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Chat Week 98 Transcript
12/10/98 - Ron Tremper

RTremper - My wife and I first visited Madagascar in the spring of 1988
RTremper - The goal of the trip was to successfully captive, transport and establish the first Mad chams to the west is nearly 20 years. This goal was realized
RTremper - The goal of the trip was to successfully captive, transport and establish the first Mad chams to the west is nearly 20 years. This goal was realized
RTremper - We saw everything from day geckos, to spider torts to sanzinia and ground boas in the wild
RTremper - The focus was on Parson's, Panther and Outsalet's chams.
RTremper - We visited Tulear in the south and saw Dumerils Boa and radiated torts and spider torts
RTremper - we visted majunga and Nosey Be Island in the north and found a species of Uroplatus that was later described by Henkel as a new one.
RTremper - We got over to St. Marie Is. and Tamatave as well. The second trip was in March '89

BG - Do you have any ideas of how many parsons Chameleons have been produced in the US in the last 2 years? any? thanks
RTremper - There have only about 20 Parsoni captive bred
BG - Friend of mine has some that he got eggs from, went 14 months and died :(, just curious on that
RTremper - Yes, the parsoni take over 15 months and have to experience a cool down at the first 90 days.
BG - he did all that, they just didnt make it for some odd reason, thanks
RTremper - yeppers......

dinopolis - do you feel now after your trip,you have any better an understanding or new revelations you could pass on to us about captive care for any of the native animals ?
RTremper - Yes........
RTremper - Chameleons need much ventilation........and space.
RTremper - They need free ranging caging outdoors...........
dinopolis - how would that be possible in the colder states here?
RTremper - The only species that do well when they are enclosed are veiled and panthers.
RTremper - The colder states are where you can have the montane African species.......
RTremper - But that's another talk some time.......

Jim - Sorry about jumping ahead. I am very interested in herp hunting. are the herps abundant or do you spend a lot time finding the animals you do locate?
RTremper - The herps are incredibly abundant!!!!!!!!!!!
RTremper - In March you can see one panther chameleon a minute at night!
Jim - Well I may have to make a trip out their with bill love sometime soon.
RTremper - It is a herping paradise........... I'm wild about that place still!!
RTremper - You can see four species of day geckos on on tree.

kingboa - this is just a little of track, but have you been to any south america countrys
RTremper - Not south of Nicaragua.

leo-gex - Terri turnbull from A1reptils sold me 1.4 high yellow leopard geckos...she told me that they could breed their first season....I have heard with 2 years to breed them..I told her this..she said that if I talk to any major leo breeder that they would also tell me that they bred the first long do you wait?
RTremper - No the amazon still awaits me. Madagascar has sooo many snakes to see during the daylight hours.
RTremper - I have bred L. gecks for 20 generation now and every female has always bred in 10 months.
leo-gex - you house individually?
RTremper - one male to 5 females.
leo-gex - I house 1.4 together in a 3 foot by 2 foot...they are about 6 inches each

leusic - This is off topic, but how are the albino leo gex?...more?'s
RTremper - I have 300 heteros ready to lay in three months.........more on that in April though. :)
leusic - What about Rainwater' your's look like his? I have seen Rainwater's also

Linus - This is a 2 part question. First, have you found any Sanzinia madagascarensis/Boa mandrita (Mad. Tree Boa)?
RTremper - Yes, I personally found Ground boas and Sanzinia adults.
Linus - Secondly, have you ever found any that are actually in TREES?!?!?
RTremper - The gr. boas are very common in Majunga for instance and the Sanzinia are on the roads at night.
RTremper - Saw a baby in a tree in '89 along a path. Only one though.
RTremper - Very exciting sight!

marina - Like many (all) parts of the world, I have heard of habitat destruction in Madegascar. How bad did you perceive the situation there to be?
RTremper - It is very bad. They need coal to cook the big tree are going fast.
RTremper - You smell smoke everywhere you go.
marina - Is there anything going on to slow the destruction?
RTremper - Yes, many zoos and wildlife agencies are trying to educate and preserve. It is not gaining ground there though.

Mattmorelia - Concerning amphibians did you see any Tomato Frogs (Dyscophus species)? If so, I'd like to know what the terrain was like if you did locate any. (part 2?:how many Sulcata do you produce annually?)
RTremper - Yes, there are serveral phases of Sanzinia ......... dark green - "mandarin phase". Yellow.
RTremper - Tomato frogs.........
RTremper - I saw them on the east coast......that is there natural range there. I saw two species.
RTremper - I produced just 92 sulcata this year with two females.

Okie_Python - What is the status of the leaf-nosed snake in Mad.?
Okie_Python - I know that you can find them WC for sale once in a great while.
RTremper - The nasutus is so hard to see in the wild so they are not in danger of over collecting. NO one really knows their status today.

RazorBackHerps - can you tell me about the madagascar hognose, did you see any on your trip?
RTremper - I saw the hognose almost everywhere we went.
RTremper - They are large and diurnal and eat a big variety of items of they are kind of the "lampropeltis" of Mad.

RichH - With all the deforestation happening in that country, how long do you feel herps will be abundant? Especially for the boid populations?
RTremper - The ground boas do fine in disturbed areas. We found them near houses and crops lands. The Sanziina to live in the coffee trees, so they can adapt if needed.
RTremper - The herp diversity will drop yearly in Mad.
RTremper - Dozens of unknown species of frogs ad lizards have been lost already.
RTremper - The best time to visit Mad land is Feb. or March......
RTremper - Madagascar is exciting but sad at the same time. Too many people.

