: PANTHEROPHIS guttatus?


June, 1997

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True Oddballs: T E N T A C L E DS N A K E S

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Contest Rules: To enter simply send us two photos, one of you holding your pet snake and the other of your snake eating snake steak sausages. Just for entering, you will receive a coupon for a free pack of snake steak sausages. If you and your snake are selected, the pictures you have sent us will appear in several publications worldwide. Also you will win a T-Rex T-Shirt and a years supply of snake steak sausages (12 packs). Limit one entry per month per household. Snake Steak Sausages are available in four convenient, natural sizes; pinkie, fuzzie, mouse and rat. Snake Steak Sausages are the same food used to save the world's most endangered snake (the Antiguan Racer) on breeding project at the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust, in England. Enjoy for yourself, the results zoos and breeders around the world are experiencing. From Kings to Cobras, SNAKE STEAK SAUSAGES are the natural choice!

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Vol. 2, No. 10 • June, 1997




10 22 30 36 38
44 52
Pantherophis guffafus?? OH NO! Before you start yelling, read the article starting on page 52.

Successful Care of Mantellas Marc Staniszewski Pachydactylus, the Thick-toed Geckos Jerry G. Walls The Hellbender: North America's Giant Salamander Wayne Ferrier The Yellow-striped Poison Frog, Dendrobates truncatus Jack Wattley Random Thoughts on Tentacled Snakes, Erpeton tentaculatum R. D. Bartlett Flying Frogs Gail Reynolds Pantherophis guttatus? It's Time to Split the Genus Elaphe Jerry G. Walls Before Buying a Water Turtle R. & A. Cardamone The Painted Agama, Acrobat Saurian Carol Righetti-Montelongo

58 64


8 My Turn 9 Your Turn 1 9 Did You Know: Largest Turtle 20 R & A Quicks 68 Invertebrate Corner: Hissing Cockroaches 72 Starting Out: Worst Reptile Pets 78 Herp People: Sean McKeown 83 Collectibles: Collecting Herp Stamps 87 In Review: Turtle Islands 91 Herp Mail 95 Classified Ads

B e t w e e nt h ec o v e r s .
Somehow we ended up with a truly odd mix of subjects this month, but I think it's an interesting one. First, if you like taxonomy, check out my piece on the proper name for the American rat snakes—would you believe Pantherophis? Don't scream until you read the article, and remember that this is just meant as a nudge to the academics to get their work finished so we can use the "right" names. Most of you will want to turn to the mantella article if you like the frogs or to the thick-toed gecko survey if you like lizards. (I've always wondered why thick-toed geckos don't get more respect, and now I think I know why—the common name is appalling. Can you suggest a better one?) Venomous fans will have to settle for a rear-fang this month—the truly oddball Tentacled Snake, once common but always basically dead in the water. We understand a bit more about them today and they now have a better chance at life. As usual we have a salamander article (does this make six or seven issues in a row with such?) for the truly dedicated. If you are a beginner—or the parent of a beginner—check the Starting Out department for one keeper's thoughts on the worst selections for beginners. Next month we'll give you the flip side, the best choices. Oh yes—this month I actually got off my duff and got together an article on hissing cockroaches, possibly one of the most misunderstood pets around. And don't forget the stamp article, and the piece on Sean McKeown, and...well, you get the idea. Good read ing!
Cover: The widely distributed flying frog Rhacophorus reinwardti, once a common (but very difficult) hobby import, has almost been replaced by other species. This gorgeous specimen was photographed by Marion Bacon.


Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod President Jerry G. Walls Editor Jan Michael Balon Pat Escabi Sandra Taylor Gale Candida Moreira Joanne Muzyka Francine Shulman Artists Patricia Northrup Supervisor Digital Pre-Press Production Robert Onyrscuk Jose Reyes Digital Pre-Press Production Amy Manning Advertising Director George Campbell Nat'l Advertising Manager

Rates: $3.95 per copy in the U.S.; $7.95 per copy in Canada or Foreign; $40.00 for 12 issue subscription in the U.S.; add $11.00 per year for Canadian and Mexican subscriptions, and $20.00 per year for all other foreign subscriptions. All foreign subscriptions must be payable in U.S. funds. Index available in every 12th issue. In England and the western Sterling area Reptile Hobbyist and T.F.H.booksdistributed exclusively through T.F.H. Publications (Great Britain) Ltd., PO Box 15, Waterlooville P07 6BQ; in Australia, and the South Pacific by T.F.H. Australia, Box 149, Brookvale 2100 N.S.W., Australia; by Brooklands Aquarium Ltd., 5 McGiven Drive, New Plymouth, RD1 New Zealand; in South Africa by Lopis (PTY) Ltd., P.O. Box 39127, Booysens, 2016, Johannesburg, South Africa. Reptile Hobbyist (ISSN 1083-432X) is published monthly by T.F.H. Publica tions, Inc., One TFH Plaza, Neptune City, New Jersey 07753. Periodicals postage paid at Neptune, New Jersey and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to:

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One TFH Plaza, Neptune City, New Jersey 07753 Phone: (908) 988-8400 Copyright ©1997 by T.F.H. Publications, Inc.
REPTILE HOBBYIST • JUNE, 1997 Gary Hersch Senior Vice President


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M yT u r n
Looks like it's time to do some clean ing up a bit and make a few changes. First, there is no Oddities contest this month. I'm trying to get things on the correct track to match our publishing schedule, and the best way is to skip a month. Thus the drawing for last month's contest, No. 6, the snake, will be held about the 22nd of May, and we'll start fresh. This would be a good month to make suggestions for changes. The same applies to the give-aways in the editorial—a clean start comes with the July issue. OK, now to more serious topics— edible herps. I just fielded a most strange call about the potential of com mercially raising sirens (you know, the eel-like salamanders) for the Oriental food market. It seems that the presence of gills and two small legs associates these animals with Chinese dragons, and supposedly they now are going for $20 a pound in New York. Frankly, I be lieve it. Humans will eat almost any thing, and I know that waterdogs (Necturus beyeri) and amphiumas were served at a scientific herp meeting in New Orleans back in the 1930's. (Just be sure to skin them first—salamander skins usually are at least mildly toxic.) Rattlesnakes are considered a gourmet food, turtle eggs remain popular regard less of laws and troops of soldiers sup posedly protecting the nesting beaches, and alligator meat is a hot fad and fetch ing a good price. Have we ever considered that this may be the best way to protect our ani mals? Never mind saving the rain for est—that effort probably is doomed by human nature and reproduction—but cows and chickens and sheep probably will never become extinct. Humans save the "useful" things. Bullfrogs are spread around the world because of their tasty

legs, crocodile and alligator farms are going great guns in many areas for meat and skins, and if someone doesn't start farm-raising softshelled turtles soon they probably will all disappear into the Oriental food markets. I've had it seriously suggested to me that most albino Burmese Pythons would be better off as belts and cutlets than pets. If you've ever handled an amphiuma and been bitten you may have wanted to take your revenge by frying it up for supper. Just what do you do when your big Bearded Dragon lays her third clutch of eggs for the season and the pet shops won't even let you into the door anymore? Has anyone tried pickled dragon eggs and beer? (Actually, "pickled dragon eggs" sounds good on the tongue and might have some market value. Be sure to send me my commission.) In Brazil they recently started farming river turtles {Podocnemis), which have been absent from the hobby market for years—now you can eat the turtles but you can't keep them as pets. Seriously (don't you hate it when someone starts a sentence like that? you just know you can't take anything seriously from that point on), it might be possible to produce a market for sur plus Corn Snakes, Bearded Dragons, various pythons, White's Treefrogs, and perhaps a few other herps. Ethnic foods are all the rage today and fetch really good prices. I'm sure you'll let me know what you think about this—editorials and articles on eating your pets always seem to strike some people the wrong way—but you probably can save your breath. I'm a vegetarian. OK, see you next month. Maybe I'll be able to come up with a real editorial by then. Enjoy. Jerry

Have you read...

Y our T urn
The winner of Oddities Contest No. 5 is William Voelker of Paradise, CA. Bill's name was chosen by a random shuffle of the envelopes, as we will do from now on. Look for the retu rn of Oddi ties in the July issue with Contest No. 7. Entries are still open for No. 6. Oh yes—No. 5 was a baby Twist-necked Turtle, Platemys platycephala, a spe cies often imported at small sizes but seldom doing well in the average aquaterrarium. We need more captivebreds! Jerry, We applaud your magazine and the educational messages put forth. Fortu nately for the animals, your readers seek to be informed and responsible. It's too bad that there is a flip side to this, where people young and old pur chase or acquire reptiles prior to hav ing basic but essential care information. This situation causes problems, includ ing ones for responsible hobbyists and groups that are compelled to pick up the pieces when animals are abandoned at veterinary clinics or pet stores. Basic but very vital educational awareness and a sense of personal responsibility are of the utmost importance when becoming a pet owner. These are the issues our refuge program, "Recycling Reps," at tempts to nurture at an early age by re cycling abandoned, non-releasable ani mals to preventive educators. If any readers would like more information on our program and its networking with re habilitation centers and educational or ganizations in Texas, Conn., Florida, Maine, and Tenn., contact us at 605342-6758 in Rapid City. Kathy P., SD Kathy, With the growing importance of abandoned animals in our hobby, orga nizations that help place pets and also provide for proper education of poten tial keepers before they make a seri ous purchasing error deserve more and more of our attention and thanks. We keep telling people to read, read, read, but a magazine is preaching to the choir. Jerry, I am currently working on my Ph. D. in molecular biology and am also a Christian, so I feel I can comment on both the religious and scientific views of evolution. I have no problems with my religious convictions while being a bi ologist. I believe the conflict arises only based on how you define evolution. If you use the simplest definition, animals change over the course of time, then this is quite true and can hardly be argued with. I don't see how this in any way clashes with belief in God or creation. It is only logical that an organism would be created as self-sustaining and have the ability to survive and adapt to changes in its environment. I think what causes violent opposition is the defini tion that the scientific community has given evolution. That is the view that the whole universe popped into existence out of nothing, that living organisms ap peared out of nonliving material, and that over time single cells have devel oped into complex organisms like our selves. All this happened through com pletely random and uncontrolled move ment of molecules that themselves ap peared out of nothingness. This I do not believe, and in my opinion it requires a leap of faith at least equal to belief in a creator, if not more so. I do not think that a snake changing its color pattern or populating a new habitat offers support to this view. You do not have to close your eyes to the facts to justify a contin ued belief in God. Obviously I can not prove the existence of God to someone who does not believe it. I can only say that personally, my work as a biologist has not caused me to question my reli gious beliefs but has only strengthened them. The more I study the molecular biology of cells the more I am convinced that these unbelievably intricate systems did not just happen by accident. For every discovery made it leads to a hun dred new questions. I do not ignore the discoveries of science, but neither do I ignore the limitations. One can be knowl edgeable of scientific discoveries and have it increase your belief in God as it has for me. I think that it is important for more people to realize that you can say an animal has evolved without accept ing the full-blown theory of evolution as presented today. Regardless of your view on how they got here, we can all appreciate the wonderful creatures that inhabit this world. Patrick N., OH Patrick, Many thanks for your well-reasoned letter; sorry I had to chop it to bits to fit in some of your thoughts. More and more I find myself thinking much as you do, concluding that the sweeping ran domness proposed by many evolution ists today simply is not scientific but just an overreaction to creationism. The line between science and religion always has been thin, and I think that too many evolutionists today are treating the sci ence, evolution theory, as if it were a religion. In the religious view God cre ated everything from nothing; in the radi cal evolutionist view everything just ap peared from nothing and randomly changed over the years.


mantellas have become Once te r r acommon r i u m rfrogs a r i t in i ethe s, fairly hobby over the last two or three years, and a few species even are to be seen in the pet shops. Some, such as the Golden Mantella, Mantella aurantiaca, have proved to be fairly easy to breed, while others are rarities and so far have yielded their se crets only to a few hobbyists. This article will try to summarize much of what the beginner needs to know to suc cessfully keep and perhaps breed Golden Mantellas and other common species. Re member that if at all possible you should purchase captive-bred frogs rather than wild-caught specimens, though this often is not possible for any except the most common species. For more informa tion on the unusual species of the genus, see my recently published book Guide to Owning a Mantella, RE-161. Initial Care New acquisitions must be given a short (three weeks) isolation in quarantine. Introducing even an ap parently healthy specimen into a thriving colony is a recipe for disas ter as infections could be communi cated. Mantellas are loosely territo rial, and if the new introduction is not physically strong, its health will quickly deteriorate due to bullying by

established members of a colony. Try to purchase at least two males for every female. This will encourage not only territorial behavior but also a more vigorous pairing. Although it is not impossible to breed mantellas with just one of each sex, multiple males will increase your chances of success. Avoid mixing different

wooden vivarium, allowing easy re moval for cleaning purposes. Make sure the terrarium is escape-proof, because mantellas are expert escapologists and too expensive and delicate to lose in such a man ner. Good ventilation is essential. Mantellas excrete large amounts of feces that, when coupled with the humid atmo sphere required, could result in a mold and fungus haven. Closing up the container to increase humidity is a bad move, as the frogs will quickly succumb to respiratory in fection. The layout need not be too complicated. Considering the whole setup needs cleaning out regularly, a hobbyist could spend large amounts of time just cleaning a complicated arrange ment. Keep it simple! For a natural layout use a nice spongy Java moss base on top of which are laid deco rative pieces of logs and rocks. A shallow (under an inch deep and about 4 inches in diameter) water bowl should be located away from the light and heater pad, offering a cool retreat if overheating occurs. Creeping house plants such as snakeskin plant (Fittonia), ivy (Hedera and Helix), and bottle ferns can be left in their pots, which are concealed with moss. Remember that these plants need sufficient light ing for their survival.

S U C C G & W '
MARC STANISZEWSKI mantella species that may demand slightly different conditions and hy bridize with each other, something that is not really acceptable. Housing Relatively spacious housing is required, as mantellas may patrol small territories. Too small a con tainer results in excessive contact and stress. Too large a container re sults in little contact and no success ful pairing. A terrarium 2 feet X 1 foot X 2 feet is ideal for a maximum of six individuals. Wooden terraria with glass fronts are recommended be cause heat and humidity control is easier. Glass trays 4 inches deep can be fitted neatly into the bottom of the

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Synthetic substrate materials such as thoroughly washed uphol stery foam can be used successfully, especially where large numbers of mantellas are maintained. The foam should be soaked in water then gen tly squeezed so that it is uniformly moist. A hole can be cut out to hold the water bowl, and driftwood, rocks, bark, and leaves of plastic plants can be scattered across the top to give it a natural Madagascan forest floor feel.

Light and Heat
Being in the tropical Southern Hemisphere, seasonal shifts in day light hours vary less in Madagascar than in the USA and Europe. The photoperiod should be 10 to 11 hours during winter and 12 to 14 during summer. Use ultraviolet (UV) light ing where possible, not only because of its vitamin synthesizing proper ties, but also be

cause it seems to bring out the best colors in mantellas. Many hobbyists presume that because of their Madagascan origin mantellas demand tropical condi tions. In fact, for many species the opposite is true. The only species that tolerate true tropical environs are the coastal lowland inhabitants Mantella expectata, Mantella betsileo, and Mantella bernhardi. The rest inhabit cool, montane cloud forests and dislike high tempera tures. Mantella aurantiaca occurs mainly above 900 meters, where conditions are moderately cool and humid. To obtain optimum tempera tures for each species, use a ther mostatically-controlled heating pad and attach it to the back panel of the vivarium. Be sure the sensor is raised off the substrate; this will cre-


ate moderately warm air but not quickly dry out the substrate. Used in conjunction with UV lighting that emits little heat, temperatures can be accurately maintained to within 5°F. Remember that all mantellas natu rally experience a nighttime drop in temperature by 10 to 20°F, which should be reflected in captivity. Maintenance Over the course of a few days a mantella excretes a large amount of waste. The water bowl quickly will become fouled and is best changed every two or three days. To prevent bacterial and fungal build-up, thor oughly clean out the terrarium every 14 days, soaking the decorations in hot, soapy water for ten minutes, thoroughly rinsing or replacing moss, and wiping down live plants with a damp cloth. Going to this trouble is essential in the successful mainte nance of mantellas.

Being entirely insectivo rous, offer the frogs a range of small invertebrates for a balanced diet. Crickets are the obvious year-round food source and can be made more nutritious by gut-loading with a crum bly mixture of bran, finely chopped lettuce, and a multivitamin supple ment or special cricket foods. Vary the diet by offering fruitflies, waxworms, small houseflies, spi ders, caterpillars, small beetles, moths, and sweepings. During sum mer aphids are avidly taken. When ever wild-collected insects are used as food, you must be sure these are free of pesticides. Avoid mealworms, which mantellas find difficult to di gest. Feeding frequency is as impor tant as variety. Offer several small feedings per day rather than a single large one—morning, late af ternoon, and just prior to lights-off for example. Also beware of overfeed ing mantellas. Breeding Generally, male mantellas tend to be smaller and less rotund than the females. Sometimes they are more brightly colored, the skin around the throat often is dark (caused by a vo cal sac being present), and femoral glands (a pair of fused oblong pads around the vent) are more distinct. The Golden Mantella Group species (M. aurantiaca-"milotympanum"crocea) are easily sexed by observ ing the ventral surface where they possess light-colored venters. In males a narrow pair of pale lines

is not gravid then she will flick the male away. Once in a successful union, the female will search for a suitable egg-laying site. Eggs are never laid directly in water and must not be transferred to an aquatic en vironment initially. A suitable egg-lay ing site is almost always somewhere moist and enclosed, including de pressions in a sponge, moss, or tis sue paper; holes or crevices in logs; gaps at the sides of water pans; and beneath damp rocks or bark. Egg

called seminiferous ducts or ureters are visible. In females, although the ureters are in the same position, they are largely concealed by the uterus and oviduct. Also, in Mantella bernhardi and Mantella haraldmeieri a pale horseshoe marking extends from the back of the throat in males, while in females it exists simply as a white band. Under favorable conditions (not necessarily perfect) males (and

sometimes females) of an estab lished colony will become increas ingly territorial and will vocalize or sing. Aggression is commonplace in both sexes but is especially likely in males. Intruders are likely to be grabbed around the head or upper body and assertively pushed away. Actual courtship is a secretive af fair, although amplexus or clasping behavior can sometimes be noted, especially after misting. If a female

deposition usually ensues during the night. The relatively large eggs are en cased in a clear gelatinous shell, the nucleus of which is pale and mea sures 2mm in diameter. Clutch size varies from 100 or more in mature Mantella aurantiaca to 20 in the tiny Mantella aurantiaca "milotympanum. "Eggs are fertilized on depo sition or up two days later and by several males. Unfortunately, a com-

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JUNE, / 997'REPI/If HOBBY/ST • 17

mon occurrence in captivity is the high incidence of infertile eggs caused by lack of male interaction. Infertile eggs show deterioration within 72 hours. Fertile eggs absorb lots of water and expand accordingly. They are best left in situ until the wellformed tadpoles are ready to hatch out, which usually is after the twoto six-day mark. Mist them regularly with boiled rainwater at room tem-

cumb. I have found that for lowland species (i.e., M. bernhardi, M. cowani, M. crocea, M. expectata, M. "loppei,"most M. madagascahensis, and M. viridis) tadpoles require around 75°F, while in highland spe cies (all others) around 70°F is ad equate. Good water quality is equally important. Depending on species, mantella tadpoles metamorphose after 45 to

tadpoles daily. The tadpoles are her bivorous to omnivorous filter-feeders nibbling on algal matter, fish flakes, and trout pellets. Hind limbs appear 18 to 280 days after the tadpoles hatch, while the forelimbs and the general mantella shape appear a further 25 to 80 days later. Tail absorption is a critical time for the emerging froglets because they can easily drown. Easily acces-

Though «^so1*e


qenus, t"e D proved to »

perature to ensure they do not dry out. Hatching is a critical time, as the eggs need to be partially submersed in water so that the tadpoles can wriggle free. When eggs are situated in a crevice or adhered to the un derside of rocks or bark, they can be difficult to remove manually with out crushing the embryos. Here ei ther remove the entire object and submerge it in water, or remove the adult mantellas and begin to fill up the aquarium or glass tray. Water must be maintained within a rela tively small temperature range, oth erwise tadpoles will quickly suc18 • REPTILE HOBBYIST • JUNE, 1997

360 days. During this period they will excrete large amounts of waste that must be removed, so filter and aer ate the water freely with one of the small submersible pumps now avail able. Provide only gentle aeration for the first 20 days of development. The initial water depth should be 2 inches; the bottom should consist of a gravel layer with some rocks and a few bunches of water weed The water should consist of pre-boiled "clean" rainwater in the pH 6.5 range (i.e., slightly acidic). As the tadpoles develop, gradually increase the depth to 4 inches, with 20% partial water changes, and remove dead

sible land areas of gently sloping, moss-blanketed rocks are essential. Once the 5- to 7-mm (0.2 to 0.35 inch) froglets are visible they must be removed to moss-filled plastic containers because they are so small that only sweepings, springtails, and small aphids can be eaten. Froglets are brownish, but after 12 weeks, at around a half inch, vivid colors begin to appear. Maturity is attained within 14 months. Golden Mantellas can attain an age of ten years, but it is a highland species with a relatively low metabolism; low land species may have a shorter life span.

»i» yev Knew...

that the largest and smallest turtles both are found in North American waters?


The marine Leatherback Turtle {Dermochelys coriacea) is found the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and may be over 6 feet long and weigh over a thousand pounds. One male captured off Monterey, California, in 1961 was reported to be 8 feet long and weigh almost a ton; larger specimens have been reported from the Atlantic but may be exaggerated. Leatherbacks feed on jellyfish, may swim at 22 mph, and dive to almost 4000 feet. Females nest at night on specific beaches, including some in Florida; adults often follow cold currents north to Canada. The smallest turtle seems to be the Stinkpot or Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus), which occurs over much of the eastern U.S. Adults may be only 3 inches in length on average and weigh only a few , //' ounces. Stinkpots are noted for their " A STINKPOT aggressiveness and bite readily «., ,


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Comments and opinions expressed in this and other parts of Reptile Hobbyist are those of the editor and authors, not those of T.F.H. Publications or our advertisers.

Australia recently has joined the U.S. and United Kingdom in banning the use of many herbicides near water. The Australian government action covers 84 specific herbicides whose ingredients cause death and distress to tadpoles and adult frogs. Included is the popular herbicide Roundup™ (Monsanto), which still is widely advertised in the U.S. The herbicide's active ingredient, glyphosate, is not thought to be the major problem if the herbicides drain into the water. Instead, the detergent that helps the chemicals disperse over a leaf's surface is the culprit in localized amphibian deaths. Like all detergents, it breaks down the surface tension of the water and thus affects respiration through the skin of adult amphibians and the gills of tadpoles and larvae. Though Roundup™ and similar herbicides are safe when used in local situations where there is little chance of runoff into ponds and rivers, they can not be considered harmless to the environment and should be used carefully. (Froglog #21, March 1997)


Sometimes we take for granted the animals that appear in our hobby. If something is common at the shop, then it must be common in nature. Not necessarily true. Froglog #21 contains the announce ment of a conservation meeting in Hungary that will include a trip to the Barzsany Mountains north of Budapest, where participants will be able to observe conditions at an important local amphibian breeding site. The area contains four species of protected amphib ians, three of which are in many hobby books: Fire Salamanders, Salamandra salamandra, European Spadefoots, Pelobates fuscus, and Eurasian Common Toads, Bufo bufo. All three of these herps are available commercially if you look hard enough, but apparently they are having rough times in at least parts of their European ranges.

If you live in Georgia or herp there frequently, you might want to contact John Jensen, Non-game Program, 116 Rum Creek Dr., Forsyth, GA31029, for more information on the Georgian Herp Atlas project initiated last August. Like other atlasing projects around the nation, the object is to gather locality records for the herps of a state. Unlike previous censuses, the core of the information is based on volunteers sending in their photos, tape record ings, and only occasionally road-killed specimens as vouchers to guarantee the accuracy of the observations. The idea is a good one, but volunteers often seem to be few and far between in these projects. The cause is good, and who knows? You might learn something.


The Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR) has just released the fourth edition of their Standard Common and Current Scientific Names listing. Edited, as usual, by Joe Collins, the listing supplants the 1990 edition. A quick look through the 40-page booklet shows relatively few differences from the third edition, but several former subspecies are elevated to full specific rank in keeping with at least some scientific usages (thus Drymarchon couperi, the Eastern Indigo Snake, becomes a full species, as do the Eastern Fox Snake, Elaphe gloydi, and the Great Plains Rat Snake, Elaphe emoryi). I note that we now are in a consolidation phase as far as genera (down to

141 from 143 in 1990) and subspecies (down to 497 from 578) go, but that taxa at the species level are increas ing (up to 546 from 496), mostly from moving subspecies to species rank. Whether you like common names or not (I generally don't) and plan on following these (I vacillate), this is the best checklist available for an up-to-date listing of all the herps found in the United States and Canada. Contact R. D. Aldrich, Dept. Biol., St. Louis Univ., St. Louis, MO 63103 for more information.

The controversy continues to rage over whether amphibian (read that as frog) populations are declining and, if so, why. A new survey of pristine habitats in the Yosemite area of the Sierra Nevadas of California provides pretty solid evidence that at least some frogs are disappearing from areas where they are not under direct attack by man. Drost and Fellers utilized survey data produced by researchers in the early 1900's in remote areas and compared them to modern surveys of the same areas. While the early records had seven frogs and toads in good numbers, modern records show that five of these have suffered significant drops in numbers. The Red-legged Frog, Rana aurora, has disappeared entirely from the area, photo: r d BARTLETT while the Mountain Yellow-legged Frog, ft muscosa, is now restricted to just a few populations. As in almost all other similar studies of frog numbers in the West, Hyla regilla, the Pacific Treefrog, continues to do well. It would seem that declines in numbers in the Yosemite area are real, though the cause or causes remain uncertain. This also might be a good place to give the address for a new web site on California amphibians and their conservation status: http://ice.ucdavis.edu/Toads/wwfrog.html>. (Amphibian Decline Newsletter, internet)

Sometimes things are not so dreary on the amphibian scene. Wildlife Conservation, March/April, 1997, announced the rediscovery of a significant population of Western Toads, Bufo boreas, in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. Western Toads began disappearing from many localities in Colorado in the 1980's, as they did over much of their range, and this is the first proof of breeding (many tadpoles were found) in the San Juans in about a decade. Once present in tremen dous breeding congresses over much of the northwestern U.S. and Canada, the toads suddenly became rare and then disappeared from

large segments of their range. Recent surveys indicate the collapse of some populations may have been temporary, as just in Colorado 25 new breeding sites have been found in the last two years. As always, the cause of the crash and reasons for the recovery (if it is a recovery) are not known.


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Did you ever notice that some times an animal's common name is held against it? Species with attrac tive or mysterious names draw a lot of attention, while those with com monplace or unexciting names are considered to be unexciting as well. Falling into the latter category is one of the largest genera of African gec kos, one with at least two to perhaps three dozen species. The genus in question is Pachydactylus, whose common name is a strict translation of the scientific name, Pachy = thick or clumsy, dactylus = toe or digit. "Thick-toed gecko" just doesn't run off the tongue very well, and even the most familiar species in the ter rarium is saddled with the far from euphonious name Bibron's Thicktoed Gecko. Pachydactylus remains a poorly understood genus though most of its

species are found in fairly heavily studied areas of southern Africa, most from Angola and Namibia across the continent to Tanzania and south over South Africa. Most are small to moderate in size, about 3 to 8 inches long, and of rather stout and somewhat depressed build. The original tail scalation usually is some what larger than that of the back, and in many species there is at least one row of enlarged, rather triangular scales under the base of the tail; the scales on top of the tail also may be enlarged and either triangular or erect conical spines. Original tails may be slender, but the tail often is regenerated and sometimes thick ened, with distorted scalation. The head is large, with large eyes that have the usual vertical pupils. The scales of the back are mostly granu lar and small, but there usually are

a few to many rows of enlarged tu bercles (which may be keeled) down the back. In several species the skin is very delicate and may be used as a defensive organ, peeling off when touched by a predator but rapidly regenerating. The legs are short but thick and strong and end in short fingers and toes of about equal length. The un dersides of the digits have three or more undivided adhesive pads. The toes end in tiny, slender retractile claws (at least on the hind feet) hid den under two or more slender or nail-like scales. Coloration varies greatly, but as a rule the back in adults is pale to dark brown with paler bands or spots. This simple pattern often rep resents the end results of a major change in coloration and pattern from those of the young. Hatchlings

The Spotted Gecko, Pachydactylus maculatus, a species of the southeastern Cape.
Photo: M. Burger.

Pachydactylus tigrinus, a species almost endemic to Zimbabwe.
Photo: P. Freed.


Short, thick toes are typical of Pachydactylus (here bibroni), but almost all other characters vary.
Photo: M. Burger.

and brown. The belly commonly is yellowish to whitish. The thick-toed geckos are spe cies of southern Africa, with over half the species restricted to that region. Only a few species extend north of a line from Angola to Tanzania, but several species are found in central Africa (some reaching to the south ern edge of the Sahara), and one or two species are found in relatively humid regions of western Africa. Currently some 30 to 35 species are recognized, but since several spe cies have isolated subspecies that could be considered species, the count probably is considerably higher. Because thick-toes tend to be associated with isolated rocky areas, are active at night, and sel-

to juveniles usually have broad dark brown bands from the eyes to the nape forming a U and also have broad brown bands across the back. Commonly there are narrow white or yellow bands between the brown A molting Pachydactylus geitje a species of the southwestern Cape of South Africa.
Photo: M. Burger.

bands. After just a few weeks or at most months, the pattern begins to break up to produce the adult pat tern. Though few species available to hobbyists could be said to be col orful, some South African species have unique patterns of round white, yellow, or dark brown spots on the back, and some are brightly mottled in patches of various shades of tan


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dom are conspicuous, new popula tions and species are discovered regularly and it is likely that many remain to be described. As mentioned, the thick-toed gec kos are active mostly at night (noc turnal) or during the low light of dusk and dawn (crepuscular). During the day they hide under rocks and de bris, often being found in the exten sive mounds of jumbled rocks that litter the African savanna. Some spe cies adapt well to human habitation and may be found in old buildings, rock walls, and near gardens. Though they climb well (even large specimens of some species can go up the glass sides of a terrarium), they usually feed mostly on the ground, often emerging from their burrows to attack insects (beetles, grasshoppers, etc.) and other small arthropods such as pillbugs and even small scorpions. They tend to be found in small colonies, possibly

because suitable habitats may be few and far between, and get along well together, though males may be somewhat territorial and aggressive. The thick-toed geckos that are available to hobbyist usually are easy to keep in a dry terrarium with a loose substrate and fairly high tem peratures allowed to drop at night. They should have many hiding places such as layered rocks and small tubes in and under which to hide. They need little free water, though some will drink from a bowl, but most of the time they do well with just a daily misting. Crickets and other common insect foods are ac cepted; large Bibron's Thick-toed Geckos may take pinkie mice on occasion. Few Pachydactylus are bred in captivity, though there is no reason to believe they are any more difficult than other dry-land African geckos. Males lack femoral pores and with a

The beautifully patterned Golden-spotted Gecko, Pachydactylus oculatus, is restricted to escarpments of the central Cape, South Africa.
Photo: M. Burger.

few exceptions also lack pre-anal pores, but they usually are distin guishable by enlarged hemipene pouches at the base of the tail. In many species there are a few to sev eral spiny scales or even a saw-like row of scales at the anterior sides of the tail along the hemipene pouches. Females lay the usual two hardshelled eggs that are deposited on the ground under a slab of rock or bark or in crevices between rocks. Because several females may lay their eggs under an especially fa vored rock and produce several clutches per year, this is one of the groups where thick layers of old egg shells may be found representing years of reproduction. Incubation takes some two to three months at about 85°F, the eggs producing young 1.5 to over 2 inches long. Only a few of the more expensive thick-





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toed geckos are bred in captivity, but if stock were available there is no doubt that several would make in teresting pets. The most attractive species often have small ranges in Namibia and South Africa and at the moment are not commercially avail able, though recently it seems that South Africa may be opening up a bit, with more species imported on occasion. Though its color pattern is simple, Bibron's Thick-toed Gecko, Pachydactylus bibroni, varies considerably in coloration. Unfortunately, the only really com mon terrarium species, Bibron's Thick-toed Gecko, at the moment is imported rather than captive-bred, largely because it is too cheap to attract commercial breeders. Bibron's Gecko is one of the larger species of the genus, often 6 to 8 inches long, and has a sturdy body build with a large head and strong jaw muscles for a sometimes fero cious bite. The back has many large tubercles that are strongly keeled and irregularly placed, while the tail has many rows of keeled to spiny scales. The back of typical speci mens is brownish to tan with five inCape Geckos, Pachydactylus capensis, are noted for their variability over a range extending from Zaire to the southern Cape of South Africa. This is the typical subspecies.
Photo: M. Burger.

Photos: Above, K. H. Switak; below, M. Burger.





distinct whitish bands that are wavy, irregular, often broken, and may be present mostly as isolated white spots. There often are many scat tered dark brown blotches over the back as well, and some specimens are uniformly dark brown above. There are many white tubercles along the sides, and some lizards show traces of dark bands through the eyes, retained from the stronger patterns of juveniles. Like other thick-toed geckos, Bibron's lives in relatively dry, rocky areas from Angola to Tanzania and south to the Cape region of South Africa. In the terrarium this species is rather shy and seldom seen while the lights are on, but it feeds well and may live six to ten years. It tends to dislike being handled and definitely will bite if you are not careful, though it is not ag gressive. It probably is a bit too re clusive for most hobbyists, but it is inexpensive, hardy, and easy to keep. Though most of the South African species are not imported, Pachydactylus capensis, the Cape Thick-toed Gecko, sometimes ap pears. This is a tremendously variIn the Rough-scaled Gecko, Pachydactylus rugosus, the head tubercles are elevated into spines. Notice the mites around the eye.
Photo: M. Burger.

If you allow for its shy nature, Bibron's Gecko makes a good and distinctive pet.
Photo: K. H. Switak.

able species with numerous subspe cies (many probably full species) found from southern South Africa north to Angola, southern Zaire, and into Malawi and Zambia. Adults usu ally are 4 to almost 6 inches long and have the usual stout build of the ge nus; regenerated tails are very thick at the base and may be carrotshaped; there are about 20 rows of moderately enlarged tubercles down the back. Coloration varies greatly. Some populations are dark brown with darker brown spots, while oth ers are pale tan with three dark red dish brown bands over the back and a U-shaped band across the nape. Specimens from more northerly populations (most seen in the hobby are from southern populations) may have large white spots down the center of the back, these sometimes widened into distinct white bands. Another uncommonly available species that many gecko specialists would love to have is the Roughscaled Gecko, Pachydactylus rugosus, a species of rocky outcrops in near-desert conditions from Namibia into southwestern South Africa. This is a small (seldom over 4 inches) but stout species in which the tubercles on the back are very

large and usually conical, giving the appearance of low spines; similar spines may be found on top of the head and on the tail as well. The head is short and heavy, with a very large eye, and there usually is at least a broken U-shaped band run ning from the nostrils through the eyes over the nape. Coloration var ies, but usually the back is pale whit ish tan to yellowish with three to five rows of large oval dark brown spots over the back, these sometimes fused into irregular bands; the tail may be banded or mottled. This is one of the few thick-toed geckos that has a distinct voice, producing a loud chirp when handled roughly. Like many other small geckos, the tail may be held curled over the back when hunting, producing a very scor pion-like profile. The thick-toed geckos have con siderable potential, and many gecko specialists would gladly give an eyetooth or two to get a chance to breed some of the more unusual species. Though the name may not be espe cially attractive and the common Bibron's Gecko may not be a real crowd-pleaser, there is much of po tential here for the dedicated hob byist.

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WAY N E TERRIER Photos by Mark Smith of captives from the Tellico River, Tennessee
The Hellbender is North America's giant salamander, an aquatic tailed amphibian that can reach an impressive length of nearly 30 inches. The Hellbender is a close relative of the giant salamanders of China (Andrias davidianus) and Ja pan (Andrias japonicus) and lives in fast-flowing streams through much of the northeastern and central United States. Hellbenders are the

North Americ lamander
only species, alleganiensis, of the genus Cryptobranchus, and are di vided into two subspecies: the Al legheny Hellbender (Cryptobran chus alleganiensis alleganiensis) and the Ozark Hellbender {Crypto branchus alleganiensis bishopi). The Allegheny Hellbender lives in feeder streams of the Susquehanna and Allegheny Rivers and in the drainage system of the Ohio, Missouri, and Mississippi, while the range of the Ozark Hellbender is re stricted to the Black River and White River systems of Arkansas and Mis souri. On the bottom of a creek the Hell bender looks like a stone half buried in silt. Because of its flat head and heavy tail, it is often mistaken for a Mudpuppy (Necturus maculosus), which has a similar but more exten-

sive habitat and range. Hellbenders typically are between 12 and 20 inches long (although much larger animals have been measured), and Mudpuppies average between 8 and 17 inches. Thus a large Mudpuppy is about the size of an average Hell bender. Both the Ozark and Allegh eny Hellbenders have brown, gray, or olive-green skin with dark brown spots and a lighter underside. The spotted markings tend to be larger in the Ozark Hellbender. The Mudpuppy's skin is gray to brown and its fuzzy spots are dark blue; unlike the Hellbender, the Mudpuppy has markings on its underside as well. The Mudpuppy's tail also is compressed and of a color similar to the Hellbender's, however it's easy to tell the two salamanders apart by their gills. Mudpuppies never metamorphose and keep their large reddish external gills. Hell benders, however, start to metamor phose but never quite finish the job. Facing Page: A pair of adults Al legheny or Eastern Hellbenders. Notice the white toe-tips of these breeding-age salamanders. Be low: The strongly flattened form and heavy skin folds of the Hell bender are unique among Ameri can salamanders.

They absorb their gills and merely retain a pair of gill slits, which are entirely closed in some Ozark speci mens. Additionally, Hellbenders have five toes on the hind feet, while Mudpuppies have only four. Although the Hellbender develops lungs, it does not use them for breathing. Instead it relies on a mechanism that also is common among the lungless salamanders (Plethodontidae): instead of ex changing oxygen through the gills it no longer has, or through the lungs it does not use for respiration, the Hellbender breathes through its skin. Breathing requires a large surface area (for example, human lungs are like a spongy labyrinth of sacs that would take up 100 square yards if they were flattened out), and the Hellbender has numerous wrinkles and folds in its skin that produce a large enough surface areata accom modate its respiration needs. The increased skin area is best seen in the wrinkled fold of loose skin along each side of the body. The Hell bender obtains 90% of its oxygen needs by breathing through its skin, consequently water quality is vital to its well-being. The Allegheny Hell bender requires clear, fast-running


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streams, while the Ozark Hellbender can live in either clear or slightly murky water. Hellbenders metamorphose slowly over four to five years, but by the time they reach sexual maturity their metamorphosis is still incom plete. This incomplete development (best seen by the loss of external gills but retention of an open gill slit or two) is also apparent in the Hellbender's jaw structure. Fully metamorphosed salamanders of other groups have ossified jaws, but the jaws of Cryptobranchus retain pliable joints. The jaw muscles to gether with the joints make it pos sible for them to rotate prey in their mouth, a mechanism that comes in handy when catching crayfish, which are the Hellbender's most common prey. Besides well-oxygenated water, the Hellbender seeks out large flat rocks to live under. Once a Hell bender has found a rock to its lik ing, it will defend it against intrud ers, and unless the rock is particu

larly large it will house only one Hell bender. Hellbenders seem to get attached to their home and have been known to live under the same rock for months and sometimes years. These aquatic salamanders prefer certain sections of the stream and tend to stay in these locales. Even after having been captured several times, Hellbenders will re turn to the same spot and often are found within a few feet from where they were last seen. During the day the Hellbender remains under its rock, but at night it may venture out searching for crayfish, minnows, insects, snails, and worms. The Hellbender does not come out every night, but when it does, this near-sighted creature crawls slowly on the bottom of the stream. At dawn or dusk several Hellbenders may be out and about in an area, often taking fishermen's bait. Sometimes the Hellbender does not even have to leave its rock and just waits for its meal to come within striking distance.

When in danger, the Hellbender can swim rapidly by moving its tail and body back and forth as eels do, and it uses its legs to propel and steer it through the water. Often Hell benders use a combination of walk ing and swimming in the stream, thus their locomotion has evolved away from the fishes and toward the higher animals. On land Hellbenders are practically helpless. Hellbenders are considered primi tive salamanders because they fer tilize their eggs externally. For the Allegheny Hellbender in New York and Pennsylvania, the mating sea son starts in early September and lasts for about two weeks, but in warmer regions the season can last several weeks longer, and for the Ozark Hellbender the season ex tends into November. During this time the male prepares a nest by digging out a hollow area under a



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cern in some states, while in others it is considered endangered or in need of management. Laws may slow down the collection and killing of Hellbenders, but habitat manage ment may be the more challenging problem for the future. A hobbyist who wishes to keep Hellbenders should have an aquarium that resembles their natu ral habitat as closely as possible, which means cool, well-oxygenated water. The aquarium's filtration can not be stressed enough. Hellbend ers kept in stagnant water will get anxious, refuse to eat, and finally will succumb. In order to consistently maintain high quality water, both an undergravel and an outside power filter ought to be used, and plants are best left out of the tank. The water temperature should ideally be kept around 68° Fahrenheit. Besides the filtration system, the most important items to put in the aquarium are the large, flat rocks that the Hellbender will burrow un der. Without adequate shelter the Hellbender will not feel secure. This nocturnal salamander shies away from light, and during the day it will seek the darkest corner of the aquarium. At night the Hellbender may come out and you can observe it by having a soft indirect light source in the room. Hellbenders like crayfish, insects, worms, and min nows and may take other food (such as tadpoles and small frogs), as long as it is moving. Hellbenders should not be kept together in a tank because they will fight. Keep in mind that they can reach a maximum length of nearly 30 inches and that they require lots of space. Captive specimens have been reported to live over 20 years, so think long-term before you set up the aquarium.

Above: A 4-inch larval Hellbender with small external gills. Left: The cloaca of a male Hellbender. stream and its temperature, the eggs will hatch anywhere from six weeks to three months later. Few of the Hellbender's young will survive, many falling prey to snakes and fishes. In the past numerous animals were killed by people who feared them and many were collected by scientists as laboratory animals be cause their large size made them particularly easy to study. Hellbenders are no longer as common throughout their range as rock. He will fight other males that venture too close, but a ripe female is invited into the cave. She stays until she has deposited about 200 to 500 eggs, which he fertilizes ex ternally, and then she leaves. He may mate with other ripe females in the same cave, but he won't allow any other Hellbenders near the fer tilized eggs. Hellbenders are cannibalistic, and both males and females will eat newly laid eggs. The eggs are only edible for a few days, and since Hell benders digest them slowly, they only eat about a tenth of them. The male Hellbender who guards the eggs may in fact be protecting them so he can eat as many as possible by himself. Depending on the nature of the

they were a few decades ago, and in some areas they have disap peared altogether. Habitat destruc tion can be especially damaging for Hellbenders, which flourish in highly oxygenated streams. When streams are dammed, the slow-flowing wa ters below the dam silt up the stream bed and eventually the Hellbenders disappear. Many states have recog nized the Hellbender's precarious situation and have placed it under legal protection. States have their own interpretation of what protected status means. While some states consider the collection and posses sion of protected animals illegal, several states just require a permit or have other restrictions on collect ing. Today Cryptobranchus allegan iensis is a species of special con


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[ The Yellow-striped k Poison Frog, Dendrobates truncatus
I had the good fortune recently to obtain an adult pair of Dendrobates truncatus, a poorly known species from western Colombia on which there is virtually no literature avail able, and I'm taking this opportunity to record some of my experiences with the species. One source states that D. truncatus can possibly be crossed with D. leucomelas (the Yel low-banded Poison Frog); another writer says that perhaps the frog is a form of D. auratus; still another says it is the same size as D. leucomelas. I say that in all three cases, not so. My frogs are approxi mately 30 mm long, making them considerably smaller than the 37mm adults of D. leucomelas. (For a full description of this uncommon frog, see page 202 of Jewels of the Rainforest, by Walls.) In the terrarium both D. auratus and D. leucomelas are out in the open during the day, but the Yellowstripe is an extremely shy and ner vous frog even in the very best of conditions. In a terrarium nicely planted with ferns, aroids, and broDendrobates truncatus remains one of the more poorly known poison frogs in the terrarium, but it does not seem to be especially difficult to keep. Photo: M. Staniszewski.

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meliads, I can assure you your Yel low-stripe will be out of view nearly all the time. (Just now I took a short break from writing this and wandered into the frog room. There was the female D. truncatus in plain view, perched on a small log. As soon as she saw me, it was "Adios amigo." If well-fed with pinhead crickets, fruitflies, and small termites, the frogs are relatively easy to breed. My D. truncatus are maintained at a daytime temperature of 84°F, night temperatures falling to 75°F Humid ity is kept at nearly 100% at all times. Where does the female Yellow-stripe deposit her eggs? Anywhere in the terrarium! If a breeding hut or a co conut shell is not supplied, the fe male will lay her eggs on a leaf, a rock, or a piece of wood in the ter rarium. Presently mine lays her eggs in a plastic dish—average clutch three or four eggs—after which I re move the eggs and raise the tad poles artificially. At a temperature of 84°F, the eggs hatch in 10 to 11 days. Two days later the tadpoles have to be fed. They show no signs of cannibalism, so they are maintained together in small plastic containers. The tad poles are fed a mixture of powdered chlorella and spirulina algae mixed

in water. I had been feeding all our tadpoles (D. truncatus, D. tinctorius, D. azureus) with spirulina powder alone, but there are several essen tial minerals in chlorella (notably zinc) that are not found in spirulina. This mixture can be found in any good health food store and might soon be carried in some pet shops. When the Yellow-stripe tadpoles develop into tiny froglets they must be fed a food that is suitable for their small size. I find that the smallest pinhead crickets are a bit too large for the first week, but springtails (Collembola) and fruitflies are quickly accepted.
Few photos of Yellow-stripes are available, and few hobbyists have ever kept the species. The restricted range in western Colombia currently makes for limited availability, as does the small clutch size. Photos: above right: M. Staniszewski; below: J. P. Bogart.


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Erpeton tentaculatum
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There now sits on one end of my desk a 10-gallon tank that is threequarters filled with water and in which there are tangles of hydrilla, stems of Epipremnum (pothos), a water-logged branch of manzanita, a heater (set at 82°F), and a corner filter. The tank is illuminated by a 50Watt plant-grow bulb in a shop clamp-light. Also in the tank are three or four dozen "minnows" netted from a nearby stream here in central Florida. Or at least there were that many a week ago—today there may be only a half dozen or so. "An attri tion of nearly 70% in a week?" I'm asked. "If you can't do better than that, you better give up fish-keeping."

