TALK STORY

Reptile-ology 101

POSTED BY: TRISTAN
UPDATED: Monday, June 19, 2006 00:05
SHORT URL:
VIEWED: 6490
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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 7:34 AM

TRISTAN


With your esteemed speaker, EmmaRigby!

*thunderous applause as she enters the lecture room*

So, EmmaRigby, what have you been working on lately?

Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 7:45 AM

EMMARIGBY


Quote:

Originally posted by Tristan:
With your esteemed speaker, EmmaRigby!

*thunderous applause as she enters the lecture room*

So, EmmaRigby, what have you been working on lately?

Holding until you get back, Captain.



Gosh! You're so kind! I've only ever lectured to 7 year olds so far, although I aim to one day be an elbow-patched crusty academic!

If you're really interested I'm currently working on my Master's degree in Animal Science with the bowel looseningly frightening title of "The establishment of a translocated population of Grass Snakes (Natrix natrix) at the London Wetland Centre and the impacts on existing herpetofauna"!

I've not even started writing up my findings yet, I'm still looking for the 127 snakes we released back in September. So far I've seen 16! I think they're hiding!

Anyway, if anyone's interested in reptiles I'll do my best to answer questions.

Probably best to keep it Reptile 101, as sometimes I get funny looks when I say I'm a herpetologist. I think people believe I study Herpes or something!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:02 AM

TRISTAN


Alright, not knowing much about grass snakes I will ask the basics...coloration, maximum size, life span, diet...anything that might be pertinent. Also, where did they originally come from? (The 127 you released).
Thanks for humoring me. My life-long quest is for knowledge...and I love talking to people about their specialties!

Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:14 AM

DAYVE


Hope you guys don't mind.... I brought this over from the other thread after you posted this one...

Quote:
Originally posted by EmmaRigby:
the big pythons!!


Hi EmmaRigby...
I'm not sure where you and Tristan are going with this snake thing, other than the whole 'snake in the grass', reference that some women make about men..., but I had to chime in with this little tale.

In one of my many different occupations, in a time long ago and far, far away... i was employed by a couple who raised, bought and sold, mainly African antelope to zoos and some ranches around the U.S. Now these weren't just run of the mill animal dealers. They had a compound in central Texas that would rival many of the zoos that i visited. They were accredited with the AAZPA (american assoc. of zooligical parks & aquariums), and they loved animals and in turn wanted to do their best to help establish herds of endangered species in this country.

The salesman for this company was a Herpetologist who had worked for the Ft. Worth, TX zoo. John was a big, good natured guy who carried a reminder of a rather ugly snake bite on his little finger - his finger was permanetly curved inward - he had lost all sensation in that area, but he LOVED snakes - and in texas, as you can imagine, there is an abundance of snake skin boots, belts, hat bands and people who just plain don't like snakes. There was more than one ocassion when i had to break up "discusions" between John and some red-neck about his footwear.

Through my association with John, and, i suppose my own pacifist nature, i too, grew to like and admire reptiles. I kept a healthy respect for them though.

So, once I was making a run from Albuquerque, NM back to Texas. I think i was hauling zebra at the time, but I was also to bring back something for the local zoo.... and was given a small box that i put into the sleeper compartment of the truck....right behind me... behind my head.

When i made the delivery to the zoo, a keeper asked me if i would like to see the snake....well it turned out to be an African Green Pit viper.... not the kind of guy you want running around in your mattress. After that, I was a little more cautious about where I put the snake boxes....

that's the tale... a little too long, hopefully not too boring... the point being.....snakes are ok in my book...

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:17 AM

TRISTAN


Yes, Dayve, respect the snake!
All kidding aside, I like them, but don't know enough about them. I used to live in Arizona, and always stumbled across rattlers and other snakes I did not recognize. I've held corn snakes and boas before, but only when the owner/handler was there. I respect and admire them...at a distance!

Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 8:32 AM

EMMARIGBY


Quote:

Originally posted by Tristan:
Alright, not knowing much about grass snakes I will ask the basics...coloration, maximum size, life span, diet...anything that might be pertinent. Also, where did they originally come from? (The 127 you released).
Thanks for humoring me. My life-long quest is for knowledge...and I love talking to people about their specialties!

Holding until you get back, Captain.





Hopefully I've just managed to attach a shiny picture of one of my little darlings! Grass snakes are one of only two snake species native to Britain. (I'm so jealose of other countries like the US or Australia with their wealth of reptiles!)

The ones we've released have come from a building site in Kent. This is common practise by big building firms. If there are snakes on the site they are still given planning permission as long as they collect up all they can find and release them elsewhere. This is usually done very haphazardly. They're often dumped somewhere with little or no follow up to see if they survive the experience. It can be considered a successful move if someone goes back the next year and manages to see just 1 individual! (They don't have to say if the population is healthy and breeding! Grr, I hate our quick-fix capitalist society!!)

