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News & Events: Two Texas map turtles and not one camera . . . . . . . . . .  Windsor Humane Society investigating disturbing watersnake killing . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Desert horned lizards . . . . . . . . . .  Turtle reunited with her veteran savior . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Parson's chameleon . . . . . . . . . .  Zoo teaching grade schoolers to be citizen scientists . . . . . . . . . .  An arboreal beauty: the green tailed rat snake . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Green tree monitor . . . . . . . . . .  Malabar gliding frog: A flying amphibian . . . . . . . . . .  When Prince Harry met lizard Harry . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Tokay gecko . . . . . . . . . .  The injunction against USFWS: What you need to know now . . . . . . . . . .  The Ceylon cat snake . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Video of the Week: Crocodile dental care . . . . . . . . . .  Herp Photo of the Day: Arizona mountain kingsnake . . . . . . . . . .  Burrow 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Chat Week 98 Transcript
12/12/98 - Allen Hunter

jeffb - Lets go ahead and get started
jeffb - welcome to the 6th night of chat week 98
jeffb - Tonight we have Allen Hunter whos here to answer questions about elapids


Mattmorelia - A friend of mine down here in Florida hatched a large clutch of Kings this season. The babies seemed reluctant to bite things outright. Almost seemed like they were "parry" striking? Is this a consistant behaviour?
Allen Hunter - some cobras are pretty shy as neonates.....africans too.
Mattmorelia - It looks like the mouth was closed. Interesting.
Allen Hunter - not necessarily, depends on the species, they varie greatly..
Allen Hunter - also, individual animals..


jeffb - midy do you have a question>
midy - what are elapids?
Allen Hunter - Elapids are proteriglyph venomous snakes ....rigid front fanged..
midy - oh!!! thanks
Allen Hunter - cobras, mambas, kraits, all Australians...


WhizzerHead - is being venomous and fixed fanged the main characteristic of being classified as elapid, or are there other differences
Allen Hunter - not really, basically they're venomous colubrids esentially...


beauL - may i ask about azemiops fea? are you familiar with there venom? if to off topic then pass me.
Allen Hunter - well, no one really knows I think about the venom of Azemiops, they need to study it more...
Cerastes - Allen, do you have a certain breeding goal in mind in your personal collectio?
Allen Hunter - Yep - Cerastes .....no, but mambas, and a few select species of Naja..


DGall - Hi allen, are there any other elapidae species that ABSOLUTELY warrent the use of transfer boxes besides Black Forests and hannah?
Allen Hunter - Black mambas, Gold's tree cobras, Taipans, maybe E browns....big squirrelly stuff...


Mattmorelia - He also hatched a clutch of Black headed spitters (I'm not sure what species that would be, sorry I'm not a HOTS person). It seems the neonates could not actually spit venom. They were about two days old. Is this a developmental condition that improves with age, say over a couple weeks? Or are they born with the ability to spit as newborns?
Allen Hunter - Matt> they seem to develope it a bit later...at about 6 monyhs or so they really start spitting...
Allen Hunter - but some will spit right off the bat...nigricollis esp.


DGall - I'll assume gold's are prehensile tailed? as are black forests....are there any others?
Allen Hunter - Gold's are apparently awful snakes to deal with...green mambas seem to have quite good use of the tail in gripping brances ...and hooks..


RobN - Allen how successful have you been with breeding mambas?
Allen Hunter - None yet, I've had really a hard time pairing things up, not many mambas in Canada, and shipping and customs are a pain..... But next year hopefully....
RobN - is that with just the blacks, I come across greens fairly regularly
Allen Hunter - blacks have been difficult to come by


WhizzerHead - Allen, have you ever tried anything exotic with your collection, like crossing a green and black mamba, and do you ever plan on anything like that?
Allen Hunter - LOL - yeah, I've actually thought about that - But generally I shun hybrids...


jeffb - of all the elapids you have kept, which do you consider the most dangerous and why?
Allen Hunter - Well, I've seen so many different personalities with different species - each can be bad to deal with if you have a particularly bad specimen
Allen Hunter - Forests, Blacks, Some spitters...I have a green that's actually worse than my black
jeffb - is there any one specimen that you have had that you said ....... nope.... and sent it back?
Allen Hunter - well, I used to have this one particular Forest cobra that would literally chase you around the room - worst animal I've ever seen - next day I made a trap box


beauL - i do know that the venom of azemiops is very toxic.anyway do u keep any golds tree cobras?if so how are there temperments?also are tere any recorded bits from this species
Allen Hunter - No Golds, but I have it on good authority that they're nightmares to deal with....no records on bites..
Allen Hunter - Where did you get the info about the Azemiops?..
beauL - i got it from china
Allen Hunter - oh.....


Cerastes - What one species do you wish you could work with that maybe aren't available today?
Allen Hunter - I hope to get some Taipans next year hopfully...
Cerastes - I assume canni?
Allen Hunter - Yeah,,Cb babies....from a Friend..


DGall - what's the best hide/trap/transfer box you've come up with?
Allen Hunter - Simple ones that I make a work out of 3/4 ply, with a plexi door and plexi sub-roof...simple but good...
DGall - plans might be a good addition to the page!!!
Allen Hunter - yeah, I've thought about that...seems people would like to see that..


Mattmorelia - How detrimental is the venom of spitting cobras to human eyes? (I realize the toxicity probably varies from species to species) Are there permanent effects to the eyes?
Allen Hunter - Well, I can speak from personal exp. about that one....hurts really bad....I had about 10secs. exposure and I had impared vision for a numbe4r of days...
Allen Hunter - got me from about 4ft away in a brilliant act of stupidity on my part...
Mattmorelia - WOW!- cleared up again I assume?!
Allen Hunter - oh yes..no probs..
Mattmorelia - good deal


MrBliss - if a hot keeper wanted to gain experance with elapids to have a wider experace with diffrend kinds of hots what would be a good species to use? as a first species
Allen Hunter - Personally, I would recomend Aspidelaps first - then Asian Naja...
Allen Hunter - Shield nose are cute huffy little guys...


RazorBackHerps - Have you had any contact with steve irwin?
Allen Hunter - No, but it would be fun to talk with him - I bet he has some great stories...
RazorBackHerps - he does
Allen Hunter - I hear he's a swell guy..
Allen Hunter - And yes, I think he's a good handler...


RobN - To followup on Matt's question, what species of spitter was it and what was the size of the animal? Also are there great differences in the venoms of the different spitters?
Allen Hunter - The spitter that got me was nigricollis, but there doesn't seem to be much difference in the venoms...heavily cytotoxic - with a dash of neuro for good measure..
Allen Hunter - Asian spitters are not as adept at it than Africans..


WhizzerHead - Allen, it seems you get lots of questions at kingsnake.com, and im sure you get them everywhere else too, whats the one thing youd love to answer or say about elapids that no one ever asks you?
Allen Hunter - hmmm....that's a tough one....elapids are generally not as bad as most people make them out....just be on your toes with them...
WhizzerHead - im on my toes with anything deadly


beauL - in your experiance how do kings live on rodents, friends in asia told me they wont live long unless feed snakes?
Allen Hunter - that's what I've heard too...perhaps there's some missing nutrtional component missing with rodents...it would be good to do a long term study on it...


CD- - i'm not a hot keeper, so i don't know alot about venoms. I know of neurotoxic, and hemotoxic, and now cytotoxic. What is the difference in these venoms, what are their effects on prey?
Allen Hunter - Well, the differences in the venom types play a major role in tissue breakdown - cytotoxins especially...meat tenderizer if you will...
Allen Hunter - Neros basically immobilize faster....


Cerastes - Isn't it true that most elapids are high maintenance animals - they make a BIG mess FREQUENTLY (trying to be diplomatic!) and eat a LOT?
Cerastes - making it necessary to enter the cage more often than expected?
Allen Hunter - LOL! You bet! ;-) I have a real love/hate relationship with them!


Crocodylus - Allen, how prevalent is immunity / resistance to elapid venom in the animal kingdom? Is resistance to, say, haemotoxins more likely than resistance to cytotoxins for example?
Allen Hunter - There are numerous animals that have a high resistance....obviously Mongooses, shrews, some birds, even rats are amazingly tough to some venoms - although I've seen them drop in 5 secs. from black mamba bites...
Crocodylus - I'm just wondering about adaptive resistance to certain venom types being more likely than others
Allen Hunter - hmm...I would think that resistance would be more likely in the case with nerotoxins rather than hemos - mongooses die quite quickly from large viper vites


DGall - how difficult is the breeding of hannah? Does it look like there are going to be more and more CB specimens available?
Allen Hunter - I think the husbandry methods for kings are getting better all the time - and the exchange of breeding info plays a big part of it..


Allen Hunter - ok all , thanks.....it's been a slice.....I gotta go put up the christmas tree now

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Jeff Barringer(left) Photo by Gary Miller; used with permission.Jeff Barringer
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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.
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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. .
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Herp Bios


Charles Darwin

Raymond Ditmars

Marlin Perkins

Some of them are legends known to every school kid in the world. Others are revered mostly by their peers and the scientists and herpers who came after them. They're the world's most renowned and influential herpetologists, herpetoculturists and zoologists, and you can learn more about them and their legacy to the hobby in kingsnake.com's Wikipedia-based index of herper biographies.
Lawrence Klauber
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Steve Irwin

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Keeping reptiles and amphibians is often subject to a variety of laws, regulations, and restrictions. These resources are here to help you navigate the sometimes complex issues of herp ownership.

International Agencies - CITES

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Related Links - Animal Legal and Hist. Center

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