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Chat Week 2000 Transcript
12/12/00 - Winston Card
Dallas Zoo
Field Herping in Latin America


JeffB - Welcome to the second night of chat week 2000
JeffB - Tonights guest is Winston Card with the Dallas Zoo and our topic is Field Herping in Latin America
JeffB - with that I will go ahead and start....


Winston Card - JeffB: I should probably post a short disclaimer before we start.
JeffB - ok please do
Winston Card - I can not claim to be an expert on Latin American Herpetology by any stretch of the imagination. I have had occasion to travel to Costa Rica and Peru on a number of occasions in association with various conservation projects for the Dallas Zoo. I will make every attempt to answer your questions concerning this subject, but I may end up referring to specific literature if a can not answer your question.


JeffB - Winston what are some of the projects you have been involved with in central anmerica
Winston Card - I have worked on a number of projects involving population monitoring of herps and the life history of bushmasters in situ.


Diggy - How did u get started herping, and at what age?
Winston Card - I started probably like most people, at a very young age.
Winston Card - Mostly looking for herps when I was suppose to be in school.


firstchoice1 - with habitat being destroyed, and exportation rules getting tighter, what is the outlook on the export of south american species, such as dendrobates?
Winston Card - Not very bright I fear. Most Latin American countries seem to be moving away from exporting native species.


John Hewlett - Hi Mr. Card, I was wondering do have any experience with the latin species of Micrurus, if so what habit is the "Marine" or Giant Coral snake found in?
Winston Card - Try the book: Coral Snakes of the Americas by Janis Roze.


Macholizard - Mr Card... what latin american geckos have u worked with?
Winston Card - Most of the gecko's in Latin America are small and not generally a part of zoo based captive breeding programs...


Mattmorelia - How is the temperment of wild Bushmasters you have encountered? Any interesting behavior to note?
Winston Card - Wild bushmasters rarly move. We observed specimens in the same place for several weeks. Our captive hatched animals are a beast of a different color


Reptiluvr - Could you share w/ us an interesting or humorous story about your field experiences in Latin America??
Winston Card - OK, I leaped several feet off of a fallen log into a moving canoe. The canoe did not survive. The water was warm though.
Winston Card - We managed to get lost in a stream with no light in the middle of the night. The tree was between us and our camp. There is a lesson here :)
Reptiluvr - always have a flashlight?


matt2- Winston; which herp was most challenging or hardest to locate
Winston Card - Some of the arboreal hylids are the most challenging to find. It is usually a matter of pure luck when you find them... more
Winston Card - Occasionally, you luck into large breeding groups, but that is rare.


Craig - I am most interested in captive (now known as "conservation") breeding programs with Latin American species that the Dallas zoo is involved with (field studies) and/or other programs that you know of in the zoo community in this regard. How are the field studys complimenting the programs? What species are endangered and/or in need of conservation breeding programs in Latin A. from your point of view?
Winston Card - We have worked with a large breeding group of bushmasters since 1989, and have radio tracked specimens in Cpsta Rica for several years.


Diggy - How can u give an reptile without a uvb: because i a person can't afford it, uvb lighting, leave it by a window?
Winston Card - Actually, it has been demonstrated recently that a small amount of UVB will pass through some glass, but not much. UV bulbs are expensive, but that is part of the game.


firstchoice- how do the local people of south america view reptiles? any interesting folk-lore? Do they make use of reptiles in any way?
Winston Card - In some cases, if an animal is large enough to eat... Interestingly, there is a myth that male bushmasters cluck like chickens during the breeding season.
Winston Card - This is a very common myth throughout the Amazon.
firstchoice- do they have any fear of bushmasters
Winston Card - You bet! Mortality is very high from bites by this species = 1 in 4!


John Hewlett - Mr. Card do you have any experience in the field with the Honduran Pitviper (Bothriechis marchi)? And do you know where I can find information on them, iformation on marchi is hard to come by?
Winston Card - There is a little information in The Venomous snakes of Latin America. Husbandry is pretty much the same as other arboreal pit vipers.


lepidus - Other than the bushmaster, what venomous species have you encountered?
Winston Card - Several species of Micrurus, Bothrops asper (Costa Rica), Bothrops atrox (Peru), two-stripped forest pit viper, eyelash viper... Several others, but I do not have a list in front of me.


Macholizard - What species is kept at the dallas zoo? Enclosure sizes? Any of latin A?
Winston Card - Bushmasters... Large walk in room. Bothriopsis taeniata ... Bush arboreal cages with timed rain system.


