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the newsletter of the

September 2011

Minnesota Herpetological Society

Volume 31

Number 9

BOARD OF DIRECTORS President Bruce Haig

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

Vice President Sonja Koolmo 763.755.1630 Recording Secretary Ellen Heck


Membership Secretary Heather Clayton 612.886.7175 Treasurer Nancy Haig




September 2011

Newsletter Editor Christopher Rueber 952.594.0101 Members at Large Jeff LeClere 651.488.6388

Number 9



Volume 31

Further the education of the membership and the general public in care and captive propagation of reptiles and amphibians; Educate the members and the general public in the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians; Promote the study and conservation of reptiles and amphibians.

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

Chris Smith 651.315.7760


Matt Carter 651.329.2290

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 elec- tronic file format if possible. See inside back cover for ad rates. Submissions may be sent to:

Jacob Mee

The Minnesota Herpetological Society -or- Attn: Newsletter Editor Bell Museum of Natural History 10 Church St SE Minneapolis, MN 55455-0104

C om m itte e s Adoption Sarah Richard


Education Jan Larson



Library Nancy Haig 763.434.8684


Cover Photo picture provided Sonja Koolmo

© Copyright 2011, Minnesota Herpetological Society. Except where noted, contents may be reproduced for non-profit, non-commercial use only. All material must be reproduced without change. Proper credit will be given including the author/photographer and the Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter citing: volume, number and date.

The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2011

Volume 31

Number 9

September Meeting Presentation - Friday, September 9th - Starting at 7 P.M. University of MN - St. Paul Campus, Borlaug Hall, Room 335 Dav Kaufman presents..

Bullsnakes Dav Kaufman is a critically acclaimed novelist and multiple award-winning filmmaker. In the reptile nation, he is most well known as the producer and director of “Herpers” and the soon to be released “Herpers II”. Dav has had a strong passion for bullsnakes since he saw his first photo of one when he was 10 in the first edition of Peterson’s Field Guide to Eastern and Central North America. In 1992, his then life-long quest to encounter one in the wild was realized on a camping trip in south central Minnesota. Since then, he’s been breeding snakes, bullsnakes in particular, with a short hiatus in the early 00s when he was attending UCLA Film School. Dav was one of the first breeders of the albino bullsnake in the mid-1990s and most albino bullsnakes in captivity today are decedents of that bloodline. Since those early days, he has produced hundreds, maybe over a thousand bullsnakes in captivity of all

different morphs and was the first to compile a complete list of known bullsnake morphs, though that list now needs to be updated with the new combo morphs coming out each year. Recently, his third article for Reptiles Magazine was titled “Bullsnake Bonanza” and was the first article dedicated exclusively to bullsnakes in the magazine’s 18year history. It is one of his life’s goals to be the first person to find the bullsnake in every state they occur. So far he has about half of them. He’ll worry about the two Canadian Provinces and the Mexican states they occur in after that. In his talk, Dav will discuss everything you’ve ever wanted to know about the bullsnake; one of the country’s largest snakes. He will discuss proper care and husbandry, breeding and care of the hatchlings, and will introduce you to the growing list of morphs available by selective breeding of this incredible snake.

Attention all Attendees of Past Midwest Herpetological Symposiums! Nancy Haig is looking for T-shirts from past Symposiums for a display at the upcoming one that is going to be held from October 21 through October 23rd, 2011. If you have a T-shirt from 1991, 1993, 1994, 2000, 2006 or 2006 please ontact Nancy Haig at for more details on how you can help out with the upcoming Symposium. Thanks! We look forward to seeing you there again this year!


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2011

Volume 31

Number 9

In case you missed the August speaker:

Dan Krull spoke on...

When Animal Shows Attack!

Dan Krull, the speaker in August, is the president and founder of Small Scale Films, a non-profit organization. Audio/visual issues prevented his multi-media presentation, but Dan had no problems just talking. The subject was “when animal shows attack” focusing on the impact tv animal shows have on herpetoculture and how to deal with the negative sideeffects of it. Dan has been a reptile enthusiast for the last 16 years. He has done some breeding of various colubrids and has been field herping for the last 10 years. Four years ago he wanted to take a herping trip late in the year and was advised to try Texas or Florida. He ended up in Florida with Mike Rochford, who is studying pythons in the Everglades. In 3 days, they found 43 species of reptiles and amphibians, including 2 Burmese pythons. Dan was very excited and decided he wanted to find a way to do it for a living. The problem was that usually you can only do that as a herpetologist and “don’t want to make money”.