Actually, in this case the disap pearance of the fish proves that I am doing something right, for although the fish have died, their's was not a wasted death caused by negligence on my part. When I collect the fish from the ditches, I net them carefully, discarding the occasional banged up one that may bring fungus into the tank. I feed the fish well, keep their water temperature balmy, and still they disappear (or at least I hope they do). If I need to continually re place the fish, a conglomeration of mosquitofish and feral variatus platies, that probably means the creatures for which the tank is truly intended are doing well. When I ex plain this to observers, the initial re

sponse is "Oh? You mean there's something else in the tank?" When I answer "yes," said per sons get down on their knees and begin looking in earnest. The green stems of the plants go from the bot tom of the tank to the top of the wa ter. The brown branches of the man zanita reach nearly to the top as well. "You know, those are strange looking manzanita branches. They're biggest in the middle and tapered on both ends, and—and each has a tail! And the end that's at the top of the water—it has eyes— and weird nasal projections." Actually this scenario doesn't play out every time. Sometimes a person will glance at the tank and say "Oh,

Tentacled Snakes, huh? I haven't seen any of those in a while." But unless you know what it is you're looking at, more often than not these small snakes—six of them are in that 10-gallon tank—are entirely overlooked. What a marvelous example of camouflage! I had realized how won derfully adapted these snakes were when, years ago, I had first seen Erpeton (sometimes written Herpeton in error). They were once imported from Southeast Asia for the pet trade in rather large numbers, but few of the snakes survived the or deal. Although the snakes were so inexpensive and so abundant that I am not aware of any necropsies hav ing been done, it seems probable that these fully aquatic snakes— shipped dry—were simply so dehy drated that even when placed back into water, they were past the point of return. Today we might try rehydration with Gatoraid or some other such electrolyte replacer or even with intravenous injections of

On land (above), Tentacled Snakes are ungainly, but in the water (below), they seem part of the background as they hold their bodies in graceful curves with the current. Their similarity to plants and debris in the background cannot be overlooked.


to bite, they are apparently even less dangerous than an American hognosed snake. Temporarily ignoring the sur rounding displays of big boids and dangerously venomous snakes, at each zoo I stood and marveled at the aquarium containing the Ten tacled Snakes. The setups were simple yet attractive, and the snakes all looked alert (if ever a Tentacled Snake can look alert), heavy-bodied, and very healthy. The nose tentacles of the snake below the water were directed ante riorly, while those of the snakes with their noses protruding above the water surface were folded back against the sides of the snout. I have been told that the tentacles seem to become engorged and di rected forward if a Tentacled Snake is startled when it is removed from the water. Although I neither try to startle my Tentacled Snakes nor are they removed from the water with any great frequency, when they are handled the tentacles are entirely limp. The tentacles usually are di rected forward if the nose of the snake is beneath the surface and the snake is quiescent. If the snake is moving forward the tentacles may fold back, but they do not necessar ily point in the same direction. The tentacles either dangle downward when the snake's nose is above water (including when the snake is manually lifted from the water) or the tentacles lie back against the sides of the snout where they are held in place by the surface water tension of the wet scales. Of what use are the tentacles? Today's views differ from those of early authors. For example, in 1943 Malcolm Smith, in his Fauna of Brit ish India (Reptilia and Amphibia, Vol. Ill, Serpentes), reported that the ten-

The "tentacles" of Erpeton are not strongly muscled and move mostly with the water current and surface tension. A bit of mystery still surrounds their purpose. saline, but the truth is that once de hydration has advanced beyond a certain point, even heroic efforts may not be able to reverse the damage. After an absence on the pet mar ket of a decade or so, a few more were imported in the late 1980's and Rough, shaggy keeling on the scales is typical of many homalopsine snakes. early 1990's. Most of these did not do well either. Since then I had seen none available and had rather rel egated the little snakes to the back of my mind. But then in 1996, my interest in these homalopsine colubrids was abruptly renewed. I was reacquainted with them first during a visit to the Oklahoma City Zoo and then again at the Ft. Worth (Texas) Zoo. Both facilities had breeding groups in large tanks, and both facilities had succeeded in breeding the snakes. As a matter of fact, the snakes in both mentioned zoo displays were at least second generation captives that had originated from what was initially the "mother lode," an active breeding colony at the Bronx Zoo. As with all members of the colubrid subfamily Homalopsinae (curi ous semiaquatic Asian snakes in cluding the rice paddy snakes, Enhydris, and several virtually ma rine groups), tentacled snakes are considered rear-fanged (opisthoglyphous) snakes. They do have venom glands and slightly enlarged teeth i n the rear of the upper jaw, but the venom does not seem to be of any consequence to humans. Coupled with the snakes' reluctance

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a horizontal branch. I have attributed this position to the fact that fish gather beneath the branch, and within moments of positioning itself there the snake has secured a meal. Erpeton grasps its piscine prey with an incredibly quick sideways snap. The orienting of the prey into a head first position and the swallowing also are accomplished with amazing ra pidity. Although all snakes are usually thought of as asocial, I have long wondered at the accuracy of such a designation. When searching for snakes in the wild, often when I have found one I have found another or several more in close proximity. Also, in my terraria, although the snakes are occasionally separated, more often than not they are together. Al though I usually have ascribed this togetherness to both (or all) snakes seeking the most ideal conditions within a circumscribed area, I have also wondered at the truth of those thoughts. The actions of the Tentacled Snakes have me wondering anew. As often as not all six of the Ten tacled Snakes will be in contact with each other. The point of contact may be only the tail, or it may be along virtually the entire length of the snake excepting for the head. When finally one snake moves away from the group, it usually is soon followed by one or more of its cagemates. Some times there may be two groups of three snakes or two uneven groups, one of four snakes and the other of two, or three pairs, all well separated in the aquarium, but seldom does a single snake remain alone for long. Tentacled Snakes seldom coil, and when they do they rarely as sume more than a gentle body curve. Usually the snake is straight or nearly so, and only the prehen-

Notice the green algae on the back this Tentacled Snake—though sedentary, these snakes are quick to strike and swallow their fish prey. tacles are not sensitive (this suppo sition was perhaps perpetuated by the fact that when they are not hun gry the snakes sit quietly and allow fish to pick at the tentacles without flinching) and have a considerable range of movement. It was further stated that "...it is possible that in movement [the tentacles] would act as a bait to attract fish." Today, despite those early re ports, we speculate that the ten tacles of Erpeton are innervated and sensory in function. The fact that in nature these snakes often occur in silted waters where vision may be obscured lends credence to this sup position. Erpeton typically is a resi dent of inland seas and of ponds and sluggish waters. If healthy when procured, Ten tacled Snakes are not difficult cap tives. In fact, they are remarkably hardy, and captive life spans of more than a decade have been achieved. Water quality (within reason) doesn't seem to matter much, but maintain ing a temperature of between 80 and 85°F is important. As seeming proof of this, before the heater was placed in their tank, when the water tem perature of my Erpeton dropped be low 80°F our six babies would posi

tion themselves horizontally beneath the overhead incandescent plantgrowth flood light that illuminated their aquarium and would lie atop the barely submerged stems of elodea at the surface of the water. This, of course, was the warmest area in the tank. We now have the water tem perature stabilized at 84°F, and the snakes no longer assume the hori zontal, water-surface positions. Rather, they remain vertically or di agonally oriented, tails wrapped loosely around the sunken manza nita branches. With their tails hold ing them in position, the snakes may twine loosely together, support them selves by lying across or against the stems of submerged vegetation, or merely allow their bodies to float free in the gentle current. If merely rest ing, the dorsally situated nostrils are usually just above the water line. If "hunting," a snake often holds its head tipped downward (rather in an inverted "J") with its neck on the sur face of the water. Positioned such, the snake is ready to grasp any fish that approaches, but it seems espe cially aware of those that swim into the crook of the J. Another frequently assumed "hunting" position is with the back in touch with the bottom of

sile tail is twisted around some sub merged anchor. As mentioned ear lier, a hunting Tentacled Snake may bend its head downward from the surface of the water in a J. If lifted from the water, these snakes usu ally straighten their bodies out and become nearly rigid. The small non-glossy scales of the Tentacled Snake are keeled, im parting a raspy feeling. The ventral scutes are only slightly modified (en larged) and bear a keel on each side. Tentacled Snakes are stiff and un gainly on land and, even though fully aquatic, they are not particularly ag ile swimmers. This species definitely prefers to rely on cryptic coloration and its rigid twig-like camouflaged appearance rather than on actual escape mechanisms. Rarely do Ten tacled Snakes make any attempt to flee. The depressed body of the Ten tacled Snake is clad in scales that vary, specimen by specimen, from mud-brown to mud-gray. Except on the occasional prominently dorsolaterally striped or four-striped (dorsolateral and paravertebral) specimens that lack transverse blotching, both dorsal and lateral blotches are present. Each may be lightest fore and aft and contain in its center a narrow, wavy, dark trans verse bar, or the dark bar may be posteriormost on each blotch. The lateral blotches alternate with those on the back and terminate at their ventralmost extreme in a light (whit ish) dot. These whitish ventrolateral dots usually are the most conspicu ous markings on the entire snake. Tentacled Snakes are livebearers, having from as few as two to as many as 15 babies per clutch. The babies are diminutive versions of the adults and may begin foraging even prior to the post-natal shed.

Once adapted to a filtered, simply planted aquarium, Tentacled Snakes make interesting, rather bizarre pets. Let's end this article by harkening back to my baby Erpeton. After hav ing them for several weeks, the ap petites of all remain phenomenal. They seem to prefer fish the size of an adult female mosquitofish (Gambusia) or a half-grown molly rather than the smaller ones. All of the snakes in my group have now shed, and all seem to have increased mea surably in both girth and length. Af ter the number of fish all have con sumed, it would be surprising if they hadn't. If all goes well, it seems ap parent that the 10-gallon aquarium will not long be large enough for this group of six snakes. In fact, I am al ready planning where to put the 75gallon tank that will be the snakes' permanent home. The setup will be nearly the same, just on a larger scale. There will be several sub merged manzanita twigs, tangles of floating plants, and I may include a small potted water lily. Lighting and filtration will be enhanced. I probably will use a thin layer of small rounded river rocks for the substrate. I will continue to feed the Ten tacled Snakes wild-collected fish and bait-store shiners. Since it has rather recently been suggested by reptile keepers that certain of the enzymes contained in goldfish may be detri mental to the health of those reptiles that eat them, as a precaution I prob ably will not offer the snakes gold fish. I hope that within the next two or three years I'll be able to report on the age and size at which sexual maturity is attained and on courtship sequences, if any. In the interim we'll just keep plenty of fish available to the snakes, maintain a reasonable water quality, and enjoy the unique qualities of these now seldom-seen snakes.

For some rea son, herpetologists are fascinated by reptiles and amphibians that can "fly." Per haps this is the result of some type of inferiority complex—maybe they wish they were studying birds in stead, or even insects. The fact is that no herps have developed flight in the same way as true fliers—none have wings and muscles that allow controlled flight. Instead, the best that herps can do is to glide or, more accurately, parachute through the treetops. Though a few snakes have been recorded to have the ability to actually gain a few feet in altitude during a glide, lizards and frogs usu ally lose altitude each time they jump. For over a century Western sci entists have been fascinated by the

large glid ing treefrogs of southeastern Asia. Wallace, the brilliant English naturalist whose stud ies in Malaya and Indonesia led him to formulate a theory of evolution at the same time as Darwin (though Wallace later became an anti-Dar winian), reported that Chinese work men had seen the treefrog Rhacophorus nigropalmatus gliding through the treetops. Later work and observations of several species

showed how the frogs per formed this feat. The hands and feet are held rigidly out from the body and the fingers and toes are spread to expose as much webbing as pos sible, while the belly is "sucked in" to

Photo: R. D. Bartiett.

ground in the tallest trees, it does them no harm to drop a few de grees each time they move to an other tree in search of food or to escape a predator. The technique is simple and has been developed several times by tropical treefrogs in Asia and America, so it is one of those behav iors that is adaptive and of no sys tematic importance. In the Americas parachuting has been observed in at least the large treefrog Hyla miliaria., the venomous treefrog Phrynohyas venulosa, and the leaffrog Agalychnis spurrelli, but it is best developed in several Asian species

Currently the Chinese Flying Frog, Polypedates dennysi, is being imported in some numbers. The pattern of white spots on the sides is variable in this species, as are the brown spots on the head.

Previous Page: A Wallace's Flying Frog displaying its grotesquely enlarged hands and their shocking blue-black and yellow webs.

produce a concave surface. The frog jumps off the branch or trunk, as sumes the parachute position, and uses the momentum of the jump in combination with its low body weight and very broad gliding surface to move across to another branch. Scientific experiments on these frogs have been few, but usually they take the form of "releases"—basi cally, a frog is nudged off a branch at a measured height and its flight

path to the next branch is observed. The distance from branch to branch, the horizontal distance, commonly has been found to be 6 to 15 feet (with over 20 in Rhacophorus nigropalmatus and a remarkable 80 feet in Phrynohyas venulosa), the frog descending at an angle of about 25 to 40 degrees below the horizon tal (0 degrees is of course horizon tal). Since flying frogs usually live 15 to over 100 feet above the

usually assigned to the genus Rhacophorus. When a hobbyist or naturalist talks about a flying frog, it's the Asian ones that are meant. Recognizing Parachutist Frogs The taxonomy of the tropical treefrogs is messed up and there are no real guides to the species. None of the flying frogs is commonly seen in the terrarium, and there is conflict ing information on names in the

Photo: R. D. Bartlett.

The toxic American treefrog Phrynohyas venulosa has proved to be a great glider, though it lacks the expanded webs on the front feet.

Coloration of course is variable with the species, though as you would expect of treetop frogs the dominant color is bright green. In some species the sides are brightly and contrastingly colored, and in many the webbing is bright blue or black against an orange or yellow background. This general pattern of coloration applies to both American and Asian species. A Few Species At the moment it seems that only two Asian flying frogs are available in the pet shops or even to special ists, while one uncommon American species may show up occasionally. These species represent two famiPortrait of a Wallace's Flying Frog, Rhacophorus nigropalmatus, from Sabah, Borneo.

books and journals. However, the common flying frogs possess a few characters that set them apart from other treefrogs and at least give a hobbyist a hint that this might be one of the gliding species. All these frogs are moderate to quite large for a treefrog, with body lengths from nearly 2 inches to over 3 inches and usually a rather heavy body build. The eyes are large in all the species, probably a simple ad aptation for visually hunting for in sect prey at night, as all the species are nocturnal or nearly so. All are long-legged, with long fingers and toes, and almost all have extremely broad webbing between the digits. As you would expect, the broader the webbing the better the glide because the surface area is increased and thus the frog can stay in the air longer and use its momentum bet ter. The hind feet of some species have a surface area of only 40 to 50 square millimeters, but in the really good gliders the hind feet may have an area of over 200 square millime ters. Many gliders have a flap or fold of skin along the outer side of the

arms and legs that also helps in crease the surface area and perhaps also helps the frog manipulate their angle by slight changes in arm place ment. In some species there are calcars, triangular skin projections, from the elbows and knees that serve a similar function.

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The large Bornean treefrog Polypedates otilophus is a treetop frog. Tests have shown it to be an excellent parachutist.

is a broad flattened flap on the out side of the arms and legs. The eyes are silvery. Wallace's Flying Frog is found in dense forests from Borneo north to Thailand and sometimes is imported in small numbers. It breeds in shallow forest pools, producing a large yellowish foam nest that may contain hundreds of eggs. The nest is produced from a frothy secretion lies and three genera, but there is much parallel development of char acters in the frogs and they all look very much alike. The American species that some times shows up (though admittedly rarely) is the Gliding Leaf-frog, Agalychnis spurrelli, a bright green species with a few round white spots outlined with black or deep green on the back; the sides and most of the hands and feet are bright orange, while the large, protruding eyes are deep maroon with vertical pupils; the snout is long and strongly flattened. The webs of the hands and feet are very broad and thick, and there are gigantic pads at the ends of the dig its. Females may be 4 inches long, while males seldom are more than half this length. Gliding Leaf-frogs are found in rain forests from Costa Rica to Colombia and seldom are found near the ground except when breeding in forest pools. They are members of the family Hylidae, sub family Phyllomedusinae, and are closely related to the Red-eyed Leaffrog, Agalychnis callidryas. Two other members of the genus also have strongly developed webbing and possibly are gliding frogs. The two Asian treefrogs, family

Rhacophoridae, enter the hobby more commonly. Both are similar in general appearance and in natural history but currently are placed in different genera. For at least 30 years there has been a controversy among herpetologists on whether all the large Asian treefrogs fall into the genus Rhacophorus or whether two genera, the other one being Polypedates, should be recognized. Hobbyists cannot distinguish the two genera with any certainty, and the names used are merely those cur rently in the technical literature. Un like the American Gliding Leaf-frog, the pupil is horizontal in these treefrogs. Wallace's Flying Frog, Rhacophorus nigropalmatus, is a giant species with females 3.5 to 4 inches long and males 3 to 3.5 inches. The back is bright green, slightly warty, and sometimes there are a few glossy white spots. The belly is whitish, with the sides and the inner surfaces of the legs as well as most of the hands and feet bright yellow. The webbing is thick and extends almost to the tips of the toes, which bear very large rounded disks; there are bright blue-black streaks between the fingers and toes. There

spread around the eggs during breeding and beaten into a more solid mass by the hind legs of the frogs. Mating groups may literally drape vegetation above the edge of the water with dozens of nests. The tadpoles may be over 2 inches long, but relatively little really is known about the natural history of the spe cies. Rhacophorus reinwardti, an other large species from tropical Asia, often is cited in the hobby lit erature but currently does not appear to be available as often as Wallace's. It seldom is more than 3 inches long, is brownish to greenish brown above, and has orange sides with black spots in males or at least a black band behind the front legs. The Chinese Gliding Frog, Polypedates dennysi, comes from much less tropical situations and is more tolerant of temperature and humidity changes, so it might have a future in the terrarium. It looks much like Wallace's Flying Frog in shape, size, and general coloration but has only a low ridge on the out side of the arms and legs. Though the back is bright green (often with brownish spots on the head), the sides are blackish with a white band within (not orange as in Wallace's); in juveniles the white band is nearly

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continuous, but in adults the pattern is distinctive, consisting of irregular glossy white spots surrounded by black outlines. The eyes are nearly black. A native of montane forests in southern and southeastern China and Burma, this species also pro duces a large yellowish foam nest attached to branches and grasses at the edge of ponds. A single nest may contain over a thousand eggs that hatch in about six days. The tadpoles are omni vores and mature in about six weeks, when they feed on tiny insects and worms. Burt Langerwerf, of Agama International in Alabama has succeeded in breed ing this species in out door cages and reported his results in detail in Reptiles, September, 1995, must reading for anyone trying to keep the species. Can You Keep a Flying Frog? Probably not. There, I've said it. Unfortunately, these parachutists are too specialized in their needs for most hobbyists. In terraria they need a very large setup that is vertical and densely planted. The humidity must remain high, though the air cannot become stagnant. The tem perature for the Gliding Leaf-frog and Wallace's Flying Frog should be held at tropical highs, while the Chinese Gliding Frog is able to tolerate cooler temperatures and some dryness during the winter. The problem is more one of adaptations than care: flying frogs seem to be unable to adapt to simple terraria, leaping off branches as if there always were at least 4 to 6 feet of drop available to

the next branch. They never learn that glass will stop them abruptly and thus often suffer concussions and broken limbs from impact. Though

during the warm months. There they can be kept in nearly natural sur roundings. The tropical species do not adapt well to cooling and will have to be heated all year, but Polypedates dennysiwlW burrow into the ground during both the dry summer and a mild winter. At least for the moment, the flying frogs will have to re main oddities watched on the television and read about in books for most hobbyists. They are ex pensive when avail able, and if you can not provide proper housing they prob ably will die. If you must try your hand at one, be sure you get the most per fect specimen you ' can find, one with| out an abraded snout, damaged limbs, or obvious emaciation. It prob ably will be stressed, dehy drated, and cold, so put it in a large, warm, dark terrarium with high humidity; if you can provide a rain cham ber, so much the better. Be sure the crickets are gut-loaded with a vitamin-cal cium supplement, and feed lib erally. Try different sizes of foods until you find the ones preferred. Try to disturb the frog as little as pos sible and place it into the largest, highest terrarium you can find. This might give you a chance at success, but admittedly so far your chances of keeping flying frogs for any length of time are low at best. Good luck! You'll need it!

they wil feed on crickets, they prefer a more varied diet if at all possible and even will take meal worms. Successful keeping almost necessitates a greenhouse or at least large (6 feet or more in height and width) screen cages outdoors







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I've had an interest in the rat snakes almost all my life, starting when American Rat Snakes {Elaphe obsoleta) used to be a major preda tor on chicken eggs in our hen house. I've been bitten by many rat snakes in the field and in captivity, with the worst, bloodiest snake bites I've ever seen coming from a couple of American Rats that got loose in the back seat of a car and objected to going back into the bag. Since I became involved as co-author with Ray Staszko of the T.F.H. book Rat Snakes: A Hobbyist's Guide to Elaphe and Kin, I've also had a more scientific interest in the group and have read most of what has been published on the group. For years now it has been appar ent that the common generic name Elaphe really combines a meaning less group of unrelated snakes found over much of the Northern Hemi sphere. Like many—or perhaps

It's Time to Split the @enu§ Elaphe
most—snake genera, it is recog nized more through tradition than through any study of characters that unify its species. At one time a ge nus was a strictly structural group— if the generic definition said that a snake genus had smooth scales, a vertical pupil, and a split anal scale, all the species in the genus had these characters, and other charac ters were considered unimportant. Today scientists ask a bit more of a genus than just the presence of a few scale characters. Now a genus is thought to be a grouping of related species that share a common ancestor. You can quibble about whether genera are "real" or just "artificial" groups de vised by taxonomists, but the nearly universal opinion today is that a ge nus cannot contain species that do not share a single ancestor. A ge nus with species derived from more than one ancestor is considered to be polyphyletic (representing several lineages), and today all genera should at least in theory be monophyletic (representing a single lin eage). What this means in the case of snake genera is that though two species may look alike externally, if there is strong evidence that the similarities are only skin deep (so to speak), they probably belong in dif ferent genera.

Introducing the Tribe Lampropeltini For several decades, American herpetologists have recognized that the kingsnakes (Lampropeltis) form the core of a group of closely related snakes in the family Colubridae. Tra ditionally this tribe (a group above the genus and below the subfamily in level), the Lampropeltini, has in cluded Lampropeltis, Pituophis, Elaphe, Rhinocheilus, Arizona, Cemophora, and Stilosoma, genera familiar to most American snake keepers and collectors. No one would strongly question that these snakes are related, and there is con siderable evidence based on both structure and biochemistry that they really are distinct from the water snakes and garter snakes (Colubridae, subfamily Natricinae) and the racers and allies (Col ubridae, subfamily Colubrinae, tribe Colubrini). Until recently, however, there had been little effort to actu ally study what structures might de fine the tribe. Knowing in your gut that animals are related is not the same thing as demonstrating it sci entifically, and unfortunately too much of snake taxonomy is based on gut feelings rather than science. Last year, J. Scott Keogh pub lished the first real study of the char acters that define the Lampropeltini. His results, published in Herpetologica, 53(3), are fascinating and should be at least looked at by any serious rat snake, gopher snake, and kingsnake enthusiast. Keogh found that the tribe can be defined by, among other things, the presence of a unique character that (as far as known) is not present in other colubrid snakes: there is a continuation of the windpipe into the right lung. Though what you might consider a minor character—and certainly not one you are likely to check out on a pet—it is important as it is not found in other snakes studied but is found in all the members of the group stud ied by Keogh. Though variable in length, this windpipe continuation, the intrapulmonary bronchus, is a derived character and makes it pos sible to define the tribe scientifically. For full details of this and several other important characters you have to see Keogh's paper, of course. You'll also find the bibliography with his paper a good place to start chas ing down the technical literature on the group. There is a problem, however: The four species of Old World Elaphe dissected by Keogh lack an intrapulmonary bronchus. Two extremes in Pantherophis. Top: The Fox Snake (western population), P. vulpinus. Bottom: The Tropical Rat Snake, P. flavirufus. Photos: K. H. Switak.

