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News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Rattlesnake Friday! . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Python . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon L.A. at Americas Family Pet Exp - Apr. 28-30, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Chattanooga - Apr. 29-30, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  All Ohio Reptile Show - Apr. 29, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  Nebraska Herp Society Spring Expo - Apr. 30, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  All Cleveland Reptile Show - Apr. 30, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  Greater Cincinnati Herp Society Meeting - May 03, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  Central Illinois Herp Society Meeting - May 04, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - May 04, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon New Port Richey - May 06-07, 2017 . . . . . . . . . .  Nebraska Herp Society Meeting - May 06, 2017 . . . . . . . . . . - Friday, Apr 21, 2017

What a stunning Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake shot in the field in Arizona in our herp photo of the day uploaded by user lichanura ! Be sure to tell them you liked it here!

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Featured Contributors

Snake Fungal Disease, Emerging Pathogen or Endemic Pandemic ?
Mayra Oyervides - Wednesday, Apr 19, 2017

Wild caught Arizona elegans arenicola (Glossy Snake) from Hidalgo County Texas with SFD like symptoms

When I go herping I always wear gloves in between animals. My primary reason for doing so is to avoid transmitting diseases within and among herps. Many people are a bit confused as to why I do that. For one there is literature in Veterinary Medicine that confirms that Batrachochytrium dendrobatitis more commonly known as Bd, an amphibian disease, can be transferred to lizards. Quite a strange occurrence when diseases can pass the species barrier as typically they are specific to a group of animals.

However, more frequently I’m seeing a lot of snakes with symptoms of Snake Fungal Disease (SFD). I hear from collectors that back then they’d find milk snakes with lesions and basically they’d shed them off and be fine after a while. The question is, was it highly contagious among the rest of the person’s collection? I’m not sure how many people may have housed symptomatic snakes with others to confirm whether it was contagious or not. Now we know that SFD is highly contagious, and not to be mistaken with other conditions like water blisters.

If you’re out collecting in the field keep in mind the well-being of the rest of your collection whenever you do pick up an animal that shows SFD symptoms, as it is becoming more and more prevalent. The USGS states that for infected individuals the mortality rate in the wild is 100%. Other literature says >80% likelihood of mortality. Whatever the case may be, antibacterial between snakes may not work as this is a fungus, but the truth of the matter is that even if you do pick up a sick snake and bring it home, housing it in warmer temperatures and a dry enclosure will result in the snake likely shedding off the disease. The key being that you quarantine that snake from the rest of your collection, and that its lesions aren’t so bad that it refuses to eat, as many times the worst symptoms are around the face and chin, making it difficult for them to feed.

It requires a couple of tests to confirm the disease in an individual and we are finding it in more and more species than those initially reported by the USGS. We know it’s prevalent in Texas and is constantly being found in more species of snakes in the state, too. So continue to enjoy the field herping, but take the necessary precautions to keep your personal collection disease free.

Some things that might help are disinfecting your field equipment if you use it at home too, or having a separate set for your snake collection and one for the field. Also, if you see early signs in a snake remove the water bowl and keep the moisture level as low as you can in its enclosure. Offer the animal water every couple of days by replacing their water bowl for a few hours and then removing it again.
Continue reading "Snake Fungal Disease, Emerging Pathogen or Endemic Pandemic ?"

Blunt-headed Tree Snakes
Richard Bartlett - Tuesday, Apr 18, 2017

Blunt-headed tree snakes are blunt nosed and big eyed. This example is darker and with smaller blotches than usual.

When is a head high broken vining tendril not a head high broken vining tendril?

Why, when you grab a handful of tendrils to try and regain you balance and one of them suddenly turns a big-eyed head around on a slender neck to look at you, of course. And that is when you realize that you are doing exactly what you have warned your tour participants not to do—grab without ascertaining what it is that you are grabbing. This time, fortunately, no harm was done to either the grabber (me) or the grabee (snake—blunt headed tree snake, Imantodes cenchoa, to be exact). But the encounter did serve to rewarn me and there had been no one with me to witness the faux pas.

Blunt headed tree snakes are among the commonest and most distinctive of the arboreal serpents of the neotropics. The short snout, big eyes, and supple slenderness are echoed in this region (Depto Loreto, Peru) by only this snake’s congener, the much less often seen Amazonian I. lentiferus.

Nocturnal by preference, I. cenchoa bears prominent saddles, brown against a light reddish to chalk white ground color while the ground color of the tan saddled I. lentiferus is usually a lighter greenish tan. Both species prey on treefrogs and (usually) sleeping lizards. Adult size is 28 to 36 inches.
Continue reading "Blunt-headed Tree Snakes"
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