herpetology

theatlantic.com
The Thirsty Little Snake That Swam Across the World
It’s always dehydrated, and it's not a great swimmer, but it can somehow cross oceans.
By Ed Yong

The 62 species of sea snakes are all wonderfully adapted to life in the oceans, but they almost always come ashore to lay eggs. But not the yellow-bellied one; it is the only member of the group that lives full-time in the open ocean. It eats at sea, mates at sea, and gives birth to live young at sea. It has special valves in its nose to stop water from getting in, and can even partially breathe through its skin. It hunts by sitting amid flotsam and picking off small fish that gather beneath it. And it swims by propelling itself with a flattened, paddle-like tail.

And yet, in some ways, it is so ill-suited to life in the ocean that its existence borders on poetic tragedy. For example, a few years ago, Brischoux and his colleague Harvey Lillywhite from the University of Florida showed that the yellow-bellied sea snake is almost constantly thirsty and dehydrated.

If you tried to swallow water in the ocean, your kidneys would remove the extra salt by diluting it in urine. In doing so, you’d actually get rid of more water than you ingested. This is why, when humans drink seawater, they get dehydrated. Some marine animals cope with this problem using special salt-removing glands, but Lillywhite showed that—contrary to what scientists previously believed—sea snakes do not. They live most of their lives in the oceans, but they never swallow seawater. Instead, they try quench their thirst with fresh water.

Some species stick close to coastal sites with nearby sources of fresh water, like springs or streams that empty into the sea. But the yellow-bellied sea snake has no such option. Instead, it drinks from the thin layers of freshwater that briefly form on the surface of the ocean when it rains. That seems precarious, and it is. For much of the year, from November to May, these snakes are almost constantly dehydrated.

The yellow-bellied sea snake isn’t a great swimmer either. “It is really small,” says Brischoux. “It can move in the water, but not for a very long period of time and not against really strong currents—unlike, say, a seal.” So how could it possibly occupy such a large range? The only other tetrapods that are so widespread are either powerful swimmers like the giant whales or strong fliers like seabirds. The yellow-bellied sea snake is neither, and yet it has spread over two-thirds of the Earth’s surface.

Read full article here.

And you thought you could trust a Vet...

Allow me to make an important note: “Kip”, the Red Iguana, has a VERY well balanced Diet of all the staples, including FRESH home-grown, pesticide free alfalfa, all the veggies and peppers in the surprisingly versatile market we have in our little towns, and peppers, MY LORD, THE PEPPERS! Fruits and all sorts of good yummy snacks are available and he has an impressive appetite and a salad bowl daily that’s enough to make -me- jealous! His heat and humidity usually feels pretty on-par (when we don’t have such Bi-Polar weather at least), and despite the trademark Iguana attitude that they can have, especially when working with a young one, I’d say he’s pretty well set in his 50 gallons at 4 months. (I apologize, I recently visited to weigh him and age him for her but I dearly forgot his measurement and grams!)

So when Constipation hit little Kip…
Well, really, constipation isn’t all that bad. Usually it’s easily treatable! So… Whoppdie doo! It’s not like us other herps haven’t been through it, so no big deal, right? Well, she was rightfully worried, not overly panicked, and she dealt with it well. Rae and I’s mother (having bred Greenies and not just Greenies but Axanthics as well), told her to begin with light, sugar-free, and non-additive applesauce, which was always her go-to. She went with a basic just plain-jane organic applesauce for the 4 month old Red Iguana.

She also began to work with it’s belly a little, rubbing it scale-ways from the center of its stomach down to the vent whilst soaking him in a tub of warm water (85 degrees, 80 at minimum) twice a day. Well, looks like that didn’t work either. 5 days pass and there’s no signs of success when I made the suggestion of Watermelon.

Watermelon, high in sugars and water, has a tenancy to give most reptiles the runs and it shoves everything out of their system which is why it’s not a reccomended food source. This much is obvious but it was bordering on a week and Watermelon was the only thing we didn’t try. Welcome to the world of Laxatives!

It was like magic. The next day, the little poop-shoot shoved out what appeared to be a slightly hardened food that was blocking it. A few hours later, the vent popped out a nice big turd! The pass is free! Finally! She breaths her sighs of relief, washes up her bowl-content covered hand (as I assume she was attempting the massaging method again), and made sure to phone me that all was well in the land of little Kip (her little Red)!

