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Reptile and Amphibian News


Herp Photo of the Day: Panther chameleon
kingsnake.com - Friday, Mar 27, 2015

Just let this panther chameleon clean that spot on your screen for ya in our herp photo of the day, uploaded by kingsnake.com user 1Sun!



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On the kingsnake blog


Lizard venom helps create new medicines
kingsnake.com - Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Researchers aren't just looking at snake venom to develop potentially life saving medicine; lizard venom is also being mapped.

From phys.org:

Venom research is a large field, especially due to the pharmaceutical potential of the venom proteins. The idea here is that venom proteins are capable of affecting the body's cells. Excessive amounts can be harmful and even lethal in some circumstances, but if the right dose is used, the venom proteins can be used to treat certain diseases. Snake proteins that normally cause prey to bleed can be used in small doses to treat blood clots, for example.

In the same way, work is currently being done to develop spider venom proteins to provide pain relief. The Aarhus researchers focused on gila lizards, and these are currently being used in pharmaceutical contexts. Gila lizards produce exendin-4, a small venom protein used in the treatment of diabetes and obesity, which is a competitor to Victoza - produced by Novo Nordisk.


Read more here.

Featured Contributor - click here for more

Somewhere and back again
Richard Bartlett - Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

In his little Austin Healey Sprite, Ron and I zipped across the border in Brownsville, Texas heading into Mexico's interior. We had no idea where we were going or where we would stop. We were young, had enough time and hoped we had sufficient dinero to get us to wherever and back home again. We did. Barely.



As it turned out we encountered torrential rains in the Pacific Coast state of Colima, and with the rains there were herps--herps of kinds we had never seen before in the wild, and many that neither of us had seen anywhere.

The rain flooded low lying fields and now treefrogs of a half dozen species were vocalizing. Mexican wood turtles walked the wet roadsides and swam across larger flooded areas. Lyre snakes, parrot snakes, and our hands down favorite - brown vine snakes - were crossing or sitting quietly on the highway. We were surprised that the latter were active as they are considered diurnal species with poor night vision but it seemed probable that the heavy rains prompted divergence from the norm.

Although Ron and I were known for unplanned trips, this one was by far the longest yet (a longer trip, it too, unplanned, to southern Chiapas was to come later). This multi-thousand mile trip for 2 adults in a 2-seat Sprite from Tampa to coastal southern Colima was more than just a bit crowded. But now, 50 years later, I still look back on with fond memories.
Continue reading "Somewhere and back again"


Common krait: The silent killer
Sachin Mamgai - Wednesday, Mar 25, 2015

The common krait, Bungarus caeruleus, is a venomous snake found in India -- one of the four deadliest snakes of India known as "The Indian Big Four."

The krait is also included in the top five deadliest of the world, in part because of its silent killing ability. When a person is bitten by a krait, he or she won't feel pain because of the small-sized fangs; the bite pain is like a mosquito bite.

The common krait is a nocturnal snake; the kraits I rescued have all been rescued after 8 PM. It's difficult to find a snake during daytime rescue calls.

India is home to six or seven species of krait, and they're and also common in Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and many other Asian countries. The bite rate for the common krait is lower in India as compared to cobras and Russells vipers because kraits are very shy by nature and usually do not bite. That is the reason I love them.

Kraits have smooth bodies and glossy scales; they are blue or black in color and sometimes dark brown. There are single or paired thin white bands on the shiny black body, which makes them more beautiful and is the reason I use the 'Black Beauty' to describe a common krait.

The ventral part is white and sometimes yellowish. They feed on snakes mostly and sometimes even other kraits. Occasionally they eat mice, frogs, and lizards. The average length of krait is 100-120 cms and the maximum length is 175 cms.



There are many controversies related to krait bite deaths in India. Often when people are bitten by a krait, it's night time and they don't realize it. And the symptoms of krait bite are not at all predictable. The symptoms might take 6 hours or even 48 hours to start. The symptoms have seven or eight stages leading up to death. The deadliest symptom is paralysis; the bite victim is not even able to move his or her fingertips. There have been cases where the victims were declared dead by doctors in the paralyzed condition.

Keeping the deadly part apart, I always loved kraits because they attacked me very rarely on rescue calls and always make my rescuing task easy.



Featured Articles

Feature articles are written just for kingsnake.com readers by noted herpetologists and herpetoculturists from around the world and represent a variety of aspects of the herp community. Field observation, captive breeding, laws and regulations, conservation, and herp rescue are just some of the topics covered. With more reptile and amphibian writers being added to our blog, there is always something new and interesting to check out so stay tuned!

Check out the latest reptile and amphibian feature articles from our featured contributors!

Jeff Barringer(left) Photo by Gary Miller; used with permission.Jeff Barringer
Publisher - Featured Contributor
Founder and publisher of kingsnake.com, Jeff is a veteran breeder and field hobbyist with almost three decades of experience roaming the thorn-scrub desert of Texas in search of native reptiles and amphibians.

  - Bullets, bombs, and snake bites: Military duty is hazar...
  - USFWS: Reticulated pythons, anacondas added to list; bo...
  - Report: USFWS to add boas, reticulated pythons, anacond...
  - kingsnake.com launches new Classified Vendor Directory
  - Lizard politics cost USFW agent his job
  - More...

Richard Bartlett (left) Photo by Jake Scott; used with permission.Richard D. Bartlett
Featured Contributor
One of the most prolific writers and photographers on herpetological subjects in the 20th century, Richard spent over four decades documenting reptiles in the field and captivity and authored hundreds of herp titles.

  - Somewhere and back again
  - Letting sleeping terrapins lie
  - Beautiful in sight and sound
  - The little frogs with big voices
  - The magnificent red snakes of the mangroves
  - More...

Tony Jones (left)Tony Jones
Featured Contributor
Tony Jones is a UK based writer and herp professional with field experience ranging from Madagascar, New Zealand, Hungary, The Canaries, West Africa, Mauritius, Round Island, Saharan Africa and America.

  - Should reptile shows be legal in the U.K.?
  - New European animal laws worry UK hobbyists
  - Courier no longer ships reptiles in UK
  - Challenges ahead for the UK reptile hobby
  - More...

Sachin Mamgai (left)Sachin Mamgai
Featured Contributor
A reptile hobbyist and rescuer living in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Sachin began rescuing India's snakes and amphibians when he was 15 and is part of the new generation of reptile hobbyists in India.

  - Common krait: The silent killer
  - Green keelback: The nightmare of toads
  - Ornate Flying Snake: The wingless flying beauty
  - A cat that doesn’t meow: The common Indian cat snake
  - Vine snake: The hidden predator
  - More...

Leiren McKenzie (left)Leiren McKenzie
Featured Contributor
At home in the forests and swamps of the southeastern United States, Leiren spends most of her free time looking for herps, when she's not breeding axolotls, salamanders, and other reptiles and amphibians.

  - Eastern hognoses: Best actor in the reptile world
  - 'Faster than the crack of any whip': The coachwhip
  - As spring approaches, herpers need to change gears
  - That underrated amphibian, the infamous caecilian
  - The beauty of a northern red salamander
  - More...

Cindy Steinle (left)Cindy Steinle
Featured Contributor
A volunteer with several organizations including her own herp rescue, Cindy works with a number of local shelters, agencies, and organizations to provide rescue services for her community.

  - We need you to help giant snakes in need!
  - The problem with 'heroes in a half-shell'
  - 'Eaten Alive' creates problems for reptile rescuers
  - Is LA's albino cobra 'domesticated'?
  - In Memoriam: Carl Koch
  - More...



We will be adding more featured contributors in 2015 so check back for more updates and changes!


More Herp News...

kingsnake.com has been blogging about reptile and amphibian news since 2006! Check out these reptile and amphibian news articles from our blog archives you may have missed!


  - Lizard venom helps create new medicines
  - Plastic bowls may save rainforest frogs
  - Irwin family under fire for their questionable conserva...
  - Conservation programs making things worse in Canberra?
  - The surprising similarities of eastern coral snakes
  - Relic leopard frog exposes challenges of conservation
  - Photographer of 'cowboy frog' image explains the stunni...
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  - Trafficking ring that sold endangered species busted
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  - Premiere UK athletic training ground lodge put on hold ...
  - For lizards it's not what you say, it's when you say it
  - Ancient "dinosaur cousin" remains found in Israel
  - Inner workings of redtail coral venom finally discovere...
  - Surprise new frog discovered in Peru
  - Conjoined lizard twins found at German zoo
  - Australian police station doubles as lizard home
  - Hunting season could destabilize alligator population
  - Godzilla stolen, then returned
  - Kite surfer saves loggerhead turtle from plastic net
  - World's deadliest library being created in Australia
  - Rainbow boa stolen on school's snow day
  - Carpet python eats possum dinner hanging upside down
  - Fossilized mama reptile shown caring for babies
  - Snakebite victim saved by stormtrooper suit
  - Effort to make salamander Idaho's state amphibian fails
  - Sri Lankan snake's discovery in India suggests ancient ...
  - Western pond turtles disappearing from Oregon
  - Girl pushes for bill to name Idaho state amphibian
  - Vietnam home to new tree frog species
  - Canadian boy finds 300 million year old fossil
  - UK man finds snake in his shopping bag
  - Excessive rainfall harms tropical leaf litter frogs
  - Are venomous sea snakes overharvested?
  - Cambodia home to new legless amphibian
  - Scientists develop more powerful anti-venoms
  - Newly discovered frog species gives birth to live tadpo...
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  - Taliban attacks in Pakistan threaten crocodiles
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  - Over 40 percent of amphibians in danger of extinction
  - Recently discovered frog needs conservation effort
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  - Lower Keys crocs reclaiming traditional territory
  - Galapagos tortoises have astonishing recovery
  - Smithsonian exhibit features school bus sized snake
  - Sea turtles rescued from the cold
  - Fog is key ingredient to understanding iguana breathing
  - The incredible disappearing terrapin
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  - Tortoise taggers at Yuma Proving Grounds
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  - Kids have play date with a python
  - Look for lizards crossing the road
  - Tortoise ribs evolved into shells
  - Why do snakes have two penises?
  - New fossil identifies largest known venomous snake
  - Croc killed by trappers receives special send off
  - DNA may take guess work out of diagnosing snake bites
  - What a difference a croak makes
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  - Discovery Channel's new snake show makes us embarrassed...
  - One hundred years of incalculable loss
  - Egyptian sarcophagus fit for a snake
  - 12 year old newt lover to present studies in Edinburgh
  - Sea turtles are having a great year
  - Who's your daddy?
  - CSI: Madagascar
  - Invasive toads hit the ground running
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  - Some snakes have extraordinary bites
  - Economy transforms lizard populations
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  - Herp community shows its generosity and compassion at N...
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  - More...

