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Chat Transcript
Frank Retes 12/14/99

Jeff Barringer - Our third chatweek99 guest tonight is Frank Retes.... Frank's topic is Care and Husbandry of Varanids, welcome Frank!

Leezardlady - Hi Frank, how much do you use inbreeding? Do you consciously make an effort to limit inbreeding in your colonies? Have you seen any detrimental effects by inbreeding generation after generation?
Frank Retes - Its hard to say, we have many, many projects, some we have no choice but to inbreed. We have never seen any bad effects on inbreeding, but we have not been around for 50 years either. We do feel monitors inbreed normally in nature, but nature has a way of introducing new blood.

Robpulay - Frank, what pythons are you working with? Do you have any Boelen's?
Frank Retes - I have some up at Eric Criders, other then those we are breeding three species. Womas, black-headeds and pygmy pythons.

D-tails1 - What about my question about the average Joe Herper being able to keep Komodos...? do you draw the line of "responsible herping"?
Frank Retes - I do not believe the average herper should keep KDs. They can be very dangerous.

JFORKS - Do you feel you are qualified?
Frank Retes - Yes.

D-tails1 - What is your take on the intelligence levels of different varanids?
Frank Retes - I think they are all the same, very smart.

JeffB - Will you be trying any more outdoor breeding experiments?
Frank Retes - Right now we are building large indoor-outdoor enclosures.

amazoa - Tell us about a couple special Varanid projects you are anxious about and working on at present.
Frank Retes - I have to many projects going to single out just one or two.

JFORKS - Frank when I first met you were a huge colubrid fan, what made you switch to focusing so much attention to monitors, what do you like about them?
Frank Retes - Joe, I kept and bred kingsnakes for 30 years, it was time to move on. MONITORS made me laugh.

D-tails1 - Frank, do you talk to your monitors when you work them? Otherwise interact?
Frank Retes - I won't admit that, Yes I have a few monitors that I play with.

BG - What kind of life span do you get on the average adult female ackie starting from the first clutch of eggs she lays?
Frank Retes - We have only been keeping them for eight years and they are still going.

BP - Hello Frank, nice to talk to you, What type of dwarf monitors do you breed, and what are your favorite ones?
Frank Retes - We keep many species of monitors and many are of the smaller types, I have to say I like the two smallest, V. kingorum and V.caudolineatus.

BrianT - Have you had much success with the salvadorii? also, last time we spoke you mentioned that you may have found a male perentie, did anything ever come out of that?
Frank Retes - Brian, we have not found a male yet. and we have had several clutches from 0ne female croc.

caolan - Hi Frank. I was wondering if you have found keeping and breeding pigmy kings monitors difficult because I don't have a lot of experience but I am getting some ackies this spring? I want some pigmy kings really bad but don't have the cash? Who else has Pigmy kings?
Frank Retes - I find that all monitors are the same(easy) once you understand them. My partner, Eric. and a bunch of people in Europe have them.

Fine - A lot of people tell me you say melamine gives off dangerous fumes...any data to back that up? After all, there are thousands of healthy herps kept and bred in mel. cages and racks.
Frank Retes - I do not use that, never had just have heard others give that a go.

Jeanine - Frank, no matter how much moisture I add to the enclosure, my ackies shed horrible, is there anything I can do about it?
Frank Retes - Yes, do not use a screen top. We do not keep ours moist(except egg laying areas). We just keep a spot moist were they can burrow.

love2 - How do you feel about the hybrid breeding and the breeding to create the color morphs we are now seeing in many species today?
Frank Retes - That's a tough question, sometimes my curiosity gets the best of me and we have crossed a few closely related species, But one of the reasons I liked monitors was they did not need color morphs. Please excuse me,I have a bandage on my finger(monitor bite)

rayray - Question on the lacies, do you expect to produce any offspring in 2000 and would you be offering any. Also I am wondering if you know anything about the sulfur water monitor. Is it a color morph or subspecie any info would be appreciated.
Frank Retes - Our 7 month old Lacies are breeding now. if all goes right, we may have some for sale. and I have seen sulfers, but ,I don't know much about there status.

Justin17 - What do you think about monitor intelligence? Is there one group that you have observed to be more intelligent that another, for instance African and Indo Monitors? Which do you think would be the over all most inelegant monitor you have worked with I know itís a rather subjective question. And finally, what is your favorite monitor just to interact and play with?
Frank Retes - Lacies, Lacies, Lacies, and I am happy to believe all monitors are very intelligent.

RyanG - Any information on the status of V. semiremex (Rusty monitor) in the wild? in captivity?
Frank Retes - Ryan, I have seen them, and locally they are common.

VaranidKid - Do you think the price on ackies will be going down anytime soon? I keep hearing good stuff on them like they are the next bearded dragon but they cost so darn much.
Frank Retes - I have no idea about the price, I do not think the price will ever go that low, hopefully we will not over breed them.

JFORKS - Frank, back to KD's.... do you have any immediate plans to try to obtain some?
Frank Retes - No, Joe I don't. I am not ready for them yet, I'm having enough trouble housing Croc's and Lacies.

BP - Is the set up for Kimberly's the same as for ackies, such as amount of dirt, hot spot etc. etc., I would also like to say it was very nice of you to be here with us tonight!
Frank Retes - Yes, they require the same. The only difference is with nesting, Kimberly's require finer dirt.

caolan - I have read that you have successfully breed Varanus beccari and I was wandering how you had them set up, cage size, stuff like that?
Frank Retes - We bred black trees years ago, we now have a pair and they are breeding all the time, but no eggs yet. Also some (pilbaras) hatched today

JeffB - We are out of time, I want to thank Kamuran Tepedelen, Trooper Walsh, and Frank Retes for being our guests tonight during our chat week festivities!

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