Can Elaphe be Defined?
That's right. The Old World rat snakes checked lack the defining character of the Lampropeltini. The four species, quaturolineata, quadrivirgata, radiata, and rufodorsata, represent what are at least three major groups of Asian and European rat snakes, including the type spe cies of the genus. The Old World rats cluster in most ways with the racers and allies, and thus probably fall into the tribe Colubrini. We thus end up with a very strange situation: One traditional genus, Elaphe, has species that fall

into two tribes! There is no doubt that Elaphe in the usual sense in polyphyletic. This oddity of taxonomy has resulted from the use of only exter nal characters (head scales, divided anal scale, angular ventral scales to produce a bread-loaf body shape, etc.) to define the genus, and there are only so many ways you can ar range the scales of a snake. In Staszko and Walls, I suggested that it seemed likely that Elaphe of the traditional literature represented several genera. This was well in keeping with recent studies by Dowling and his co-workers, who had already started to break up the genus in North America. The first two groups removed were the TransPecos and Baja Rats into Bogertophis and the Mountain or Green Rat into Senticolis. Dowling provided sufficient evidence in his papers to split off these genera but couldn't really pinpoint their relation ships to the rest of the Elaphe in the broad sense. Though many workers, espe cially in Europe, have questioned breaking up Elaphe, it now seems indisputable that Bogertophis and Senticolis can be recognized as genera. In fact, the anatomy of Senticolis as reported by Keogh seems to indicate that, like the Eurasian rat snakes, it also is a member of the tribe Colubrini and not closely related at even the tribal level to the other New World rat snakes. The question now is, just how many genera should be recognized for the rat snakes? Reintroducing Pantherophis As yet, it is not really possible to tell you how the genera of rat snakes will look in another decade. In the Old World it seems likely that there are several genera represented, but until the group is studied in detail it

The Genera of snakes of
Kingsnake Group

Lampropeltis calligaster. Photo: R. D. Bartlett.

is best to continue to call them

the tribe Lampropeltini
Gopher Snake Group

Elaphe because the genus is based on the European species Elaphe quaturolineata. But what happens to the New World species? Today one of the major rules of taxonomy is "Thou shalt not suffer a polyphyletic genus to exist." Keogh provided more than enough evi dence to show that New World rat snakes must share a very different ancestor from the snake or snakes that gave rise to the Eurasian rat snakes. However, he did not pro ceed to the next step, which was to isolate the New World rat snakes now in Elaphe into their own genus. There are several possible reasons why he didn't, including broadening the scope of his research into a fullscale review of the Lampropeltini genera. The situation is so insuffer able, however, that I think it is time to stop calling the New World rat snakes Elaphe. The oldest generic name based on a New World rat snake appears to be Pantherophis Fitzinger, 1843, based on the Red Rat Snake. Though you can never be certain that you've found the oldest name for a genus when you go digging through lists of old names (syn onymy), for the moment at least it seems realistic to apply Pantherophis to the New World rat snakes. As at least a temporary so lution to the problem, I would rec ommend that the following names be used or at least mentioned when dis cussing New World rat snakes: • Pantherophis bairdi (Yarrow, 1880), Baird's Rat Snake • Pantherophis emoryi (Baird & Girard, 1853), the Great Plains Rat Snake • Pantherophis flavirufus (Cope, 1867), the Tropical Rat Snake • Pantherophis guttatus (Linnaeus,

Pituophis deppei Photo: K. H. Switak

elude Rhinocheilus, Cemophora, and Stilosoma, while Arizona is a satellite of Pituophis) be recognized, or could everything in the tribe Lampropeltini be placed in a single genus, Lampropeltis, with all the other names becoming synonyms? Certainly the three groups are simi lar, with the major distinctions in scalation being variable over the variety of species in the tribe. Hob byists have no problems hybridizing kingsnakes, gopher snakes, and rat snakes and even their progeny, a character (lack of genetic barriers) that once was used as evidence to combine species into a single genus. The kingsnakes and gophers and their satellites have a single (undi vided) anal scale, while the New World rats have a divided anal, but this feature is variable in many gen era around the world, even includ ing the familiar garter snakes of America. No distinctive osteological characters have been shown be tween the genera, and the overall bi ology and soft anatomy are similar.

1766), the Red Rat Snake and its domesticated form the Corn Snake • Pantherophis obsoletus (Say, 1823), the American Rat Snake • Pantherophis vulpinus (Baird & Girard, 1853), the Fox Snake. The genus Bogertophis also ap pears to be quite distinct and should continue to be recognized, while Senticolis is so dis tinctive it belongs to a dif ferent tribe and cannot yet be related to other Ameri can snakes. An Alternate Solu tion? One other answer to the question of the proper ge nus for the American rat snakes should be men tioned: Should they even be recognized as distinct at the generic level from the kingsnakes and go pher snakes? Should all three major groups and their satellite genera (Lampropeltis satellites in56 ' REPTILE HOBBYIST • JUNE, 1997

The type species of Elaphe, the Eurasian E. quaturolineata (above, R. D. Bartlett photo), and the Green or Mountain Rat Snake, Senticolis triaspis (below, K. H. Switak photo), do not appear to be closely related to Pantherophis.

If you are a lumper—someone who likes to combine families, gen era, and species into larger groupsthere is abundant evidence that these closely related snakes could be put into one genus. If you are a splitter—someone who likes to dis tinguish smaller, more tightly-knit groups—there is lots of evidence that all the genera can be distin guished though closely related. In fact, I would say that there is room to recognize at least two more gen era among the Lampropeltini: Osceola Baird & Girard, 1853, for the milksnakes and gray-banded kingsnakes (basically the tricolored kings, everything in Lampropeltis except for getula and calligaster), and possibly the genus or subgenus Pseudoelaphe Mertens & Rosenberg, 1943, for the Tropical Rat Snake, [Pantherophis] flavirufus. I also have to admit, though, that until someone reviews the entire tribe Lampropeltini it is too early to come to any conclusions as to just how many genera really should be rec ognized. So, in the interim, hobbyists are faced with a personal choice of whether to continue recognizing The status of the tropical Asian rat snakes now referred to Elaphe, such as this Indonesian E. radiata, seems uncertain—many probably belong to other genera. Photo: M. Bacon. Pituophis, Cemophora, etc., as dis tinct from Lampropeltis--but there no longer is any reasonable scien tific basis to call the New World rat snakes "Elaphe."

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Some water turtles, such as this big Red-bellied Turtle, Pseudemys rubriventris, reach a size too large for the indoor aquarium. Read before you buy! Photo: M. Panzella. Water turtles are beautiful crea tures and can make interesting pets, but they also can be challenging to own and difficult to care for at times. It is important to understand all as pects of owning a water turtle and to know what you'll be getting into be fore buying an aquatic species. Responsibility The first aspect to consider is that water turtles can live anywhere from 20 to 50 years if kept in good health. Therefore, owning a water turtle is a

long-term commitment and a large responsibility. An aquatic turtle also is a pet that needs extensive care. If going away on vacation or a busi ness trip, for instance, you'll need someone reliable to turtle-sit. Water turtles aren't pets that you can just leave with food and water for days and come back to find alive and well. Salmonella and Water Turtles Salmonella is of great concern to all who own aquatic turtles. By the early 1970's, a quarter of a million

cases of salmonella were being re ported in the U.S., leading to the enactment of national health laws prohibiting movement of small turtles (the "4-inch" rule) across state lines. Although some turtles do not show symptoms of this bacterial disease, they are carriers of the organisms that cause it. The hundreds of bac terial types producing the symptoms of food poisoning known as salmo nella are part of the intestinal flora of water turtles and can easily be

Though baby turtles of many types are readily available, remember that they may carry salmonella and in most areas cannot legally be sold unless they are 4 inches in length. Photo: K. H. Switak. transmitted from turtles to humans. The symptoms usually experienced may include vomiting, fever, abdomi nal pain, and/or diarrhea. If you have small children this is an especially important aspect you must consider, as children are most frequently and intensely infected. Children are naturally inclined to want to touch and play with their pet without realizing the potential dan ger they are in. They could touch the turtle while you are busy or are out of the room. If they eat after touch ing the turtle or put their fingers in their mouth, they could become se riously ill. Keep the turtle's water very clean and clean the tank regularly with a safe antibacterial soap to disinfect it. Salmonella is transmitted in this case mostly by dirty water. The other way to ensure that you and your child won't contract salmo nella from your pet is to supervise children at all times when they are with the turtle. Place the turtle's tank where the child cannot get into it easily, and thoroughly wash everyone's hands with soap and water after handling a turtle. The authors take this last point a step further and rinse their hands with alcohol after washing to make sure all germs are killed. Pet shops now carry effective and safe disinfectants made specificially for use with rep tiles. Keep in mind that because the salmonella bacteria are especially prominent in baby water turtles, the Food and Drug Administration has made it illegal (in the U.S.) to sell

turtles until they are 4 inches in cara pace length, if they are to travel over state lines. This rule has been in ef fect since 1975. Check with a local turtle society to see if your area also has any intrastate health regulations on water turtles. Some people do sell or give away baby water turtles, but because of the health threat young water turtles pose, it would be best to consider only obtaining adult wa ter turtles of legal size and following the sanitation procedures of wash ing your hands after handling any turtle. Unlike many animals, turtles usu ally don't show signs of illness until the illness is well-developed, and perhaps most are asymptomatic car riers. If your turtle has a serious case of salmonella, it may not feed, will be lethargic, and may have diarrhea. If the turtle's condition has reached this point, take it to a veterinarian immediately, as without treatment it will die.

Sizing It Up
Two-inch baby water turtles are cute, but when they do eventually reach their full size potential, they could get as big as 15 inches, de pending on the species. Know the size the turtle will reach as an adult and consider if you really want a turtle that large and if you are willing and able to buy the type of housing it needs to live comfortably and be happy. Housing An adult water turtle should be housed in at least a 20-gallon aquarium, and two or more turtles will need a 40-gallon or larger tank. If water turtles don't get the space they need, they could become very stressed, unhappy, and restless. Therefore, the bigger the housing, the better. The tank itself could be costly. However, it also needs a fil ter and pump, a heater, gravel for substrate, fluorescent and incandes cent lighting, and a basking area

Though advanced keepers with specialized facilities may keep rare and unusual turtles such as the Yellow-blotched Map Turtle (Graptemys flavimaculata, M. Smith photo, top) and the Matamata (Chelus fimbriatus, K. H. Switak photo, bottom), these expensive turtles may not prosper in the hands of a beginner. placed high enough so the turtle won't be able to crawl up on the basking surface and get burned or knock the lights into the water. A water turtle has to have its lighting turned on so that it can bask for most of the day. If you cannot be at home to turn the lights on and off, you will need to purchase a timer so that it can be done automatically. If a wa ter turtle does not have a heated basking area and also the proper fluorescent lighting, it can develop a distorted or soft shell; basking lights are very important to your aquatic turtle.

The Water
The water in the aquarium is one of the most important aspects of the turtle's health and not to be over looked by the owner. Even with an excellent filter, the water will become dirty with food particles and excre ment. Water turtles are not the neat est of pets, and they should be given partial cleanings once or twice a week, depending on how dirty the water gets, and a thorough cleaning at least once or twice a month. This can become time-consuming and bothersome for some owners. Dirty water will weaken the turtle's im mune system, making it susceptible to illness and increasing the chances of it spreading salmonella. Always remember that you will have to warm the fresh water in the tank to the tem perature that the turtle is used to before returning the turtle to the tank.

such as a floating piece of bark or an anchored rock. This basking sec tion needs to be at most a third of the tank in size, as the turtle needs two-thirds of the space to swim in. Another factor besides cost is if you have the space for the aquarium and the proper spot for it. The aquarium must be placed where not only can it receive indirect natural sunlight, but it must be out of drafty areas and away from doors and win dows, air conditioners, and heat vents. The turtle also needs a quiet spot as it will become agitated by loud noises such as a vacuum cleaner.

Heat and Light The difficult aspect of providing a proper basking temperature is that it should be slightly higher than the water temperature (between 70 and 80°F). Usually a basking light con sists of an incandescent bulb mounted in a conical reflector and placed at the proper distance over the log or rock to correctly heat the turtle. However, turtles do not need just an incandescent basking light. They also need a fluorescent light that mimics the rays of the sun, fullspectrum lighting, or they will not be able to fully use the calcium in their diet. All lighting fixtures have to be

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All turtles need sufficient calcium in their diet to allow them to produce healthy shells and other bones. All the calcium in the world, however, will be useless unless the turtles also have access to full-spectrum lighting or regular intervals of basking in the sun so they can produce vitamin D to work with the calcium. Top: A baby Australian sideneck, Emydura subglobosa; photo: R. D. Bartlett. Bottom: An adult Painted Turtle, Chrysemys picta; photo: Suzanne L. Collins. An additional expense comes from vitamins, calcium powder, and miscellaneous pet store formulations used to keep the shell and skin healthy. Calcium added daily to the turtle's food helps keep its shell hard if the proper lighting is available. Hibernation Some water turtles need a winter hibernation for better health and re production, to renew their energy, and to help them live longer. Read up on your species and find out if it needs to be hibernated and, if it does, for how long. The hibernation process is simple. The lighting needs to be kept off and the heat should be turned down to 60°F in the The water in the tank should be 3 to 10 inches deep (to at least cover the top of the turtle's shell) and should be kept between 68 and 82°F de pending on the species and the sea son. The water temperature should not be subject to large swings. Never let the temperature drop below 65°F except during hibernation. foods with consistency, others want a more varied diet. Certain aquatic turtles like foods such as live gold fish orguppies, insects such as crick ets, slugs, and worms. Some own ers might be squeamish about feed ing their turtle these live foods and having to clean up the remains. Are you sure there is someone in the household willing to do this on a regu lar basis? We have found that the only way to keep a turtle's water cleaner is to feed it in a plastic dishpan and then dispose of the water and debris after returning the turtle to the aquarium. aquarium. The basking rock should be removed and replaced with a hollow herp log or something simi lar for the inactive turtle to hide in. The water level needs to be just high enough to cover the top of the turtle's shell. To bring the turtle out of hiberna tion, slowly warm up its water to a normal temperature and replace its basking rock. Next turn the lights back on, returning its aquarium to normal. Other Things to Consider Water turtles don't make good pets for children. They are not a pet that children can interact with safely,

Feeding the Turtle
All water turtles are messy eat ers. They spit out and leave behind food pieces and tend to shred larger bits of food. Not all water turtles ac cept the same kinds of foods. While some will eat commercially prepared

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For some turtles, such as this Striped Mud Turtle {Kinosternon bauri) from Florida, basking is not as essential as getting a wellbalanced diet and sufficiently warm water temperatures all year. Information on individual turtle species is readily available in many books and articles. Photo: K. H. Switak. regardless of their similarity to the Ninja Turtles. They are interesting to watch, but they can't be played with. Some aquatic turtles are pro tected by various state and national laws. In some cases there are con flicts among the various laws, leav ing hobbyists uncertain as to the le gality of their pets. Whenever pos sible, try to buy captive-bred turtles rather than wild-caught specimens. Water turtles are strong, carrying much of their strength in their fore arms, so you should be aware that they can push objects of great weight around and even push off aquarium lids. They also have sharp claws (es pecially the males) and can easily scratch if handled. When handling a

water turtle, hold onto it firmly as it can squirm loose and fall, causing damage to its shell and internal inju ries. Water turtles also bite more fre quently than box turtles and tor toises. It's a good idea to buy a few books and read up on the turtle you are in terested in before buying it. You also can get a good idea of how to set up the aquarium as well as the best aquarium accessories and foods for the turtle. If you know someone who owns an aquatic turtle, talk to them for first-hand experience and infor mation. Water turtles need owners who will give them not only a loving home, but also will be willing to not spare any expense to provide them with the best of care. While an aquatic turtle isn't easy to care for well and takes up a good deal of your time, it is worth the extra effort. If, after re viewing all aspects of owning an aquatic turtle, you feel you are ready to own one of your own, then you are ready to begin this challenging and enjoyable experience.

bone disease

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Acrobat Saurian

■ Photo: V. T. Jirousek. My first personal experiepce with the Painted Agama came during a part-time stint in a local pet store chain a few years back. I had signed on to work a few hours a week in order to get a glimpse of life "on the other side of the counter." It was a great experience, one everyone in the herpetoculture hobby would find educational. Anyway, we had an en closure housing about half a dozen of these beautiful orange and tur quoise agamids I immediately took a liking to. They were, however, noth64 • REPTILE HOBBYIST • JUNE, 1997

ing like the "Painteds" I have person ally kept since that time. These were wild collected specimens and most if not all of them would as soon give you a good nip as look at you. To day I know from both personal ex perience and much study that once in a proper setup and given the right amount of interaction with their keeper these great little saurians become not only quite "tame" but also develop some antics that can keep one highly amused. Today our mascot for our reptile research corn-

Classification Family: Agamidae Genus: Laudakia Species: stellio Author: (Linnaeus, 1758) pany is a comical little fellow named "Stella" who's been with us for over four years. One of his favorite antics is to jump in the air, flip himself over, and run around upside down cling ing to the screen-lid of his enclosure. He always does it at about the same

A Painted Agama named "Stella." Under the right conditions these lizards make excellent pets. Photo: C. Montelongo.

time every day, right after he's warmed up. We've decided here in the office that this is his way of tell ing us he's up and ready for his breakfast, because after I feed him he doesn't do it again until the next day same time. Natural History The Painted Agama, (Laudakia stellio [Linnaeus 1758]), goes by several common names. Among importers and those who have be gun breeding them they have been known as the Hardun, Painted Hardun, Golden Agama, Orange Agama, and, the most often seen, Painted Agama. (By the way "Hardun" is the title of the Israel Herpetological Information Center's sci entific journal and is the traditional European common name for this liz ard.) They were first classified sci entifically under the genus Agama, then under the generic name Stellio when Agama was broken into sev eral genera. Several other changes have brought them to their present classification under the genus Laudakia. These lizards are native from portions of southwestern Asia into Greece, but also are common in northeastern Egypt and Israel, from which they are most often ex ported for the U.S. and European pet trades. Hopefully as more in the hobby realize this animal's potential they will be captive-bred in larger numbers. Climate and terrain are arid to semi-arid and usually rocky, sandy, or dry scrub savanna in appearance where the Painted Agama lives. For the most part this animal's range in cludes areas where the tempera tures can reach the 90- to 100-degree level during the day, with night temperatures falling quite drastically a good portion of the year. Interestingly, this lizard has been observed in groups in the wild and does very well in community terraria if given adequate space. It reaches a maximum over-all length of 8 to 12 inches, is diurnal (active during the day), carnivorous, and is an egglayer. Captive Care The Painted Agama needs a large area for running and climbing even when kept singly. Size of the living quarters could well be one of the most important aspects of success fully keeping this lively saurian. A 60gallon aquarium for one individual would be the smallest I'd suggest, and larger is a must if you wish to keep a pair or more. Depending on your location, this lizard fares well kept out of doors provided you can monitor both heat and cold. If kept in a terrarium, apart from enough room, your most important concerns will be ventilation, temperatures, and not too high a humidity. Keep the temperatures around 80 to 90°F, with a basking spot to 100°F. Always provide a cool area as well so the lizard can thermoregulate. If your room temperature does not fall below 60, no heat will be necessary at night; otherwise, undertank heat or a night heat bulb to keep tempera tures in the 60's is fine. This animal can be allowed to winter in the 50degree range for 45 to 90 days. Be ing big time baskers, unless you house them outdoors where direct sunlight is available, I heartily rec ommend a good quality UV-B type light as well. Be sure to provide logs, rocks, and the like for climbing near enough to the UV-B light for it to do some good. (Of course all lights must be screened or otherwise shielded to prevent contact burns if this agile lizard should decide to hug the bulb.) For a substrate, sand or loamy sand seems to work best. Keeping the humidity down is important for this species, so any type of bark chip product is out of the question as it will retain moisture. As fortune would have it, this species will drink hap pily from a bowl once it has accli mated. Make sure the water bowl is small, kept clean, and is kept on the cool side of the cage. Never set a water bowl under the heat light as it will raise the humidity in a hurry.

Lizards of the genus Laudakia are primarily insectivores. Stomach con tents of wild specimens have shown a large percentage of arthropods, including arachnids, beetles, small

Laudakia is a complicated genus, and not all specimens can be easily identified. Photo: R. D. Bartlett. locusts, and wasps, and in a few cases some plant matter such as grasses and flowers has been noted. In captivity the lizards will do well on a diet of crickets, waxworms and mealworms, and field-caught pesti cide-free insects of proper size. The insects can be dusted with a calcium/ vitamin powder twice a week for adults and three to four times a week for juveniles. Captive Breeding Your Painted Agama In the wild, stellios usually breed in March or April and the female will lay her eggs after a gestation period of one to two months. It is highly likely you will not see much success in captive breeding this species with out a "cool-down" period prior to the mating season. The "winter" should be 45 to 90 days. When the female is ready she will "present" herself

with a number of body movements not seen at any other time. Males will "head-bob" and "do push-ups" as they vie for the females. The males do not fight among themselves as in other species, a reason for keeping more than one male in a colony. Provide a firm sand area in which the female can lay her eggs. A plas tic box laid on its side with a hole for her to crawl through is ideal when filled with sand and soil moistened just enough to give it a clumping tex ture. The female will clutch again as many as two times during the sea son, laying between 5 and 15 eggs each time. The eggs should be in cubated at between 80 and 85°F and should hatch out in 65 to 80 days. So there you have it. These hardy, active, beautiful agamids are consid ered to be an excellent beginner's saurian. They can tolerate great tem perature variations and do not stress as easily as other agamids when kept with others of their own kind or even in communities with other spe cies. (Always remember to separate

new acquisitions for a time first, however.) Interaction with humans seems to cause little stress to these animals. They acclimate quickly to captivity and will tolerate gentle han dling very well, including perching on your shoulder for extended periods with no apparent desire to leap away. No reports of aggressiveness have been noted after initial acclimation to captivity and interaction with the keeper. What more could you ask?

Reptile Hobbyist Back Issues Now Available! Copies of RH are available at $6.00 each, postage paid. Some issues are in small numbers, and Vol. 1, No. 2 (Nov./Dec. 1995) is totally out of print and a collectible. An index to volume 1 appears in the Nov., 1996 issue. Please send all orders (prepaid only) to: JANE FRAME, REPTILE HOBBYIST - SMALL ORDERS, ONE TFH PLAZA, NEPTUNE, NJ 07753. Check, MO, and credit cards accepted.

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"Hissing Cockroaches really are unique and fascinating pets, though they have their own little problems..."
Surveying her domain.

Madagascar! Hissing Cockroaches

been wanting to do a short For several now I've piece onmonths what some people consider the most repulsive pet of all—the Madagascan Hissing Cockroach, Gromphadorhina portentosa. For years I've seen these interesting (??) animals for sale in pet shops and biological supply catalogs, but admittedly I've always just sort of shuddered and gone on. They look greasy and smelly to me, like something I wouldn't care to handle. After all, in most areas large cock roaches are not greatly appreci ated, especially when they land on your neck while you are nightlighting for other in sects. However, I was wrong, com pletely wrong. Hissing Cock roaches really are unique and fascinat ing pets, though they have their own little problems, and they are sure to draw attention.

They do not bite or spray poi sons, don't scratch, and do well on scraps from your table, gar den, and even other pets. Unlike many other insects they are rather long-lived, and they won't breed unless you want them to. Firstly, Gromphadorhina is a genus of the roach family Blaberidae, the second largest group of the cockroach order, Blattaria. Roaches are close rela tives of preying mantises, as you can see if you compare the heads of the two groups of animals. Unlike many roaches, Hissers are wingless as both young (nymphs) and adults, spending their lives under rotting logs and other litter in rather moist for ests at the edges of savannas. They are nocturnal, seldom see ing the light of day unless their litter cover is removed, and are quite colonial, with well-devel oped social behaviors like many small lizards and salamanders found in similar habitats. The typical Hisser is about 2 to almost 3 inches long and al most an inch wide, making this one of the largest of the living


roaches and also one of the bulki est (but it is not the largest, which often is said to be Megalohlatta blaberoides of the family Blattellidae, with a body some 2.7 inches long and a wingspan of about 7.5 inches). Adults are deep chestnut brown with blackish accents at the areas with thickened chitin, the segments of the abdomen palest. (Recently molted specimens are white with black eyes for about 24 hours until the salts in the exoskeleton oxidize.) They are strongly flat tened, especially when young, with the head hidden under the wide first body segment or pronotum, have six strong legs equipped with many spines and small adhesive pads used in climbing, and have long anten nae that in males are distinctly fuzzy with small hairs.

A male Hisser munching on a leaf. Notice the distinct horns on the black pronotum, the thick, fuzzy antennae, and the slender build. Adult Hissing Cockroaches are easy to sex with just a glance, but nymphs may be more difficult.