Snake--Eyes - How rare is the Blonde phase Hognose and who breeds them and what is thier market value?
RTremper - Blonde hognose are something that I'm not aware of in this country. I some very light colored ones in Mad. and they are nice snakes.

stone88 - what does it take to get a trip like this together, expense wise and all?
stone88 - for local guides, transportation,lodging, etc
RTremper - In '88 we spent $10,000. for two for 33 days.
RichH - wow
RTremper - There are not car rental places. You have to borrow a car and driver.
stone88 - did you coordinate it on your own? how difficult was it?
RTremper - I did the entire trip on my own. Having been a zoo curator I knew the steps and contacts.

stone88 - a little info about the new Uroplatus species you observed in Nosy Be. and also, what is the status/abundance of geckos like Phelsuma and Uroplatus in general?
RTremper - On Nosy Be I found a new Uroplatus, "I thought". It turns out that Henkel also found it three months before me and had a friend name it after him
RTremper - So I had to settle for Chamaeleo tremperi!! :)
RTremper - It rains those days usually from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. and then gets sunny again.
RTremper - The most magical place we stayed was in a beach cottage on the island of St. Marie.
RTremper - The waves broke just feet from our doors, private sea shelled beaches and lots of geckos.

Timorbob - Ron, did you ever observe any Chamaeleo minor while in Madagascar, & are they ever available here in the States? I've never seen anybody list them. They have to be one of the most outrageously colored species (the females anyway!) And do you know how big they get?
RTremper - Minor?
Timorbob - Yeah
RTremper - I found only one minor there. Several nasutus though.
RTremper - The eggs of nasutus are the size of a match head!! wild.
Timorbob - Have you ever seen them offered by anybody?
RTremper - Not often..........Glades had some C. nasutus once.

joherp - Ron, years ago I got some beautiful blue nosy be panthers from you, basically no markings but the lateral line. Any hope of them hitting the market again?
RTremper - My original blood line from '88 died out after 6 generations last year. But I'm starting over. :)
RTremper - The panthers are needing to be studied. There are many subspecies there.
[21:40] RTremper - Dr. Gary Ferguson knows this. I helped organize his first visit there.

BOAPOOP - Ron I heard you had a very large breeding Yellow Foot Tortoise. Is that true? and if you did how big was she and how prolific?
RTremper - At the Fresno Zoo I had a female from Ecuador that went from 35 pounds in '67 to 105 lbs. in 1986 when she died of old age.
BOAPOOP - How long did you have her?
RTremper - Her shell hangs here just some feet away is 27.25" straight line.
jBOAPOOP - How many babies did she produce?
RTremper - I had her 19 years.
RTremper - Never laid.
RTremper - I saw a male in Florida that is alive and 32" long!!

chamaeleo - isn't madagascar being burnt
chamaeleo - how is the food
RTremper - Yes. hundreds of acres daily for crops and fire wood - coal production.
RTremper - ah the food.........
chamaeleo - any good?
RTremper - you live on rice, cokes, rice, bananas, and rice.
RTremper - It is not too bad food wise, and the herps make up for it!

dinopolis - I am somewhat unfamiliar with the export situation in Mad.,was there any problems getting the animals out?who did you have to set that up with?Also...are there currently alot of protected areas there,ie;through preservation acts?
RTremper - Export and laws........
RTremper - The Mad. export C.I.T.E.S. permits were arranged through plant exported in the capitol.
RTremper - Chams were protected that way.
RTremper - also Day Geckos.
RTremper - NO boas or torts can leave.
dinopolis - is that all you brought back
RTremper - I did all my own arrangments through friends in Germany and Mad.
RTremper - I brought back 20 panthers, 20 parsoni, 20 outsatleti, 40 phelsuma and some Oplurus.
dinopolis - well worth the expense of the trip
RTremper - You can eat tortoises all day long there in the south, but you can't take a live one home. :)
RTremper - The trip was risky, but it turned out fine. did not loose a single herp on the 37 hour return home.
dinopolis - MUCH credit easy feat I'm sure
RTremper - My only regret is that once my competitors saw what I had accomplished they opened up all the thousands of exports that occured from '89-96.

jeffc - I know there is no export of Boas out of Mad. Any sign that that might change? Us boaphile ecotourists would be more inclined to visit if we knew we could bring a boa or two home with us.
jeffc - Sorry to sound so crassly commercial!!
RTremper - It will never change. The zoos make sure of that. No offense taken.
RTremper - You can run over a Do (ground boa) but no taking it home.

Jim - Did you do much hunting for ambphibians, say in streams and rivers? How was the road hunting? Also, CHS has some horror stories about the local police. Did you have any problems with them? What about taking snakes (other than boas) home?
RTremper - I hunted everything. Saw many amphibs on Nosy Be at night and near Tamatave.
RTremper - Night driving for sanzinia and chameleons (sleeping chams that is) is very exciting and productive.
RTremper - Found a baby ground boa with umbelicle cord attached at night in March '89!!! It was wild to see that!
RTremper - Again, that place is magic!!!!! In one day in March you can see over 300 herps! no joke.

JJ - How fast is the destruction of Madagascar occuring, and why won't the country allow export of torts and others? why are the laws so restrictive?
RTremper - The government gets monies for many other projects by restricting the herps. Many herp species do need protection. The world wildlife fund and the malagasy faune group (zoo based) make the rules basically.
RTremper - The destruction of habitat.......espeically micro habitat is daily. that won't change.
RTremper - Visit it while you can.

Leucis - Do your albs look like Rainwater's? Cause the pic on your doesn't look too good I have one more question (non-leo gecko).
RTremper - The albinos I have are just as nice and I have striped and jungle phase coming soon.


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