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Archive for March, 2008

111 Year Old Caught in the Act…


Exciting news about “Henry,” the 111 year old tuatara in Invercargill, New Zealand:

111-year-old caught in the act - New Zealand news on

Photo: LINDSAY HAZLEY from Southland Times, March 18, 2008

GOT HIS GROOVE BACK: One of Invercargill’s oldest residents got caught in the act when he had sex in a public place - Henry the tuatara has finally proved his manhood, raising breeding hopes.

Posted by Frank - March 17, 2008

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Turtles Gain Protection - Snakeless in Ireland - Gharials - From National Geographic


Please check these links to stories from National Geographic News - Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rare Leatherback Turtles Gain Protection in Costa Rica

Snakeless in Ireland: Blame Ice Age, Not St. Patrick

Rare Reptiles’ Mass Die-Off Due to Poison-Induced Gout

Posted by Frank - March 17, 2008

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Varanus Niloticus ornatus


“Burundi”, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

The ornate Nile monitor lizard of Africa. Identifiable by the pattern of five rows of chevrons on the body and the pink tongue. For more information about this individual lizard, click on the picture and follow other photos on the EcoSnake Flickr site.

Posted by Frank - March 16, 2008

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Darwin award runner up - Crocodile attacks Australian tourist


Darwin award nominee - Crocodile attacks Australian tourist

A backpacker in Australia got the fright of his life when a massive crocodile he was “teasing” suddenly exploded from the water and nearly sank its teeth into him. The 16 foot-long saltwater crocodile came within an arm’s length of inflicting serious damage to the tourist, if not killing him. Novon Mashiah, 27, an Israeli backpacker, spotted the big crocodile during a fishing trip in the Northern Territory and attempted to attract the croc’s attention in order to get a picture. He got more than he expected.

Copyright Telegraph Company, UK

Posted by Frank - March 9, 2008

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Northern pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus melanoleucus)


“Piney”, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

Just because it seemed time for a picture…

Posted by Frank - March 5, 2008

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Fear of Snakes explanation


Why We Fear Snakes

Clara Moskowitz
LiveScience Staff Writer

Fear of snakes is one of the most common phobias, yet many people have never seen a snake in person. So how is this fear generated?

New research suggests humans have evolved an innate tendency to sense snakes - and spiders, too - and to learn to fear them.

Psychologists found that both adults and children could detect images of snakes among a variety of non-threatening objects more quickly than they could pinpoint frogs, flowers or caterpillars. The researchers think this ability helped humans survive in the wild.

“The idea is that throughout evolutionary history, humans that learned quickly to fear snakes would have been at an advantage to survive and reproduce,” said Vanessa LoBue, a post-doctoral fellow in psychology at the University of Virginia. “Humans who detected the presence of snakes very quickly would have been more likely to pass on their genes.”

Previously, anthropologists have suggested the need to notice snakes in the wild may have led early primates to develop better vision and larger brains.


The researchers were inspired to investigate the fear of snakes when they thought about how universally people dislike the slithering legless lizards.

“This feeling is really common,” LoBue told LiveScience. “We don’t see snakes all the time. There’s really no reason for this overwhelming disgust or hatred of snakes.”

LoBue’s collaborator, Judy DeLoache, a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, happens to be petrified of snakes.

“I have almost a phobia of snakes,” DeLoache said. “When I see a picture of a snake, I’m like, “Oh my God, eew! The reason we got into this research was because I’ve always been fascinated by how it is that people develop it. My intuition was that there was something that made me feel afraid of snakes early on. You react to them very early on.”

While babies and very young children do not usually fear snakes, they are unusually skilled at detecting them and show a predisposition to learn to fear snakes if they have bad experiences or even if they are exposed to negative portrayals of them in the media, the scientists found.

Spiders, too

To learn more, the psychologists showed adults and 3-year-old children images of a snake surrounded by objects of similar colors, such as frogs, caterpillars and flowers. Then they showed them pictures of a frog or a flower surrounded by snakes. Both groups were able to identify the hidden snake faster than the other hidden objects.