Mattmorelia - Is there an anti-venin(venom?!) for the Busmaster? If so, has it been used with success? and what quantity of venom can an adult deliver in an "average" bite?
Winston Card - Costa Rican Poly is the recommended antivenin. Adults can LOAD YOU UP! These animals can be up to a meter or so in length.


Reptiluvr - what gecko species inhabit Latin America?
Winston Card - Rather then providing a list: try The Reptiles of the Upper Amazon Basin... Dixon and Soini.


Craig - Do you bring back many specimens from Latin America\ as a result of your field work and if so, which species are you working with at the Dallas zoo besides Bushmasters in regards to conservation breeding programmes? Thanks in advance :)
Winston Card - We bring nothing but data back. Really, bushmasters are the only Latin American species we have in any numbers. These animals take up an enourmus amount of space.


reptiman - what is a good viper to start out with? New to Hots never had one. A smaller less agressive species.
Winston Card - Eyelash viper > plenty of captive born specimens around. Probably just lose a finger from the bite :)


Danno - If you could recommend an 'all in one' lighting hood for lizards which one would it be? (for a 55gal tank.) Thanks. Also, my wife & I are expecting a baby soon should I get rid of the lizard ie risk of Salmonella ...
Winston Card - See your vet about the salmonella question, that is tricky. Sulvania blacklights.
JeffB - Danno... If I may I would recommend the CDC guidelines and they do say get rid of the herps
Winston Card - Good advice JeffB.
Danno - CDC?
JeffB - Center for Disease Control


firstchoice- have you ever been to the galapogos islands? also, have you ever been bitten by a venomous snake?
Winston Card - Never been bitten (20+ years). Never been to the Galapogos, would love to someday.


Herpo - Winston. How common are marchii, and is there a chance of central american countries opening up again?
Winston Card - I really don't know much about these critters. I would say chances are pretty slim Central America will open up any time in the near future.


JAYCDN - Mr. Card, Have you ever encountered the chilean dwarf tegu (Caloptes maculatus) in the wild and if so what kind of habitat do they tend to frequent
Winston Card - No sorry Jaycdn


John Hewlett - Mr. Card I am not a real fan of using common names, do to the confusion, because I know that there are 3 species of snake that all possess the common name "fer-de-lance" two of which are Bothrops atrox and Bothrops asper, can you tell me which snake has a greater size, atrox or asper, and how there behaviors compare?
Winston Card - Bothrops asper is the larger of the two. Both can be very unpredictable in the field and have similar habits.


JW - You said earlier that bushmasters reach a meter or so. I thought they got up over ten feet in total length (about three meters)?? I believe both Thecadactylus and Gonatodes are two common geckos found in the Amazon. By the way, Honduras has recently been open for limited exportation lately. Right?
Winston Card - Yes, they do get larger than a meter, but I have never seen an animal longer than 7 feet. We have a female that was wild collected in 1983 (!) as an adult and she is about 7 feet...
Herpo - I found one a bit over 9' in trinidad in '69
Winston Card - Honduras - Be careful with these animals - I will say no more than this.


KelliH - I hear that some of the keepers in the herp at Dallas Zoo are going to Brazil. I was wondering when that trip is scheduled and what they will be studying there.
Winston Card - The guys will be going sometime in 2001, when depends on how soon we get our permits. This is a long term project that invloves monitoring some regenerating secondary forest.


kilembrin - Mr.Card what is one of the most interesting snakes you have worked with in Latin America???
Winston Card - Local Government Officials! :)


serpentarium1 - I was wondering how to start a career in herpatology when i finish university, do you have any suggestion on how to start and where to apply, do you have any good contacts of people to get started with ?
Winston Card - Zoo herpetology is a tough career. Little money.
JeffB - yea but you get all the babes.....
Winston Card - Get us touch with me at the Dallas Zoo and I can give you some information the might be helpful.


Tico - Mr.Card what is an easy way to sex a black throat monitor,that is only 3ft in length?
Winston Card - No easy way. Ultrasound is probably the best method.


wftxherper - I have a similar question to go along with serpentarium1. what carrers that deal with herps are open to a biology major? also what do they pay?
Winston Card - Zoo herpetology = $20,000 to 25,000. Academic herpetology = Better pay, but very few jobs.


serpentarium1 - Mr card i have a question that is on topic, how dangerous is it to work in the forests of south america
Winston Card - Only as dangerous as the person doing the work.


Winston Card - OK, my wife says I have to go now:(
JeffB - Winston I want to thank you for being our guest tonight
JeffB - If you have more questions for winston please send him an email
JeffB - good night everyone

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