Then as the idea,became mor~ polished ,I thought itwould bea shame to leave out all the incredibly beautiful animals that are being:produced every \ye'a'r Ih c~ptivity, so I induded'~both.~Now r am excited to continue producing' set after set of these cards as long as people are interested in them. I believe there needs to be thousands of unique cards to start to do justice to the reptile world and that's what I am shooting for. MHS: How long did it take to get it up and running? JE: I was developing the cards over the last three and a half years in my spare time. You know, the spare time you have when you have three kids, a full time job and lots of other extra-curricular commitments, 101. Anyway I did manage to pump out a few prototypes and look into printing costs. Most of the photos for 'Reptiles Series One' I already had from my years of interest in herpetology. Back in March I was laid of from a 12-year career in construction because our company was struggling deeply in a difficult economic market. From that time I started in on the cards. It took me about one month to finish the set from prototypes I had already created, another two weeks to get it printed and packaged and I was up and running. . MHS: How did you choose your photographer/copywriter (other than yourself) JE: I shot all but three of the images in 'Reptiles Series One'. I plan to continue to shoot most of the images used but I am happy to use the images of any other photographer who would like to donate. In fact several photographers have donated some exceptional images toward the production of 'Reptiles Series Two'. In the end the series is made by selecting the right photographs of the right animals, not any particular photographer. As far as the copy, I also write that. Part of my passion for reptiles is expressed in another passion for research and writing. Writing the card backs was a blast and I learned things about reptiles I didn't know before, how fun is that! MHS: What camera(s) was used? JE: My main camera is a Canon Powershot Pr01, but there are Nikon 0-80 images and Canon 060 images in the mix as well. MHS: As someone who formerly worked in Commercial printing, I am impressed that you have used high quality 6/color offset printing. Do you work with a local printer? JE: Absolutely. I am working with a local press that allows me just the right level of hands on direction that I needed to make sure these cards were produced to sports card industry standards. Our press operator has actually printed complete lines for Topps in the past so he knew just what I was looking for. I learned a ton in the process, and there are definitely some things I am going to change to make the upcoming sets even better, but overall I am extremely happy with the result.

A Cool Link Âť>www.diamondbacktradingcards.com

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Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

Symposiums and Expos are a great way to learn more about what's new in the world of reptiles. learn from expert speakers, browse the goods and animals, meet old friends and make new ones! Road trip anyone? Repashy Reptiles Forum has a list of Symposiums and Expos for the next 90 days. For more info go to: http://www.forums.repashy.com/reptile-shows-symposiums/index2.html

(a coo/link)

Here is a partial listing from the Albino Burmese Forum. For more info go to: http://albinoburmese.com/forums/index.php?topic=6580.0

(a coo/link)

June 6 Harve de Grace, MD All-Maryland Reptile Show, Community Center, 100 Lagaret Ln. Info: (717) 432-5807.

June 14 St. Louis, MO st. Louis Reptile Show, Holiday Inn Southwest, 10709 Watson Rd. Info: Patrick Nabors, (636) 536-0978; patrick@saurian.net.

June 20 Fort Lauderdale, FL Reptile & Alternative Pet Show, Rodeway Inn, 2440 W. State Road 84. Info: Lauren (561) 433-8437; or Jerry, (561) 699-4197 (vendors); www.apshows.net (a coo/link)

July 11 Harve de Grace, MD All-Maryland Reptile Show, Community Center, 100 Lagaret Ln. Info: (717) 432-5807.

July 26 Richmond, VA Richmond Reptile Expo, Holiday Inn Select South, 1021 Koger Center Blvd. Info: Larry Kenton, (717) 432-5807.