After some thought, he decided he wanted to make a tv show that would focus on snakes – both in the wild and in collections – and showing various aspects of herpetoculture. He decided to shot a pilot and picked the gray-banded kingsnake as the first subject. Apparently there is an entire sub-culture built up around this particular species and it is an attractive enough to appeal to non-herpers. However, before he could get down to Texas and shoot, the legislature changed the wording of the laws and banned the searching for snakes on roadways. Basically, a group of people had their hobby taken away from them because another group decided it was a bad hobby. Dan decided to scrap the tv series idea and shoot a documentary instead. He didn’t have the finances to do this but thought he would shoot the footage, then find the money to finish it – something he admits in hindsight as incredibly naïve. A janitor friend, Mike Hughes, suggested forming a non-profit organization. Dan’s initial response was no, as he wanted to make a profit. He, like most people, misunderstood how a non-profit works. But as he said “Jack Hanna doesn’t live in his car”. It was actually the IRS that helped him come up with the idea for Small Scale Films. As he was reading through the IRS requirements, Dan came up with ideas on how to comply. For example, filming documentaries about snake preservation groups comes under the heading of donating to other charities. Doing research projects with kids


and encouraging them to become herpetologists is education. A professional film crew is very expensive – the cameraman alone can cost $1000 a day, not to mention the producer, director, sound and lighting people and equipment costs. Then the footage must be processed, edited and released. So Dan focuses on short documentaries, which are almost like a commercial for the group being filmed. The goal is to change the perceptions non-herpers have about herpers – “no offense to people with tattoos and earrings” – but to present it as a hobby for the whole family, like bird-watching. (At this point, Dan said he was done introducing himself and would start on his topic) Wildlife documentaries in the ‘70s took the approach of showing the animals in their native environment doing what they did naturally – feeding, sleeping hunting etc. There was little ot no human interaction. Although the footage was incredible, it takes a lot of time, patience and money to produce a show like that. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom was much the same way although there was more interaction with people. The Crocodile Hunter radically changed that. Steve Irwin would interact directly with all the animals. The difference of course is that now the animals are no longer shown doing what they do but only how they react to having people pick them up or otherwise interact with them. This is of course easier to film; instead of setting up cameras and filming for days to get shots, any number of animals can be caught in advance and grabbed on camera as the need arises. Since this approach worked so well, all the shows that came after followed the same format. This is a basic of television programming: if a show is popular, produce your own version of it to cash in. The problem is that to ensure an audi-

Upcoming Speakers and Events September: Dav Kaufman - Bullsnakes

October 21-23, 2011...

The 27th Midwest Herpetological Symposium

The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society ence, the shows must one-up each other. This leads to the proliferation of shows that cater to the lowest common denominator. The shows are no longer about animals, they are about people – something the Animal Planet has stated is their goal (I don’t get it either – you’d think Animal Planet would be about animals). Realism takes a back seat to sensationalizing. For example, one show borrowed a gaboon viper, which was then “discovered” on camera - in Georgia. As the producer said, “no one knows the difference”. However, it may be time for a new approach. While showing some animals a block party, the kids, when asked to speak about the animals, immediately did Steve Irwin impressions. The problem is that in order to make money, 1. People must watch the show and 2. Costs must be kept to a minimum. This does not bode well for change. (kids should probably skip the following paragraph) Dan mentioned that once he was trying to remember the name of one of the worst-offending animal show hosts. He Google’d “douchebag herpetologist”, which returned the name he was looking for (Austin Stevens. I tried this and it

September 2011

Volume 31

Number 9

does indeed work, although Brady Barr came up first). But to be fair, most act the way they do because that is what they are being told to do. And they are told that because that is what sells. Unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done directly about most of this. Complaining to the networks probably won’t even garner a response. People can write letters to their legislators, but most letters don’t get read by the politicians themselves. Dan suggests instead to develop relationships with the people who can make a change, in a non-combative way. Instead of letting the news reporters get inaccurate information from people who know nothing about herps and care less, get them in contact with people who do know. Another good way to make a difference is to support those people, organizations and shows that do it right. Education programs which reach out to non-herpers, especially kids, are a good way to expose people to herps. As Dan said, we are the only ones who will do something. Dan’s website is and he has numerous clips on YouTube.

MHS/Como Cottage is at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival! The festival is open as of August 20th, and will contiue through the first weekend of October. Come meet fellow members and have a great time participating in the hands-on activities! Contact Nancy Hakomaki ( for more details!

