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News & Events: Herp Photo of the Day: Horned Lizard . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Snake . . . . . . . . . .  Bay Area Amph. and Reptile Society Meeti - Nov. 22, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Suncoast Herp Society Meeting - Nov. 23, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Dallas - Nov. 23-24, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Charleston - Nov. 23-24, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Chicago Herpetological Society Meeting - Nov. 27, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  The Reptile Expo - Nov. 30, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  ReptiCon Raleigh - Nov. 30 - Dec. 01, 2 . . . . . . . . . .  Havre de Grace Reptile Expo - Nov. 30, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Central Illinois Herp Society Meeting - Dec. 05, 2019 . . . . . . . . . .  Calusa Herp Society Meeting - Dec. 05, 2019 . . . . . . . . . . - Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

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News Briefs

Indiana woman dies with python around neck
Jeff Barringer - Thursday, Oct 31, 2019 gallery photo

Police say a woman has been found dead with an 8-foot-long python wrapped around her neck at a snake-laden home 20 miles northwest of Lafayette. Details are sketchy at the moment and police have yet to point the blame at the Reticulated Python in question. The woman’s cause of death remains under investigation, with an autopsy scheduled Friday. About 140 snakes were found in the home, the woman owned about 20 of them and had visited the home about twice a week.

The reticulated python (Malayopython reticulatus) is native to South and Southeast Asia, including India, Burma, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaya, Indonesia, and the Philippines. The worlds longest constricting snake, some specimens are known to exceed 20 ft. in length. An ambush hunter, it waits until prey wanders within strike range before seizing it in its coils and killing by constriction. Its natural diet includes mammals and occasionally birds. Small specimens eat mainly rodents such as rats, whereas larger individuals switch to larger prey including deer and pigs weighing more than 130 lb.

A popular species among reptile hobbyists Reticulated Pythons are common in captivity and have been bred in many different color varieties.

Human fatalities attributed to large constrictors are exceedingly rare but do happen. wants to emphasize that people working with large or venomous species should always work with a partner to avoid mishaps and injury. No matter how well you think you know an animal it only takes one mistake to have disastrous and sometimes fatal consequences.

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Featured Contributors

Hog-nosed Snakes, Natures Bluffers
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Nov 04, 2019

The rostral scale of the Mexican Hog-nose is strongly upturned. It feeds on both anurans and warm-blooded prey.
For their length they are heavy bodied, short-tailed snakes that occur, in their various species when adult (20 to 30 inches), in myriad colors. Of these it is the eastern hog-nosed snake, Heterodon platirhinos, that is the most variable. Hatchlings tend to be more uniformly colored. Collectively, hog-noses range from central New England to central Montana and Southeastern Alberta, then southward to southeastern Arizona, much of sorthern Mexico, southern Texas and the southern tip of the Florida peninsula.

These snakes are our great bluffers of snakedom. If frightened they may coil, they may hiss loudly, they may flatten the head and neck into a modified cobra-like hood, they may strike (usually with their mouth closed) or, if hard-pressed they may begin writhing spastically, contorting the body, open their mouth, then roll over and feign death. But as far as the hog-nosed snake is concerned the only position for a dead snake is lying upside down. If you turn the feigner right side up it will immediately roll upside down again. Southern and Eastern hog-nosed snakes are toad eaters.

Hog-nosed snake species and subspecies:
  • Eastern, Heterodon platyrhinos
  • Southern, Heterodon simus
  • Plains, Heterodon nasicus nasicus
  • Dusty, Heterodon nasicus gloydi
  • Mexican,Heterodon nasicus kennerlyi, or if you prefer Heterodon kennerlyi

Hatchlings emerge from the eggs at about the same time metamorphing toadlets leave their pond sites.

Newly metamorphosed toads contain very low levels of the toxins that protect them as adults. So the hatchling hog-noses can safely eat them. As the toad grows and toxins strengthen, the resistance of the growing hog-nosed snake to the amphibian’s toxins also increases—seemingly a perfectly mutualistic program of symbiosis. It should be noted that the various western hog-noses accept a more varied diet than the eastern and southern hog-noses, toad specialists, both.

Hog-nosed snakes are generally considered nonvenomous. They are, however, dipsadine species, rear-fanged snakes, that in reality, produce a mildly toxic saliva. This usually matters not, for it is almost impossible to taunt a hog-noise into biting anything other than their chosen prey. Occasional bites however, whether deliberate or accidental, have resulted in pain, local edema, and some discoloration.

The uptilted rostral (nosetip) scale from which the common name is derived assists the snakes in unearthing burrowed prey items.
Continue reading "Hog-nosed Snakes, Natures Bluffers"

Pink Coachwhips
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Oct 28, 2019

This coachwhip caused a scream, a screeching stop, and a marathon run. But it was worth it.
At scream volume “---S T O P!!!!!!!!!! ---.“ Yep, Jake had managed to scare me again. I was in the passing lane doing about 65, about halfway past a slower car, when Jake yelled. Fortunately there was no one following tightly so I slammed on the brakes and before I stopped Jake was out of the car running east while we were heading west. I parked on the verge, clambered out and back about 50 yards Jake was stationed in the grass trying to decide what the snake he had seen and I had missed on the side of the road was going to do.

Hurry screamed Jake. Hmppphhh. Not likely. My days of hurrying are long gone. But I WAS closer now. Go out on the road and try to prevent it from crossing. It’s a coachwhip—a PINK coachwhip!

Now I understood. We had seen but failed to catch or even photo pink coachwhips on our last 3 trips to or through Texas. Suddenly I felt Jake’s excitement. I do love racers and racer relatives.

So I limped out in the road and rather than watching me the big snake was now watching me. Then it turned it’s head towards Jake and started to move. In an instant Jake was airborne.In anotjhert instant he was flat on his belly in the grass and sandspurs. And in a 3rd instant he was screaming OWWWWWCH! GET IT! Certainly no problem now because he alresdyu had the snake at midbody and the snake had him by the eyebrow. Interesting dilemma. I wondered which would win?

But heck I wanted to photo the snake as badly as Jake did, so I grabbed it before it decided to swallow Jake and the snake immediately transferred its attention to my arm. Oh well. It was worth it.

Right Jake?

And I guess it might have been because another 5 miles down the road we had a similar but a bit less bitey encounter with a second pink coachwhip.

I was so impressed with these snakes that I did something that I haven’t done in a long while. I decided that if Jake didn’t wish to retain the snake I would like to keep them. Jake didn’t, I did.

But here’s what I didn’t expect. Once home and caged these 2 adult coachwhips proved dog tame. The first time I fed them both slowly left the hidebox, came to cage top, and gently took each thawed mouse from my fingers. No biting, no striking. And both have continued to do so on each feeding attempt. Now I’m excitedly awaiting their next shed. They should be knockouts.

Continue reading "Pink Coachwhips"
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