Wonderful news! Perfecto! He’s back to his normal self! We’ve had some chillier nights (strangly) here in Wisconsin, so truth be told, mate, I assumed that his tank ended up a little chillier than her night UVB could handle on its own.

It’s her first iguana, so lesson learned and she at least had us three (being experienced with this sort of thing in the general knowledge), and all is well that ends well! It’s a learning process!

Well… Sort of.

She still had a vet appointment scheduled like anyone that would wish for additional information from “professional” personelle - well, like a herp VET! All she wanted to know is that he was okay from his constipation, (she was worried about impactions), and if he needed any further things. In short, all she wanted was a “physical” since this was her first time dealing with some constipation.

At least, that’s what she thought she went to go see. She went to Oshkosh, Wisconsin’s Animal Hospital of Oshkosh, and saw a Vet that went by “Holly”. I won’t say last names, but this should be enough to clarify the location.
All would have been fine and dandy should the Vet had been the LEAST competent and capable vet I have ever heard of. When my companion had returned from the vet and called me after work, I wanted to scream. I was so frustrated and I will tell you all why:

This vet, first off, has my friend, whom we’ll call “Alexia”, fill out paperwork of what her current set-up is like. This paperwork included all of the very obvious things that one would look at. She put down the fact that she had the UVB and UVA bulbs, (She made sure to include that she was aware of the Vitamin D synthesis that the UVB needs to supply them with). She supplied them with temps, her methods of relieving the constipation, her methods of keeping humidity in, and, obviously, Kip’s diet.

Well, she gets into the room and is greeted with the lovely miss “Holly”, whom immediately begins to express that EVERYTHING, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING is wrong about her set-up. His diet’s wrong, his lighting is wrong (she should NEVER HAVE TWO LIGHT BULBS ON HIS TANK, HOLY SHIT!), and that everything was just “All wrong! We need to fix all of this, everything! I have an iguana, so I know.”

She begins to express that she needed, specifically, ONE BRAND, of ONE BULB, that cost specifically 40$ at the fucking Fleet Farm in Oshkosh, that Alexia NEEDED to have in order for his tank to be PERFECT. She also told her that she should NOT HAVE THE NIGHT TIME UVB BULB, and that as soon as she thought he was constipated, she should have brought him IMMEDIATELY to the vet so she could buy THEIR brand of laxative that was also a supplement. This wouldn’t be a problem if it didn’t include crickets which include Animal Protein, which they CANNOT digest.

So she goes ahead and finally handles Kip. Did I mention that she had spent probably around 45 minutes essentially telling Alexia that she was an idiot, had no idea what she was doing, and had to do EVERYTHING and care for her little Kip HER way?

Well it gets better! She goes to FINALLY handle Kip. “This is it! This is the finally the moment in which that she FINALLY does her job and tells me he’s okay!”

Well, after dropping the Iguana (keep in mind it’s 4 months old and panicked right now), on the floor TWICE after picking it up, She takes a 5 second glance at his belly and then puts him back in his carrier and tells her “He’s fine”.

Nothing else. She didn’t check his vent out thoroughly. She didn’t check of parasites. She didn’t care about fecal samples. She didn’t even check for Calcium deposits, didn’t check to see if his eye was clear or if maybe there was any shedding issues or scale rot or spongy mouth for MBD or ANYTHING. She just takes a few seconds glance, puts him back, and tells her that he’s FINE. He’s “FINE!”

She also stated that they 50 gallon tank for the foot and a half long Iguana was TOO LARGE! He’s TOO STRESSED! She insisted that she get him a smaller one. She also proceeded to tell us that “Not in a million years, not ever, ever, ever!: should we have fed him ANY watermelon! It’s got NO nutrition!”

Alexia told her that this was obvious, She KNEW this, and that she wasn’t an idiot. We were using it as a diuretic in order to get his bowels to move, “Not ever! You should have bought our special laxative for reptiles!” she insists as she almost literally forces Alexia to buy their supplement that had animal protein in it. Alexia just “went” with it, wanting NOTHING more than to get out of there ASAP because this woman clearly was an idiot.