“We also did a study with spiders and found the same effect,” LoBue said. Although the team has not tested other phobias, they don’t think these predispositions would necessarily apply across the board.

“It would have to be something widespread, that you could encounter on a day-to-day basis,” she said. “That’s why you don’t see lion and tiger and bear phobias as often. It would also have to be something that was around and dangerous while humans were evolving. Things that are dangerous right now, like guns, we haven’t had enough time to develop a predisposition to detect really quickly.”

The results of the new study appear in the March 2008 issue of the journal, Psychological Science.

Gallery: Snakes of the World Fear of Snakes Drove Pre-Human Evolution Flying Snakes: New Videos Reveal How They Do It Original Story: Why We Fear SnakesVisit 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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Rare frogs breeding in New Zealand


Rare frogs bred in New Zealand


By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press WriterMon Mar 3, 7:40 AM ET

A rare and threatened species of tiny frog has been found breeding in a New Zealand animal park, meaning its future may now be more secure, researchers said Monday.

The 13 finger nail-sized Maud Island froglets were discovered clinging to the backs of full-grown male frogs at the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary in the capital Wellington, said researcher Kerri Lukis. The frogs are normally found only on two islands in the Malborough Sounds region of New Zealand’s South Island.

“Maud Island frogs have never been found breeding” before, even on their home island, said Lukis, a masters degree student at Victoria University in Wellington.

“It’s wonderful timing for 2008 — International Year of the Frog and a Leap Year,” she said.

The breeding suggests Maud Island frogs can be bred in other predator-free habitats — strengthening their prospects for survival, said Ben Bell, the biologist overseeing Lukis’ studies.

The sanctuary’s predator-proof fence gives the frogs a breeding environment like Maud Island that is safe from rats, Bell said.

Maud Island frogs are estimated to number up to 40,000 — most of them on the island from which they take their name and the rest on Motuara Island.

Don Newman, who is the threatened species science manager with the Conservation Department and was not involved in the frog program, said the breeding success adds a third location where the frogs have bred, a factor that “spreads the risk” and improves the species’ chance of survival.

Maud Island frogs, one of four native New Zealand frogs, have evolved little over the last 70 million years, Lukis said, resulting in distinctive features and behaviors.

They do not croak, live in water or have webbed feet, she said.

Also unlike other frogs, these hatch from the egg as fully formed frogs without going through the tadpole stage.

Eggs are laid under rocks or logs and the male sits over the eggs until they hatch as well formed, tailed froglets.

In 2006, 60 Maud Island frogs were released in the frog enclosure at the wildlife sanctuary — a security-fenced area of some 620 acres set up to enable threatened native birds and other species to re-establish their numbers safe from introduced predators like rats, mice, stoats, ferrets and wild cats.

All four of New Zealand’s surviving native frog species are threatened, with the rarest, Hamilton’s frog, numbering less than 300.


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The little salamander who is growing a new tail and leg and toes says:


The little salamander, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

“Hello…” He’s also welcoming the “Year of the Frog” as wildlife advocates, zoos and people everywhere announce a world-wide educational program to help understand, conserve and protect amphibians. Click on his picture and then click on “The Little Salamander” set of pictures to learn more about this little guy…

Posted by Frank - March 2, 2008

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Salamander update - March 2, 2008


Salamander update - March 2, 2008, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

Update on the salamander at the Nature Center in Boise who is regenerating his tail and left leg and toes after an accident. The leg has reached the approximate length of his right leg and is now starting to fill out. For more information click on the picture and then on “The Little Salamander” set of pictures. This little guy is having a remarkable adventure.

Posted by Frank - March 2, 2008

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Why I do this…


Why I do this…, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

The EcoSnake educational programs capture the attention of people of all ages and help toward their understanding of amphibians and reptiles throughout history, in human culture, as a vital component of ecosystems and as creatures incredibly beneificial to our planet. Click on the photo to view more about this picture and view other nature photos by the EcoSnake team.

Posted by Frank - March 2, 2008

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