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News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Happy Rattlesnake Friday! . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Turtle . . . . . . . . . .  Chicago Herpetological Society Meeting - Aug. 28, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Killeen - Aug. 31- Sept.01, 20 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Jackson - Aug. 31- Sept.01, 20 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Charleston - Aug. 31- Sept.01, 20 . . . . . . . . . .  Havre de Grace Reptile Expo - Aug. 31, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Central Illinois Herp Society Meeting - Sept. 05, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - Sept. 05, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Louisville - Sept. 07-08, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon FIRExpo (Lakeland) - Sept. 07-08, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Chattanooga - Sept. 07-08, 2019 . . . . . . . . . . - Friday, Aug 23, 2019

Happy Rattlesnake Friday! To end the week, a whole lotta squee for these baby Death Adders for our Herp Photo of the day, uploaded by user Oxyrhopus ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here! As always on Friday, we celebrate all of our venomous reptiles for their contribution to the world.

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News Briefs

Herp Industry Pioneer Don Hamper Has Passed Away
Jeff Barringer - Thursday, Aug 15, 2019

It is with much sadness that has learned of the passing of reptile industry pioneer Don Hamper.

I first heard Don Hamper's name mentioned by John Hollister in the late 80s while taking a roadside break while hunting for reptiles out near Langtry Texas. It was all "Hamper had those" or "Hamper bred those" or "Hamper can get those". In the days before the internet word passed from herper to herper about other reptile people across the country(and around the world). Don Hamper's name was prominent among them and it seemed that in some way all herp roads led to Don Hamper. I finally actually met Don Hamper at an International Herp Symposium in the early 90s, where most of the reptile illuminati would gather to listen to lectures and compare keeping and breeding notes. By then Don was famous for hosting one of the few regular reptile expos, the All Ohio Reptile Show, as well as for his pioneering work captive breeding many of the species commonly found in the trade today, and through his work introduced literally thousands of midwesterners to the reptile hobby. Don's pioneering work both in reptile breeding and reptile expos dramatically helped expand the hobby into a true industry and his impact can still be seen in the many reptile breeders that sprouted up in America's heartland in the 90s and early 2000s, many of which are still active to this day.

I would run into Don many times over the next 3 decades at symposiums and expos across the country and each time he greeted me like we were long lost brothers. ended up hosting his web site for many years as well as helping him spread the word about his expos.

I will miss Don and his everpresent smile and kind word. He was a true gentleman and will be missed greatly by all that knew him.'s prayers go out to the Hamper family and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts.

- Jeff Barringer

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Featured Contributors

Richard Bartlett - Monday, Jul 29, 2019

Today a Peninsula intergrade kingsnake, back then a Florida kingsnake--names change but the snakes don't care.

Just the mention of innertubes will probably bring a quizzical expression to the faces of many of today’s young motorists. But there was a time when innertubes were a part of everyday life—an integral part whether your vehicle was a semi, a bus, a car, a motorcycle, or a bicycle. And even if you were a non-motorized but avid herper, it is probable that you soon recognized blown-out innertubes lying on roadside as being every bit as good, and possibly even better cool weather herp habitat than the sheet tin so eagerly sought by herpers today. Certainly we recognized their value back in the early ‘50s when Gordy and I began our herping escapades from New England southward. What? Why? How?

Unintended though it may have been, Gordy was my herping mentor. He was a teacher who I met while I was in junior high school and because of similar interest in herps we soon became fast friends. After making a few herping trips together from the northland with friends such as Dennie Miller & Peter Lindsey) to the fabled Pine Barrens of New Jersey (where we met Asa Pittman) and to Okeetee (where we met Carl Kauffeld, Zig Leszynski, Bob Zappalorti, Manny Rubio, and others) we decided that the next step in our herping education would be Christmas trips to Sunny Florida. We could barely imagine leaving snowy, frigid, Massachusetts and arriving a day later in the palm shrouded balminess of South Florida (where we eventually met Ralph Demers, Warren Prince, Rhea Warren, Dade Thornton, John Truitt, the Weeds, and dozens of other herpers). But I think it might have been Frank Weed, Jr. or Rhea Warren who introduced us to the wonders of innertubes.