Keeping Hissers
Anyone can keep a few Hiss ing Cockroaches on their desk or in the snake room, though breed ing may be a bit more compli cated and perhaps dangerousroaches are flat animals that climb well, and they are hard to contain, especially when small. You can keep a pair or trio in a half-gallon plastic terrarium, but be sure that the top is securely covered with fine-mesh screen or a piece of cloth. If you use a "crit ter-carrier" type of terrarium, the slotted lid can be put in place over the fine mesh to hold it se curely. The addition of a smear of petroleum jelly an inch below the edge of the terrarium, run ning completely around the in side of the tank, will provide ad ditional security to prevent es capes. Remember that though these roaches are unlikely to re-

produce under normal house hold conditions in most of the U.S., they are potential pests in the South. Recently Florida ac tively prohibited their sale, even to the point of confiscating ani mals from pet shops. Escapes must not be allowed to happen! The substrate can consist of a thin layer of wood chips, ground corncob, or similar materials that will hold some moisture and pro vide hiding places. Give the roaches other places to hide dur ing the day, much as you would small lizards; pieces of bark, toi let paper tubes, and the like work well. A climbing branch or two of appropriate width (placed well below the edge of the terrarium) will be used. Hissers drink from an open dish, but the dish should be shallow and partially filled with cotton or sponges to pre vent young roaches from acci dentally drowning. The ter rarium should be put in a dark spot (Hissers dislike light!) that stays between 70 and 80 °F dur ing the day, dropping a bit at

night. Hissers do poorly at tem peratures below 70 ° F and much above 90 °F, and they seldom breed unless the temperature rises above 82 ° F . Hissers are very peaceful ani mals, though males will fight by hissing and shoving each other. Females often shelter and protect the young for several weeks, and it is not uncommon for large groups of females and young of various ages to live well together. It may be best to allow only one male in a small terrarium, but if you use a 10-gallon terrarium or something similar, you may be able to house several dozen Hiss ers and establish a small breed ing colony if you supply addi tional heat to allow breeding (use an undertank heating pad). But would you really want to feed your pets to your frogs and liz ards? Like other roaches, Madagas can Hissers are omnivores, eat ing a variety of plant and animal materials. They will do well on


Adult Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches from below. The male (left) is more slender, with distinctly heavier antennae than the female (right). Notice also that the male has a small extra plate, the genital capsule, just before the end of the abdomen.

small bits (under an inch square) of vegetables from your salad fix ings or garden, ripe fruit, banana peels, apple, little chunks of po tato (with the peelings), monkey chow, dry dog food, chicken mash, and other similar foods. Give only a small part of this as moist food to prevent the growth of fungus. The food should be presented neatly on low plastic or glass dishes and changed on a daily basis to prevent smells from building up. Feed the most varied diet that you can to assure the insects get a balanced diet. Yes, I realize that somehow the thought of figuring out a bal anced diet for roaches strikes some of you as funny, but pets are pets and all need the same consideration. These large roaches have good appetites, and you should always keep them well-fed. Hungry roaches will turn on each other, and you could lose your entire colony in just a few days if you are inat tentive. The dry roach feces will build up fairly fast, so you will need to change the entire cage

every few weeks—sooner if your pets are especially dirty. Males are somewhat smaller and more agile than females and have two broad-based projec tions or horns on the pronotum that are absent or nearly so in the larger females. The small organs at the end of the abdomen also differ in the sexes, as in most in sects, and males have "fuzzy" antennae. Males are territorial and use their horns to physically push competitors from their claimed territory. They also push air through modified spiracles at the sides of the abdomen, pro ducing the loud hiss for which they are named. (The spiracles are the openings to an insect's respiratory system.) Males are more "vocal" than females, hiss ing not only when disturbed (as when you pick one up) but ap parently also to attract females and to discourage other males. Hissers are essentially defenseless insects—if you pick one up it merely lowers its head so the large pronotum is visible from

Breeding Hissers

above and hisses, hoping this will be enough to make you put it back down. Mating in captivity occurs only (well, supposedly only) when temperatures are relatively high, preferably over 82 °F. Fe males retain the egg capsule (called an ootheca in cock roaches) inside the body, produc ing two or three dozen live baby roaches some two months after mating. The young nymphs are about a quarter inch to almost half an inch long and are very flat but otherwise much like adults. They molt six times be fore becoming adult at an age of 90 days or less and then may live one or two more years (rarely to three years in some males). Af ter giving "birth," females pass the remnants of the fragile, inchlong egg capsule to become part of the food for the colony.

More Information
At the moment Madagascan Hissers are not inexpensive pets. Shops in the local area sell single specimens, usually large adults of uncertain age, for $5 to $15 each, often $20 for a pair (which means two roaches, not necessar ily a male and a female). This is a significant investment in terms of an insect pet, and you prob ably will want to try to breed them to assure you can keep the colony going. Remember to al ways sex your specimens before

The wide abdomen and smooth antennae indicate this probably is a female Hisser, but very low horns are visible on the pronotum if you look hard. I'd still guess female—but would have to turn it over to be sure.

purchase and to check for bro ken antennae and legs. At room temperature a Hisser should be fairly active and squeak when picked up. Ignore the little mites you might see crawling on them—they are harmless symbionts that just feed on leftovers from the roach's meals. These roaches often are main tained in school laboratories, and there is a good web site on them established by Carolina Biologi cal Supply Company. Try it at <http://www.carosci.com/tips/ mar95/>. Another good but short web site, aimed more at the com mercial breeder (i.e., colonies of hundreds of roaches), is at < h t t p : / / w w w. t e x a s . n e t / ~rtremper/care.html>; this site is run by Ron Tremper of the Cen ter for Reptile & Amphibian

Male Hissers are territorial and may fight, but they typically are gentle animals that are easy to care for and certain to draw some controversy.

Propagation in Texas. I almost bought some Hissers at a show last week, but I still just can't quite get over my un-thinking revulsion, though I'm trying.

Maybe by the time you read this I'll have decided to pick up a small colony to go with my mil lipedes. Hmm, I wonder if you could keep the two together?

Eastern Box Turtles, Terrapene Carolina, require special care and large areas to roam. Photo: A. Norman.

"Just as with the best reptile species, there are several factors that contribute to making a reptile the 'worst' species for beginners."

The Worst Reptiles for Beginning Hobbyists

species available to W i t h a l lday o fhas t hcome e r e some ptile misconceptions about which rep tiles are best for beginning hob byists. The cheapest species are very often not the easiest or most suitable for the beginner. Several species traditionally have been sold as "starter" reptile pets, when in fact they are far from suitable for children and begin ners. Many of these "starter" reptile species should only be kept by experienced

What Makes a Reptile Spe cies Difficult? Just as with the best reptile species, there are several factors that contribute to making a rep tile the "worst" species for begin ners. Aggressive reptile species should not be kept by beginning hobbyists, because these animals can be difficult to handle and can cause injury to an inexperienced keeper. Reptile species that are heavily parasitized, as is the case with the majority of imported species, are difficult to maintain for the beginner and should be avoided. Large species that are potentially dangerous or that are expensive to feed, house, and maintain should be left to expe rienced keepers. Reptiles that re quire demanding environmental conditions and reptiles that stress easily in captivity are difficult to maintain for everyone, not just beginners. Unfortunately, there is a rather long list of difficult reptile species, but it is impor tant to know which commonly seen species to avoid. The following represents my


Petra Lowe

personal opinion of several rather commonly seen reptiles that are unsuitable for beginners, especially as first pets for chil dren. Not all keepers would agree with me on this selection, but I think that most experienced hob byists know that these animals have too many problems associ ated with their care to make them worth purchasing while you are still new to the hobby and have relatively little experience.

Burmese, Reticulated, and African Rock Pythons, Plus Anacondas

All of these species are very cute as hatchlings, but quickly grow HUGE not matter what size of enclosure they are kept in. Al though Burmese Pythons often can become very tame, this is seldom true for the other species. A large, aggressive snake is not much fun to maintain for the beginner. Perhaps unfortunately, these species are very prolific and there are many captive-bred hatchlings and young for sale on the market. Subsequently, the price is relatively low for a young specimen, and this often tempts beginning keepers into a pur chase they should avoid. The Re ticulated and African Rock Py thons often still are imported, to both their and the purchaser's detriment. Imported specimens often are emaciated, dehydrated, tick and mite infected, and sick, which creates a whole host of problems for the purchaser. Ana condas also grow rapidly to un manageable sizes and have the added disadvantage of requiring large bodies of water to be com fortable in captivity. Adults of all these species require room-sized enclosures and can be expensive

Sometimes a problem animal is the result of its up-bringing. Captivebred Ball Pythons, Python regius, are excellent pets even for many beginners, but wild-taken speci mens may be nothing but trouble. Photo: A. Norman.

to feed and maintain. All these species often are listed under dangerous animal laws in various parts of the country and may not be legally keepable without spe cial permits. Green Iguanas Giant Green Iguanas (Iguana

iguana) are by far the most com mon reptile pet on the market. This is unfortunate as this spe cies is not suitable for the begin ner for several reasons. Iguanas are large lizards in which adults can easily exceed 5 feet in length. Iguanas require very large enclo sures to fare well, and most homes cannot provide for this necessity. There is no aquarium on the commercial market that is large enough to house an adult iguana, and specimens more than two or three years old will

require a large screen cage or their own room to live longer. Although some iguanas can be come tame, many never do, and some animals may even be ag gressive, especially males. Igua nas have specific dietary and en vironmental requirements in captivity that cannot be met by children of any age, so they do not make good children's pets. This species is one of the cheap est on the market today, but do not let this fool you—Giant Green Iguanas are difficult, de manding, and expensive cap tives. Though many keepers with a great deal of patience and the ability to provide them with cor rect housing requirements find iguanas to be wonderful pets, they are not suitable for begin ners. Box Turtles Box turtles have been sold for many years as "easy to maintain"

and "ideal children's reptile pets." Neither of these two statements is true. The majority of people who wish to purchase box turtles want to maintain them inside year-round. This presents several difficulties. Box turtles require a lot of room to fare well; even one box turtle cannot be housed in an enclosure any smaller than a 30gallon breeder aquarium. Almost all box turtles are wild-caught adult animals that are heavily parasitized. As with the Giant Green Iguana, box turtles require very specific dietary and environ mental conditions that make these species less than ideal for the beginner. If the purchaser re searches all the captive needs of box turtles and can find a captivebred animal to purchase, box turtles make excellent captives. Unfortunately, this seldom oc curs, and box turtles die by the thousands due to ignorance.

T h o u g h Ye l l o w A n a c o n d a s , Eunectes notaeus, are smaller and less aggressive than Green Anacondas, they still exceed 10 feet and are never suitable for beginners. Don't let their sometimes low cost fool you. Photo: R. D. Bartlett.

Green Anoles

Anoles often are considered "disposable reptiles," and Green Anoles are a lot more difficult to maintain than most people real ize. Many people purchase anoles as pets for their children because they are very inexpensive. What they do not realize, or are not told, is that the proper setup for anoles is ten times the purchase price of the animal. Green Anoles are still relatively inexpensive even with the proper equipment, but there are several other factors that make this species and simi lar ones less than ideal captives.

Almost all anoles on the market are wild-caught animals that are heavily parasitized. Even a healthy looking anole can carry a huge parasite load that will eventually lead to its demise. Anoles DO NOT tolerate han dling well. These lizards are natu rally very wary (everything eats them) and become very stressed by handling. All ages, sizes, and sexes are very territorial, and keeping more than one pair in a smaller terrarium may lead to the death of some or all the lizards. Captive-bred anoles in the proper naturalistic enclosure can make a beautiful display, but they are not suitable for begin ning reptile pets. Wild-Caught Bali Pythons Although captive-bred Ball Pythons make one of the best reptile species for the beginner, wild-caught or captive-hatched specimens are among the worst. Wild-caught adult Ball Pythons are notorious for finicky eating and heavy parasitization. Do not let the terms "captive-hatched" and "farm-raised" fool you; these animals are only slightly better than wild-caught specimens. The reason for this is the fact that captive-hatched and farm-raised Ball Pythons are still imports, and although they may not be as heavily parasitized as their wildcaught brethren, are still subject to the stresses of the importation process. Imported Ball Pythons, whether they be wild-caught or captive-hatched, often are stressed severely by shipping and crowding together with other animals at dealers and importers. The crowding that occurs often acts as a vector for the spread of external parasites and disease.

The shops and shows often are flooded with gorgeous wild-taken chameleons about which virtually nothing is known. At their best, captive-bred chameleons are tricky to keep, and wild animals may be absolute nightmares. This gravid Chamaeleo campani was photo graphed by M. Burger.

The only Ball Pythons a begin ner should consider are captivebred, known feeding animals that have not been subjected to excessive stress. Although the wild-caught and captive-hatched Ball Pythons are cheaper, they will cost more in vet bills and frustration in the long run.

Wild-Caught Chameleons of Any Species
Cheap does not necessarily mean e a s y. G r e e n A n o l e s , A n o l i s carolinensis, and similar species have quite specific needs that must be met in the terrarium if they are to survive more than a few months and then wither away. They cannot be handled! Photo: M. Smith.

Even captive-bred chameleons are demanding captives, but mix ing together an antisocial nature, the stress and crowding of impor tation, and heavy parasitization makes wild-caught chameleons terrible pets for the beginner.


and do not tolerate handling well. Chameleons need to be housed away from other chame leons and from stressful house hold occurrences such as cats, dogs, vacuum cleaners, and high traffic areas. Feeding and hous ing chameleons appropriately requires a lot of effort and time. These animals are stunning, fas cinating, and beautiful, but they are too difficult and frustrating for the beginning hobbyist. There are few other reptile spe cies of any genera more aggres sive than the Tokay Gecko. This species is very common on the market and may be very low in price. Most Tokays are imported animals and have all the prob lems that go with this process. Tokay Geckos, with very few ex ceptions, do not become docile and do not tolerate handling well. In addition, they are ex tremely quick and, as with all arboreal geckos, can climb even slick surfaces with ease. The first thing a Tokay Geckos does when it feels threatened (which seems to be anytime anything comes near one) is to gape its prodi gious mouth as a warning, which is why most close-up photo graphs of these geckos show the animal in this position. The sec ond course of action for a threat ened Tokay is a load barking noise followed by a lunge at the threatening object (if you are keeping one, this is usually your hand). The last course of action is biting, and boy, can they bite! Tokay Geckos have very strong jaws capable of causing serious injury to anyone foolish enough to be bitten by one of these ani mals. This beautiful and interest-

T okay Geckos

Two major problem pets at the moment are Giant Green Iguanas (top, M. Bacon photo) and albino Burmese Pythons (bottom, M. Burger photo). Any herp rescue group can tell you horror stories about trying to place these animals in good homes.

Some dealers make a concerted effort to establish wild-caught chameleons before sale, deparasitizing and acclimating their animals, but some import ers are not this conscientious and subscribe to the idea of "buyer beware." Chameleons are asocial


Though colorful and rather hardy, Tokay Geckos, Gekko gecko, are fast and are strong biters. Though intermediate hobbyists may do well with them, beginners probably will not. Photo: K. H. Switak.

ing gecko can make a good cap tive for those who are experi enced in handling aggressive, fast- moving reptile species. Be ginners generally do not fall into this category, so they should pass this species by when looking for a new purchase.

Caimans or Alligators
There are many reasons not to keep these two reptiles, includ ing the fact that many states and cities ban the private sector from owning these animals. Baby American Alligators are pro duced heavily in the South, and a determined person will be able to purchase one, legal or not. Spectacled Caimans can be found in almost every state that does not ban their sale. Baby caimans and baby alligators are undeni ably cute, they make cute sounds, and are extremely soft to the touch. Most people who pur chase these animals as babies have never seen an adult animal or do not plan on caring for the animal for its entire life. I will never forget speaking with a per son who had just purchased a baby alligator and asking, "What will you do with this animal when it gets anywhere near the adult size?" The answer I re ceived was, "I dunnow," which is the typical response of a per son who purchases one of these completely inappropriate rep tiles. Many alligators purchased by people such as this die or are killed long before they reach an

"inconvenient" size. American Alligators are extremely unsuit able to just about all reptile keep ers, experienced or not. Their huge size, demanding housing and feeding requirements, and aggressive nature make this spe cies one of the worst reptiles to maintain in captivity. Caimans are much smaller than alligators, but size is relative considering alligators are beyond HUGE. Caimans also are aggressive and require very large aquatic enclo sures most people cannot pro vide. With so many reptile choices on the market today, it some times is difficult for a beginning hobbyist to choose an appropri

ate reptile pet. There are many reptile species that are wonder ful for beginners—I'll talk about some of them in the next issuebut there are many commonly available and cheap species that are not. One bad experience with a badly chosen pet reptile may turn off a new enthusiast to the hobby before he or she has a chance to gain the experience necessary to become more pro ficient with their pets. It is im portant that beginning hobbyists have good experiences with the reptiles they choose to purchase, as this encourages them to be come more involved in a fasci nating hobby that will last a life time.

"In 1975, Sean was selected by zoo director Jack Throp to be the Honolulu Zoo's first full-time herpetologist."

The "rattle-less rattlesnake," Crotalus catalinensis, is a rare endemic of Isla Santa Catalina, Mexico. Photo: K. H. Switak.

Sean McKeown,
Pioneer Herpetoculturist and Field Researcher

pioneered herpetoculture back in the 1970's, and one of these pioneers who is still very active today is Sean McKeown. Sean grew up in the 1940's in rural McKeesport in western Pennsylvania. Animals, espe cially reptiles and amphibians, fascinated him. He can remem ber, as early as age three, going into the woods behind his house to observe Blacksnakes, Eastern Milksnakes, garter snakes, and Eastern Box Turtles. He often ventured to a nearby stream to look for a vari ety of aquatic and semi-aqua tic salaman ders, includ ing Northern Reds, Redbacks, Slimys, and Spring Salaman ders. By age six, he and several friends would spend Satur-


here are approximately four dozen people who

days during the warmer months on day hikes into surrounding areas, largely to observe wildlife. When his family moved to southern California in the mid 1950's, Sean continued exploring nature. Sometimes he would bring a few lizards and snakes home to keep as pets, not to the particular delight of his parents. A spring field trip to the then rather pristine Mohave Desert for a 10th grade Advanced Biology class was especially significant. Sean had the opportunity to ob serve and catch a variety of desert lizards including Desert Iguanas, Chuckwallas, and Banded Gec kos, and also to observe Desert Tortoises in their natural habitat. This class field trip convinced him that, after college, he should pursue some type of wildlife ca reer that would involve sharing his appreciation of living reptiles and amphibians with others. During his first four years of college at UCSB, Sean concen trated on anthropology and ar chaeology while taking all avail able field biology courses. He keenly appreciated the natural

Todd Risley

history emphasis of Dr. Mary Erickson, the vertebrate biologist professor. He also was influenced by the lectures of Dr. Garrett Hardin on the tremendous need for worldwide human popula tion control to prevent overexploitation the world's eco systems and protect biodiversity. During this period he often stopped in to see and spend time in the field with Dr. Raymond Cowles, looking for less common species of herps in the county. He also read any publications he became aware of about the herpetofauna of islands of the South Pacific and the Indian Ocean. After receiving a Bachelor's degree in 1967, Sean spent the summer with two friends work ing in Alaska. With the money he saved, he bought an open ticket to Sydney, Australia, and spent the fall and winter islandhopping first to Hawaii, then down to Tahiti and the Society Islands, Samoa, Fiji, New Caledonia, Australia, Papua New Guinea, and New Zealand before heading home the following spring. While in Australia, Sean trav eled to Gosford in northern New South Wales (NSW) and met Eric Worrell, the owner of Gosford Reptile Park. This impressive fa cility sported a full-sized model brontosaurus out front and one of the largest live native reptile collections in Australia inside. Sean wanted to see reptiles in the field in Australia and had the money to cover his own ex penses. Eric needed reptiles to trade to American and European zoos and to extract venom from native species for antivenin,

Sean McKeown with "M-6," one of the breeder male Albemarle Galapagos Tortoises at the Honolulu Zoo.

which he produced and sold. He had permits to do both, and the two struck a deal. Eric would send Sean to visit colleagues in the field in NSW and the border ing state of Queensland. Sean would join them in the field to help obtain the necessary speci mens. Between trips, Sean could assist in a minor way with some of the keeper duties at Gosford Reptile Park. Eric was grateful for the gratis time and Sean equally grateful for the experience. While in Australia, Sean visited all the major zoo collections. Sean traveled to New Zealand after leaving Australia, and the second week there he was intro duced to gecko expert Arne Loot, a photographer and noted ama teur herpetologist. A friendship developed, and Arne and Sean spent ten days observing beauti ful green and yellow Naultinus and Heteropholis geckos in the bush throughout the North Is land.

Later in 1968, Sean accepted a keeper position at the Los Ange les Zoo. After working several months in the bird section, he was transferred to the reptile house. The herp collection was quite large, and virtually all of the specimens were wild caught. The emphasis was on highly ven omous snakes and very large con stricting snakes to amaze and awe the general public. This theme, referred to as "hairy and scary," was commonplace in American zoos at that time. Any thought of widespread captivebreeding was still years away. Sean was able, however, to breed the pair of rare Dogtooth Cat Snakes (Boiga cynodon) in the collection, for which the Los Angeles Zoo received the coveted Bean Conservation Award. In the fall of 1969, Sean left the Los Angeles Zoo to begin graduate school at Chico State University, located in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern

bivorous mammals. There were tortoises literally all over the zoo that were managed by the reptile staff. The primary goal of many zoos at the time was to get the herps to adapt to the existing cage space. However, at the Honolulu Zoo, under Sean's direction, the emphasis was to adapt the size, shape, and components of the enclosure to meet the behavioral needs of the specific reptiles and amphibians housed in them. As a result, most species showed a range of natural behavior, domi nance, activity, courtship, and breeding. Much of this was re corded, photographed, and pub lished for the first time. Soon, most of the reptiles in the col lection were successfully repro ducing. Sean began to regularly present papers at the Interna tional Herpetological Sympo sium on Captive Propagation and Husbandry (IHS). Next, he began working on breeding programs indoors, de signing reserve enclosures with specialized components for liz ards, including Bengal Monitors, as well as breeding many species on display in the naturalistic en closures, even many desert spe cies. In 1979, several Gold Dust Day Geckos that had been caught near the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus, were donated to the Honolulu Zoo. These lizards intrigued Sean. He gathered oth ers from the site and began to work on managing and breeding Phelsuma. However, he initially had less long-term success than with the other herps in the col lection, even when using Vitalites and dusting the insect

A large male Komodo Dragon being examined by Sean at the Taronga Park Zoo in Sydney, Australia.

California. In addition to the beautiful setting, Sean selected the school because he could do coursework in both zoology and anthropology and study under herpetologist Frank Cliff for his Master's degree. After gradua tion, Sean did part-time herp survey work for the state and federal governments and also worked as a vector control ento mologist. During this period he was also active with the Califor nia Turtle and Tortoise Club. In 1975, Sean was selected by zoo director Jack Throp to be the Honolulu Zoo's first full-time herpetologist. Honolulu pre sented the opportunity to work with a broad diversity of herps, not just snakes, before this be came the general practice else where. The director was an ex cellent behavioralist and had de veloped a highly successful breeding program for Galapagos Tortoises. Throp's techniques included using large, mud-bot tomed naturalistic pools to in crease successful breeding at tempts. Throp was also one of the

first zoo people to experiment with artificially incubating tor toise eggs at temperatures in the 80s °E which produced much higher hatch rates than other methods, using lower tempera tures, were getting at the time. Since the Honolulu Zoo was severely restricted on the keep ing of snakes, Sean's emphasis was on a wide range of rare tor toises, turtles, lizards, and am phibians, especially those from islands. He was the first Ameri can herpetologist to recognize the need to manage, study, and breed reptiles and amphibians from Madagascar and islands of the Indian Ocean that were un dergoing tremendous habitat loss. Within just a couple of years, the collection was built up to over 550 specimens represent ing over a hundred different spe cies. Turtles and tortoises were managed in large outdoor enclo sures that could be made more tropical, temperate, or xeric, largely through planting and watering. Some of these enclo sures also housed birds or her

food with the standard vitaminmineral supplement then avail able. Soon, he and long-time friend Tim Tytle began indepen dently looking at the specific nutritional needs of members of the genus Phelsuma. A day gecko specialty group came into being at the next IHS to work out man agement techniques for lizards of this genus. The members in cluded Sean, Tim Tytle, Michael M i l l e r, To m D i g n e y, R o n Tremper, Rick Hudson, Dave Grow, Bela Demeter, and several others. These individuals, repre senting both zoos and private hobbyists, began to acquire what very few specimens of living day geckos were available to study. The following year, Sean was invited by the government of the Seychelles Islands in the Indian Ocean to survey and develop captive breeding techniques for giant tortoises living in the gra nitic Seychelles, and by the gov ernment of Mauritius, an island a thousand miles to the south, to undertake Phelsuma ecology studies. Detailed observations were made on day geckos in the Seychelles, on Reunion Island, and Mauritius, especially on their behavior, courtship, breed ing, and the activities of hatchlings and juveniles. What Sean learned was applied on his return to designing enclosures and management of several dif ferent day gecko species at the Honolulu Zoo. In the summer of 1983, after successfully breeding the world's rarest chelonian, the Madagascar Angulated Tortoise, for which the Honolulu Zoo received the cov eted Bean Conservation Award, Sean accepted the Curator of

One of many tortoises bred at the Honolulu Zoo during Sean's tenure was the Asian Mountain Tortoise, Manouria emys.

