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Contents Presenter Recap: Boelen’s Pythons Note: April’s Meeting is being held on April 13th, not the first Friday!

April 2012

Volume 32

Number 4

B OA R D OF DI R E C TOR S President Christopher E Smith

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


Vice President Dāv Kaufman 612.669.4567 Recording Secretary Ellen Heck


Membership Secretary Heather Clayton 612.886.7175 Treasurer Nancy Haig

Stay informed! Join us on our forums!

And, you can still leave us a Voice Mail: 612.326.6516

April 2012

Newsletter Editor Christopher Rueber 952.594.0101 Members at Large Jeff LeClere 651.488.6388

Number 4



Volume 32

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.

Currently Vacant Position


Beth Girard 612.616.8431

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:

Peter Tornquist

COMMITTEES Adoption Sarah Richard


Education Jan Larson


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


Library Nancy Haig 763.434.8684

HENNEPIN REGIONAL POISON CENTER 800-222-1222 Cover Photo Credit: Seymor Duncan User Group Forums

© Copyright 2012, 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

April 2012

Volume 32

Number 4

April General Meeting Presentation - Friday, April 13th - Starting at 7 P.M. University of MN - St. Paul Campus, Borlaug Hall, Room 335 A very special event will be held...

The White Snake Sale! What is the White Snake Sale, you ask? Why, only the most important sale all year! ...well, to the MHS it certainly is. This is the Herpetological version of a White Elephant Sale. It is one of the MHSs largest fund raisers, and an all around good time. We accept donations of knick-knacks, books, jewelry, cages, art, toys, herp supplies- Anything in good condition that you think your fellow herpers might have a use for! During the White Snake Sale, make sure you bring some artwork to display. It’s also the annual Photo/Art Contest! For greater details, how you can contribute, and how the sale works, look for more details online: And, in case you missed Mark Spataro’s talk at the March general meeting:

Boelen’s Pythons The speaker for March was Mark Spataro from Baltimore, speaking on Boelen’s pythons, morelia boeleni. These herps are from the highlands of New Guinea, the second largest island in the world. The western half of the island is controlled by Indonesia and is divided into 2 provinces, Papua and West Papua. The eastern half is the mainland of Papua New Guinea. It is primarily lush rainforest which due to the low population density is largely pristine, although this is changing rapidly as its natural resources are exploited. The species gets its name from Dr Boelen, a missionary to the island in the 1950’s. The snakes are part of the scrub python group, splitting from amethistina about 25 million years ago. They have a very specific ecological niche, being found on cliff faces above 4200’. This makes studying them a challenge, as it takes a 3-4 hour hike and climb to even get to their range. Each snake will have a basking spot, created by matted down vegetation or in the root ball of a tree. The females are larger than the males and tend to have messier sites, which may be due to them being less nomadic than the males. The snakes tend to bask in the morning, then seek shelter in their burrow during the heat of the day when the temperature can get over 100 °F and UVB readings over 600. The snakes eat small mammals including bats, which

are plentiful in the area, and probably some of the lizard and amphibian species as well. They have only one natural predator, the New Guinea harpy eagle, although people are an issue as well, both eating the snakes and collecting gravid females for their eggs. The lack of predators makes the snakes less aggressive. The snakes are rare in captivity, due both to its highly protected status and atypicial needs. They have a reputation as being a delicate snake, although given what the animals go through to get to the US, it is more likely a handling issue. Captive breeding is difficult; there have been only 6 successful hatchings, 5 of them in the US. Marc says the animals go through the mating rituals, the female will grow the ova, but then re-absorb rather than dropping eggs. The speculation is that there is some cue, probably related to the unique habitat they live in, that is missing in captivity. The main suspect is barometric pressure changes. There are many storms in their chosen range. Three of the successful breedings occurred in a facility near a lake, which would reproduce the atmospheric conditions. Other possible causes include the diet of their prey or something related to UVB and vitamin D. For more information, check out Marc’s website


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

April 2012

Volume 32

Number 4

MHS Photo / Art Contest There will be photos and art projects on display in the meeting room during the April Meeting (White Snake Sale). All current MHS members are encouraged to vote for their favorites. The voting will take place during the meeting and winners will be announced right away on the very same evening!

