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Archive for January, 2009

More on Henry, the 111 year old tuatara father


From the political satire blog Wonkette:

Follow the National Geographic link on that story to the story below:

Tuatara Triumph: “Grumpy” Reptile Is New Dad at 111

tuatara reptile dad sex mating picture

Great stories about a remarkable species - we are so lucky still to have “living dinosaurs” among us!

Posted by Frank - January 31, 2009

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Reptile becomes father at 111


A tuatara (Image: Phillip Capper)

Tuatara are the last surviving reptiles of their kind

Reptile becomes a father, at 111

A rare New Zealand reptile has become a father, possibly for the first time, at the age of 111.

The keepers of Henry, a tuatara, had thought he was past his prime - especially after showing no interest in females during 40 years in captivity.

But he mated with 80-year-old Mildred last July and 11 of the eggs she produced have now hatched.

Henry’s keepers have put his newfound vigour down to a recent operation to remove a tumour from his bottom.

‘Love story’

Henry arrived at Southland Museum in the South Island city of Invercargill in 1970 and, his keepers say, soon became overweight and idle.

He was known for his foul temper and had a tendency to attack other tuatara - forcing the museum to keep him in solitary confinement for many years.

But since his operation, Museum tuatara curator Lindsay Hazley said he had had a “major personality transplant”.

“I have done lots of eggs before but these are just special because they are Henry’s,” Mr Hazley told the Southland Times.

Tuatara, which are found only in New Zealand, are sometimes referred to as “living fossils”.

They are the only surviving members of a family of species which walked the Earth with the dinosaurs more than 200 million years ago.

The museum now has about 70 of the rare creatures, and Mr Hazley is hopeful that Henry might provide more offspring in the future.

He lives with three female tuatara “in great harmony”, said Mr Hazley, and described the hatching of the eggs as “the completion of a love story”.



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A surprise in today’s mail…


A surprise in today’s mail…, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

from a close friend. Let’s hope for a better future for amphibians and reptiles and all wildlife.

Posted by Frank - January 20, 2009

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A new dawn…


A new dawn…, originally uploaded by EcoSnake.

Hope for the future as the United States enters a new era. May the future reflect the brightness in this photograph taken by Garren Evans.

Posted by Frank - January 20, 2009

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This is why education is so important


snake shot

The Associated Press

Michigan state trooper Bill Coon holds the 7-foot python he shot Monday, Aug. 18, 2008, after it slithered onto a Port Sheldon road and was spotted lunging at passing motorists.

Follow this link.  You’ll find as is apparent above, the snake is a boa constrictor and not a python and everyone really overreacted…

The snake was a harmless boa constrictor, probably someone’s escaped “pet.”  But what happened is nothing more than bigoted folks responding to ignorance…I say bigoted, because lack of understanding and tolerance for the creatures with whom we share our earth, especially creatures who have been here many millions of years before us - before we fear them and kill them we should try to understand them.

Posted by Frank - January 14, 2009

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Pink Iguana Discovered in Galapagos


From National Geographic News:

PHOTO IN THE NEWS: Pink Iguana Species Discovered

iguana photo

January 5, 2009—A new species of Galápagos iguana has scientists tickled pink.

The pink iguana, named after its salmon-colored skin, lives only on the Wolf volcano on the island of Isabela.

Charles Darwin did not visit the volcano on his travels to the Ecuadorian island chains in the 1830s, so the creature remained undiscovered until 1986, when it was spotted by park rangers. Only now has it been recognized as its own species.

Gabriele Gentile, of Rome’s University Tor Vergata, and colleagues are the first team to research and document the iguana, which will receive a formal scientific name in an upcoming paper.

“What’s surprising is that a new species of megafauna, like a large lizard, may still be [found] in a well-studied archipelago,” Gentile told National Geographic News.

(See a new iguana found in Fiji.)

The team’s genetic analyses, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, show that the animal split off from other iguanas about five million years ago—the most ancient divergence of iguanas ever found.

The discovery ends an “evolutionary silence” of about nine million years, Gentile said.

That’s because researchers didn’t know what had happened between 10.5 million years ago, when land and marine iguanas split off, and a million years ago, when land iguanas apparently diverged into several species.

The pink iguana’s future, however, isn’t so rosy: Gentile and colleagues say the animal’s population is “alarmingly small.”

Feral cats introduced to the island may be eating the young reptiles, and goats may be competitors for food, Gentile said.

“We desperately need more funds to keep on doing our best to investigate and protect this newly recognized species,” Gentile added, “before it becomes extinct.”

—Christine Dell’Amore

Photograph by Gabriele Gentile

Posted by Frank - January 6, 2009

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Rattlesnakes show parental care


From the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum:

This is one of the best articles for factual information about rattlesnakes, which, unfortunately, are so misunderstoond.

Posted by Frank - January 4, 2009

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Snakebite in the natural world


This is one of those stories which must be shared:

<strong>Hiss-story:</strong> A deadly eastern brown safely in the hands of snake handler Des Mundy.

Hiss-story: A deadly eastern brown safely in the hands of snake handler Des Mundy.

Deadly snake bites man’s penis 

Related story here:

Posted by Frank - January 4, 2009

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