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Chat Transcript
Jeff Lemm 5/20/99


Jeff Barringer - Tonights guest is Jeff Lemm and tonight the topic is Monitors. Welcome Jeff Lemm
Jeff Lemm - Thanks, Jeff.

BG - Hey Jeff! I know that artificial insemination has been successful in Crocodilians, specifically alligators(not sure in the crocs), has artificial insemination been successful in monitors? attempted?
Jeff Lemm - Hi BG, I do not believe it has ever been attempted in monitors - it has been successful in garter snakes though

cirsisue - My Iguana had raised black spots biopsied and when it was removed it leaked clear bright green sera.The Veterinarian sent it to San Diego and then to Florida with no results. Any Idea what this was?
Jeff Lemm - I have heard of the black spot syndrome in many green iguanas lately. I haven't experienced it myself, so I don't know much about it. I think you should locate another vet such as Frye or Mader. Also, try looking it up in Frye's book on reptile diseases.

dp - What are your favorite monitor field experiences?
Jeff Lemm - Well, Australia is definitely not only my favorite monitor place, but favorite herping place in general. I've seen a number of monitors on Australia's East coast and in the Northwest Territories. It is a fabulous place that all should visit

Gita - I have an Iguana that suffers from constipation.After trying fruits and warm baths for a month, constipation still continues. How long should I wait before Medical intervention?
Jeff Lemm - That can be a very serious problem and the animal should be checked out immediately. Numerous problems, especially septicemia can arise from a constipated iguana - see a good herp vet immediately

JasonJ - Did the croc hunter's dog die? Oh btw hi :)
Jeff Lemm - No, Sui is still alive and well... and hi back at ya'!

RLAA - Hello Jeff, I have read of surface temperatures ranging from 140 to 170 degrees F for spinytail monitors. These temps seem extremely high to me. Could you please expand on this?
Jeff Lemm - Well, first I can ask you to read the article I just did about them in Reptiles - it explains it pretty well. But, surf. temps are not the same as ambient - they're easily measured though. For example, depending on the substrate, on an 82 F day in San Diego, ground temps can be as high as 180F. In Oz, it gets much hotter on the rocks, etc, where the animals are thermo regulating. These temps are very natural to them.

romley - I've been worried about crypto lately. I've heard more of it exists in captivity than we know. What do you think the next five years holds? A cure or a more serious problem? Are you aware of any in depth studies going on?
Jeff Lemm - Dr Elliot Jacobsen in Fla is looking into it I believe. But, all I can say is quarantine your animals!!! It may even be showing up in lizards now, so, I guess we'll see what happens.

StanP - I continue to be amazed at the number of baby Ig's (20 a batch) and Sav's (5 a batch) I see being sold from local herp shops. Any source of info for estimated ownership numbers in the US? Second question, are there any simple things that may cause a small skin lesion on a monitor other than a bite or a direct burn? It seems like it is "lifting" like a scab after 3 days so I'm letting it be. Curious if it may be a bacterial thing or ?
Jeff Lemm - I have no idea really on ownership of those animals, but a couple of years ago I heard about 3% of US households had an iguana - I don't know how accurate that is. Bumps/lesions under the skin can be caused by parasites, such as a number of species of worms - have it checked out
JeffB - There is an organization called TRAFFIC that can give you the import numbers

wooze - On bearded dragons...how many clutches would you figure a healthy female can lay in a row without taxing her health in general?
Jeff Lemm - Its tough to say - we're learning more and more about this right now. I'm not a big fan of breeding an animal senseless just to get eggs - I usually stop an animal at 4 or 5 clutches a year. But many breeders are getting even more than that and say they aren't seeing any probs. I can't really say the exact number

JeffB - ok my turn... whens your next trip "into the field"?
Jeff Lemm - Well, I was in the local field today. I am supposed to be on a Cyclura project in the BVI next month, but due to some unexpected reconstructive surgery on my foot - I won't get a trip until Aug.

