A Wyoming toad, photographed at the Central Park Zoo.
One of the most endangered amphibians in North America, the Wyoming toad has undergone an intensive captive breeding program, where toads are raised in zoos and released into Wyoming’s Laramie basin, where they were discovered in the 1940s.
During the 1970s and ‘80s, the toad disappeared from its already limited range, succumbing to threats such as toxic pesticides, habitat degradation, and disease. To reestablish the wild population, more than 50,000 toads, raised in captivity by ten zoos, have been successfully released.
From Live Science
Posted by Miqe on April 21, 2007
Ruskin, Florida-As a deputy, Brandon Parker often helps people during emergencies. But last November, he was the one who needed assistance while hiking with a buddy, “Out of no where I got bitten on the left leg by an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, it was about 6 1/2-7 foot long. After the bite I felt the burning sensation, my hands started tingling, my legs were tingling and my face was tingling.” Within nine-minutes he couldn’t feel anything from his neck down, “When I became paralyzed and lost my ability to move and started to feel the effects of it I got real scared.” But luckily he was able to get help, “Seek medical attention immediately within the first couple of hours it’s crucial.”
The Florida Poison Information Center says more people are getting bit by snakes as the population increases. Dr. Cynthia Lewis-Younger says, out of 40 snake bites statewide this year, 7 have been in the Bay area, “If it’s a venomous snake it’s potentially life threatening.” Venomous snakes include, the eastern diamondback and pigmy rattlesnakes… as well as copperheads, cottonmouths and coral snakes. Dr. Lewis-Younger has some advice if you get bit, “Be calm, summon help and to rest the limb at or below the level of the heart.”
Deputy Parker still feels pain from the snake bite, but it won’t stop him from hiking.
In fact, he happens to be a reptile remover at the Sheriff’s office, “I’m actually on the list of people you would call in case a snake comes in someone’s house.” Deputy Parker recommends wearing protective gear such as boots if hiking and watch out where you’re walking, “If it could happen to me and I’ve been around snakes and handling snakes just about my whole life it could happen to anyone.”
If you need help call the Florida Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
From Tampa Bay´s
Posted by Miqe on April 20, 2007
The return of spring means more outdoor activities for many Georgians, which can potentially lead to encounters with slithering reptiles. The Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Resources Division (WRD) would like to remind Georgians that native venomous and nonvenomous snakes serve a vital purpose. Despite being misunderstood and often maligned, snakes represent an important part of Georgia’s ecosystems.
Georgia is home to 42 species of snakes, of which only six are venomous. But humans’ deeply rooted snake phobia can often lead to an untimely end for the reptiles.
“Even venomous snakes are harmless if left alone to go about their business,” said WRD Wildlife Biologist John Jensen. “It is disheartening that most of the snakes killed by people are essentially harmless and pose no real threat to humans.”
The 36 species of nonvenomous snakes found in Georgia are protected by state law and should not be killed. The preferred diet for snakes varies by species, but can include insects, frogs, rodents and even other snakes. Predation from snakes helps keep the population of many other species in check.
Non-venomous brown snakes are the species most commonly encountered in many parts of Georgia. Their tolerance for urban development and adaptability to a variety of habitats makes them a common species throughout the state, including metro Atlanta. The brown snake poses no danger to people or pets, and actually provides a benefit to gardeners because of its diet that consists primarily of invertebrates like slugs.
“A snake’s first response when confronted by a human is to flee the area or remain motionless in order to avoid detection,” Jensen said. “Snakebites occur when a snake is frightened and forced to defend itself. If simply left alone, a snake will usually try to leave the area.”
Of the 7,000 snakebites reported each year in the U.S. – a figure that includes non-venomous snakebites – 70 percent are determined to be avoidable. In most cases, the snake was seen well before the bite occurred, and simply walking away would have prevented the bite. Many of these bites are not even from wild snakes, but rather captive snakes biting their handlers.
In order to decrease the risk of snakebites, Georgians should use caution around fallen logs, vegetation, rocks and piles of debris, which provide shelter for snakes and the foods they eat. Use caution when moving such materials and avoid placing hands and feet into areas where a snake could be hiding. Should you encounter a venomous snake in the wild, simply move away from the snake and walk around the area.
For more information on snakes, call (478) 994-1438 or visit http://www.georgiawildlife. com , then click on Nongame Animals & Plants and go to the Backyard Wildlife link.
Residents seeking help in identifying a snake can email a photo of the snake through the “Contact us” link at http://www.georgiawildlife. com. Residents wishing to have a snake removed from their property should hire a licensed nuisance wildlife specialist. A list of licensed operators can be obtained from the WRD Special Permit Unit at (770) 761-3044.
From The Blade Plus
Posted by Miqe on April 20, 2007
Alexander E. Quinn,1* Arthur Georges,1 Stephen D. Sarre,1 Fiorenzo Guarino,1 Tariq Ezaz,2 Jennifer A. Marshall Graves2 Sex in reptiles is determined by genes on sex chromosomes or by incubation temperature. Previously these two modes were thought to be distinct, yet we show that high incubation temperatures reverse genotypic males (ZZ) to phenotypic females in a lizard with ZZ and ZW sex chromosomes. Thus, the W chromosome is not necessary for female differentiation. Sex determination is probably via a dosage-sensitive male-determining gene on the Z chromosome that is inactivated by extreme temperatures. Our data invite a novel hypothesis for the evolution of temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD) and suggest that sex chromosomes may exist in many TSD reptiles.
1 Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.
2 Comparative Genomics Group, Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.
* To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paradise Valley entered an agreement with Phoenix Fire Department to begin serving the town July 1, thus ending the subscription-based relationship with Rural/Metro. The town will cover the annual costs in the agreement.
In Paradise Valley, Rural/Metro responds to snake removal calls frequently, said Rural/Metro spokeswoman Alison Cooper.
“As it starts to warm up, they become pretty active,” she said.
In 2006, the department responded to 106 snake removals within town borders. The year before, Rural/Metro removed 110 snakes.
The fire department does not track what types of snakes are removed but usually they are relocated, unless the same one keeps appearing at a home, she said.
“It’s very rare that we euthanize a snake and the only ones euthanized are rattlesnakes,” Ms. Cooper said.
Ms. Miller said Phoenix refers snake removal calls to the Arizona Herpetological Association, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation, study and understanding of reptiles and amphibians.
The association offers the public a snake and reptile removal service that is run by volunteers for $40, said President Mark Guidotto. For removals, call 480-894-1625.
Mr. Guidotto said the Herpetological Association responds to hundred of snake removal calls a year, mainly in developing areas in the outskirts of the Valley, like Desert Ridge and North Scottsdale.
Because of Paradise Valley’s rural-like town layout and proximity to Mummy and Camelback mountains, Mr. Guidotto expects the volunteers will get a lot of calls once the new fire agreement is in place.