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Archive for March, 2008

Caiman stolen from aquarium in Norway

03.31.2008

Crocodile stolen from aquarium

 

Mon Mar 31, 11:52 AM ET

A thief walked unnoticed out of a Norwegian aquarium carrying a crocodile at the weekend and now risks losing a finger or two, the head of the aquarium said on Monday.

“I think whoever did this knew what they were doing,” Bergen aquarium director Kees Oscar Ekeli told Reuters, suggesting the young crocodile was smuggled out in a bag during the busiest hours on Saturday.

The stolen reptile, named “Taggen” (Spike), is a 70 centimeters (2.3 feet) long smooth-fronted caiman also known as Schneider’s dwarf caiman (Paleosuchus Trigonatus).

Taggen eats “a good mix of fish and meat” and can grow to be about 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) long. “It has a solid bite. Considering it is not bigger than it is, you could lose a few fingers, but no vital organs,” Ekeli said.

It is normally found in much warmer habitats in South America and is one of the world’s smallest species of crocodile.

Ekeli feared that the four-year-old would have poor chances of surviving outside its habitat in the aquarium, and said it would probably die from stress.

The theft was immediately reported to the police. “We have offered a reward of 25,000 Norwegian crowns ($4,900) to anyone who can give us a tip that leads to finding the crocodile,” Ekeli said.

(Reporting by Aasa Christine Stoltz; editing by Keith Weir)

 

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Film to document massive killing of dolphins in Japan

03.30.2008

This article from the Japan Times is scary and appalling; It seems appropriate to remember these words attributed to Chief Seattle:

“THIS WE KNOW:

THE EARTH DOES NOT BELONG TO US,

WE BELONG TO THE EARTH.

MAN DID NOT WEAVE THE WEB OF LIFE -

HE IS MERELY A STRAND IN IT.

WHATEVER HE DOES TO THE WEB, HE DOES TO HIMSELF

Apparently this slaughter of dolphins has been going on for years: - “When will we ever learn…”

Secret film will show slaughter to the world

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Let’s Stop Exploiting Rattlesnakes to Pander to Folk’s Fears!

03.27.2008

Note from Frank:

BAD STUFF ON ANIMAL PLANET

I just saw something on Animal Planet which was really disturbing. Some guy dumped a Western diamond rattlesnake on the floor and taunted it to break balloons. Why can’t we leave these wonderful creatures alone and let them live their lives. Everyone on the television show was getting all excited because this “poisonous” snake was crawling all over the stage and the big fat guy who brought the snake was prodding it and taunting it with the balloons - This is almost as bad as the rattlesnake roundups…I feel so sad for our reptile friends who only ask to be left alone.

Posted by Frank - March 27, 2008

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Smoking tortoise found in China

03.27.2008

No comment on this other than it shows the egocentricity and stupidity of humans - 

From AFP: Smoking tortoise found in China

Posted by Frank - March 27, 2008

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“Little Guy” doesn’t want to be in a vodka bottle

03.26.2008

Read the preceding article. Also, click on the picture of “Little Guy” to learn about his story…He’s a Great Basin (Western) rattlesnake (Crotalus oreganus lutosis). His kind have been on our eart 20-30 million years. Maybe they know something we don’t?

Posted by Frank - March 26, 2008

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Texas Rancher arrested for selling snake vodka

03.26.2008

This image provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows a bottle of vodka with a juvenile rattlesnake inside. Agents said they confiscated 429 bottles of the snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila from Bayou Bob's Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch near Santo in Palo Pinto County, Texas. Bob Popplewell marketed the concoction as an 'ancient Asian elixir.' He was charged with selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell. (AP Photo/Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via Fort Worth Star)

AP Photo: This image provided by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram shows…

NOTE FROM FRANK - I THINK THIS WHOLE STORY SHOULD NOT EVEN BE DIGNIFIED BY NOTICING, BUT MAYBE BY READING IT, PEOPLE WILL BE MOVED TO DO SOMETHING TO STOP SUCH STUPID AND BARBARIC THINGS. TRAGICALLY THIS ARTICLE DOCUMENTS THAT, AT LEAST IN TEXAS, ENFORCING THE LAWS PROTECTING THE SALE OF ALCOHOL IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN PROTECTING WILDLIFE, ESPECIALLY WILDLIFE WHICH HAS BEEN ON OUR EARTH 20-30 MILLION YEARS…

Rancher arrested for selling snake vodka

 

A rattlesnake rancher who calls himself Bayou Bob found a new way to make money: Stick a rattler inside a bottle of vodka and market the concoction as an “ancient Asian elixir.” But Bayou Bob Popplewell’s bright idea appears to have landed him on the wrong side of the law, because he has no liquor license.

Popplewell, who has raised rattlesnakes and turtles at Bayou Bob’s Brazos River Rattlesnake Ranch for more than two decades, surrendered to authorities Monday. He spent about 10 minutes in jail after the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission obtained arrest warrants on misdemeanor charges of selling alcohol without a license and possessing alcohol with intent to sell.

If convicted, he faces up to a year in jail and $1,000 in fines.

Popplewell said he will fight the charges. His intent, he said, is not to sell an alcoholic beverage but a healing tonic. He said he has customers of Asian descent who believe the concoction has medicinal properties.

“It’s almost a spiritual thing,” said Popplewell, 63.

