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Archive for November, 2007

Ukraine croc dies after capture


Godzik the crocodile dies after capture: Ukraine ministry


Fri Nov 30, 3:39 PM ET

A small Nile crocodile that had escaped from a Ukrainian circus died on Friday, two days after its capture in a bay in Ukraine, the emergency situations ministry announced.

“Godzik”, a diminutive of Godzilla, the fictional Japanese monster, “died in the morning, then he was incinerated,” ministry regional chief Andri Bondarenko told AFP.

On May 31 Godzik escaped from his cage at the Donetsk Circus, where he was on display by the Azov Sea and bolted into the water.

The 20-centimetre (8-inch) reptile took refuge on a barge in the Azov Sea, where he sunbathed all summer, without scaring other sunbathers.

In autumn, he was protected from the cold by a steel mill that discharged hot water into the bay.

Godzik was captured on Wednesday and the emergency situations ministry was in charge of his care until his owner could come get him.


Officials in tears over comatose crocodile
Fri Nov 30, 12:10 PM ET - Reuters

Ukrainian officials summoned a vet Friday to determine whether a crocodile, captured after six months on the run, was comatose or dead.

“The crocodile is showing no signs of life. We are not specialists and, to be honest, we don’t know whether it’s dead or alive,” Nikolai Ranga of Ukraine’s Emergencies Ministry said in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk.

“The vet is coming to see the crocodile tomorrow.”

The crocodile, nicknamed Godzilla or Godzi, was captured alive this week after escaping from a traveling circus in May.

The reptile had been spotted several times lurking around industrial sites near the city of Mariupol, on the coast of the Sea of Azov. But it repeatedly eluded search teams.

It was finally found basking in a pool at a thermal power station, where the water was warmer than the nearby sea.

Ranga said the crocodile was then taken 100 km (60 miles) by car to Donetsk where it was freed into a fire service tank.

“We did what the specialists told us and poured in water at about 25 degrees (77 Fahrenheit),” he said. “We really do not know what to do next.”

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South Africa arrest for possession of illegal python


‘Snakeman’ arrested in South Africa, faces prosecution


Thu Nov 29, 12:30 PM ET

A South African man was arrested on Thursday for being illegally in possession of a python which he said he wanted to use to heal a sick person, a regional police spokesman said.

“The 39-year-old man was arrested in Umthatha (southeast) for being in possession of the python without having a permit. He said that he wanted to use it to heal somebody who was ill,” Superintendent Nondusimo Jafta told AFP.

The suspect, who was not identified, would be charged soon for being in possesion of an endangered species animal.

The snake was taken from him and sent to an East London Zoo where it would be taken care of by conservation officials, the policeman said.


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Plush crocodile threatens flight


Cuddly croc forces passenger off flight


Wed Nov 28, 3:37 PM ET

A passenger was forced off a Ryanair flight from Rome to Milan because she refused to move her metre-long plush crocodile which was blocking an emergency exit, airport sources said Wednesday.

The flight, delayed by the squabble between the airline flight attendant and the passenger, finally took off after she got off the plane, along with her inanimate crocodile.

Ryanair said in a statement the passenger was asked to leave for refusing repeated requests to handle her hand luggage as required under flight safety rules.


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Toads in a hole


Toads in a hole due to deadly fungus

Tue Nov 27, 7:27 PM ET

Britain’s toad population could face extinction in some areas within 10 years due to an infectious fungal disease, scientists said on Wednesday.

Deadly Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis was introduced to Britain with the release of non-native North American bullfrogs. They have since been exterminated but the disease remains.

New mathematical models developed by researchers at Imperial College London and the Institute of Zoology point to the disease having a potentially devastating impact in Britain where it has so far been detected only in the southern county of Kent.

The big unknown is just how long the fungus, which lives on the skin of host amphibians, can survive on its own in water. Scientists fear it may be a very long time.

“We start to see dramatic effects if the chytrid (fungus) lives for longer than seven weeks outside the host,” said Mat Fisher of Imperial College.

“We strongly suspect that it can live for longer because of the devastating effect it has had elsewhere, and the new models show that this would be very bad news for toads in this country.”

If the fungus is able to live outside the host for a year, there would be a severe decline in the overall population of the European common toad (Bufo bufo) in Britain and, in some places, extinction in 10 years, the models suggest.

The disease has already destroyed entire amphibian populations in Central and South America, and Australia, and is a growing problem in some parts of Europe. Scientists have linked its spread to global warming.

Luckily, the common British frog (Rana temporaria) is resistant to the disease.

The findings by Fisher and his colleagues were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society.

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Robert Woodward)

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Turkeys and T-Rex



What Do Turkeys and T. Rex Have in Common?


George Frederick

LiveScience.com2 hours, 50 minutes ago

A few days after Thanksgiving dinner, a popular tradition calls for two people to grab opposite ends of a dried wishbone and pull until the bone breaks in two.

The irony: The wishbone is special because it’s one piece.

The furcula (the technical term for a wishbone) is formed by the fusion of two collarbones at the sternum. The furcula is an important part of a bird’s flight mechanics—a connecting point for muscles and a strengthening brace for wings. The bone is elastic and acts as a spring that stores and releases energy during flapping. (Ever try to snap a wishbone before it’s been dried?)

Scientists once thought the furcula was unique to birds. Paleontologists now tell us that the bone dates back more than 150 million years to two-legged, meat-eating dinosaurs including the Tyrannosaurus and Velociraptor. These reptilian movie stars didn’t fly. Their furculas likely served as structural supports as the dinos held their prey.

The furcula is a key component of the commonly accepted theory that birds are the descendants of dinosaurs.

Can Turkey’s Fly? Graphic: Know Your Wishbone Gallery: Dinosaur Art Original Story: What Do Turkeys and T. Rex Have in Common?Visit for more daily news, views and scientific inquiry with an original, provocative point of view. LiveScience reports amazing, real world breakthroughs, made simple and stimulating for people on the go. Check out our collection of Science, Animal and Dinosaur Pictures, Science Videos, Hot Topics, Trivia, Top 10s, Voting, Amazing Images, Reader Favorites, and more. Get cool gadgets at the new LiveScience Store, sign up for our free daily email newsletter and check out our RSS feeds today!


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Welcome Back!


Welcome back to EcoSnake Insights. Apologies for the page being down for several days due to changes in hosting services. Look for more changes including a wider subject range of articles and information in the near future.

Look for new articles and information concerning political issues, especially as they relate to conservation and the environment.  If we are going to save endangered species and habitat, we cannot do so without understanding the political process.  Sadly, words like “endangered,” “extinct,” and “environment” have become so politicized that many have lost sight of their original meanings and significance.   EcoSnake Insights goal is to re-kindle the spirit in these words, especially as they apply to amphibians and reptiles.  Your thoughts and support is most appreciated!

Thanks for your patience during these past few days!

Frank and the EcoSnake Team

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