2009 National Reptile Breeder's Expo Daytona Beach, FL . August 21 - 23 2009 Advances in Herpetoculture Symposium Turtle and Tortoise Preservation Group Lectures Auction to Benefit Conservation Cold Blooded Creations Art Show For more info go to: http://www.reptilebreedersexpo.com/

(a coo/link)

2009 Midwest Herpetological Symposium Orland Park, IL October 9-11, 2009 Georgio's Comfort Inn. http://www.chicagoherp.org

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(a coo/link)


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

The 7th Annual Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) Symposium on Chelonian Conservation and Biology August 5th - 8th, 2009 Sf louis, Missouri Returning to St Louis - site of our largest and most successful conference yet!! The Turtle Survival Alliance (TSA) is pleased to announce our 7th annual Symposium, generously hosted by the renowned St Louis Zoo. This event is the largest gathering of non-marine chelonian biologists and captive breeding specialists in the world. We understand that these are tough economic times and are making an effort to keep costs to a minimum. This meeting will be an extraordinary value, with an icebreaker, zoo tour, awards banquet, BBQ and auction, and breakfasts included in the cost of registration. Double rooms will cost under $100.00/night. Mark your calendars and register early for substantial savings. Discounted rates are available to TSA members, so join today! For details on membership, registration, program and events, please visit our website at http://www.turtlesurvival,org The venue is the Hilton at the Ballpark in downtown St Louis and they are dedicating an entire wing of the hotel to us, so when you leave your room the elevator opens at the TSA meeting. The hotel will be honoring group rates both before and after the meeting if you are interested in extending your stay in St Louis. Registration and hotel information will be up on the TSA website soon, so be sure to check for updates and announcements. The program will be international in scope but will feature several North American sessions including Graptemys, Southwestern Kinosternids and Dermatemys. Wet labs and hands on workshops will again be offered. Special thanks to our conference title sponsor, ZooMed, who every year works closely with the TSA to insure a special event. Pre-Registration Rates (Effective through July 5, 2009) Member $125.00 Non-Member $175.00 Students/Minors $75.00 Late Registration Rates (Effective July 6th, 2009) Member $225.00 Non-Member $250.00 Students/Minors $150.00 Registration Daily Rates All Attendees: $75.00 per day Those interested in speaking should contact TSA Program Co-Chairs Chuck Schaffer at chelonian1@aol,com or Andrew Walde at awalde@hotmail,com For vendor information, or to volunteer, please contact Conference Chair Lonnie McCaskill at lonnie.mccaskill@disney.com. «< (a cool link) http://www.turtlesurvival,org/ Submitted by Jim Soos

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The MHS is looking for volunteers to help organize the Midwest Symposium in 2011. Let's make this the most successful Midwest ever! There are several committees to choose from. Speakers - If you have any suggestions or want to help, contact Dave Dewitt or Jeff LeClere Hotel/Equipment - Having the right accommodations is crucial. Contact Ellen Heck. Vender Sales - Got an idea for venders/sales? Contact Heather Clayton. Food/Hospitality - We need a Committee Chairperson for this one. Contact any Board member. Publicity - This one needs a Chairperson also. Contact any Board member if you want to help. Marketing - Contact any Board member for more info.

General All Around Help - Can't have too many in this committee!

9


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

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GET THE FACTS ... NOT THE HYPE 10


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

April 4, 2009 Meeting MHS Board of Directors Board Present: Jennifer Hensley, Dave DeWitt, Jenna Rypka-Hauer, Nancy Haig, Ellen Heck, Kathy Claugherty, Jared Rypka-Hauer, Jeff LeClere, Heather Clayton, Chris Smith Absent: none Non Board Present: Pete Kazeck, Sarah Richard, George Richard The meeting was called to order at 7:15pm.

It was decided to forgo reading the minutes out loud. Minute corrections will be brought to May's Board Meeting.

Treasurer's Report The report was reviewed and corrections will be brought to May's Board Meeting.

Vice President's Report There was nothing new to report. A bookseller will be at May membership meeting. Chris will hang posters around the U and give them to others to hang. The 2010 Holiday Banquet speaker will be Dr Sean Bush. Discussed having him speak at the midwest symposium instead.

Membership Report The report was reviewed.

Committee Reports , White Snake Sale - revieWed r~port and made suggestions for next year. Adoption report - 11 animals, $115 raised.