But alcohol commission agent Scott Jones pointed out that investigators confiscated 429 bottles of snake vodka and one bottle of snake tequila. At $23 a bottle, that’s almost $10,000 worth of reptilian booze.

Even if Popplewell intended his drink be used as a healing tonic — an assertion the alcohol commission disputes — his use of vodka requires a state permit, authorities said.

“It’s sold for beverage purposes, and he knows what he’s doing,” commission Sgt. Charlie Cloud said.

Popplewell said he uses the cheapest vodka he can find as a preservative for the snakes. The end result is a super sweet mixed drink that Popplewell compared to cough syrup.

“I’ve honestly never seen a person drink it,” he said.

An Asian studies lecturer at the University of Texas said there is some merit to Popplewell’s claim that snake vodka could be seen as a tonic.

There’s a street nicknamed “Snake Alley” in Taipei, Taiwan, where street vendors put the gall bladder of a freshly killed snake into a glass of strong liquor. The drink, sold to the highest bidder, is supposed to improve eyesight and sexual performance, said lecturer Camilla Hsieh.

“It’s like the ancient version of Viagra,” Hsieh said.

Santo is located 60 miles west of Fort Worth.

___

Information from Fort Worth Star-Telegram, http://www.star-telegram.com

 

 

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Fastest Evolving Creature is Living Dinosaur

03.26.2008

Tuataras are equally related to lizards and snakes. The name Tuatara derives from the Maori language and means peaks on the back. Credit: Reb/Dreamstime

 

Full Size

From Live Science.com: Fastest Evolving Creature is ‘Living Dinosaur’

Posted by Frank - March 26, 2008

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Dolphin saves whales

03.25.2008

Not a reptile story but a remarkable story from New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — A dolphin swam up to two distressed whales that appeared headed for death in a beach stranding in New Zealand and guided them to safety, witnesses said Wednesday.

The actions of the bottlenose dolphin — named Moko by residents who said it spends much of its time swimming playfully with humans at the beach — amazed would-be rescuers and an expert who said they were evidence of the species’ friendly nature.

The two pygmy sperm whales, a mother and her calf, were found stranded on Mahia Beach, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) northeast of the capital of Wellington, on Monday morning, said Conservation Department worker Malcolm Smith.

Rescuers worked for more than one hour to get the whales back into the water, only to see them strand themselves four times on a sandbar slightly out to sea. It looked likely the whales would have to be euthanized to prevent them suffering a prolonged death, Smith said.

“They kept getting disorientated and stranding again,” said Smith, who was among the rescuers. “They obviously couldn’t find their way back past (the sandbar) to the sea.”

Along came Moko, who approached the whales and led them 200 meters (yards) along the beach and through a channel out to the open sea. Video Watch how dolphin became a hero »

“Moko just came flying through the water and pushed in between us and the whales,” Juanita Symes, another rescuer, told The Associated Press. “She got them to head toward the hill, where the channel is. It was an amazing experience. The best day of my life.”

 

Anton van Helden, a marine mammals expert at New Zealand’s national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, said the reports of Moko’s rescue were “fantastic” but believable because the dolphins have “a great capacity for altruistic activities.”

These included evidence of dolphins protecting people lost at sea, and their playfulness with other animals.

“We’ve seen bottlenose dolphins getting lifted up on the noses of humpback whales and getting flicked out of the water just for fun,” van Helden said.

“But it’s the first time I’ve heard of an inter-species refloating technique. I think that’s wonderful,” said van Helden, who was not involved in the rescue but spoke afterward to Smith.

Smith speculated that Moko responded after hearing the whales’ distress calls

“It was looking like it was going to be a bad outcome for the whales … then Moko just came along and fixed it,” he said. “They had arched their backs and were calling to one another, but as soon as the dolphin turned up they submerged into the water and followed her.”

After the rescue, Moko returned to the beach and joined in games with local residents, he said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

All About Marine AnimalsNature and the Environment

Posted by Frank - March 25, 2008

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Garter snake in Spring; Why We call “Easter,” “Easter!”

03.22.2008

Perhaps its appropriate that garter snakes are emerging after wintering in their den this Easter weekend which symbolizes Spring, re-birth and regeneration throughout the world. A fascinating book, “The Dance of Time, The Origins of the Calendar” by Micahael Judge describes origins of the word “Easter:”

“The Venerable Bede, in his “History of the Anglo-Saxons, derives the word “Easter” from the Saxon goddess Eostre…Eostre was the goddess of the spring and her consort was none other than the hare, a figure show still appears at EAster. Now called the Easter Bunny, he brings with him the oldest symbol of the season, the egg. Eggs are universal symbols of life and the colsmos and the custom of giging them away, hiding them, decorating them, and eating them is as ancient as it is widespread…{dating back to the ancient Egyptians, among others}…

This is a Western wandering terrestrial garter snake (Thamnophis elegans vagrans) taking advantage of the Spring sunlight near its den. The snakes will return to the den at night but will come out with increasing frequency as the days and nights warm…

Posted by Frank - March 22, 2008

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Desert tortoise relocation challenged

03.18.2008

From the Center for Biological Diversity and the Environmental News Network, March 18, 2008:

Desert Tortoise Relocation Challenged: Proposed ‘Mitigation’ for Fort Irwin Expansion Could Hurt Endangered Species

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