Sean is perhaps best known among hobbyists for his work with day geckos, providing the basis for captive-breeding efforts with many species that today are relatively common but a decade ago were almost unknown. Photo: Phelsuma serraticauda by P. Freed.

Reptiles position at the Fresno Zoo, in California. The new stateof-the-art herpetarium there, de signed by curator Ron Tremper and zoo director Paul Chaffee, was the most unique reptile fa cility in the United States. The building consists entirely of in dividual computerized environ mental displays that are individu

ally programmed to temperature highs and lows and light cycles. The off-display areas, including four temperature controlled re serve rooms, could also be used for additional large-scale breed ing projects. At Fresno, later renamed the Chaffee Zoological Gardens, Sean and an excellent keeper and

High-tech herpetology: Sean entering data on the White's Treefrog breeding project at the Chaffee Zoological Gardens in Fresno —• back in 1989.

volunteer staff bred Madagascar ground boas and tomato frogs, Seychelles skin-sloughing gec kos, a variety of California rep tiles and amphibians, Aruba Is land Rattlesnakes, and Panther Chameleons to the F-2 genera tion on display. The reserve ar eas were utilized for breeding Catalina Island Rattlesnakes from the Gulf of California and for further refining enclosure design and indoor breeding tech niques for small and mid-sized species of day geckos. Between the years 1983 and 1995, a number of major zoo rep tile curators focused on genetic management, species survival teams (SSPs), taxon advisory groups (TAGS), as well as conser vation of threatened and endan gered herps in the animals' coun try of origin. Sean was part of

that activity. He spent several weeks each year on vacation leave doing field research, primarily on islands and in southern Africa. In addition to curating, dur ing this period he was active as program chairman for IHS and served on the program commit tee for the Northern California Herpetological Society, and for the First International Sympo sium on Turtles and Tortoises. Between 1990 and 1996, he also worked as managing editor for The Vivarium magazine. By the fall of 1995, Sean was in a posi tion to write about and photo graph herps full time. He re cently has authored several non technical books aimed at the ter rarium hobbyist as well as con tinuing his more technical pub lications. Sean also has drawn on his numerous acquaintances in

the zoo, commercial, and hobby fields to produce a series of Herp People departments for Reptile Hobbyist. He and his wife Wendy, a junior high science teacher and respected naturalist in her own right, moved to the scenic cen tral coast of California. When I asked Sean what has been the most rewarding part of his long, distinguished career, I was surprised it was not his many publications nor even his inter national field work. Rather, it has been the opportunity to be of service to the herpetocultural community. This service in cludes patiently answering 10 to 20 inquiries per day for over 20 years, over the phone or in per son, on the proper care and breeding of reptiles and amphib ians. (T odd Risley is a chameleon spe cialist who lives in San Diego, Cali fornia. In 1996, he visited Mada gascar to survey chameleon popu lations in the northern and east ern parts of the island.)

Article submissions of all types that appeal to the beginner or expert, or just the hobbyist in between, always are welcomed at Reptile Hobbyist. You don't need to be a "name" or have to work in a zoo to write for us. I'll consider any decently written articles of interest to our readers (and I even retype the stuff if you can't provide a computer diskette). The pay isn't great (remember, we're still Number Two), but the potential is wide open. Call or write to discuss proposals and for our guidelines. Photos also are purchased. Send all material to my attention— Jerry Walls. Reptile Hobbyist 211 West Sylvania Avenue Neptune City, NJ 07753

"When you collect reptiles and amphibians on stamps you are collecting what are called

m m

Yugoslavia #408 showing the Olm, Proteus anguineus.

topical or thematic issues..."

A recent (1996) souvenir sheet from the Bahamas showing endemic reptiles.

pieces on herp stamps have ap Since the publication of a sur few peared in RH, I've been prised at the positive reaction from readers. Several of you have com mented that you used to collect stamps once but grew out of it and now want to get back into the hobby. Others are attracted to colorful stamps as a sideline to their living collections or want to give some stamps to their children. Several of you have asked just how you go about collecting herp stamps and where you can find them. Stamp collecting is a very broad hobby that appeals to all ages and budgets, and everyone is free to col lect pretty much the way they wish. When you collect reptiles and am phibians on stamps you are collect ing what are called topical or the matic issues as opposed to collect ing the stamps of a country or a specific period of years. Topical col lecting is all the rage at the moment, and people collect all types of sub jects, from Disney characters to birds, trains to scouting. Many countries issue mostly topical stamps, designed to appeal to col lectors and their wallets; this applies especially to so-called Third World countries, where stamps may repre sent a significant part of the

country's annual income. Some Words A stamp is a piece of paper that serves as a receipt for money paid for a service, usually delivery of the mails. Most stamps fall into four categories: regular postage, which covers normal mail services; airmail, delivery by air; semipostals, stamps with an additional fee shown to help pay for a charity or special cause; and various stamps for special ser vices such as registry, special deliv ery, official government service, etc. Today topicals usually represent postage and sometimes semipostals and airmail services. Most stamps are separated from a sheet or pane by rows of holes producing comb like perforations. Perforations are measured in a standard way by us ing a perforation (perf) gauge and often are important in distinguish ing similar stamps. Stamps with missing or torn perfs usually are defective and not collectible. A stamp that has never been put on an envelope and thus has never been canceled and has the original gum on the back is called mint; one that bears a postal cancellation and has been soaked off paper is called used. If you run across a stamp with a cancel on its face but gum on its back it probably has been canceled

Jerry G. Walls

Barbados #723 to 726 on First Day Cover (FDC).


to order (CTO) and sold at a dis count to dealers. In ads you often see stamps indicated as Never Hinged (NH or two stars); Mint or Unused (H or one star); or Used (U or a circle often with a dot in the center). A hinge is a small piece of gummed paper that was used (and often still is) to hold a stamp in an album. A hinge leaves a distinct mark on the back of a mint stamp and in today's market reduces the value of the stamp; most stamps printed and collected before the 1960's were hinged. Starting Up You need little equipment to col lect stamps. Most of the stuff you need is designed to protect the little bits of gummed paper from harm. Stamps cannot be exposed to mois ture, extreme temperatures, sun light, oil from fingers, and the other problems likely to destroy paper and ink. I'm going to assume that you will collect mint stamps, which is how most people prefer topicals. First, buy a pair of stamp tongs, special tweezers with smooth tips that won't damage the stamp; use these to handle the stamp rather than your oily fingers that will leave fingerprints on the gum. Cost: $2 to $6. Also buy an inexpensive perf gauge and learn how to use it. Cost: $1 to $3. You need some place to safely store your stamps. At the moment there are no really good printed albums for herp stamps, and I recommend you use Vario sheets in which to store your stamps. Varios (a brand name; equally good brands include Scott and Hagner, among others) are plastic sheets constructed of safe materials that will not harm stamps and will not allow the gum to stick. Varios come as 8.5 X11 inch pages that fit a threering binder. Each sheet (I recom mend the black, double-sided ones) has a number of clear plastic strips into which you insert the stamps with your tongs. You can rearrange

Official Firs: Day Cover

the stamps as you wish to reflect how you want to collect. If you use a page with five strips on each side, you can hold four to six average stamps per strip, thus 20 to 30 stamps per side and 40 to 60 stamps per page. That's quite a few stamps when you are dealing with a small subject like herp stamps. Varios cur rently are sold as packs of five sheets for about $4.00, and other brands are similar in price. I suggest you start with two packs of the 5S size, for about $8.00. Frankly, this is about all the hard ware you need to get started and safely store your stamps. The rest of your money you can spend on stamps and perhaps some reading material. All the stamps of the world have been cataloged and continue to be numbered each year. The system used differs by country, but in the United States only Scott Catalogue numbers are used with any consis tency. (In Great Britain collectors use Stanley Gibbons numbers and catalogues.) Scott numbers come from a series of annual catalogues that have been published for well over a century, and the numbers are well-established. Starting this year, six volumes are needed to catalog the world, each volume selling for about $35. This is an awful lot of money for a topical collector, but you can find more or less current sets of catalogues in almost any li brary, and most stamp shops will sell you an older set for anything

from $20 to $60 depending on how current the set is. Be sure to read the introduction in a volume that will tell you almost anything you want
Herp semipostals seldom have been issued. This is a common set from Indonesia (#B203-206). Stamp catalogues use prefix letters to indicate different types of stamps. B is a prefix indicating semipostals.

Reading Matter





Price 1.25

to know about how stamps are printed and the full terminology that stamp collectors use when talk ing with each other and in print. New issues are cataloged in the monthly Scott Stamp Monthly, which also has some good articles. SSM is the official update to the Scott Cata logues, illustrating and assigning numbers to stamps within a few months after they are issued; the same numbers will be used in the next year's catalogues. A year's sub scription currently is $17.95, but you should be able to get a sample copy by calling 1-800-572-6885. (At least samples used to be free—you may have to pay $3 today.) Like the other magazines, SSM carries a good array of ads as well as articles. Two newspapers cover the stamp collecting hobby in the U.S. The first is the weekly Linn's Stamp Weekly, about 60 to 80 pages of articles, dis play ads, and classified ads. Linn's carries a tremendous number of stamp ads, many for topicals, and you could build an excellent collec tion just by dealing with companies advertising in Linn's. Call 1-800448-7293 for subscription informa tion; currently you can get a 26week subscription for $19.95, or a full year for $39. Ask for a sample copy first. The relative newcomer on the scene is Global Stamp News, which tends to have a broader coverage of foreign stamps (Linn's tends to be somewhat heavy with U.S.) and car ries a large number of display ads

Above: Zimbabwe geckos #578-581 as purchased. Below: A Vario sheet display of South-West Africa #487490 (tortoises), Port. Guinea #306317 (snake diamonds), and Cameroons #641-642, C267. C is an airmail prefix.

(no classifieds). A few years ago I didn't think too much of this news paper, but today it is getting better and the ads often are quite differ ent from those in Linn's. GSN is monthly; a sample and subscription information can be obtained by call ing 513-492-3183. Curiously, both GSN and Linn's come out of Sidney, Ohio but are unrelated publications. I just cleared out my current stack of GSN and don't have a new issue in front of me as I write this, but a subscription is either $7 or $12 per year, a bargain. Getting Stamps It used to be that most towns of any size had at least a small stamp shop, but today overhead in the form of rent, insurance, help, taxes, etc., etc., has forced most shops out of business. If you have a shop near





:-•• ^SSBl



50 ■ > / — — »


FIRST DAY OF ISSUE Top to bottom: Zambia #308-311; a FDC for Japan #1261; and my favorite herp stamp, Great Britain #1144 with the Natterjack Toad. Stamp collecting is a very "open" hobby that leaves you free to collect only what interest you and fits your budget.

you, find it in the telephone book and use it—it's always better to see stamps first before you buy them. Many of your stamps will be or dered by mail from ads. In most cases a dealer ad just gives you a list of catalog numbers, the gum status (NH, H, U), and the condition (F, VF, etc.). Condition usually refers mostly to centering, how close the perfs are to the design and how bal anced the edges of the stamp are. Virtually all newer stamps are F (fine) or VF (very fine) in condition, the standard collectible condition. An entry might read: Portuguese Guinea...306-317 MNH, VF $5. If you check a catalog, you'll find that Portuguese Guinea number 306-317 is a classic set of diamond-shaped


Scott Catalogue values, though some sell for more. Don't forget to check if the dealer has a minimum order and if he charges postage and han dling, which will increase your cost. Most topical sets today average four to six stamps and have a retail price of between perhaps $2 and $6 a set in MNH. Some countries take advantage of collectors by issuing larger sets with high face values and thus a much higher cost. These sets may contain 10 to 25 stamps and cost $10 to $30 a set. Some sets are accompanied by a souvenir sheet, one or more stamps (the same or dif ferent from those in the basic set) in a small sheet with special mar gins. Souvenir sheets (S/S or SS) also are called miniature sheets (M/S or MS)—there are technical differences between the two but usage is not constant. Some people collect S/S, some don't; some only collect S/S that have subjects different from the basic set. In a few countries you can purchase imperforate stamps, those that lack the rows of perforations between the stamps. Imperfs issued this way usually sell for about 3 to 10 times the basic set price and of ten are collected as pairs. They should not be confused with imper forate errors where a sheet of stamps for some reason did not go through the perforating machine; imperf er rors tend to be very expensive and collecting them is a specialized en deavor. You also can collect first day covers (FDC), the stamps on a spe cially printed envelope canceled on the day the set was issued; FDCs of ten are very colorful and excellent displays, but they tend to cost about $4 to $12 for most sets. **** OK, enough for now in Stamp Collecting 101, the really basic in formation you need. If you have specific questions, let me know and I'll do my best to address them later. By the way, there currently is no re ally good listing of all the herp stamps of the world, so you will have to make your own list by read ing through the catalogues. Maybe we'll go through that next time.


herp stamps issued in 1963 and with a catalogue value of, say, $7.00. The dealer will sell you a set in mint, never hinged, very fine condition for $5, a decent price. Most foreign stamps sell for about 40 to 75% of

"Many people love good photo books with just enough text to carry the story along."

Books from the field of herpetology

Another Turtle Ritual by Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod I had just returned from Barcelos, Brazil. It is a small fish ing town on the Rio Negro where a fish festival had just taken place. Brazilians love festivals, so it was not surprising that thou sands of people had come up from Manaus, 200 miles away, to celebrate. The huge city of Manaus, deep in the Amazon jungle, 1500 miles up the river from the Atlantic Ocean, now contains some 3 million people. They are civilized, and they usu ally obey the law. The law in Manaus forbids the eating of turtles (here river turtles, Podocnemis). Turtles are nearly ex tinct. For

hundreds of years turtle eggs were collected from nests dug into the soft sandy beaches dur

ing the dry season. The eggs are delicious. They are eaten by cut ting off both ends of the eggs and sucking out the contents. While in an American restaurant bread awaits you on the table, in the jungle towns along the Amazon a bowl filled with turtle eggs is yours for the taking; they are the usual appetizer. But not any more. It now is forbidden to col lect turtle eggs in the areas around Manaus. But Barcelos is another story. There are no Federal Police in Barcelos and everybody eats turtles. Turtles are a delicacy worldwide. True turtle soup is so rare that only mock-turtle soup is available in restaurants now. In Barcelos, hundreds or even thou sands of turtles are sold for the festivities. The fishermen who catch the beautiful Cardinal Tetras and Blue Discus for fish ex porters also catch turtles in their nets. The turtles are stored until festival time, when they are sold for a huge amount of money, usually about $10 each for a 25pound turtle. Fishermen must collect 2,000 Cardinal Tetras to



Above: An extremely rare albino green turtle, found on the beach in east Kalimantan, is kept by the locals as a curiosity. They do not realize its high value in Bali.

Right: A turtle is carried and dragged up the beach toward the holding cage.


earn $10, and that's a week's work! The killing of the turtles is ac complished by teasing the turtle to bite on a stick. The head is pulled out and chopped off while it is still clamped on the stick. The turtle is cooked in its own carapace after its excretory or gans are removed. Usually the meat is extremely fatty and a huge, thick slick of oil covers the stew. This was almost all forgotten when I returned to my office, except for a book that Charles Lindsay sent me. Charles is an outstanding photographer and photo journalist. He and I have a mutual friend, Susan Wadsworth, who is an underwater ar chaeologist. We met in Cuba, where she was diving for wrecks and I was diving for fishes. Charles was going to Cuba to do a story about growing cigar to bacco. T.F.H. had published three very authentic books about the Cuban cigar industry and I had sent him these three books as a guide to his project. In return for my generosity he said I could use some of the photos from his magnificent book in our Reptile Hobbyist. Don't wait another minute. If you are into turtles at all, you'll want this book. It is called Turtle Islands. Balinese Ritual and the Green Turtle, and is published by Takarajima Books, 95 Hortio St., New York, NY 10014. It can be special ordered by any bookstore (ISBN 1-883489-10-5) or by call ing 212-675-1944. "To Bali's Hindu population the world literally rests on the back of a turtle, whose very be ing is imbued with immense

ritualistic significance. Balinese religious observance has re quired its sacrifice for centuries, but sacrifice is now becoming slaughter as ancient spiritual practices are corrupted by mo dernity, gravely menacing the turtles' very existence. Turtle Is lands employs Charles Lindsay's remarkable color photography and personal journals to explore an ecological and anthropologi cal phenomenon of great scope, complexity, and resonance. Try to at least take a look through the book—the photos will be etched in your memory forever." Turtle Islands. Balinese Ritual and the Green Turtle. Charles Lindsay (photography and journals) and Lyall Watson (essay). 1995. Takarajima Books, New York. 10 X 11 inches, 124 pages, hard cover. $39.95. I'll admit right from the start that I am not a lover of art books. I like text with enough photos to carry the story, not the other way around. However, I also realize that many people love good photo books with just enough text to carry the story along. Many people also love turtles and collect everything having to do with them. This book, which cer tainly is an art book, will be of interest to both turtle enthusiasts and conservationists. The thrust is a study of the social interac tions of people and Green Sea Turtles in Bali, Indonesia, where the turtles are both a traditional food (especially the eggs) and also are used in local annual ritu als where they are sacrificed each year along with lambs, water buffalos, and other animals. Though

most Westerners will show re pugnance at the thought of ani mal sacrifices, this really is not a very important conservation concern because only a few ani mals are used each year. The book also deals heavily with the continuing trade in turtle eggs for both the local market and the export market. Eating turtle eggs transfers sexual stamina from the turtle to the eater, apparently, and it is not uncommon for hauls of 70,000 eggs to be collected from four favored nesting islands every two weeks—today, not 20 years ago. The eggs retail for about 20 cents each. The book does not flinch from at least mentioning some of the questionable politics making conservation difficult or impossible in the area and paints a fairly dismal history and pos sible future for the sea turtles near Bali. Would I buy the book? No, but then I don't collect books of this type. Should you at least look at the book? Yes, especially if you are interested in turtles and their plight. You can read the entire text in half an hour and spend another two or three hours scan ning the photos, and you cer tainly will remember the book.— JGW
Questions? Comments? Problems? Talk to us at Reptile Hobbyist: phone: (908) 988-8400
(M-Th.) [starting on June 1 st our area code will change to (732)]

e-mail: rephob@aol.com snail-mail: 211 W. Sylvania Ave., Neptune City, NJ 07753

Ball Pythons (Python regius) probably are the most common python in the hobby and perhaps the most common "giant" snake.
Coming in July—Albinos, Emerald Tree Boas, Colorful Bush Vipers, and much, much more! Problems? Questions? Send your Herp Mail letters to us at Reptile Hobbyist, 211 W. Sylvania Ave., Neptune, NJ 07753 or by e-mail to rephob@aol.com. Unfortu nately, personal replies are not possible at the moment and we can make no guaran tees that your letter will be used. Aren't We Lucky?

Q: I recently was in Japan in con nection with a Japanese pet fair and had the opportunity to talk to a few Japanese keepers of poi son frogs, Dendrobatidae. I just though your audience would be interested to know that though interest is high in the area, laws (the word "poison" in the name immediately makes the frogs sus pect) and high costs reduce their popularity. Though the Green and Black Dendrobates auratus sells for the equivalent of $50 (not much more than in the U.S.), the Yellow-banded D. leucomelas fetches $350 an ani mal (three or four times the American price), while the rare Blue D. azureus might go for $1000! Jack Wattley Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

of our popular and no so popular pets. We might complain a bit about the cost of an animal some days, but most captive-bred herps are excellent buys. You also can see why so many breeders sell a large part of their stock in Japan and similar markets where demand is high, supply is low, and prices rise accordingly.

Though Yellow-banded Poison Frogs are common here, they are much more expensive in Japan. Pipa

A: American hobbyists should con sider themselves lucky that we have so many successful commercial breeders operating to produce more

Q: Out of the blue, the owner of a pet store I frequent gave me a Surinam Toad (Pipa pipa). Not knowing what it was and being eager for his free offer, I accepted


Pipa pipa sometimes has been called the "Steamroller Toad" J because of its uniquely flattened i shape.

it. The problem is my friend knew little about the animal and I also have found little informa tion on them. None of the people at any other pet stores could of fer any assistance. I like it very much and want to give it the best care I can, so could you please help me find out more about these fascinating creatures? Chris Santora Nashua, NH 03062 A: Surinam Toads are widely dis tributed in shallow, silty waters of northern South America and the Amazon basin. Adults commonly are over 6 inches long and among the most depressed, oddest-looking frogs seen in the hobby. If in de cent condition—not overly stressed, injured, or parasitized—when they enter the pet trade, they may do fairly well in a large aquarium (20 gallons or larger) with warm wa ter, plenty of hiding places, and dark surroundings. They are noc turnal hunters that do not like the light. At night they roam the bot tom of the tank in search of small fishes and shrimp as prey, identi fying their food with their special ized fingertips. Earthworms and aquatic insects also are taken on

occasion, and smaller ones may eat tubifex and bloodworms. Try to keep the temperature from drop ping significantly at night (a stable 79 to 81 °F is best) and disturb the frog as little as possible. Breeding occasionally occurs in captivity, but few captive-breds are available. For more information, see Walls, Fantastic Frogs! (LR-106) or Staniszewski, Amphibians in Cap tivity (LR-108).


Q: I have a male African Fat-tailed Gecko, and after having enjoyed him for almost a year I have de cided to get a female and try breeding them. Here in Canada there is barely any information on Fat-tails, despite their appar ent popularity. Could you please tell me the best methods for pre paring them for breeding and incubation? In addition, I have had numerous opinions on whether I should handle Fat-tails or not. Should I or shouldn't I? David Barrick London, Ontario, Canada A: Fat-tails (Hemitheconyx caudicinctus) are close relatives of the Leopard Gecko though not yet as popular or widely known. As you

know by now, they are easy to keep, docile, attractive geckos that do well in a small terrarium with warm room temperatures (85 to 92°F), arelatively moist substrate, and a diet of enriched crickets and similar foods. They do have rather thin skin and may be a bit nippy, so it probably is best not to handle them any more than necessary; in my experience they do not have quite as nice a personality as Leop ards. Some adults do tolerate han dling well, however, and may even seem to enjoy occasional gentle petting. For breeding they can be kept as trios (a male and two fe males) in a 10-gallon terrarium. Males have very jowly heads, preanal pores, and a thick tail base. Some breeders suggest that success ful mating is more likely to follow separation of the sexes through the year, with the animals being put together in October or November (breeding usually still occurs in the winter in captivity). Females lay two large eggs that are soft-shelled and hatch in 7 to 12 weeks at a temperature of 82 to 88°F. The in cubator should be moist and needs to have accurate temperature con trols, as sex in this species is deter mined by incubation temperature. As a rule, males are produced at 86 to 88 °F , both sexes at 84 to 86 °F and females at 82 to 84°F. The hatchlings are about 3 inches long, banded as in Leopard Geckos, and need to be kept moist by regular spraying; give each its own little terrarium with hiding places. Sexual maturity is reached in about a year, but hold off breeding until the lizards are 18 months old.

Photo: R. D. Bartlett.