Board Minutes for June 4th, 2011 Old Business Archiving – Matt has completed another 1000 pages and will definitely finish by the next meeting. Student Organization – The new group hasn’t been finalized, although Anthony Patterson will attend the registration session. Craigslist – Discussion centered on two topics. The first is hoarding animals. The second issue is the selling of animals on Craigslist and similar private sales. The adoption rules state that an animal remains the property of the MHS for one year. The adoption policies will be reviewed at the July meeting. New Business

Grants – The second round of grant requests were submitted by John Moriarty for review along with his recommendations. After discussion, motion to fund Amy Lukewbacher for $700, with the remaining $800 going to Donna Burns and her group: Jeff; 2nd: Chris. Motion passed. State Fair - Beth Gerard will head this up again. She will arrange volunteers and make sure supplies are available. By-law Changes – It was decided to set a term limit of 4 years for all positions. Online Payment – Chris S will run through how the online payment works on the new website. Brad Baysinger can be contacted for assistance, as he accepts online payments through his website. Motion to Adjourn: Matt; 2nd: Sonja. Meeting adjourned 9:27pm


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2011

Volume 31

Number 9

Board Minutes for July 9th, 2011

2.2.6: Nancy; 2nd: Chris R. Motion passed.

The meeting was called to order at 7:05 PM. The general meeting had 72 people attending.

Student Organization: The new President of the Student Organization is Anthony Patterson.

Old Business

New Business

Archiving: About 10 issues are missing. Sonja and Nancy will see if they have them.

R.I.C.A. Tax I.D: RICA is still using the MHS tax id. Bruce will contact Kathy to determine where they are at in the process of getting their own.

Website Update: How and by whom the calendar will be updated was discussed, as was when to discontinue the old website and the listservs. It was decided to put up a notice that the website and the listservs will be taken down on August 15th. Motion to pay AMJ Web Design for the remaining $800: Chris S; 2nd: Chris R. Motion passed.

Holiday Banquet: Chris S has reserved the room. A chair still needs to be found. Rodents: Matt will no longer be able to handle this, so a replacement needs to be found. Motion to adjourn: Sonja; 2nd: Matt. Meeting adjourned at 10:17 PM.

Adoption: Sarah wants permission to charge $25 to take in ball pythons. Motion to accept: Matt; 2nd: Chris R. Motion passed. Changes to the adoption form and policies were discussed. Motion to change the adoption policy to strike Sections 2.2.4, 2.2.5, and

Holiday Banquet is in need of volunteers! The 2011 Holiday banquet put on by MHS is looking for volunteers. This is a great way to get out and meet a whole bunch of MHS members in an non-meeting setting! If you have any questions, get in contact with any board member. We would be happy to put you in contact with the correct people! 6

The Rodent Sales Committee is looking for volunteers willing to help distribute rodents and accept payments at the monthly meetings. We are hoping to have a few people trained in on the procedures to allow for a rotating schedule. Please see Matt Carter at the August meeting if you are interested.

The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2011

Volume 31

Number 9


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

September 2011

Captive Bred Redfoot Tortoises

Volume 31

Number 9

Treasurer’s Report for August 2011 Prepared by Nancy Haig

Beginning Balance



My captive bred Redfoot’s are F2’s (their parents are also captive bred) and come from Guyana origins. I currently have 5 hold backs from my 2010 clutches and 2011’s hatching now. Each is 3 – 3 1/2 inches long and 175-200 grams in weight. Perfectly healthy with none of the typical pyramiding. $90 each with care sheet and lifetime support from a person with 40 years of tortoise experience. or 952-221-9748

August Adoption Report Herps Placed in August: A Toad, 2 Russian Tortoises, 3 Toed Box, a Red Eared Slider, a Florida Cooter, 3 Ball Pythons, a Corn Snake, a Boa, a Dumerals Boa. An Anole and a Leopard Gecko

Membership Raffle Adoption Rodent sales Donations HandsOn Midwest Registration

$180.00 $9.00 $165.00 $393.00 $376.00 $0.00

Total Income $1,123.00 Expense: Newsletter Program Rodent Cost adopt/Vet Supplies Web Site Midwest Postage White Pages Student Org Reg

$492.70 $355.40 $337.50 $80.00 $53.76 $800.00 $631.44 $150.00 $262.04 $25.00

Total Expense $3,167.84 Cash Increase/Decrease


Ending Balance


Placement of cash holdings

Checking Account TCF/Paypal Paypal Cash on hand

$8,470.63 $529.42 $335.32 $175.00

Total $9,510.37



Non-profit Organization U.S. Postage Paid Twin Cities, MN Permit no. 92275


Next Meeting: Friday - September 9th - 7:00 pm Room 335 Borlaug Hall, U of M St. Paul Campus

MHS Voice Mail: 612.326.6516 MHS Web Page:

This newsletter is printed on recycled paper

Vol. 31 (2011), No. 09  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

Vol. 31 (2011), No. 09  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter