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March 11th 1998 Chat Transcript

Below is a transcript of the March 11th 1998 chat session with Kamuran Tepedelen, Collector, Breeder, and Importer of Indonesian herpetofauna, and owner of Bushmaster Reptiles

MODERATORjeffb> welcome to tonights guest chat...

MODERATORjeffb> everyone read the instructions....

MODERATORjeffb> our guest is Kam Tepedelen

MODERATORjeffb> and our topic is herping indonesia...

MODERATORjeffb> and I promised clintg the first one

so go ahead

[ClintG] It seems that a lot of Savu Pythons are being

collected from the wild. With such a small range, I'm

wondering how long you feel this can continue, and if

the Indonesian government is showing any concern yet?

[Bushmaster] Yes, it does seem as though alot of Savu

Pythons have been collected.  I am VERY concerned about

this.  To the best of my knowledge, they only occur on

Savu, and nowhere else.  The Indonesian Government has

periodically closed the quota for maclots, and this year

it is substantially lower than years past.  Unfortunately

I feel that there has probably been substantial damage

done to this species, and for that I feel at least partly

responsible.  If there was some way I could.

[Bushmaster] I would like to say one more thing about

Savu, and that is had I known what would happen because of my

going there, I DEFINATELY would have never opened up these species.

[Petra] Have you ever encountered Xenopeltis unicolor in

the wild, and if so, under what conditions

[Bushmaster] Yes.  They occur were it is somewhat swampy

and wet.  They are usually collected near cultivated land.  The

rice farmers are a good source for these snakes.

[jay] are there any captive breeding of boelens yet?

[Bushmaster] Are you talking about here or over there?

Well actually it doesn't really matter.  To the best of my

knowledge, Paul Mile has actually bred them here in the US.

We have hatced them on our farm in Indonesia once, and also we

found a female which was on eggs in the wild. I know that Doug Price,

and Tracy and Dave Barker have hatced them out, but I believe both

were from wild caught gravid females.

[Bushmaster] Tracy and Dave did it here in the US, and

Doug Price did it in Indonesia

[BradK] I was wondering what kind of problems to be prepared

for with maintaining slate grey snakes and some boiga from indonesia

on captivity

[Bushmaster] Ok god slate gray snakes!  If there is one snake

I can find in the wild in Indonesia it is these!!  I ALWAYS find these,

and it is usually when I'm looking for something else.  Ok, I don't

really know anything about keeping them in captivity, so I'm sorry,

but I'm not much help there.  As for Boiga, if they are freshly collected,

then I would say really the only thing you might want to do is to

eliminate any parisites.  I have not had any real feeding problems

with them

[Bitis]I have heard that most snakes imported into the US from

Indo area have had their gall bladders removed, and that the snakes

live less then a year in captivity, for example Red tail green rat

snakes. Are the snakes you sell collected by you or your agents?

[Bushmaster] I can't speak for the other exporters over in Indo,

but the my collectors would NEVER in a million year remove the galbladders

from a snake. I think what you are refering to is the big MYTH that all

snakes shipped out of China have had their gal bladders removed.  This

is a myth!  I have spent many many monthes in china, and while they do

use the gal bladder, they also use the rest of the snake as well. Therefore

you would never receive a snake which has had it's galbladder removed.

[Emerald] what kind of affects have you seen because of the

drop in the indonesian economy... a lower pricing of animals, etc...

[Bushmaster] Everybody seems to think that because the economy is

doing so poorly, that we must be getting our animals cheaper.  This

is simply not true.  We have always done all our business in US

 dollars, and so there economy is not really affecting my business.

Actually most of the collectors have just raised their prices


[Bushmaster] I did just return from there, and it was considerable

cheaper to travel, but it is also becoming a bit of a hot bed at

the moment, and not quite as safe as it has been in the past.

[Emerald] Thank you

[SteveH] Haave you ever had any close calls with snake bite,

natives, or wildlife agents while on your travels?

[Bushmaster] No close calls with Wildlife Agents, but have had

two different BAD experiences with snakes bites.  Both occured

in Tanzania.  One of our collectors was bitten by a green mamba,

and the other by a Puff Adder.  In the case of the Green Mamba,

we were about 4 hours out into the bush, and we had to rely on

the village witch doctor (seriously!).  This man lived, and I

know for a fact that he got a full on bite from a 5 foot green

mamba.  The guy who was bitten by a puff adder

[JoeM] Does your company sell to private breeders. I

have never been able to get a price list.