_—. . . __ Fat-tails are gaining in popularity and have many of the I advantages of Leopard Geckos. Ball Python 101

Q: If I purchased a Ball Python, should I get it as a hatchling or full-grown? How big should I make the cage? What will it eat, and how big will it get? Gary Gombos Butler, Pennsylvania Q: I just purchased a nine-monthold Ball Python, and it eats small adult mice. The problem is that it eats live mice. I am afraid that the mice will hurt my snake. Do you know what I can do if it goes on a hunger strike? Ira Gerhart Butler, Pennsylvania A: Ball Pythons (Python regius) probably are the most common py thon in the hobby and perhaps the most common "giant" snake. Though adults are small for the group, typically only 4 to 5 feet long, with occasional 6-foot mon sters, they are "allpython" and ex

tremely strong snakes for their size. There are two suggestions that must be followed if you want a suc cessful Ball Python pet: 1) Buy only captive-bred specimens, and 2) Make sure the snake is eating be fore you buy it. In the past (and even today) many or most Ball Pythons on the market were im ported from Africa and seldom ate in captivity, dying in three to six months after a horrible existence. Captive-bred specimens, especially snakes older than hatchlings but not yet grown (often called year lings), make excellent pets. One or two snakes can be kept in a ter rarium about a yard long, with a secure lid and a piece of carpet or newspapers on the bottom. The temperature should be over 82°F (provide a basking light), the cage should be misted daily to keep the humidity up, and there should be a large water bowl and a secure hidebox for the snake; a large
The ever-popular Ball Python.

branch will serve for climbing and for starting the shed. Almost all Ball Pythons seem to prefer living rodents as prey, though many can adapt to frozen and thawed foods. (Make the changeover by giving your snake both a living mouse and a freshly killed mouse at each feed ing rather than two living mice; next go to a living and a thawed mouse; it soon will accept the dead food.) If feeding living rodents, never leave an active mouse in the cage overnight with the python. It is safest to give the food in the evening with the lights turned down and to watch from a good distance; if the mouse is not eaten in an hour or two, remove it and try again the next day. Hunger strikes usually are started by un known causes and broken natu rally by the snakes, perhaps in re sponse to genetic programming to respond to changes in their native climates. Forced-feeding is not rec ommended unless the snake has not eaten for three months or more—just keep supplying food at regular intervals, keep the cage dark (these pythons are nocturnal), and be sure the humidity and tem perature levels are adequate. The snake should come out of the strike naturally.




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LIVE FOOD: Wingless Fruitflies, Worms (White, Grindal, Red). For more information and prices, call (601) 2364687. L.F.S. CULTURES. P.O. Box 607, University, MS 38677.

INDIVIDUALLY PACKAGED MICE-CICLES™ & RAT-CICLES™ CRYOVAC® Vacuum Packs gives you 1. No Refrigerator odors, the fresh smell is locked in. Even the fussiest _snake will eat them. 2. Zero Chance of Freezer Burn and 3. An incredible 2-3 year shelf life, compared to 2-3 months with Zip Lock Bags. ARFI, ARF!, ARF! If your mice & rats start barking at you, ask the breeder what they are feeding them. We start with a Lab Chow base, guaranteeing 28 minerals, & add whole grain Oats, Corn, Milo & Sunflower Seeds. We deliver superior quality mice & rats at a very low price. Why risk Ticks, Mites, & Tape Worms, by feeding live. "Freezing kills all blood sucking parasites dead." "Deader is Better." Quantity Discounts, Pinkies as low as 19 cents. Minimum 100 mice, 50 rats. Overnight delivery, same rate 48 states. Public Welcome. Ask about Monthly Budget Plan. Visa, Master Card, M.O., or Check by Fax/Phone. FREE PRICE LIST. "How to raise your own mice & rats" $12.00. Ratisfaction Guaranteed. Call Now. Joe Brant 1-800-GET-RATS (800-438-7287) MICE ON ICE™ ZOOLOGICAL PET FOODS, INC. RATS, CHICKS, MICE — Frozen from $25.00 per 100. Live crickets $16.50 per 1,000 FOB. — PERFECT PETS, 23180 Sherwood, Belleville, Ml 48111, 313-4611362, FAX 313-461-2858. FEEDER QUAIL CHICKS— 100 for $55.00, Quail eggs 50 for $15.50. Includes postage. Send check or Money Order or phone (423) 687-0757. MC/Visa to M.Z. ENTERPRISES, 10610 Emory Rd., Luttrell, TN 37779. ICED MICE® For your herps' eating pleasure. Custom orders a specialty. 20 years experience. $50/100 adult mice. MC/Visa. Call Mike at BIOLOGICS, 8280 Horton Hwy., College Grove, TN 37046. 1-800-806-7762.

SUPER ANIMALS, SUPER PRICES: Bearded Dragons; Normal & Red - NOW, Tiger & Striped in '97. High yellow & designer leopard geckos, Superworms, Veiled Chameleons, VISION CAGES THE BEST CAGES ANYWHERE! SEND SASE or call TOLL-FREE THE REPTILE CONNECTION, 103 Blue Heron Dr., Summerville, SC 29485, 1-888DRAGON-1. QUALITY REPTILES AT AFFORDABLE PRICES. Snakes, Lizards, Turtles, Tarantulas, Frogs and a complete line of dry goods and frozen feed. For free monthly price list, send SASE to SPECIAL CARE, 5 W. Prospect Ave., Pgh, PA 15205 (412) 928-9433, FAX (412)279-2913. LIVE PYGMY SEAHORSES. One mated pair $11.95. Two mated pairs $15.95. One selected Pregnant Breeder seahorse (GIVE BIRTH UP TO 15 PONIES) $12.95. All the above Seahorses (6) plus Pregnant (save) only $34.50. Post Paid live delivery guaranteed. Check/MO. Visa/MC. SEAHORSE FARM, Box 143103, Coral Gables, FL 33114 (305) 667-4238. CANADIAN REPTILE CENTRE. Breeders of geckos common to rare. Large selection of captive and imported stock. For more info, please contact GLOBAL AQUATICS, #25 Fredrick St. Market Square, N2H-6M8 or call (519) 579-3116, fax 579-0481, Ont., Canada. www.valvenetwork.com/reptiles. "HAWAII JACKSON CHAMELEON CONNECTION" Your reliable source for top quality Jacksons. Quantity discounts available! Pet Shops wholesalers and brokers only! (808) 242-7418.

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MAKE THOUSANDS RAISING RODENTS. Send $5.00 for information booklet to S.J.C., 248 Church St., Whitinsville, MA 01588. SUPPORT YOUR CRITTER HABIT. Earn $200-800 week at home. 600 work choices. Guaranteed. Send two 320 stamps, name, address to: HOMEWORK, Box 146-RH, 798 Kenilworth Dr., Towson, MD 21204. EARN BIG BUCKS while enjoying your hobby. "Making Money in the Reptile Business" shows you how from a business and scientific angle. Send only $5 to: OAK LAWN ZOOLOGICAL, P.O. Box 79, Oak Lawn, IL 60454. MAKE YOUR HOBBY PAY: From the expert. "How to really raise mice and rats". Cages, feeding & watering. Sources of breeding stock & supplies. Sexing & colony management. Send $12.00 to Joe Brant, Mice on Ice™ 2000 S.E. 43rd Terrace, Gainesville, FL 32641, or Visa/Master Card, 1-800-GET-RATS (1-800-438-7287). 7th Annual LIHS Reptile & Amphibian Show. September 06, 1997. 10:00 AM 4:00 PM. VENDORS WANTED. Roosevelt Hall, SUNY-FARMINGDALE, Farmingdale, NY. REPTILES, EQUIPMENT, BOOKS for SALE. REPTILE SHOW - PRIZES & TROPHIES. VENDOR & GENERAL INFORMATION contact: Rich (516) 884LIHS. Write LIHS, 476 North Ontario Avenue, Lindenhurst, NY 11757. E-MAIL: rmeyer@bccom.com.

AUSTRALIAN WATERDRAGONS are our specialty. We breed thousands of other lizards. AGAMA INTERNATIONAL, INC., 10514 Chilton Rd., 73 Montevallo, AL 35115 (205) 6652192. LEOPARD GECKOS (QUANTITY WHOLESALE PRICES) High Yellow, Designer and Leucistic Available. Womas, Ball Pythons, Dumerils, Rainbow Boas, Albino Red Eared Sliders, Rat Snakes, King Snakes. Send SASE for free list. DON HAMPER, 1215 Fishinger Rd., Columbus, Ohio 43221, 614-457-4433 (7-9 pm EST) fax 614459-4261. REPTILE ADDICTS — The finest captive-bred and imported herps. Over 200 Varieties Available! Call, write or fax us a request (SASE please). Great prices, great herps. REPTILE ADDICTS, 421 West Ave., Lockport, NY 14094, (716) 433-0460 or fax (716) 434-3900. SAVE THIS AD - Use it for a 10% discount on any snake purchased from THE CARPET OUTLET: For sale: 6 Bloodlines of Jungle Carpet Pythons and DiamondxCarpet Pythons. All are already priced to sell. Call John at (908) 5268304 and leave message.

LIVE TROPICAL MOSSES, bromeliads, tropical terrarium plants, driftwood, fruit fly cultures and other hard-to-find items for a natural-looking rainforest terrarium. Send two 32c stamps, name and address for price list; or send $3 (refunded on your first order) check or money order for color brochure containing photos of plants, price list and helpful hints on maintaining tropical rainforest terrariums. A.J. CALISI, 419 Baywood Circle, Harbor Oaks, FL 32127. WATERFALLS! Unique hand crafted natural stone waterfalls for your terrarium, reptile habitat ortabletop. Call for free color brochure! 800-841 -5954, ext. 102.

FREE CATALOG OF HERPETO LOGICAL AND AVIAN PRODUCTS that can be delivered to your home by mail order. We provide a broad selection of quality products including: food, supplements, heating, lighting, probes, waterfalls, bedding, cleaners, bowls, screen covers and much more. We offer name brand manufacturers such as ZooMed, T-Rex, ESU Coralife, Mardel, RepCal, RAF, Creative Surprizes, Calanpro, Hagen, Pretty Bird/Pets, Lafeber, Nekton, Avitron, 8N1, and more to come. We offer low prices, knowledgeable staff and prompt delivery. MC/VISA accepted. 8-6 CST M-F. For free catalog or to place an order, call or write: 800-750-5978, PETICULARS, P.O. Box 897, Galesburg, IL 61402. After Hours 309-341-0999, Fax 309-341-1006.

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CAPE YORK SPOTTED PYTHONS $175. Leucistic Texas Ratsnakes $80, Tangerine Hondurans (Damms) $100 and up and Western Hognose $30. Send S.A.S.E. for photos. JON YUNASZ, P.O. Box 81425, Cleveland, OH 44191-0425 216/631-4104.

FREE! WORLD'S LARGEST REPTILE & AMPHIBIAN SUPPLY CATALOG...Big Apple Herpetological offers the most extensive selection (Over 600 Reptile Products), the best service (Same-Day Shipping), the finest staff (Full Product Consultation) and superior prices (We Will Beat Any Competitor's Price!). Our FullColor catalog includes our famous Big Apple Custom Cages, affordable incubators, efficient heating equipment, specialized lighting, highest-rated thermostats, accurate thermometers, nutritious feeder insects, extraordinary Quatricide PV cleaner, useful husbandry equipment, exciting cage accessories, topnotch foods, industry's best books, healthy vitamins and life-saving medications. (See Our Full-Page Ad). Call Toll-Free for a Free catalog, (800) 666-6672 or (516) 756-0340. All major credit cards accepted. BIG APPLE HERPETOLOGICAL, 18 East Mall, Plainview, NY 11803.

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QTY. STYLE # TITLE RE-133 Agamid Lizards RE-150* American Treefrogs RE-151* Australian Pythons RE-140 Axolotls RE-100 Ball Pythons RE-125* Bearded Dragons RE-158* Blood Pythons RE-13S Blue-Tongued Skinks RE-101 Box Turtles RE-112 Burmese Pythons RE-147* Caimans RE-149* California Kingsnakes RE-134 Caribbean Anoles RE-128 Chameleons I RE-136 Chameleons II RE-146 Coolers 8 Sliders, Turtles RE-116 Corn Snakes RE-126 Day Geckos RE-148* Desert Iguanids RE-164* Desert Snakes of North America RE-152* Eyelash 8 Temple Vipers RE-121 Feeding Insect Eating Lizards RE-160* Giant Geckos RE-143* Gray Banded Kingsnakes RE-103 Green Anoles RE-104 Green Iguanas. Caring For RE-105 Green Iguanas 8 Other Iguanids RE-163* Green Snakes RE-120 Harlequin/Frogs RE-115 Horned Frogs RE-117 Kingsnakes: Care & Breeding RE-139* Leaf Frogs RE-106 Leopard Geckos RE-161* Mantellas RE-156* Map Turtles & Diamondback Terrapins RE-135 Mediterranean Tortoises RE-107 Milksnakes RE-131 Newts RE-108 Poison Frogs, Keeping RE-119 Pinesnakes RE-142 Racers. Whipsnakes 8 Indigos RE-110 Rat Snakes RE-144* Rattlesnakes RE-153* Rainbow Boas RE-109 Red-eared Slider Turtles RE-122 Red Tailed Boas RE-123 Reptile and Amphibian Parasites RE-102 Ribbon Snakes. Garter 8 RE-130 Rosy 8 Ground Boas RE-113 Savannah Monitors RE-154* Scorpions 8 Kin RE-111 Skinks RE-127 Skinks, Prehensile-Tailed RE-159* Sungazers 8 Plated Lizards RE-132* Swift 8 Spiny Lizards RE-124 Tarantulas & Scorpions RE-145* Tegus RE-157* Terrarium Plants RE-141 Tortoises RE-155* Tree Boas RE-163* Uromastyx Lizards RE-118 Water Dragons RE-137 Water Snakes of North America PRICE 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95 9.95

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QTY. STYLES TS-278* KW-002 TS-194 TS-154 TS-125 WW-014 TS-275* PS-846 TS-144 KD-003 TITLE Boas, The Living Boas and Non-Venomous Snakes Boas 8 Pythons, Breeding/Care Boas, Pythons 8 Other Friendly Snakes Kingsnakes 8 Milksnakes Kingsnakes 8 Miiksnakes Pythons, The Living Pythons 8 Boas Rat Snakes Snakes PRICE 35.95 9.95 35.95 29.95 35.95 12.95 49.95 26.95 39.95 9.95 6.95 12.95 8.95 6.95 18.95 129.95 9.95 4.95 8.95 4.95 9.95 6.95 59.95 16.95 5.95 35.95 2.29

Q T Y. TS-165 PS-207 KW-197 STYLE # TITLE PRICE 199.95 29.95 9.95 Reptile Care, Atlas of Diseases 8 Treatments Reptiles Diseases ot Reptile Diseases

QTY. STYLE # LR-103* LR-108 LR-100 LR-106 LR-115* LR-105 LR-109 TITLE Agamid Lizards Amphibians in Captivity, Keeping 8 Breeding Aquaterrariums Fantastic Frogs Frogs 8 Salamanders in the Terrarium Frogs 8 Toads Geckos PRICE 22.95 99.95 22.95 22.95 35.95 22.95 22.95 22.95 22.95 22.95 22.95 22.95 35.95 22.95 35.95

PB-126 Snakes WW-030* Snakes TT-001 Snakes As a Hobby TU-015 Snakes As a New Pet AP-925 Snakes As Pets TS-128 KW-127 T-112 C0-O23S B-111 KD-003 KD-003S TS-193 TW-111 SK-107 TS-189 YF-115 Snakes, Atlas of Snakes, Beginning With Snakes, Beginner's Guide Snakes, Complete Intro Snakes For Those Who Care Snakes, Look 8 Learn Snakes, Look 8 Learn Snakes. Mini Atlas Snakes, Proper Care Of Snakes, Step by Step Venomous Snakes of World Your First Snake

LR-102* Iguanid Lizards LR-101 Keeping Snakes L R - 11 2 * Live Foods L R - 111 * Lizards LR-107* Reptiles 8 Amphibians L R - 11 4 * Toads in the Terrarium LR-110* LR-113* Tropical Herps Turtles in the Terrarium

QTY. STYLE # TITLE WW-023* Amphibians PRICE 12.95

LR-104* Turtles


AMPHIBIANS FOR THOSE WHO CARE By W.P. Mara B-112 ISBN 0-7938-1390-5 UPC 01821411390-4 Concentrates on what beginners need and want to know. Plus all photos are laminated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE. SC, 7x8.5", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95 COMPLETE INTRODUCTION TO FROGS & TOADS By Jay Pyrom

ISBN 0-86622-395-9 UPC 01821423959-8 This book is suitable for experienced owners and perfect for beginners. SC, 5.5 x 8.5",96 pages, Full color photos throughout. AXOLOTLS By Peter W. Scott KW-132 ISBN 0-87666-937-2 UPC 01821469372-7 This book presents sensi ble, easy to follow recom mendations about selecting and caring for Axolotls.


By Ray Hunziker

A5UVC-OUR PUNETBOOK rat f bows to io iomirvhion



HC, 5.5x8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95


... as a hobby

ISBN 0-7938-0133-8
UPC 01821410133-8 HC,7x10", 160 I pages, Full color photos throughout.

By W.P Mara

ISBN 0-86622-773-3 UPC 01821427733-0 Readers are provided with sound information and part of the profits from sales are donated to protect portions of Brazil's rain forest. SC, 7 x 10", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95

FROGS & TOADS AS A NEW PET LOOK AND LEARN AMPHIBIANS By W.P. Mara KD-006S ISBN 0-7938-0166-4 UPC 01821410166-6 Blending authoritative caption style text with silhouetted photos. These books have great appeal to 10-12 year olds as well as adults. SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $6.95 BREEDING & KEEPING FROGS & TOADS PROPER CARE OF AMPHIBIANS By John Coborn TW-116 ISBN 086622-346-0 UCP 01821423460-9 Basic, practical information is contained in this com pact easy-reading book. HC, 5x7", 256 pages, 0ver168 full color photos. $16.95 By W.P. Mara LR-105 ISBN 0-7938-0130-3 UPC 01821410130-7 HC, 7x10", 160 pages, Full color photos throughout $22.95 LOOK AND LEARN FROGS & TOADS By Jordan Patterson KD-014S ISBN 0-7938-0153-6 UPC 01821410153-6 Reading and learning is pure pleasure with this blend of authorita tive text and silhouetted photos. SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $6.95 FANTASTIC FROGS By Jerry G. Walls LR-106 ISBN 0-7938-0131-1 UPC 01821410131-4 Covers poison frogs, horned frogs and clawed frogs; interesting and useful. HC, 7x 10", 192 pages, Full color photos throughout. $22.95 By John Coborn TU-024 ISBN 0-86622-535-8 UPC 01821425358-7 Information new hob byists need and want is provided in a design format that makes reading a pleasure. SC, 7x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $6.95

All books with the style number prefix "RE" are loaded with practical, sensible, easy-to-apply advice. They're great for beginners, but even the pros can learn from them. All photos are treated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE lamination for added appeal. SC, 7x 10", 48 to 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95 ea. SALAMANDERS & NEWTS By Dr. Herbert R. Axelrod A-315 ISBN 0-87666-222-X UPC 01821480023-1 Basic information is provided on varieties of these creatures, where they live, how WHITE'S TREE FROGS By John Coborn RE-120 to breed them, etc... SC 5.5 x 8", 32 pages, B & W. $1.79

HARLEQUIN FROGS By Ralf Heselhaus & Matthias Schmidt RE-120 ISBN 0-7938-0270-9 UPC 01821410270-0 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, 70 Full color photos

ISBN 0-7938-0282-2
UPC 01821410282-3 SC, 7x10", 48 pages, 43 Full color photos $9.95


SALAMANDERS & NEWTS AS HOBBY By John Coborn TT-020 ISBN 0-86622-730-X UPC 01821480096-5 Good, sound informa tion from a book creat ed to benefit conserva tion efforts in Brazils rain forest. SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95


... di a hobby

HORNED FROGS By Ray Hunziker RE-115 ISBN 0-7938-0271-7 UPC 01821410271-7 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, 48 Full color photos

Jewels of the Rainforest -

Poison Frogs


of the Family Dendrotratidae

JEWELS OF THE RAIN FORESTPOISON FROGS OF THE FAMILY DENDROBATIDAE By Jerry G. Walls TS-223 ISBN 07938-0299-7 UPC 01821410299-1 HC, 10x14", 288 pages, 525 Full color photos throughout. $89.95


SALAMANDERS & NEWTS AS NEW PETS By John Coborn TU-023 ISBN 0-86622-538-2 UPC 018214-25382-2 SC, 7x8.5", 64 pages, Full color pho tos throughout.

NEWTS By Jordan Patterson RE-131 ISBN 0-7938-0274-1 UPC 01821410274-8


SC, 7x10", 48 pages, 47 Full color photos $9.95



KEEPING POISON FROGS By Jerry G.Walls RE-108 ISBN 0-7938-0252-0 UPC 01821410252-6 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, 77 Full color photos $9.95



ISBN 0-86622-389-4 UPC 01821423894-2 This book is designed to delight the eye while providing sensible advice to beginners and pros. SC, 5.5 x 8.5 ",96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95

ISBN 0-7938-0133-8 UPC 018214101338 Covers ALL amphibians, even the caelcilians. Contains over 500 Full color photos. HC, 7X 10" $99.95

All books with the style number prefix "RE" are loaded with practi cal, sensible, easy-to-apply advice. They're great for beginners, but even the pros can learn from them. All photos are treated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE lamination for added appeal. SC. 7 x 10", 48 to 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95 ea. CHAMELEONS I SPECIES By W. Schmidt RE-128 ISBN 0-7938-0264-4 UPC 01821410264-9 SC, 7x10". 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95


FEEDING INSECT EATING LIZARDS By David Zoffer RE-121 ISBN 0-7938-0268-7 UPC 01821410268-7 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95


By David Zoffer RE-133 ISBN 0-7938-0283-0 UPC 01821410283-0 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95


BEARDED DRAGONS By John Coborn RE-125 ISBN 0-7930261X UPC 01821410261-8 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95

GREEN ANOLES By Ray Hunziker CHAMELEONS II CARE AND BREEDING By W. Schmidt RE-136 ISBN 0-7938-0285-7 UPC 01821410285-4 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, 64 Full color photos throughout $9.95

RE-103 ISBN 0-7938-0254-7 UPC 01821410254-0 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, 66 Full color photos throughout

CARIBBEAN ANOLES By R. Heselhaus & M. Schmidt RE-134 ISBN 0-7938-0286-5 UPC 01821410286-1 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95

CARING FOR GREEN IGUANAS By John Coborn RE-104 ISBN 0-7938-0255-5 UPC 01821410255-7 SC, 7x10", 48 pages, 50 Full color photos throughout $9.95

DAY GECKOS BY Eric M. Rundquist RE-126 ISBN 0-7938-0267-9 UPC 01821410267-0 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95


GREEN IGUANAS & OTHER IGUANIDS By John Coborn RE-105 ISBN 0-7938-0272-5 UPC 01821410272-4 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, 51 Full color photos throughout $9.95

AGAMID LIZARDS By Ulrich Mantley & Norbert Schuster LR-103 ISBN 0-7938-0128-1 UPC 01821410128-4 HC, 7x10", 160 pages $22.95

LEOPARD GECKOS By Ray Hunziker RE-106 ISBN 07938-0258-x UPC 01821410258-8 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, 69 Full color photos throughout

CHAMELEONS By Mervin F. Roberts A-304 ISBN 0-87666-188-6 UPC 01821461886-7 This booklet provides concise information on keeping chameleons as pets. SC, 32pages, B&W $1.79



ISBN 0-7938-0-0279-2 UPC 01821410279-3
SC, 7 x 10", 64 pages. Full color photos throughout $9.95 SWIFTS & SPINY LIZARDS By Ray Hunziker RE-132 ISBN 0-7938-0280-6 UPC 01821410280-9 SC, 7x 10". 64 pages. Full color photos throughout $9.95

SAVANNAH MONITORS By John Coborn RE-113 ISBN 0-7938-0278-4 UPC 01821410278-6 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, 60 Full color photos throughout $9.95

ALL ABOUT CHAMELEONS By Mervin F. Roberts PS-310 ISBN 0-86622-795-4 UPC 01821427954-9 Colorful, practical and interesting... a good book for reptile fans with any level of experience. HC, 5.5x8", 80 pages, Illustrated in color & B&W.