Categories: • Herps in the Wild / In a Natural Setting: Photographs of animal(s) taken outside and / or in a natural setting. A natural setting that has been staged is also permitted. • Herps and Humans / Non-Wild Setting: Subject(s) Rules: should be in a non-wild setting – i.e. photographs • You must be a member of the MHS and be the one taken around your home, on or with something that took the photograph. However, you do not that is manmade. Some examples of this are: Herps need to own the herp in the photo. in their cages, people holding their pets and photo• All items on display need to show herps or be digraphs of animals taken at a zoo. rectly herpetologically related. • Kid Submission: Any photo / artwork submission • Color and / or black and white photographs are acby a member who is 16 years of age or younger. ceptable. • Mixed Media: Herp related artwork by a member • Artwork is defined as sculptures, drawings, paintor photographs taken by a member that have been ings, etc. altered / enhanced using photo editing software in • Photos should be no smaller than 5 x 7 and no any matter other than cropping. larger than 11x 14 (outside dimension). • There will also be an award issued for the “People’s • Mounting or matting of photos / art is recommendChoice”: Members will also vote for one submission ed but not necessary. from the above categories that they feel is the best • Members are allowed to submit up to 2 photos / overall photograph / piece of artwork. The submisitems in each category. sion that receives the most votes is the winner of • On the back of the photo, please include: this category. Your name and which category you want your picture to compete in.

Upcoming Hands-on Event Schedule Thurs April 12, 6-8PM Science Fair, St Paul 245 St Clair Avenue Sat. April 14, 9a-2pm Green Expo, Coon Rapids 11155 Robinson Drive Sat. April 28, 5:30-7pm Earth Night, St Paul Battle Creek Elementary 60 Ruth St S Sat. April 28, 9a-2pm Environmental Expo, Ramsey City Offices 7550 Sunwood Drive NW July 20 and 21 Hastings Rivertown Days

Contact: Jan Larson 4

Looking to meet other MHS members? Help assist the society achieve it’s goals of educating the public? Or just have a good time showing off your herps? Here’s the perfect opportunity! Here’s the deal- Bring your herp(s) to one of the shows listed above, and talk about them. That’s it! You don’t have to be an expert, you’re not giving speeches. Most of the time you will find that people are more than open to hearing about our misrepresented critters. Sound fun? Great! There are just a few requirements: Bring only healthy animals. Make sure you know the basics about your animal; What they eat, how long they live, adult size, cage needs. There is no size limits as long as the handler can comfortably keep control. We do not let viewers pat them on the head and do not allow them to directly hold the animal. If the animals are very young, display in a cage is recommended. Children may participate as long as they have adult supervision.


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

April 2012

Volume 32

Number 4

Board Minutes for February 4th, 2012 By Ellen Heck The meeting was called to order at 6:15pm. Ellen read the minutes. One correction was made. Motion to accept the minutes as corrected: Chris R; 2nd: Dav. Motion passed. Grant Committee Four grants were submitted for consideration. Two have no real link to Minnesota or conservation; after some discussion the motion to deny these requests was made by Chris R; 2nd: Dav. Motion passed. After further discussion, a motion to award $1500 to Melanie Stock for the study of soil temperature on below ground amphibian hibernation was made by Nancy; 2nd: Ellen. Motion passed. After further discussion, the motion to award Chris Smith $1156.25 for a rat snake pilot study was made by Beth; 2nd: Peter. Motion passed with a vote of 4 ayes, 2 nays and 2 abstentions. Chris Smith abstained. Website Committee The legal issue of posting the meeting videos for members only was discussed; technically, the speaker owns the intellectual rights to what is taped but MHS would hold the copyright on the video itself. In order to post the video, MHS would need the speaker to sign a consent form. Dav will review with Jake what the form would need to look like.

could pay some sort of fee to continue the mailbox or become a supporting member of the museum. An alternative would be a Post Office box, which would run about $260/year with the fee varying based on size and location. Newsletter: Some people who signed up for the online newsletter are not receiving it; Ellen and Heather will determine the cause. The Issue site demands certain personal information to be entered before printing the newsletter. Alternatives will be explored. The bulk mail permit is due in April. New Business Member-At-Large: Kat Rorvig may not be able to participate as a MAL. Chris S will contact her to find out if she wishes to resign. Credit Card: A credit/debit card has been issued against the bank account to make it easier to pay for speaker expenses. Motion to adjourn: Ellen 2nd: Dav. Meeting adjourned at 9:36pm