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  - Lizard venom helps create new medicines
  - Plastic bowls may save rainforest frogs
  - Irwin family under fire for their questionable conserva...
  - Conservation programs making things worse in Canberra?
  - The surprising similarities of eastern coral snakes
  - Relic leopard frog exposes challenges of conservation
  - Photographer of 'cowboy frog' image explains the stunni...
  - UK volunteers prepping to keep toads safe from cars
  - Trafficking ring that sold endangered species busted
  - Indian croc bank raises funds to expand, accommodate mo...
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Jeff Barringer(left) Photo by Gary Miller; used with permission.Jeff Barringer
Publisher - Featured Contributor
Founder of kingsnake.com, Jeff is a veteran breeder and field hobbyist with almost three decades of experience roaming the thorn-scrub of Texas is search of reptiles and amphibians.
  - Bullets, bombs, and snake bites: Military duty is hazar...
  - USFWS: Reticulated pythons, anacondas added to list; bo...
  - Report: USFWS to add boas, reticulated pythons, anacond...
  - kingsnake.com launches new Classified Vendor Directory
  - Lizard politics cost USFW agent his job
  - More...

Richard Bartlett (left) Photo by Jake Scott; used with permission.Richard D. Bartlett
Featured Contributor
One of the most prolific writers and photographers on herpetological subjects in the 20th century, Richard spent over four decades documenting reptiles in the field and captivity.
  - Somewhere and back again
  - Letting sleeping terrapins lie
  - Beautiful in sight and sound
  - The little frogs with big voices
  - The magnificent red snakes of the mangroves
  - More...

Tony Jones (left)Tony Jones
Featured Contributor
Tony Jones is a UK based writer and herp professional with field experience ranging from Madagascar, New Zealand, Hungary, The Canaries, Mauritius, Round Island, Africa, and America. .
  - Should reptile shows be legal in the U.K.?
  - New European animal laws worry UK hobbyists
  - Courier no longer ships reptiles in UK
  - Challenges ahead for the UK reptile hobby
  - More...

Sachin Mamgai (left)Sachin Mamgai
Featured Contributor
A reptile hobbyist and rescuer living in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Sachin began rescuing India's snakes and amphibians when he was 15 and is part of the new generation of reptile hobbyists in India.
  - Common krait: The silent killer
  - Green keelback: The nightmare of toads
  - Ornate Flying Snake: The wingless flying beauty
  - A cat that doesn’t meow: The common Indian cat snake
  - Vine snake: The hidden predator
  - More...

Leiren McKenzie (left)Leiren McKenzie
Featured Contributor
At home in the forests and swamps of the southeastern United States, Leiren spends most of her free time looking for herps, when she's not breeding axolotls and other salamanders.
  - Eastern hognoses: Best actor in the reptile world
  - 'Faster than the crack of any whip': The coachwhip
  - As spring approaches, herpers need to change gears
  - That underrated amphibian, the infamous caecilian
  - The beauty of a northern red salamander
  - More...

Cindy Steinle (left)Cindy Steinle
Featured Contributor
A volunteer with several organizations including her own herp rescue, Cindy works with a number of local shelters, agencies, and organizations to provide rescue services for her community.
  - We need you to help giant snakes in need!
  - The problem with 'heroes in a half-shell'
  - 'Eaten Alive' creates problems for reptile rescuers
  - Is LA's albino cobra 'domesticated'?
  - In Memoriam: Carl Koch
  - More...

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  - USFWS: Reticulated pythons, anacondas added to list; bo...
  - Should reptile shows be legal in the U.K.?
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