Anyway, I'm hoping to eventually publish something so say whether this translocation has worked and advise whether the practise as a whole is an effective conservation mitigation strategy. There is almost nothing out there in scientific journals on this subject! I've heard by word of mouth of other release projects but when they fail they tend to be brushed under the carpet in shame, thereby allowing others to repeat the mistakes over and over! Sorry for the rant but I get very passionate about this!

Anyway! As to your original question:

Colour: Varies from olive green to brown with the ocasional black bar/ patch. They have a pretty gold and black collar around their neck. Luckily for me (for ID purposes) the black and white chequering of their bellies is distictive and unique for each one!

Length: Average adult length is about 1m, but a few grow up to about 140cm

Lifespan: up to 25 years (if left alone!)

Diet: Frods, toads, newts, small rodents etc when mature. Wormd and intertebrates when younger.

Anything else? Or have I bored you now?!

I have also studied snakes in Africa and Peru (but just as a volunteer conservation worker). Ahhh! The Amazon basin! I did so love it there!

Must go cook tea now!


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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 9:00 AM

TRISTAN


Pretty snake! Yes, the picture came out wonderfully!
I was not aware that in Britain, builders were required to remove life forms and relocate them...that's actually a pretty good idea. I know you don't sound too happy about how they are doing it, but they are doing it...not sure it would get done here in the US.
Have grass snakes become rare/endangered in Britain?
Africa! Peru! What did you manage to find in those countries (I mean, were they cataloging a specific species)? I would love to hear about those trips, if you have the time.

No, you are by no means boring me. Like I said, I like talking to people about their loves...and I think I have found one of yours


Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 10:18 PM

EMMARIGBY


Sorry I didn't get back to you last night, I ended up having a Buffy commentary party with my sister!

As to your question, grass snakes are protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 over here, which means it is an offence to kill, harm or injure them sell or trade them in any way. However, if there isn't a local conservation society looking out for them they tend to just get ignored and disregarded.

I'd love to regail you with story's from my expeditions. I have a tonne, funny and ... ok, not so sexy!

Sadly, I am currently running late (as usual) and have to dash off again back to my snakes. I'll look forward to catching up with you in a couple of days!

Now.... Here, snakey snakeys! Come to mummy!!

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Tuesday, May 9, 2006 10:33 PM

CITIZEN


I keep a Californian Corn Snake, Male and his names Rusty, because he's, erm, Rust coloured.



More insane ramblings by the people who brought you beeeer milkshakes!
And as you know, these are open forums, you're able to come and listen to what I have to say.

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Wednesday, May 10, 2006 2:40 AM

TRISTAN


EmmaRigby, thank you again for the information. I look forward to hearing all about your exploits in faraway, steamy jungles hunting elusive prey...alright, it may not beexactly that way, but I still want to hear about it when you have time. I shall be here, waiting!



Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006 6:57 AM

EMMARIGBY


Quote:

Originally posted by Tristan:
EmmaRigby, thank you again for the information. I look forward to hearing all about your exploits in faraway, steamy jungles hunting elusive prey...alright, it may not beexactly that way, but I still want to hear about it when you have time. I shall be here, waiting!



Holding until you get back, Captain.



Honey, I'm home! Did you'all miss me? It's so nice to be at a computer again!

You really want to hear about my jungle exploits? Wow! All my friends are bored with my rainforest stories!

Well, I was in Tanzania in the Uzumbara mountains back in 1997 before Univerity. Sadly it wasn't as steamy or jungley as I'd expected as it turned out the area we went to was in Tropical Dry Forest, and that had been heavily deforested. In fact after 3 moths of surveying we were reluctantly forced to conclude that it wasn't worth retaining its status as a protected reserve due to the level of disturbance. Although this was very sad at least we could ensure that the money was spent on a different piece of forest that it might just be possible to save. I still had a great time there though, despite the malaria and a real lack of food (I ate nothing but rice and rice gruel for 4 weeks till I cracked and bought 2 scrawny chickens from the local village. I named them after my sisters, which made killing them much easier! Then I shared them out amongst the 13 of us. It was amazing, out of the 7 committed vegetarians we started with, we finished with 1! It's easy to have principles when you have a varied diet!) We weren't really supposed to be taking direct data about the snakes as there wasn't anybody trained in identification there, but if we came across one in a pitfall trap we often took measurements andsamples. I had to be physically restrained from over-enthusiatic grabbing of unknown snakes for this purpose as I was so keen to add to the sketchy reptile info for the area. At one point, in my innocence, I was this close to picking up a green mamba! Luckily wiser and older heads prevailed!