BG - How immune are savs, and white throats to elapidae venom? I saw the documentary on discovery channel few years ago with the white throat eating the cobra(I am sure you all have seen it). Was it the thick skin, or immunity to venom?
Jeff Lemm - We don't know for sure. It has been looked at in young w.t. monitors who usually fall prey to elapids and are very scared of them - but the larger they get, the more brave they get. Adult w.t.'s relish most any snake they can take down. See Paper by Phillips and Alberts for more info.

cirsisue - Do you think putting an old t-shirt of your in a new lizards cage can help them learn your scent and feel safer with your handling of them?it seems to help us with our taming.
Jeff Lemm - Probably...monitors are extremely intelligent and do recognize keepers by scent and visual cues

dp - Are you doing any research? If so what?
Jeff Lemm - yes, cycluras, monitors, horned lizards and some other species
dp - What are you doing on Horned Lizards
Jeff Lemm - Zoo stuff, ecology.

Iguanamomma - What was that someone was referring to...sounded like a disease just showing up in lizards?
Jeff Lemm - cryptosporidium? If so, its a nasty disease - usually in snakes - that 's showing up more frequently - no known cure, results in death
Iguanamomma - Yes that's it! Star Gazing?
Jeff Lemm - Sometimes, though, there are carrier animals that don't die. That's about all I know about it since I don't have snakes at home anymore and monitors haven't shown signs of it ...yet
JeffB - Crypto is generally transmitted via water supply

JasonJ - what affect do the pogowhatever ants have on H.L.s? In terms of their sting. Lester said partially immune for P. coronatum but what does that mean?

Jeff Lemm - Pogonomyrmex californicus is one of the major diet ants of SD coast H.L's They have a nasty bite, but don't really have any nasty effects on the lizards that we've seen. Lester probably means the young may "slow down" a bit after being stung

KIZAL - what is the status of C nubila nubila on other parts of Cuba. (the military base excepted)?
Jeff Lemm - C.n.nubila are the most stable of the 15 taxa of rock iguanas. They are doing very well on Gtmo. Bay, and the outer islands of Cuba. On mainland Cuba, they are doing fairly well but may be hunted by humans and feral animals.

Niki - What is the largest monitor that you would recommend for someone that must handle them alone?
Jeff Lemm - Well, any larger monitor can cause a nasty injury. It would depend on the person's experience. I don't think beginners should be dealing w/ anything larger than a savanna or indicus

Phrynosoma - what did you mean by slow down for the young SD horned lizards?
Jeff Lemm - It might hurt the young and temporarily "knock the wind out of them". But I've never seen one maimed or killed by harvester ants

RLAA - On my bearded dragon i have noticed that from time to time he changes colors (well shades anyway) almost like a chameleon and gets dark circles on his underbelly. I have never read anything like this. Is this normal?
Jeff Lemm - Color changes in beardies are usually determined by how warm they are, while in many lizard species it can be caused by hormonal changes. I don't think its been looked at in beardeds though

StanP - Do you have a personal herp collection at home, feel that personal ownership (for personal gratification rather than breeding) isn't "right" or just get enough of them at work?
Jeff Lemm - I have a personal collection at home - always have, always will. I don't have a problem with breeders at all. I started breeding snakes when I was 11. I don't have a huge collection because I really get a lot out of my job and I travel a lot.

wooze - so...on beardeds, almost time for fourth clutch, with male at all times, looks good after each clutch, so how do i get her to stop producing, since she still could without the male? I don't want to kill her.
Jeff Lemm - I usually cool them a bit and decrease food. It usually works quite well as the male will relax too. You won't kill her.
wooze - Thank you
Jeff Lemm - No worries..

Jeff Barringer - Thank you for coming Jeff Lemm, we would like to have you back sometime.
Jeff Lemm - Anytime Jeff!
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