[Bushmaster] We do sometimes sell to private breeders.

However you must have a fax machine to receive one of my lists.

Our stock changes so quickly in some cases, that it is just not

feasable for me to send out lists by mail.  We have a minimum

order of $500.00, and if you can meet this minimun, then I would be

 happy to sell to you.

[Horridus] I need specifics on this yellow monitor, distribution,

adult size, do you feel it will be classified in the indicus complex?

[Bushmaster] This Monitor has been described and published by a

german named Wolfgang Bohme.  However, at this time it looks as

though his description may not stand, as he did some rather shoddy

work.  It is definately in the indicus complex.  For reasons

pertaining to the Savu issue, I would prefer not to divulge the

EXACT locality, until the final word on the description in finished.

It's adult size for males is about 4 feet total length, and maybe

3 to 4 feet for females.

[Horridus] it is an island species then?

[Bushmaster] Many people seem to think it is from Halmhera, and

this I can tell you is NOT TRUE!

[Bushmaster] Everything in Indonesia is an island species.

[Horridus] thank you

[Tracy] What is the biggest snake you've seen while collecting?

[Bushmaster] Actually the biggest snake I have personally

seen in the wild was about 14 feet, and it was an amethystine in

cape york Australia.  As for Indonesia, I sent a retic back to the

Bronx Zoo which was about 22 feet, but I did niot collect it.

[Tracy] Yeah, Samantha at the Bronx is humongous!

[Bushmaster] Thats the one, but I believe the one

you sent to SA Zoo is bigger?

[Tracy] Marsha (was Marcus) is approaching 25 ft,

and we feel will be the record holder. Did you know they had

to amputate part of Samantha's tail?

[Bushmaster] I was just in New York in January, but I don't

recall them telling me this.  The last I heard, she was gravid?!

[Bushmaster] Yes, I think so! Is that right?

[Pete] There has been a lot of excitement over the new monitors,

do you see much in the way of undescribed pythons?

[Bushmaster] Yes!  There is so much more to be descovered in

Indo, but it takes time.  The other factor, it that USFWS is making

it much more difficult for us to bring in CITES species which may be undescribed.

[Byron] I heard a rumor several months ago about an albino chondro.

Any truth to this?

[Bushmaster] I have heard about albino Chondros since the first time

I went to Indo  8 years ago.  I have NEVER seen one.  I don't believe

there is one which has been seen either.

[Bushmaster] There was a guy calling around to everyone in the US claiming

to have one, but as far as I know it never panned out.

[Petra] How many c.b. or c.h. Boelens pythons would you estimate

are in the US?

[Bushmaster] Well, I heard that Doug price had 10 or 12, and I

have sold 14.  Paul Miles also produced 5. Jerry Marczak also

has told many people that he bred them, but I can't seem to find

anyone who has bought or seen them.

[Pete] Jerry says he breeds them every year!

[Bushmaster] Yea I know!  Where are they??????

[Petra] That is what I was wondering

[ClintG]What is your fondest reptile related memory from

 your trips through Indonesia?

[Bushmaster] Boy, that is really difficult.  I guess one

which comes to mind right off the bat is when I was in Borneo for

the first time, and we collected the first Borneo Waglers Vipers.

These animals are absolutely stunning, and this was one of the

first "new" species I was a part of.

[proexotics] no, for real, what looks to be the

lowdown on the new "yellow tree monitor"?

[Bushmaster] Well, I guess you need to be more

specific.  Hopefully as soon as the final description

 comes out, then Indo will have to make a quota for

them, and that will stop them from coming in for a

 while.  It is really a rather complicated deal, so

it is really not the time for me to explain it now,

 but I hope it will change soon.

[Bridget] hi, I was wondering, have you ever

seen a komodo dragon in the wild?

[Bushmaster] Actually no!  I have been to Indo more

than 20 times, but have never traveld to Komodo. Pretty

pathetic huh!

[jay] are the quota's going to go down on chondro's ,

do you think the prices will drop as fast as jungle

- carpets

[Bushmaster] There is actually no quota for

chondros, since they are all supoposed to be captive bred.