I went out to Peru in 2002 (gosh, it doesn't feel that long ago!), and lived for 3 months in the Amazon Basin, which was just fantastic! Even though I'd never been inside a real rainforest before I still felt like I was coming home! I didn't see many snakes there, except a Bushmaster that had us all holed up for a week whilst it took over our camp (it's a very aggressive, poisonous snake whose venom can kill in 3 hours without the antidote. Since we were at least 6 hours from any medical facility this worried some people a mite!), and a very pretty, irridescent rainbow boa that liked to doze across the path. There was an incident when someone nearly stepped on a fluer-de-lyse in bare feet. I absolutely swear he defied the laws of gravity by levitating about 5 foot in the air and not coming down for several seconds!

One day I want to get back out somewhere where things are steamy and dark. I was offered a job last year working in Tanzania which I would have leapt at had it not been for the fact that they wanted me to pay to do it (covering food and living costs). I'm too poor for that. That's why I'm currently doing my Master's in Animal Science. I'm hoping that with more qualifications I might just possibly get to live my dream someday (and be a penniless Jane living out in the jungle, occassionally coming blinking into the light to tell people about it!)

Fyew! Now I've caught you up on pretty much my life story I'm gonna wander around the boards some, then maybe get down to doing some work!

Thanks for the interest! Chat soon!

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Sunday, May 14, 2006 3:26 PM

TRISTAN


Emma! Welcome back!
Sorry, I have not been online that much this weekend. It is a pleasant surprise to come back and find your post!

So much to comment on...where to start....
I'm going to go out on a limb here and guess that you liked snakes, and knew what you wanted to do from the day you were able to walk.
Tanzania sounds like it was fun! By deforestation, do you mean by the locals for more arable land, or by companies? Being a student of infectious diseases myself (no, no formal education, but a zeal to learn), I am curious about the malaria. Oh, and green mambas are dangerous, if I remember correctly
Peru sounds like it was even more fun. Where you cataloging snakes there, or was it for some other purpose? I know you mentioned you did not see many (what is a fleur-de-lyse, by the way?), and I was wondering if you were there under similar conditions as in Tanzania.
I hope you do get back out...sounds like you have found your love in life! And don't worry about me getting bored with this; your friends may have heard all these stories, but I haven't yet!

Thank you for sharing with me...looking forward to hearing more!

Holding until you get back, Captain.

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Friday, June 2, 2006 10:39 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.



Bumpin'!

**********************************

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Friday, June 2, 2006 11:17 PM

EMMARIGBY


Is this because you're fed up with me whiffling on about my reptiles on the RForsaken thread?! Wouldn't blame you!

I shall keep a link to this thread and use it to moan/ rejoice about my project. Most useful to have somewhere specific to vent!

I'm staying away from the little darlings today and trying to write up my dissertation, if I can just get my brain to work properly!



________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Friday, June 2, 2006 11:22 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Of course I'm not fed up! The thread just kinda stopped, though, and I thought it looked sad there at the bottom of the page.

I love Dogbert!

**********************************

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Friday, June 2, 2006 11:26 PM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.


Oops! Doubling up, here...

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 7:42 AM

EMMARIGBY


I found another 3 snakes today and someone else spotted another! I'm up to 28 now! The end is in sight!

Thought you might want to see one of the juveniles I caught. Isn't he cute?



Hisssssss!

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 8:40 AM

TRISTAN


They are cute! In a snaky-kinda way...and sorta on the smallish side, it looks like. A juvenile's head looks almost the size of your finger-tip...how big do the adults get, again?

Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on being up to 28!




____________


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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 10:35 AM

SPACEANJL


I once got RSI from a python - repetitive snake injury. Wrapped itself round both my wrists and wanted to stay there. Kinda kinky.

SpaceAnJL

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Tuesday, June 6, 2006 4:07 PM

FLORALBUNNY


Oh, I just love baby pictures. What a little cutie.
So. A breeding population. Does this mean someone will have to keep up annual counts of the little dears?

...And the action with the snake around both wrists sounds suspiciously like love, dunnit?
"RSI" -- LOL! Could stand for Romantic Snake Injury.


bun
~6/23~Serenity/Firefly Summer~9/30~
----- why's the rum gone? 7706 -----

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 8:18 AM

EMMARIGBY


Quote:

Originally posted by FloralBunny:
Oh, I just love baby pictures. What a little cutie.
So. A breeding population. Does this mean someone will have to keep up annual counts of the little dears?
---



I'm glad someone else thinks he's sweet! Most people just back away slowly with a glazed grin!