New Business Request for school trip money from a member and new mail reading - Jeff LeClere moves to award Skyler Bouley with a grant of $500 for her Costa Rica trip; Dave Dewitt second. Motion passed. Founding Members -Jared Rypka-Hauer moves to grant the 6 founding members still active in the society lifetime membership immediately and the 10 remaining members be contacted and offered lifetime membership to be awarded at the symposium; Ellen Heck seconds. Motion passed. Nancy Haig makes the motion to include Ann Porwoll in the active members above mentioned. Jared Rypka-Hauer second, motion passed. Meeting adjourned at 10:37pm.

Due to technical difficulties, the February and March meeting minutes will not be published. If you would like to have a copy of either, contact the Newsletter Editor at: iwannaiguana@gmaiLcom 11


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Feeding Your Corn Snake, by Christina Danathar (I am not a professional or a veterinarian. This information comes only from my own research and experiences.) Part One: Normal Circumstances This is the first in a series of articles about feeding pet snakes. It is targeted at corn snakes because they are the species that I am most familiar and comfortable with. Much of the information here can be generalized to other species of snakes, but please doublecheck your facts before doing so - every species has its own set of patterns and preferences. First things first: there is NO good reason to feed live mice - always feed frozen-thawed. Live mice can fight back, and the resulting injuries and infections can kill your snake. Freezing also kills some of the bacteria the mice might be carrying; and breaks down the cell walls, making them easier to digest. You can buy frozen mice by the dozen; they're cheaper than live, and easier to store. (And sold by MHS!) Steps to take when feeding, with snakes that are healthy and eating regularly: - Wash your hands before touching the rodent, between touching the rodent and the snake, and after touching the snake. You don't want the food to smell like human, or your hand to smell like food. - Feed prey items one to one and a halftimes the girth of the snake; feed one to two prey items, every 5 - 10 days (first year) or 7 - 14 days (adult). A good guideline for a growing snake: if your snake can comfortably eat two rodents every feeding for a few weeks, it's time to move up to the next size. Pinkies are the smallest, followed by fuzzies, hoppers, adult mice, and weaned rats. - Feed in the evening, when corns would naturally be hunting. Depending on the size of your rodents, you may need to begin thawing a few hours in advance. - Thaw mice at or close to room temperature. You may use either a plastic bag placed in warm water (not hot or boiling!), or a plastic container placed about 6 inches under a heat lamp if you're impatient. Never, ever use the microwave - even if the mice don't explode . " . (yes, explode!), the microwave doesn't heat evenly and can leave not spot~. , " - Feed in a small, securely closed, opaque container - NOT their cage. It is believed by some (though sometimes hotly debated) that a snake may form associations around feeding practices: if fed in the cage, they may associate the opening of the cage with the appearance of food, or they may associate movement (your hand, the rodent, or cage furnishings) with food. They may also accidentally swallow some of the cage substrate along with the rodent, which can lead to discomfort or impactions. We prefer to stay on the safe side, so we feed our snakes in Sterilite containers (cheap plastic-ware-stuff from target) with holes drilled in the sides and snap-on lids. - Put paper towels on the bottom of the feeding bins, and then add the thawed mice. Wash your hands! - Take your snake out of the cage. Make sure to bump the cage a bit so they know you're coming, move slowly, and pick them up in the middle of the body - not too close to head or tail. Put the snake in the feeding bin, but don't come between the snake and its food. - Let your snake eat. Young or shy snakes may not be willing to eat with a person watching, so you may have to cover the container (with a towel, or something similar) or leave the room. In our experience, most well-adjusted corn snakes don't really care, and will happily eat while you watch. - Let your snake sit for about 20 minutes after the lump has stopped moving down, so they aren't looking for more food. - Either pick the snake up gently to put them back in the cage, or hold the feeding container in the cage and let them crawl out.