Old Business Mailbox: John Moriarty talked to several people at the Bell and the decision to discontinue the mailboxes for off-campus groups is coming down from high above, the reasons being conflict of interest and liability. It is possible MHS


The Newsletter of the Minnesota Herpetological Society

Volume 32

Number 4

Injurious Wildlife Listing Enacted March, 23, 2012

From the Membership Secretary The 2012 White Pages will be distributed online this year, as we continue toward our goal of reducing waste and expense by moving as much as possible to an online format. Don’t worry, your information will only be viewable by other current members, just as the paper copy is now. If you are already a registered user on the MHS website, you will automatically have access to the White Pages when they are posted in May. If you have not yet registered, I encourage you to do so. Much of our information and publications are located there, as well as the forum. The online White Pages will be formatted so that you can print them and staple the pages in booklet form, in case you would still prefer a printed version. Please contact me if you have any questions or concerns, and thank you for supporting us in our conservation goals!

April 2012

by Dav Kaufman

Today US Fish & Wildlife Service enacted a rule adding four constricting snakes to the Injurious Wildlife List of the Lacey Act; Burmese python, N. African python, S. African python and Yellow anaconda. It will now be a felony to import or cross state lines with these four animals, their eggs, or their hybrids. Possession, breeding and trade within your state is allowed unless there is a state law violated. Export is allowed as long as the animals exit the country from a designated port of entry without making a connecting flight, or landing within the United States. All flights must directly exit the United States.


Treasurers Report Due to necessary absences, the February Treasurers Report is not available for the April newsletter. Watch for it in the upcoming issue!

March Adoption Report

Posted by Sarah Richard, Edited by Chris Rueber Healthy adoptions: Five California King Snakes, a Ball Python, an Eastern Box, and a Red Eared Slider. Special needs adoptions: A Leopard Gecko, a Veiled Chameleon, a Russian Tortoise, a Three Toed Box, a REd Eared Slider, a Boa, and an Everglades Rat


Minnesota Herpetological Society Membership Application New




Membership #

City, State, Zip Phone Email List in MHS Directory? Yes No Contact information only? Yes No


Herp related interests

Check #

Active Memberships: Sustainin ($60/year) Contributing ($40/year) Basic ($20/year) Printed Newsletter ($5/year plus membership) Corresponding Memberships: Commercial ($25/year, 2 business card ads/year) Required check info. Drivers Lic #



Please enclose the proper payment with your application. Make checks payable to MINNESOTA HERPETOLOGICAL SOCIETY. Membership is for 12 months from the date of approval. A receipt will be sent only upon request. Mail To: Minnesota Herpetological Society, Bell Museum of Natural History, 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455 Please allow 6-8 weeks for processing.

Rodents! Order online!

Did you know you can order online? By phone? See below! MICE

Pinkies Fuzzies Hoppers Weanlings Adults Jumbo Adult


Small Adults Med Adults Large Adults Jumbo

WEIGHT 2-3 grams 5-7 grams 8-11 grams 12-15 grams 25-30 grams 45+ grams

WEIGHT 50-60 grams 125-150 grams 200-240 grams 250-350 grams


$7 / dz $7 / dz $8 / dz $9 / dz $10 / dz $14 / dz


$18 / dz $24 / dz $30 / dz $36 / dz

For pick-up at monthly meetings only. Orders may be placed the following ways 1. At the meeting for the following Month 2. Online at 3. Calling the MHS voicemail: 612.326.6516 Orders MUST be placed 10 DAYS IN ADVANCE of the date of meeting in order to guarantee availability.

Advertising Policies MHS Ad Policy: The MHS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animal, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space limitations, unpaid and complimentary advertisements are subject to occasional omission. Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads may be run three (3) consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted. Submissions: All advertisements should be submitted to the MHS Membership Secretary at the general meeting or mailed to: Bell Museum of Natural History. 10 Church St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Deadline is the night of the General Meeting for inclusion in the next newsletter. Make checks payable to: Minnesota Herpetological Society.

Advertising Costs Size

Business Card Sized 1/4 Page 1/2 Page Full Page


$5/month or $55/year* $10/month or $110/year* $20/month or $220/year* $40/month or $440/year*

* 12th month is free with a one year committment.


Next Meeting:

Friday - April 13th - 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. 32 (2012), No. 4  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter

Vol. 32 (2012), No. 4  

Minnesota Herpetological Society Newsletter