[BradK] I was wondering what your operation is like.

Do you keep it small and just go out into the field,

 or have employees and herp wide areas?

[Bushmaster] What do you mean herp wide areas?

My operation is somewhat small compared to other importers

here in the US.  I have myself and one other full time

employee, and another part time employee.

[Bushmaster] My goal is not to be the biggest, just

the most interesting.

[Bitis] do you sell venomous snakes? for example, waglers

and popes? and if not, why?

[Bushmaster] I do sell Venomous, but I must say, that I

am EXTREMELY guarded about who I sell them to. For the most

part, I never sell Venomous to private individuals.  There

is simply too much liability involved in this.  Everybody

sues everybody here in the good old USA.  most of my Venomous

sales have been to other dealers here in the US, or to Zoos.

[Emerald] How many genuine localities of chondros do you

feel there are?

[Bushmaster] I'm quite sure there are many more than I know

of, but if you are asking me how many we are working with on

our farm it is 9

[JoeM] What is the current status of the island of biak?

Will there be anymore chondros comming in from that local?

[Bushmaster] Well, the island itself was badly damaged by a

typhoon and tidal wave last year.  However that does not

affect my ability to import Chondros with this locality,

since I do not rely on wild caught specimens for my shipments.

[Boamaster] If I went to Indo could I bring back snakes like


[Bushmaster] Well, not really.  I mean if you developed

a relationship with an exporter there that was willing to

ship to you, then it is possiable.  If you are asking if

you could go out into the bush, collect, and bring back what

you found, the answer is no.

[Bushmaster] There are many many hoops which you need to jump

through before being able to bring live animals out of another country.

[Horridus] what variation have you seen in Tanimbar island

scrubs, Ive seen an almost back one with golden spotting is this typhical?

[[Bushmaster] I have really only seen two types

of Tanimbar scrubs.  One is patterned, and one is solid colored.

Maybe your is a variation of one of those.

[Horridus] is this sex linked?

[Bushmaster] I don't think so, but you might want to ask

the barkers, since I believe they are the only ones to have bred

them.  As for the ones from the wild, it is definately not sex linked.

[herpmystr] what is the frequency in finding Wagleri (in the wild) ?

[Bushmaster] They are very common.  The only snake which I have

found more of is those darn slate gray snakes!

[BC] Are the Wild populations of King Cobras stable,

or are they in trouble?

[Bushmaster] I can't really say what the status of

Kings in the wild is, but my personal impression is that they are ok.

[BC] What is their average size?

[Bushmaster] Well, it is quite common to get them 10 to 12 feet.

[ClintG] I'm curious about the extent of captive breeding

in Indonesia. You seem to be doing some, but A lot of other dealers

seem to claim to captive breed snakes, and I'm curious if this is

infact the case?

[Bushmaster] I can't comment on what the other importers or exporters

are claiming to be doing in Indo. - Sorry.

[Emerald] Do you are will you ever consider giving herp

tours to us not-so-well known herpers?

[Bushmaster] Oops!  I'm not really interested in arranging

tours, however, if you happen to be going to Indo, then call me,

and we can talk about it.

[BG] Have you found any sub-species of D'alberts, and did you get

in the new shipment of whitelips?

[Bushmaster] I still haven't received any white lips this year.  I

expect some soon though.  I have found three different types of white

lips.  Black, Normal browns or gold, and also a really neat big headed

 brown type which the barkers have.

[Bitis] how is this USFW law going to effect your importing of herps?

[Bushmaster] Well, that question would take all night

to answer, but basically it could very well shut down the trade

in imported live reptiles.

[JoeM] Have you brought in any of these "yellow tree monitors" yet?

[Bushmaster] Yes, I was the first one to bring any in last April.

I gave the first two specimens to the  University to have them described.

[Horridus] You mentioned that bornean waglers were new animal is

this because before you found them they were not known from borneo, or

were they a new color morph, or what?

[Bushmaster] Actually they were known from Borneo, but they had not

been exported out of Indonesia commercially ever.

[Bushmaster] There was an account of them in DeRooj works, but that

was the only thing written about them, and that was something like 50 years old.

[Bushmaster] Well, they are not so easy to breed, and so that

is probably the main reason.  Actually for as uncommon as they are,

they are very reasonably priced on most lists.