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News Briefs

Romance is Ribbiting for Romeo and Juliet - Thursday, Feb 14, 2019

Meet Juliet, a Sehuencas water frog recently collected from the Bolivian cloud forest. (Robin Moore, Global Wildlife Conservation)

A year ago, Romeo was trolling looking for another just like him. The staff at Bolivia’s Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Cochabamba put an ad up on the dating site to help bring awareness and funding to help locate another Sehuencas water frog. They didn't find him a "date" on the site, but they gained the funding needed to locate 5 frogs, including an adult female who has been named Juliet.

Close to a waterfall, however, expedition leader Teresa Camacho Badani saw a frog jump.

“When I pulled it out, I saw an orange belly and suddenly realized I had in my hands the long-awaited Sehuencas water frog,” Badani, who works for the Museo de Historia Natural Alcide d’Orbigny in Cochabamba, tells Carrington. “My first reaction was to yell ‘I found one!’ and the team came running over to help me and pull the frog to safety. It was an incredible feeling.”

Researchers are still looking for more of the cricitcally endangered frogs to build an assurance population. Read more about this awesome expedition at

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Featured Contributors

A Snake of Many Colors, The Eyelashed Pit Viper
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Feb 04, 2019

If any of their variable colors could be considered normal, it is this phase with the mossy green ground color.

I have always been enamored of arboreal vipers, be they of the America’s, Africa, or Asia. I was so infatuated with them that at one time Patti and I kept and bred, or at least tried to breed, 30+ species. But, truth be known, although I found all of interest and beautiful, over the years two of my favorites became and remained, 2 of the more commonly seen Central and South American species, the 2-lined forest pit vipers, Bothriopsis bilineatus, and the eyelashed pit piper, Bothriechis schlegelii. Why these 2? I just don’t know. But even between the two I favored one over the other, this being the eylashed species.

Perhaps it was the ease with which this variably colored snake could be housed, fed, and bred. Or perhaps it was the overall hardiness. Then again, I guess that it could have been the remarkable and entirely natural variability of color. You like ‘em green, the eyelashed viper comes in several naturally occurring phases that vary from a dusky forest green to pale green. If you like something different and don’t mind searching a little, you will likely be able to find an orange –red, a yellow-orange, a bright yellow (the latter is known as the “oropel” phase), or a yellow with greenish or dusky bands (the “tiger” phase).

It was many years after I had acquired my first trip of eyelashed vipers that Patti and I had an opportunity to meet this snake in the wild. We went to Costa Rica. Patti called it a Honeymoon. I called it a herping trip. On the first afternoon, after walking a rainforest trail and marveling at poison frogs and minute geckos, as we walked back to our hotel I glance at a small banana tree that edged the path and stopped dead in my tracks. I was looking at a small grayish B. schlegelii! I hadn’t even known they came in that color.

Since then I have seen a few others in the field. Admittedly, not many, but among those seen have been an oropel and one of mossy green. What wonderful snakes!

This snake has an interesting defensive display during which it opens its mouth widely and faces the perceived threat. The snake will bite if threatened and envenomation has resulted in human death.
Continue reading "A Snake of Many Colors, The Eyelashed Pit Viper"

It’s a What?
Richard Bartlett - Monday, Jan 28, 2019

Coloration alone indicated that this snake was Bothriechis supraciliaris.

This occurred in those “good old days,” in the days when, believe it or not, snakes (including this one, but usually baby boas), mouse opossums, tarantulas, and other creatures were imported by accident in shipments of fruit and especially in bananas. This snake arrived with bananas at a fruit vendor in Boston in the early 50s and rather than killing it the Boston Museum of Science was notified. The snake was gathered in due haste by researchers from the Museum’s Herp Dept.

Back then it was identified as an eyelash viper, Bothrops (now Bothriechis schlegelii (this was 1954, the same year that B. supraciliaris, the blotched palm viper was described, but back then very few folks knew of the existence of the latter). For reasons that were unknown to me then and remain so today, rather than being preserved the snake was maintained in the live collection and when a year or so later I saw the beautiful snake and got excited about its existence it was given to me. I kept it for years, photographed it (as best I could in those days) and after its death the snake was disposed of in a now forgotten manner. From time to time I have published its photo. For years nothing was said, but in recent years I have been told that the snake, rather than a schlegelii was a supraciliaris. Others steadfastly maintained it was a schlegelii.

Nothing remains of this snake but its old photos. Its identification has not really been settled. Although I’ll probably never know for certain, Just for the record, I have since seen snakes that were very similar to my questionable snake, and that were definitely supraciliaris. I’m still leaning in that direction and always shall.
Continue reading "It’s a What?"
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