- Don't handle your snake for two days after it has eaten - let the meal digest. Handling too soon can lead to regurgitation, which is very hard on a snake's system. Be aware that a meal will come out the other end anywhere between 5 and 10 days later, depending on temperature and activity level. Congratulations! If you have a healthy snake that's a good eater, that's really all you'll ever need to know. Stay tuned for the next article to find out more about common causes of feeding problems, and some ways to address them.

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Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Feeding Your Corn Snake Christina Danathar (I am not a professional or a veterinarian. This information comes only from my own research and experiences.)

Part Two: Environmental Problems Some snakes are reluctant feeders, and may not eat as often or regularly as they should. There can be many reasons for this, including some that you shouldn't worry about. Most snakes will not eat when in shed, though a few will. Some snakes will stop eating during the winter, even if you don't "cycle" them by changing their lighting or temperature. Males may not eat during breeding season, and females may not eat while getting ready to lay eggs. If you've eliminated those reasons, read on. Stressed snakes are more susceptible to illness and less likely to have healthy responses. Some ways to cut back on stress to your snake: - Keep the cage at the right temperatures: 70-75 at the cool end, 80-85 at the warm end; ranges between 65 and 90 degrees are acceptable. - Keep one snake in each cage - don't house two (or more) together. Snakes are not social animals. - Keep the cage in a low-traffic part of the house, out of reach of other pets and younger children. - Stop handling your snake for at least a week before q,ffering{ood - eÂŤces!;) handling can be stressful. Then minimize handling until the snake is eating regularly. ~'..".. - Make sure the snake has enough places to hide (at least two - one warm, one cool), and plenty of fresh water available. - Put your cage lights on a timer so the snakes have a day and a night ($4 at a hardware store); some snakes are more sensitive to lighting changes than others. - Make sure your snake is not dehydrated, sick, or harboring parasites. This means going to see your vet. Some suggestions that may help "set the mood" for your snake to eat: - If you already have a light timer and proper temperatures: try lengthening the "day", increasing the heat a little bit,. and increasing the humidity a little bit (spray the cage with water from a spray bottle once a day). - Feed in the evening, when corns would naturally be hunting. Depending on the size of your rodents, you may need to begin thawing a few hours in advance. - Feed in a small, securely closed, opaque container - not their cage. Using a smaller container or covering the container with a towel may help minimize distractions. - Try giving your snake all night (8 to 24 hours) to think about eating, and leave it alone. Don't keep "checking in" on it. - Try offering a smaller item, as it may be less intimidating and easier to digest; for very small baby snakes, try just the head of a pinky. These are some of the easier feeding problems to address. Next time, we'll increase the challenge, and talk about more ways to tempt a reluctant snake into taking a meal.

13


Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

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June 2009

Volume 29

Number 6

NIAN SYMPOSIUM IN CANADA

A symposium on fossil turtles in honor of Gene Gaffney will be held at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, on 17-18 October 2009. This symposium is a follow-up to the turtle symposium held at the Zoological Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2003, and will be a unique opportunity to share information with researchers from around the world about the evolution, paleobiology, and paleoecology of turtles. The two-day event will feature keynote and other invited speakers, technical oral and poster presentations, social events, and a post-conference field trip (on 19 October) to explore the richly fossiliferous Upper Cretaceous formations of southern Alberta. Opportunities for studying collections held at the Royal Tyrrell Museum may be arranged with advance notice. A Festschrift volume, to be published as a Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, will accompany the symposium. For further information, go to: http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/events/turtlesymp09.php or contact Donald Brinkman at don.brinkman@gov.ab.ca James D. Gardner Curator of Palaeoherpetology Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology Postal address: Box 7500, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, TOJ OYO Courier address: Highway 838, Midland Provincial Park, Drumheller, Alberta, Canada, TOJ OYO (403) 823-7707 Fax (403)823-7131 Toll free in Alberta: 310-0000, wait for prompt & then enter 403-823-7707 Toll free in N. Am. (except Alberta): 1-888-440-4240 james.gardner@gov.ab.ca submitted by Jim Soos

14


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Vol. 29 (2009), No. 6