Back in those days US 27 was a 2 lane road, lined tightly with huge Australian pines, Brazilian pepper, and undergrowth. Sod farms and Sugarcane were just getting a foothold. The Everglades still remained on the west side of the road up to Okeelanta. Pump houses, fallen billboards, and abandoned shacks – all rat snake hotels - were scattered helter-skelter. Amidst the shady undergrowth lay dozens of blown out innertubes and on cool sunny winter days those innertubes housed, both in and under, garter snakes, rat snakes (most of which were “true” Everglades rats), kingsnakes (of both the big peninsula species and the smaller scarlet kings, kingsnakes, and more kingsnakes.

When you hear “old timers” like John Truitt, Ron Sayers, Jerry Fine, or me talk about “those good old days,” the reason is simple. Those WERE the good old days!
Continue reading "Innertubes"

Reds, Winders, and Geckos
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Jul 22, 2019

The first herp of the night, a young red diamond rattler.

Home was now about 2500 miles behind me and I was headed for a mountain grade that I had found on previous trips to be a wonderfully productive herping venue as well as incredibly scenic. And did I mention that because of typically high speed California traffic on a 2 lane roadway typified by many tight hairpin curves, it was also just a bit on the dangerous side, AND, and this was the most important part, along those dangerous curves, edged tightly by towering cliff-faces this road became the home of the coveted Coleonyx switaki, the Peninsula banded or Switak’s banded gecko. It was almost dusk now, but finally after my cross-country speedathon, my destination was less than an hour away.

And then I was making the final righthand turn…

Once on the mountain grade, one of the first reptiles seen was a juvenile red diamond rattlesnake, Crotalus r.ruber. At this inland location these snakes are not as brightly colored as many coastal populations, but they are nonetheless an impressive and welcome find. Although adults may exceed a heavy-bodied 5-feet in length, the one now before me was only about 2-feet long. I stopped, moved the snake to the side of the road, took a few pictures, and continued on.

Still on the descent I saw a California lyre snake, Trimorphodon lyrophanes, a California night snake, Hypsiglena o. nuchalata. Desert banded geckos, Coleonyx v. variegatus, and Peninsula leaf-toed geckos, Phyllodactylus nocticolus. It was already a banner night.

At the bottom, at the far side of the town, the moving sands on roadside produced several very active Colorado Desert shovel-nosed snakes, Chionactis occipitalis annulata, as well as an adult female Colorado Desert sidewinder, Crotalus cerastes laterorepens, the latter basking quietly on the still-warm pavement. It was a large, obviously gravid, and very feisty female. She struck several times in displeasure as I moved her onto the sand. Once on the move she looped across several yards of sand then stopped and coiled against the base of a creosote bush.

Back to the top then down to the bottom seeing zero herps. But then things picked up again. Up and down, up and down. Every banded gecko caused an abrupt slowing. Could it be, I wondered—could it be? I glanced at the clock. It was 0310 in the morning. The moon had disappeared from sight behind the towering cliff almost an hour ago. I decided to make one more run then head for the motel (that was still more than an hour’s drive away).

I drove down to a pulloff, turned around and headed up-grade for the last time. Whoops! Was that a lizard that I had just driven by? It was 0317 AM.There was no traffic so I backed up a bit and—yes it was a lizard. I parked, hopped out, crossed the road, and stared in disbelief at the lizard in my light.

After a decade of looking and more than 10s of thousands miles of driving, I had finally found the coveted Baja gecko. Fatigue was forgotten as I took picture after picture of the lizard. Knowing full well that I may never see another I bracketed, availed myself of several lenses, and went through a full set of batteries in the flash unit. Certainly I thought, as I walked to the car, some of those pictures should be satisfactory. Dawn was breaking as I drove into the motel. A full day’s sleep would be welcome.
Continue reading "Reds, Winders, and Geckos"
More Featured Articles
  - Innertubes
  - Reds, Winders, and Geckos
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