She also proceeded to claim that at night, his tank temperature should be lower than 60, that he’s TOO HOT, but needs this 200 watt bulb from fucking fleet Farm, that he shouldn’t have all the bulbs that he does on his tank. She also proceeds to shut Alexia’s protests when she tries to explain that “No, you’re wrong. Don’t you know anything?” and tells her that the Woman whom bred FUCKING IGUANAS FOR 13 YEARS is a Liar, and that We (Rae and I) essentially don’t know anything or what we are doing.

Yeah…
So  needless to say, Alexia was quite upset, pissed beyond belief. Come Friday, Rae and I are going to pay her a visit and teach her what to look for when looking for bloaty-ness, MBD, Parasites, you know, the fucking “Physical” that she went to go get when she went to the Vet, but instead was schooled like she was an idiot and treated like a piece of shit.

So I do NOT recommend ANYONE, especially Advanced Keepers like myself, or ANYONE in the FDL County Area or ANY surrounding Areas to see this “Holly” as a Vet, and by Extension, I advise you stay clear of the Clinic mentioned above in general for Herp Care, less you give your Iguanas fucking Animal Protein.

But hey. What do we know?

It’s not like we’ve been doing this for over a decade…


-8/10. Do not recommend.

—-

If I could get any thoughts from @bonafide-bullshark , it would be greatly appreciated. Maybe I’m too angry, but tbh, I am not happy with this Vet

news.nationalgeographic.com
Venomous Snakes Ride Ocean Currents Around the World
The impressive yellow-bellied sea snake has spread across the globe by simply riding the waves, a new model suggests.

The venomous snake can drift on ocean currents for thousands of miles—possibly clocking distances of 20,000 miles and more over ten years, computer simulations show. That means that, at least theoretically, a snake could float from near the Philippines to east of Hawaii or from Mexico to the island of Mauritius in the western Indian Ocean…

3-D Printed Shells Help Tortoises Survive Hostile Desert Life

A team in the South Western U.S. is using 3-D printed tortoise shells to help the dwindling desert tortoise population. But these aren’t replacements for damaged shells. They’re high-tech decoys, designed to confuse one of the tortoise’s worst predators.

Ravens feed off young desert tortoises, picking off the small ones before they grow too big, which takes seven to 10 years. Instead of trying to eliminate these predators, the team from Hardshell Labs, along with Tatjana Dzambazova of 3-D software company Autodesk, are giving the tortoises a better chance of survival.

The shells are printed to match the size of a young desert tortoise. They’re fitted with sensors, which track the activity of the ravens, and—here’s the neat part—they have a non-toxic spray that trains the ravens not to attack. So after enough of times of swooping down and pecking at a bad-smelling shell (with no tortoise inside), they’ll eventually abandon the tortoises as a food source entirely. (Read More)

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We are serious when it comes to tongues

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Tuatara Hatchling at UK’s Chester Zoo

*INCREDIBLE NEWS*

Our keepers have hatched the first ever tuatara outside of their native New Zealand - a successful breeding that has taken several decades to achieve.

The tuatara is one of the world’s oldest living species and is believed to have pre-dated the dinosaurs, having been on the planet for more than 225 million years.

Around 70 million years ago they became extinct everywhere except New Zealand, where it now has iconic status.

Our achievements in successfully hatching the tuatara - and all of the intricate skills developed along the way - give us confidence that we can help save highly threatened species such as mountain chicken frogs and Bermudan skinks from extinction in the wild.

(via: Chester Zoo)

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Beaked Thread-snake (Myriopholis algeriensis)

It´s the smallest snake in Morocco and Western Sahara with a maximum size of 28,5 cm (Bons & Geniez, 1996; Trape & Mané, 2006). It has a pinkish body, thin and large. Head not differs from the rest of the body. Eyes are black and relatively big, covered by two transparent scales. It has a big rostral scale very prominent and in peak form. Its mouth is small. Ventral scales are similar to dorsal scales. It has between 490-569 longitudinal scales, between 41-47 subcaudal scales, it has 14 scales at midbody and 10 at the middle of the tail (Trape & Mané, 2006).

source- Amphibians & Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara.
Available from www.moroccoherps.com.