I found 2 more snakes toady! That makes ... (drumroll) ... a total of 30!

YIIIIIPPPPPEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Yes, I know, a totally arbritary figure but one that the Powers That Be set a while back as an important number for statistics.

Sadly I think I may have cooked my brains today. I am now in much pain. I plan on having a nice cool bath!


________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 8:19 AM

EMMARIGBY


See, told you my brain was fried. Can't .. click ... mouse ... properly!

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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 11:28 AM

TRISTAN


Don't know if you have this one yet or not...



____________


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Wednesday, June 7, 2006 5:09 PM

FLORALBUNNY


.....still waiting to see the wedding pix of the Indian woman and her new hubby the King Cobra, as reported in the news....

bun
~6/23~Serenity/Firefly Summer~9/30~
----- why's the rum gone? 7706 -----

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Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:22 AM

TRISTAN


It's been at least a week since the last post...we need an update, Emma! Last I heard, you were up to 28...what's the count now?




____________


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Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:30 AM

EMMARIGBY


Ah! You're sweet to care!

I am pleased to announce that the current count is 38!
Yiiippeeeeeeee!

I've left my minion looking for more whilst I came home to start writing up. This is all amunition for my request to delay the deadline for a few weeks. I go to see my professor tomorrow to fight that battle and get told how I've not done enough work and everything I have done is wrong! Wish me luck!

Last minute cramming session today!


________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Thursday, June 15, 2006 4:44 AM

TRISTAN


Thank you.
Shiny! And you only needed 30, right? Whoo-hoo! So, think the professor will give you the extra time? Hey, you did find eight above your goal...that's gotta count for somethin', eh?


____________


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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:11 AM

EMMARIGBY


I am so stressed! I had a 3 hour meeting with my supervisor and a statistics expert yesterday, and am now more scared and confused than ever!

They didn't like what I had done with my results , unfortunetely they didn't come up with many workable alternatives so it's back to the drawing board! They told me no statistics would really work but that I sould try them all anyway!

To be fair, they did give some useful advice and stats man is going to look into a few options for me. Still, all the things they told me I have to consider and mention or analyse or issues I have to resolve have left me reeling! They did relent at one point and say that one of the techniques they were raving about would take several months to learn and is PhD level so maybe I should stay away from it.

Plus they say that my college DOES NOT GIVE EXTENSIONS EVER!
Arrrrrrgh!

What was suggested is that I rely on the late work buffer period of 10 working days, with a late work submission form (my supervisor is head of the late work review panel so he says I should get away with it).

Sooooo much to do and so little time!

Hold me, I'm scared!

________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:23 AM

PHOENIXROSE

You think you know--what's to come, what you are. You haven't even begun.



I'm sorry, sweetie! Sounds like they're expecting a bit much. What do they expect you to do, really? "Hey look, I've found this many snakes!" How much can you do with that? (don't give the big long stressful answer unless you want to, since this is a retorical question designed to say "you're doing all you can.")

again.

**********************************

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 12:44 AM

EMMARIGBY


Thanks for the hug, I needed it.

Does this mean the site's working again? Woot!

Going to go work now till this evening. MUST ... RESIST ... THE FUN PEOPLE!

________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 5:48 AM

PENGUIN











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Saturday, June 17, 2006 9:42 AM

EMMARIGBY


Thanks Penguin! Those are shiny! You cheer me up with your fun icons!

I found some for you too! (If you haven't seen them already!)





________________________________
Hisssssss!

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Saturday, June 17, 2006 11:07 AM

PENGUIN


Thanks!


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Sunday, June 18, 2006 4:55 PM

FLORALBUNNY


The bun offers EmmaRigby a choice of
hugs or constrictions -- whatever seems
appropriate in this situation.
Go, snake-lady, go!!
And always remember:
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics!

bun
~6/23~Serenity/Firefly Summer~9/23~
----- why's the rum gone? 7706 -----

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Sunday, June 18, 2006 5:01 PM

FLORALBUNNY


The bun offers EmmaRigby a choice of
hugs or constrictions -- whatever seems
appropriate in this situation.
Go, snake-lady, go!!
And always remember:
There are lies, damned lies, and statistics!
=================================
Hehe double-post. Ugh.
My excuse is that it was weird here for a while

bun
~6/23~Serenity/Firefly Summer~9/23~
----- why's the rum gone? 7706 -----

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Monday, June 19, 2006 12:05 AM

EMMARIGBY


Thanks for the hug (squeeze?) I needed it!
Yep statistics are all lies, but apparently there's an art in telling the right lies in the right way.
Oh well, I never was much of an artist!

________________________________
Hisssssss!

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