WATER DRAGONS SKINKS By Jerry G. Walls RE-111 ISBN 0-7938-0257-1 UPC 01821410257-1 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, 71 Full color photos throughout By John Coborn RE-118 ISBN 0-7938-0281-4 UPC 01821410281-6 SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95

A STEP BY STEP BOOK ABOUT CHAMELEONS By Robert Anderson SK-038 ISBN 0-86622-488-2 UPC 01821424882-8 Practical, easy-to-read text providing readers with sensible advice. SC, 5.5x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout.





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GECKOS: CARE AND BREEDING By John Coborn LR-109 ISBN 0-7938-0134-6 UPC 01821410134-5 HC, 7x10", 160 pages, Full color photos throughout. $22.95 ALL ABOUT IGUANAS By Martha D. Roberts

IGUANID LIZARDS By Hubert Bosch & Heiko Werning LR-102 ISBN 0-7938-0127-3 UPC 01821410127-7 HC, 7x10", 160 pages, Full color pho tos throughout. $22.95

ISBN 0-86622-747-4 UPC 01821427474-2 Excellent text provides a useful guide to selec tion and care and is especially useful for its fine portrayal of different species. HC, 5.5x8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $11.95 A SA Vt-OUR-PLANET BOOK


TS-166 ISBN 0-86622-218-9
UPC 01821422189-0 This book is the first modern coverage of the geckos that are being kept and bred today. HC, 7x10. 192 pages, Full color photos throughout. $35.95


IGUANAS AS A HOBBY By Shelly K. Ferrell


BREEDING AND KEEPING LIZARDS By John Coborn LR-111 ISBN 0-7938-0136-2 UPC 01821410136-9 HC, 7x10", 160 pages, Full color pho tos throughout. $22.95

... os a hobby

ISBN 0-86622-384-3 UPC 01821423843-0 Good, sound informa tion from a book cre ated to benefit conser vation efforts in Brazil's rain forest. SC, 7x10", 96 pages, Full color photos

Mm™ rou mm ro mm ro on srarra

throughout. $8.95

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GIANT LIZARDS By Robert G. Sprackland

LIZARDS By David R. Moenich KW-196 ISBN 0-86622-823-3 UPC 01821428233-4 Contains useful and interesting information with a special section on breeding lizards in A STEP BY STEP ABOUT IGUANAS By Jack C.Harris SK-015 ISBN 0-86622-459-9 UPC 01821424599-5 Practical, easy-to-read text provides readers with sensible advice SC, 5.5 x 8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $5.95 captivity. HC, 5.5x8", 128 pages, Full color photos throughout.

ISBN 0-86622-634-6 ■ UPC 018214126346-3 1 This immensely infor mative and colorful book provides specific information about care that is not available anywhere else in the world. HC, 8.5 x 11", 200 pages, Full color photos throughout. $89.95


ALL ABOUT LIZARDS By Robert Sprackland Jr.


ISBN 0-87666-764-7 UPC 01821467647-8 Good advice about keeping lizards in captivity plus excellent coverage of tax onomy. HC, 5.5x8", 128 pages, Over 50 full color photos. $11.95

KD-012S ISBN 07938-0151-6 UPC 01821410151-2 Reading and learning is
pure pleasure with this blend

of authoritative text and
sihouetted photos.

SC, 7 x 10", 64 pages
Full-color photos throughout



LIZARDS AS A HOBBY By John Coborn TT-022 ISBN 0-86622-677-x UPC 01821480085-9 Good, sound information from a book created to benefit conservation efforts in Brazil's rain forest. SC, 7X10", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. ISBN 0-7938-1391-3 UPC 01821411391-1 Great beginner's book. Enhanced graphics with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE lamination. SC, 7x8.5", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95


ray staszko


ISBN 0-86622-969-8 UPC 01821429698-0 Practical easy-to-read text provides readers with sen sible advice SC, 5.5x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos through out. $5.95


YOUR FIRST LIZARD By Jerry G.Walls LIZARDS AS A NEW PET By John Coborn TU-025 ISBN 0-86622-536-6 UPC 01821425366-2 Specifically designed for maximum benefit to beginners. SC, 7x 8.5", 64 pages,Full color photos throughout. $6.95 KEEPING LIZARDS IN CAPTIVITY By Richard H. Wynne


Your First

YF-111 ISBN 0-86622-068-2
UPC 01821420682-8 Practical, easy-to-read text provides readers with sensible advice. SC, 6x7.5", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout.

PS-769 ISBN 0-86622-083-6 UPC 01821420836-5
General information on lizards from housing to health care. HC, 5.5x8.5", 192 pages,Over 58 color photos throughout. $11.95

Jerry G. Walls


All books with the style number prefix "RE" are loaded with practical, sensible, easy-to-apply advice. They're great for beginners, but even the pros can learn from them. All photos are treated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE lamination for added appeal. SC, 7x 10", 48 to 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95 ea.

PINE SNAKES By W. P. Mara RE-119 ISBN 0-7938-0262-8 UPC 01821410262-5 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95

RED TAILED BOAS By Glen Drewnowski RE-122 ISBN 0-7938-0275-x UPC 01821410275-5 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95

CORN SNAKES, VARIETIES RE-129 ISBN 0-7938-0266-0 UPC 01821410266-3 SC. 7x 10", 64 i ^ r ^^ pages, Full color photos throughout. M^KBmw**$9.95


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By W.P. Mara RE-137 ISBN 0-7938-0288-1 UPC 018214-10288-5 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95


ROSY & GROUND BOAS By Jerry G. Wails RE-130 ISBN 0-7938-0277-6 UPC 01821410277-9 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, 60 Full color photos $9.95

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BOAS& NON-VENOMOUS SNAKES By Professor Werner Frank KW-002 ISBN 0-86622-826-8 UPC 01821428268-6 Readers are given information they need and want. The text is interesting and easyto- read. HC, 5.5 x 8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95 PYTHONS & BOAS By Peter J. Stafford PS-846 ISBN 0-86622-084-4 UPC 01821420844-0 An attractive and colorful volume that answers every question about caring for these snakes. HC, 5.5x8", 198 pages, Full color photos throughout. $26.95

SNAKES By Mervin F. Roberts PB-126 ISBN 0-86622-784-9 UPC 01821427849-8 Easy-to-read text pro vides expert practical advice for beginners and those more advanced. SC, 6 x 8.5", 80 pages, Full color photos throughout. $6.95

BOAS & PYTHONS BREEDING & CARE By E. Stoops & A. Wright TS-194 ISBN 0-86622-632-x UPC 01821480040-8 Concentration is on basic care, nutrition, health, breeding, etc. HC, 7x10", 192 pages, Over 190 full color pho tos throughout. $35.95





ISBN0-86622-415-7 UPC 01821424157-7 Created to help you enjoy your pet and to benefit conservation efforts in Brazil's rain forest. SC, 7x10", 96 pages, Full color photos

... as a hobby

A Hobbyist's Guide to Elaphe and Kin
Say Siau'P OftOJonyO want |

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throughout. $8.95


BOAS, PYTHONS & OTHER FRIENDLY SNAKES By John Coborn TS-154 ISBN 0-86622-603-6 UPC 01821426036-3 Contents include natural history, selection, terrarium construction, and general care. HC, 6x8.5", 160 pages, Over 160 full color photos $29.95

SNAKES AS A NEW PET By Jake Oberon TU-015 ISBN 0-86622-623-0 UPC 01821426230-5 This book comes from a series scien tifically designed for maximum benefit to beginners. SC, 7.5x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $6.95

RAT SNAKES By Ray Staszkos & Jerry Walls TS-144 ISBN 0-86622-635-4 UPC 01821426354-8 Covers all species, presents in depth information on selection, handling, breeding, etc. HC, 8.5x11", 208 pages, Full color photos through

out. $39.95

KINGSNAKES AND MILK SNAKES By Ronald Markel TS-125 ISBN 0-86622-6648 UPC 01821426648-8 These interesting snakes are covered in great detail with

£ >

SNAKES AS PETS JUNIOR PET CARE SNAKES By Zuza Vrbovra J-007 ISBN 0-86622-557-9 UPC 01821425579-6 By Dr. Hobart M. Smith AP-925 ISBN 0-86622-658-3 UPC 01821426583-2 A most informative book for the keeper and prospective keeper of snakes. HC, 5.5x8.5", 160 pages, Full color photos through out. $16.95





Wtik eye-grabbing pho Colorful, easy-to-read, great for beginners. tography. HC, 7x9", 48 pages, Full color photos throughout. HC, 8.5x11", 160 pages, Over 150 full color photos throughout. $35.95 $9.95

PROPER CARE OF SNAKES SNAKES FOR THOSE WHO CARE ByAnmarie Barrie B-111 ISBN 0-7938-1389-1 UPC 01821411389-8 ATLAS OF SNAKES By John Coborn Easy-to-read text, great graphics, all photos laminated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE. SC, 7x8.5", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95 A STEP BY STEP BOOK ABOUT SNAKES By Robert Anderson SK-017 By Armin Geus TW-111 ISBN 0-86622-185-9 UPC 01821421859-3 Covers housing, feeding, species, diseases, related equipment and supplies. HC, 5x 7", 256 pages, Full color photos throughout. $16.95

ISBN 0-86622-749-0 UPC 01821427490-2 The ultimate snake reference book. A must for seri ous hobbyists and herpetologists. HC, 10 x 14", 591 pages, Full color photos through out. $129.95 BEGINNING WITH SNAKES By Richard F. Stratton KW-127 ISBN 0-86622-782-2 UPC 01821427822-1 Easy to follow recommen dations about selecting and caring for pet snakes. HC, 5.5 x 8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95


BREEDING & KEEPING SNAKES By Dr. Dietar Schmidt LR-101 ISBN 0-7938-0126-5 UPC 01821410126-0 HC, 7x10", 160 pages. Full color photos throughout $22.95

ISBN 0-86622-460-2 UPC 01821424602-2
Tells which snakes are easy to keep, which are not. Also advice on keeping snakes. SC, 5.5 x 8.5", 64 pages, Over 50 full color photos throughout. $5.95

VENOMOUS SNAKES OF THE WORLD By W. P. Mara TS-189 ISBN 0-866225226 UPC 018214252269 This handsome, colorful volume explores topics ■ concerning these LI-.'" ■ \:&'?$3ufc.WM fascinating crea tures. HC, 7x 10", 224 pages, Over 180 full color photos throughout. $35.95

BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO SNAKES By Ira Nowinsky T-112 ISBN 0-86622-313-4 UPC 01821423134-9 An easy-to-read presen tation that makes under standing snakes easy and fun. HC, 5.5x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95


ISBN 0-7938-0172-7 UPC 01821410172-9 Contains authoritative text and beautifully sil houetted photographs. SC, 7x10", 64 pages Full color photos throughout. $6.95


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MINI ATLAS OF SNAKES By John Coborn TS-193 ISBN 0-86622-601-X UPC 01821480082-8 Covers all snakes on a familyby-family basis with useful text on care and breeding. HC, 5.5x8.5", 736 pages, Over 950 full color photos throughout. $59.95


YOUR FIRST SNAKE By Ray Hunziker YF-115 ISBN 0-86622-072-0 UPC 01821420720-7 Colorful, easy-toread, designed for use by beginners. SC, 6 x 7", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $2.29


Your First


ISBN 0-86622-352-5 UPC 01821423525-5 SC, 5.5x8.5", 96 pages, Over 64 full color photos throughout. $8.95


Ray Hunziker

TARANTULAS AQUA TERRARIUMS By Robert G. Sprackland LR-100 ISBN 0-7938-0125-7 UPC 01821410125-3 Tells and shows how to combine aquari ums and terrariums. HC, 7x 10", 160 pages,Over 41 photos throughout. $22.95 By John G.Browning KW-075 ISBN 0-86622-833-0 UPC 01821428330-0 A concentration of informa tion you need and want in an easy-to-read style. HC, 5x8", 44 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95

TARANTULAS & SCORPIONS By Wayne Ranklin & Jerry G. Walls RE-124 ISBN 0-7935-0259-8 UPC 01821410259-5 A great book for beginners and pros alike. Contains pho tos laminated with FOTO-GLAZE. SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95


ISBN 0-86622-353-3 UPC 01821423533-0 This book shows spider fans how to get the most from their oddball pets. SC, 5x8.5", 62 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95

LAND HERMIT CRABS By Paul J. Nash A-325 ISBN 0-87666-907-0 UPC 018214669070-2 This book will help you enjoy these easy-to-care for pets to the fullest. SC,5x8", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $1.79

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BEGINNER'S GUIDE TO TERRARIUMS By Richard Haas T-120 ISBN 0-86622-320-7 UPC 01821423207-0 This book makes under standing terrariums easy and fun. HC, 5.5x 8.75", 62 ALL ABOUT TARANTULAS By Dale Lund PS-749 ISBN 0-87666-909-7 UPC 01821469097-9 Contains good advice about keeping your pet alive and in good health for many years. HC, 5.5x8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $11.95 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95

A Beginner's Guide to


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LAND HERMIT CRABS By Neal Pronek KW-098 ISBN 0-86622-967-1 UPC 01821429671-3 HC, 5.5x8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout

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A STEP BY STEP BOOK ABOUT STICK INSECTS By David Alderton SK-043 ISBN 0-86622-349-5 UPC 01821423495-1 Colorful photos com bined with easy-to-read text giving sensible, practical advice. SC, 5.5x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $5.95



TERRARIUMS FOR YOUR NEW PET By M. F. Roberts PROPER CARE OF TARANTULAS By Ann Webb TU-017 ISBN 0-86622-525-0 UPC 018214252 50-4 This book is one from a series scientifically designed for maximum benefit to beginners. SC, 7x8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos through out. $6.95

ISBN 0-86622-446-7 UPC 01821424467-7 This book covers all of the basics including keeping, handling and breeding. HC, 5 x 7", 288 pages, Full color photos throughout. $16.95

All books with the style number prefix "RE" are loaded with practical, sensible, easy-to-apply advice. They're great for beginners, but even the pros can learn from them. All photos are treated with our exclusive FOTO-GLAZE lamination for added appeal. SC, 7x 10", 48 to 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95 ea.




BOX TURTLES By Jordan Patterson RE-101 ISBN 0-7938-0251-2 UPC 01821410251-9 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95 A STEP BY STEP BOOK ABOUT TORTOISES By Christine Adrian SK-034 t o ISBN 0-86622-487-4 UPC 01821424874-3 Practical, easy-to-read text provides readers with sensible advice. SC, 5.5 x 8.5", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $5.95

TURTLES By Robert J. Church M-515 ISBN 0-87666-226-2 UPC 01821462262-i Straight to the point information covering al. aspects of turtles. SC, 5.5x8". 64 pages. B&W. $4.95

RED-EARED SLIDER TURTLES By Jordan Patterson RE-109 ISBN 0-7938-0253-9 UPC 01821410253-3 SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95

TURTLES By Mervin F. Roberts KW-051 ISBN 0-86622-834-9 UPC 01821428349-2 Sensible, easy to follow re commendations about select ing and caring for turtles. HC, 5.5x8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95

MEDITERRANEAN TORTOISES By Brian Pursall RE-135 ISBN 0-7938-0284- 9 UPC 01821410284-7 SC, 7x10", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout $9.95



TURTLES By John M. Mehrtens PB-129 ISBN 0-86622-512-9 UPC 01821425129-3 Easy-to-read text provides expert practical advice for both beginners and those more advanced. SC, 6x8.5", 80 pages, 16 pages of full color photos. $6.95

ISBN 0-86622-280-4 UPC 01821422804-2 A practical guide to keeping shelled reptiles of all types successfully. SC, 5.5x8.5". 128 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95



TURTLES AS A HOBBY By W. P. Mara TT-013 ISBN 0-86622-324-X UPC 01821480010-1 Good, sound informa tion from a book cre ated to benefit conser vation efforts in Brazil's rain forest.SC,

... as a hobby

ENJOY YOUR TURTLE Edited by Eari Schneider PL-362 ISBN 0-87666-918-0 UPC 01821410124-6 This booklet is written as a guide to the care of turtles.

7x9", 96 pages, over 100 full color photos.

SC, 5.5x8", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout, a $1.79 I

A LOOK & LEARN BOOK ABOUT TURTLES KD-013S ISBN 07938-0152-4 UPC 01821410152-9 Reading and learning is pure pleasure with this blend of authoritative text and silhouetted photos. SC, 7x10", 64 pages, Over 168 full color photos. $6.95


TURTLES AS A NEW PET By Al David TU-013 ISBN 0-86622-621-4 UPC 01821426214-5 Scientifically designed to provide information new hobbyists need and want. TURTLES FOR HOME & GARDEN By Willy Jocher PS-307 ISBN 0-87666-777-9 UPC 01821467779-6 Maintaining a habitat is discussed with extreme instructions on building outdoor quarters. HC, 5.5x8", 128 pages, Full color photos throughout. $8.95


ISBN 0-86622-534-x UPC 01821480014-9 Basic, practical information is contained in this compact easy-reading book.

HC, 5x7", 256 pages, Over 168 full color photos. $16.95

SC. 7x8.5", 64 pages, Full color pho tos throughout.




ENCYCLOPEDIA OF TURTLES I ^*~ By Dr. Peter Pritchard H-1011 ISBN 0-87666-918-6 UPC 01821469186-0 This extraordinary volume is of value to pet keepers as well as scientific turtle experts. TURTLES FOR THOSE WHO CARE B-116 ISBN 0-7938-1394-8 UPC 01821411394-2 Concentration is on what beginners need and want to know. Plus all photos are laminated with our exclu sive FOTO-GLAZE. SC, 7x8.5, 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $4.95

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Your First

YOUR FIRST TURTLE By Louis Dampier YF-117 ISBN 0-86622-108-5 UPC 01821421085-6 Everything you need to know to start right with

Louis Dampier ——

turtles. SC. 6x7.5", 32 pages, Full color photos throughout. $2.29

HC, 5.5x8.5", 896 pages,Over 358 full color photos $69.95

LIVE FOODS By W. Volkart LR-112 ISBN 0-7938-0137-0 UPC 01821410137-3 HC, 7x 10", 160 pages, Full color photos throughout. $22.95 KEEPING AND BREEDING REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS By John Coborn LR-107

ISBN 0-7938-0132-X
UPC 01821410132-1 HC, 7x 10", 160 pages, Full color photos throughout. $22.95



ENCYCLOPEDIA OF REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS By John F. Breen H-935 ISBN 0-87666-220-3 UPC 01821462203-1 Any hobbyist or weekend naturalist can turn to this comprehensive volume for answers to any question. HC, 5.5x8", 576 pages, Over 267 full color photos throughout. $39.95 PROPER CARE OF REPTILES By John Coborn TW-115 ISBN 0-86622-345-2 UPC 01821423452-4 Another book from a compact, easy-to-read series represent ing exceptional value. HC, 5x 7", 256 pages, Full color photos throughout. $16.95


ATLAS OF REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS By Fritz Jurgen Obst/ Dr. Klaus Richter/ Dr. Udo Jacob H-1102 ISBN 0-86622-958-2 UPC 01821429582-2 A beautiful and comprehensive volume covering all reptiles and amphibians kept in terrariums. HC, 8 x 10", 830 pages, Full color photos throughout. $129.95

KEEPING REPTILES & AMPHIBIANS By J. Krottlinger TS-182 ISBN 0-86622-516-1 UPC 01821425161-3 Contents include behavioral biology, basic care and select ing a terrarium animal.

HC,7x10", 192 pages, Over 175 full color photos.

-ceding Terrtrhim Animal* •



AGEMEHTIH captivity

TS-211 ISBN 0-7938-0298-9
UPC 01821410298-4 An entertaining yet accurate account of all the basic tricks of the trade. HC, 7x10", 222 pages, Full color photos throughout. $29.95 TROPICAL HERPS By John Coborn LR-110 ISBN 0-7938-0135-4 UPC 018214101135-2 HC, 7x 10", 160 pages, Full color photos throughout. $22.95


ISBN 0-86622-541-2
UPC 01821425412-6 Contents include housing, nutrition, diseases, breeding and rearing. HC, 6 x 9", 384 pages, Over 175 full color photos throughout. $39.95



ISBN 0-86622-214-6 UPC 01821422146-3 Two beautiful, big and immensely colorful volumes encompass the entire spectrum of reptile maintenance and health care. HC, 10 x 14", 650 pages, Full color photos throughout. $199.95 set REPTILE DISEASES By Rolf Hackbarth KW-197 ISBN 0-86622-824-1 UPC 01821428241-9 HC, 5.5 x 8", 96 pages, Full color photos throughout


DISEASES OF REPTILES By Drs. H. Reichenbach Klinke & E. Elkan PS-207 ISBN 0-87666-045-6 UPC 01821460456-3 Of interest to scientists, dealers and advanced hobbyists. SC, 5.5x8", 660 pages, B&W photos throughout. $29.95

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REPTILE DISEASES By Eric M. Rundquist RE-123 ISBN 0-7938-0276-8 UPC 01821410276-2 One from a series of books loaded with practical, sensible,easy-to-apply advice. All photos are treated with our exclu sive FOTO-GLAZE lamination for added appeal. SC, 7x 10", 64 pages, Full color photos throughout. $9.95

By Robert George Sprackland T .F .H. Style #TS-145 Hard cover, 8V2" x 11" 288 pages

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To many, monitors, iguanas, and tegus are the closest modern dinosaur lookalikes. The big lizards are fascinating pets for hobbyists with room and patience, but even the beginner keeping a green iguana for the first time will discover the tricks of successful lizard care in Giant Lizards. This great-looking new book is made to order for herp lovers. Giant Lizards is the only book of its kind that focuses specifically on the giants. It's packed with thoroughly practical information to guide you through every aspect of giant lizard maintenance, feeding, breeding, and more! Totally honest, it also lists the good points and the bad points of each giant lizard. • The only comprehensive coverage of all the lizards over three feet! • Emphasis on natural history as well as captive care! • The first modern coverage of the most spectacular lizards! • Heavily illustrated in full color with many new lizards! • Full bibliography! • Section on careers in herpetology!

T.F.H. Publications, Inc. One T.F.H. Plaza, Neptune City, New Jersey 07753

To r A L o N C t R , MORf COLORFUL

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When it comes to nourishing your reptiles the natural way, Reed's Iguana and Tortoise Foods from Tetra Terrafauna are the only choice for a complete and balanced diet. Newly formulated, Reed's contains full-spectrum color enhancers, plus complete nutritional requirements for the life of your reptile. Formulated to bring out the natural color in your reptile, Reed's is available in both adult and juvenile formulas. Reed's is not like other dry foods; it contains no animal by products, is not high in protein, and replaces potentially toxic vitamin A with beta-carotene. Reed's is the only food source necessary for your pet. Available in containers that protect the food from UV light deterioration, Reed's also has a fliptop lid for more convenient meal preparation. So if you want an easy, complete diet that provides your iguana or tortoise with all of the nutrients it needs to bring a splash of color into its life, ask for Reed's from Tetra Terrafauna

Copyright © 1997 Tetra Terrafauna, 3001 Commerce Street, Blacksburg, Virginia 24060-6671 (540) 951-5400, Fax: (540) 951-5415 Visit us on the web at http://www.tetra-fish.com Tetra Terrafauna® is a trademark.


• Combination of antimicrobial quaternary compounds and low sudsing detergents. • Provides for botb deep cleaning and broad range disinfeding. • Non-toxic. Safe for your pet. • Highly effective against gram negative bacteria, the pathogens responsible for most reptilian infections.

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• Effectively kills bacteria (including Salmonella) as well as most fungal and viral pathogens on contact. • Low viscosity enables deep penetration of irregular and porous surfaces making it the ideal cleaner/disinfectant for rock heaters and cage furniture.

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• Effectively kills Salmonella and most other microbes on contact. • "No Alcohol" formulation moisturizes rather than drying the skin. No alcohol "flashback" fumes. • Dries in seconds with no rinsing. • Use before and after handling your reptiles —protects you and your animals.

ZOO MED LABORATORIES, INC. San Luis Obispo, CA 93401 U.S.A. Ph. 805/542-9988 FAX 805/542-9295

3100 McMilan Road


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