Thursday, 24 June 2010 11:06 All About Frogs
Written by Catherine

We're just as honored as she is! My Frog Blog creator Catherine Shanahan is on hand to give us the lowdown on thoe slimy little sweethearts!

Hi Everyone

Firstly, I want to say thank you very much to Ava for inviting me to do a guest post for her website.  I am so honored to be asked to do this and I hope everyone enjoys reading it.

I’d like to start by sharing how I came to love amphibians and discuss caring for them.  I would also like to talk about amphibians for beginners and what to avoid if you are a newbie.

My love of frogs started around 4 years ago.  It's funny how it started because it came about as a result of me popping into a tattoo studio which had been recommended to me by a work colleague! We'd just been chatting about tattoos generally as she had one done recently so she was sharing her experiences about it.

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Monday, 14 June 2010 01:27 The Thrill of The Chase
Written by Ava100

You've heard of dog rescuers, cat rescuers, even fish and marine life.  But snakes? Well, most of you reptile enthusiasts know it to be true and so does Jody, a Northern California resident who's a former member of a team that performs snake rescues for the Wildlife Center in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico.  

But don't call him merely a snake rescuer.  He's also a snake chaser! In fact, he finds more in the thrill of the chase then he does in the actual rescue.   While he's kept many over the years, he still enjoys learning about them, looking at them, and holding them in his hands more than he does bringing them to his home.

Jody's had plenty of adventures and he likes to feature them on his blog, NMHerps.  We also had the opportunity to chat him up for a special featured Q&A below.  Let's hear what Jody has to say about his latest escapades.  

How was the Santa Rosa Wilderness in the Colorado Desert? What kind of reptiles did you see there?

Palm Desert was a total bust. It was basically winter there last weekend [Editors Note: Jody went there in last month.] Night temps were in the 40s (F) with winds hitting 50 mph. I saw one Chuckwalla, a few Sceloporus and a Fringe-toed lizard. I got skunked on the snakes.

What is it about reptiles that appeals to you?

That's hard to say, but the very first time I saw one, when I was 8, I caught it, an Eastern garter snake. I've caught almost every snake I've encountered since, if it didn't manage to get away from me first. More than a few have.

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Saturday, 05 June 2010 13:32 The Reptile Protector
Written by Ava100

As he finds his way through the bushes on the desert in Abu Dhabi, one may wonder what Garry Minks is doing. He is actually trying to catch a cobra – a wounded king cobra. Garry is a volunteer of Endangered Species International, a non-profit organization focused on protecting endangered species – including reptiles and amphibians.

On a typical day, Garry brings home a few frogs, snakes and other reptiles and amphibians to nurse and care for them until they are ready to be released to the wild again. We are lucky enough to conduct an interview with Garry during one of his minor operation with a dhub – a spiny tailed lizard usually found in the deserts of Abu Dhabi.

How did you get into the job you are doing now?

I do not really consider this as my job but more of a passion. Though some individuals and groups, aside from the Endangered Species International, give their support to what I am doing, I do not actually receive money but prefer materials and medicines needed with my research.

If you do not get any cash from support-groups, how do you make a living?

This is not my full-time job. I call this as my hobby. I am a manager on a logistics company based here in Abu Dhabi. What I earn from my day job is more than enough for the needs of my family.

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Thursday, 03 June 2010 08:39 Forty Days Later...
Written by Connie

It is now more than forty days after the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and they still have not stopped the leak. I can’t even remember all of the things they have tried or thought about trying…booms, setting it on fire, top hat, top kill, junk shot, and now the latest - the deployment of the Lower Marine Riser Package (LMRP) Cap Containment System. What will they come up with next? It has been over 20 years since the Exxon Valdez oil spill and we have yet to figure out a way to contain and clean up the mess. Perhaps drilling should cease until someone can come up with a way to get rid of it when these things happen. 

I have read many reports regarding the effects of the oil spill on the wildlife in the Gulf Coast area and the most common number I can find is that about 25-30 dead birds have been found covered in oil. I have also read that about 500 birds, 200 turtles and 30 mammals have been found dead along the Gulf coast, however, they have not linked these deaths directly to the oil spill. Many of these deaths were probably related to the oil spill and that these numbers are probably low because many of the dead organisms are likely to be eaten prior to washing up on shore. If that is the case, then whatever ate the dead, oil-affected organisms will probably also be affected. Not to mention the fish and shellfish that also live in these waters.

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Tuesday, 25 May 2010 15:01 Happy Herping
Written by Bernard

About five years ago I was walking a dirt road between an old field to my right and pine/oak woods to my left when I spotted a six-foot beast of a black rat snake (Pantherophis obsoleta) exploring the fallen half of a split cherry tree. I clumsily detained it for a couple photos, and then I let it go. It headed for the standing trunk of the cherry and then flowed up about fifteen feet with absolutely no regard for gravity. It is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen a snake do. I recall another rat snake anchored in a cliff-face crevice on a mountainside in the Pocono Mountains and soaking up the morning sun before a day of hunting birds and chipmunks, yet another a patterned hatchling crossing a sand road in the New Jersey Pine Barrens at dusk.

Each of these was not simply a beautiful snake; it was a rich experience of a beautiful creature in a setting it evolved to master. This is why I go herping. Black rat snakes are beautiful snakes in any setting, captive or wild, and as arboreal constrictors I find them especially fun to handle; they're comfortable off the ground and they grip you back, what I think of as the rat snake handshake. But however much I love them in whatever setting, I'll take them in the wild if I have any choice in the matter.

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Sunday, 23 May 2010 14:50 Subocs Specialty
Written by Ava100

Like most of us who have joined this forum, Dusty Rhodes has always had a lifelong enthusiasm for reptiles.  He kept many species of reptiles and amphibians when he was young and hatched a Leopard Gecko when he was 15.  He always wanted to study them and keeping them in his home was an easy way to do so.  

So it was no surprise when I learned that Dusty became a herpetologist and herpetoculturist, who has focused on the genus Bogertophis -- the Trans-Pecos and Baja Ratsnakes -- for the past decade.

The Texas native is currently a graduate-level scientist, pursuing his PhD in Biology at Ole Miss (the University of Mississippi) studying the evolution, biogeography, phylogeography, and conservation of tropical reptiles and amphibians.

And best of all, he puts forth his incredible reptile knowledge with his book The Complete Suboc: A Comprehensive Guide to the Natural History, Care, and Breeding of the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake,which is devoted to the natural history, maintenance, and subsequent breeding  of the unique Trans-Pecos Ratsnake.  

Not sure if Dusty is knowledgeable on the subject.  Besides his academic credentials, look no further than his blog, Simply Subocs, a forum and blog for those who enjoy Trans-Pecos Ratsnakes and want to discuss them.  Lots of valuable information there.

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