Attention fellow Field Herpers!
Enjoy hitting the field and finding reptiles and amphibians? Enjoy collecting data and GPS coordinates of the animals you find? Wondering how your field herping can actually help protect herps and habitat?
The Herpetological Education and Research Project is an online database where you can enter your field data (privately and secure, of course) and keep your own personal “Life List”. At times, your information may be requested (at your approval) by biologists and other members of the scientific community that are conducting studies on reptiles and amphibians.
Your data and experiences can contribute heavily to herpetology and conservation as a whole.
Check it out at naherp.com
For those of you that field herp.
AKA, Why It’s Fucking Important to Make Sure Your BP is Getting Enough Water in Its System.
This post is going to be addressing Ball Pythons specifically but a lot of this information is applicable to any snake.
Female with textbook patchy shed. The skin on her belly has come off as it is subjected to the most wear and tear however the rest of the skin is still stuck. Notice the “tightness” of the skin around her neck and the overall dried out appearance, this is a BP that is not receiving enough water! (Image credit)
Problems with shedding are probably some of the most commonly encountered issues for keepers of all snakes across the board and although there is a spectrum of reasons that can cause a snake to produce dry patchy sheds, more often than not the issue lays in an inability for the animal to get enough water into its system. Water is a key component to the shedding process because when your BP is in deep blue/opaque, it is producing fluid between the old and new skin. This fluid will ultimately aid in the skins removal and when there is not enough water to produce it, this results in flaky, dry, and generally patchy sheds. This is the main reason why whenever I am personally asked about bad sheds, my immediate reaction is to suggest bumping ambient humidity and doing weekly soaks which will help ensure that your BP is receiving enough water.
This animal is exhibiting a “tight” skin, which you can identify by the ridges of skin throughout the body. This is another sign that a BP is not receiving enough water to keep itself hydrated.
Dehydrated BPs that produce dry sheds like this are nothing but bad news and can lead to a host of other problems when the issue is not addressed. Retained spectacles (or eye caps) can potentially cause blindness, eye infections, or tearing of the skin that connects the spectacle to the rest of the scales when not properly removed. Unshed skin interferes with absorption of heat/liquid and can even cut of circulation to other areas of the body such as the tail. Not to mention that it’s just generally uncomfortable for the snake.
Dented or wrinkled spectacles are a common sign of poor hydration as there is an insufficient amount of fluid to allow the caps to retain their proper shape. (Image credit)
Necrotic tail tip as a result from retained shed, the dead flesh will need to be surgically removed by a vet. (Image credit)
When your BP goes into shed, you don’t want them to look too uncomfortable. Pinkness of the skin, namely the belly, and some bloating/puffiness in the face with some wrinkling throughout the body are all acceptable appearances that mean they are getting enough water to produce the fluid to help them shed smoothly.
Both of these BPs are at different stages in their shedding process. The male Lesser had reached his “peak” in the blue/opaque process, this is when the fluid is most visible to our eyes and results in a the hazy appearance, and is due to have another week before he sheds the old skin. The female Spider is past her peak and to the inexperienced eye, appears to have already shed off her skin, but upon examination of her eye cap, it’s clear she has not.
The eye is still vaguely milky and slight haziness is visible around the edges of each scale.
Male’s eye is also very hazy. Also note the pinkness of his lighter scales, which is perfectly normal as well.
You can see that both of these BPs are not dried out in appearance and look more or less the same they would on any other day asides for the colour. This has been achieved through regular misting and soaking as well as a rack system that helps retain humidity inside the tub where is belongs and overall maintenance of an environment that provides them with enough water for them to stay happy and healthy. Things simple as providing a humid hide, adding mosses that will help retain moisture, a readily accessible source of water, a contained environment (patch up those screen tops!), and occasionally physically offering drinks with a wash bottle, along with regular misting and soaking will all greatly improve hydration levels for your BP. These techniques are especially important if you have doubts that your BP is drinking enough water on its own because yes, they will sometimes actually let themselves get dehydrated without careful monitoring on your part.
So folks, please take action to improve the moisture levels for your snakes! There’s no reason to let them stay dehydrated when the solutions are so simple.
I vastly recommend patching up screen tops, either the way shown or in the style of my exo mods or whatever. Even if you manage to miss a shed this tactic can trap enough humidity to minimize damage (so you’re only soaking off a small patch of shed instead of half of it).
Also recommend getting one of those pump misting spraybottles, I swear by mine. You can turn the nozzle to both spray the cage down and gently directly water your animals (if anyone’s seen Viperkeeper’s vids you know what I’m talking about, my gonyos and chondros love it).
Any old misting bottle will do, so long as it’s cleaned before using :)
The basic principles of the original post apply to all snake species, though the exact level of humidty needed varies with species so do your research into native habitat etc to find out what is right for that species.
rhamphotheca: Nanostructures Make Viper Skin Ultra-Black and Stealthy by Laura Poppick
From even a short distance, this West African Gaboon viper looks just like a pile of dead leaves. New research shows that the highly-camouflaged snake owes its elusiveness to nanostructures in its black scales.
The velvety-black patches on this snake’s back are so dark and absorb so much light, they look like gaps in the snake’s body. This illusion allows the lurkers to dissolve into leaf litter as they wait for prey on the rainforest floor.
To determine what makes these scales appear so black, a team of German scientists examined the snake’s skin under a scanning electron microscope (SEM), and found differences in the nanostructures of dark and pale scales that explain the high contrast, the team reports today in Scientific Reports…
(read more: Wired Science) (photo: Guido Westhoff)
How did this happen I mean really guys wow
Stunning new pit-viper discovered in Honduras
by mongabay.com staff
A stunning new species of pit-viper has been discovered in the cloud forest of Honduras. The venomous snake is described in the journal ZooKeys.
The species is named Bothriechis guifarroi in honor of Mario Guifarro of Olancho, a conservationist who was gunned down in 2007 as he was working to set up a reserve for the indigenous Tawahka. A former hunter and gold miner, Guifarro had turned to conservation when he witnessed biologically-rich rainforests of Eastern Honduras being torn down for cattle ranches…
(read more: MongaBay) (photo: Josiah Townsend)
I just witnessed one snake fuck another snake while it was eating a frog. The frog got away after we killed the one snake. How was your day?
why the fuck would you do something so awful and unnecessary?
three cheers for this dumbass
That snake is deadly if you get bit. And I baby sit kids who play in that creek. So my neighbor killed it.
The snake is NOT VENOMOUS, its a NORTHERN WATER SNAKE they ONLY eat FISHES and FROGS. PLEASE DO YOUR RESEARCH OR CALL Animal Services.
excuse me, but this my friends is a water moccasin. they are dangerous as fuck. learn your shit.
And its not a WATER MOCCASIN. its a Northern Water
Snake. WATER MOCCASIN has BIG Triangular head with distinct markings, and a bulky short body. you’re the one who needed to learn.
Water Moccasins is shorter than Northern Water Snake.
Northern Water Snake
Water Snakes looks like Water Moccasins too.