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Archive for April 27th, 2007

London Killer Terrapins (Red-eared Sliders) Rounded Up on Hampstead Heath

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

Conservation rangers on London’s Hampstead Heath are rounding up 150 feral red-eared terrapins which are terrorizing local wildlife and have invaded bathing ponds.

The reptiles were pets bought for children during the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles craze in the early 1990s and were later dumped on the heath, a recreation area for thousands of north London residents. As well as feasting on frogs, toads, newts, fish and even ducklings, the creatures carry salmonella, making them a danger to humans.

Rangers have laid traps and plan to evict them from London completely. An initial plan was to send them to a sanctuary in an extinct volcano in Tuscany but they are now more likely to be moved to the less glamorous location of Norfolk in eastern England.

“It would cost 25 pounds ($50) per head to send them to Tuscany,” Said Rob Renwick, 33, conservation team leader for the heath. “That would be the same cost as having them euthanised.”

The heath covers 791 acres in the north London boroughs of Camden and Barnet and is four miles from the centre of London. It is mostly managed by the City of London Corporation, which also provides local government services for the financial district known as the City.

The terrapins spend their time sunbathing and swimming in a series of ponds, which are meant for human bathers and as a sanctuary for birds. They can live 30 years, grow to the size of dinner plates and weigh three pounds. The females can lay 20 or 30 eggs each and rising temperatures mean those are more likely to hatch successfully.

Salmonella Risk

“If that happened we would be inundated,” said Renwick. “They started off as cute little things bought in a pet shop in the late 1980s and early 1990s but they take a lot of feeding and you have to be very careful with them because of the salmonella.

“The children grow up and don’t want to look after them any more, the keeper outgrows the pet and they’ve ended up here. They are an alien species so they don’t have any predators and they eat everything. There is no way to limit the numbers because there is so much food for them.”

People who dumped the terrapins, which are originally from the U.S., faced a fine of up to 5,000 pounds if they were caught, he said.

The rangers have erected traps made from plastic piping and chicken wire and have so far caught about half a dozen.

“They are quite hard to spot,” said conservation ranger Ian Shepherd, 53, as he fished a struggling terrapin out of a trap. “The claws are pin-sharp and they’d go straight into you. The beak could take the tip of your finger off.”

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Monitor had eyesurgery. (Article in Swedish.)

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

Varanödlan Verner ögonopererad

En unik ögonoperation har räddat synen på den tolvåriga varanödlan Verner på Parken Zoo i Eskilstuna. Den lyckade operationen genomfördes vid Strömsholms djursjukhus.

Den nära tre meter långa och 70 kilo tunga komodovaranen fick grå starr förra sommaren. Verners ögonlinser blev först genomskinliga och sedan vita, vilket ledde till att han sannolikt bara kunde skilja på ljus och mörker.

Enda sättet att förbättra synen var operation. Efter konsultationer med veterinärer i Australien och USA, de enda som tidigare ögonopererat komodovaraner, togs beslut att operera kräldjuret.

Den största oron vid operationen var hur Verner skulle klara att sövas ned. Kräldjur är svåra att söva och hålla vid liv under nedsövningen. Men allt gick bra och varanödlan vaknade upp utan problem.

Synen kommer enligt ögonspecialisten Nils Wallin-Håkansson att bli bra på långt håll, men sämre på nära eftersom Verner inte kan fokusera utan ögonlins. Men tack vare sin halvmeterlånga tunga har varanödlan ett mycket gott luktsinne med vars hjälp den kan hålla koll på omgivningen.

Verner, troligen Europas största komodovaran, ingår i ett europeiskt bevarandeprojekt och har högt avelsvärde.
From Göteborgs-Posten

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Gila monsters come out for springtime

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

We all know its snake season in Southern Arizona, but don’t forget  their lizard-like, venomous cousin, the Gila monster.

Much more of a wallflower than its more active and lithe rattler relatives, the slow-moving and docile Gila monster nonetheless has a poisonous bite—and strong jaws to deliver the venom.

Green Valley area residents  are reminded not to tangle with these lizards, who are out and about more than usual during the spring.

 Gila monsters don’t  usually bite humans unless they are provoked or handled, says Hans Koenig, field supervisor for the Arizona Game & Fish Department in Tucson.

Since the 1950s, Arizona laws have protected the red-orange and black lizards from being captured or harassed in any manner.

Leave them alone

The message to humans, Koenig says, is to leave Gila monsters to themselves. You’ll avoid both the chance of a painful bite and the possibility of a painful fine: Up to $750 for conviction of a class 2 misdemeanor.

 Though they spend a good part of their lives underground, feeding on eggs, baby rodents, ground-nesting birds and other animals, the lumbering Gila monsters become more active in the spring, until the weather heats up in May or June.

The lizards come out again during the rainy season in July and August.

Call fire the department

 If you see a Gila monster, leave it alone and keep small children and pets away from it. If the Gila monster doesn’t relocate after a day, call a rural fire department for assistance.

To avoid making your yard an inviting habitat for Gila monsters, eliminate small rodents and other food sources from areas surrounding your home.

If you get bitten

 Agitated Gila monsters will bite people or pets, clamping down and not letting go. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center offers the following advice if you are bitten by a Gila monster:

•Remain calm.

•Pry the lizard’s jaws open, using a strong stick or other device. But be sure to allow the lizard a strong foothold on the ground while you are prying it off, or you will only increase its agitation.

• Immobilize the bitten limb below heart level.

• Immediately get to a medical facility.

• Do NOT apply ice, a constriction bandage or a tourniquet to the bite. Pets bitten by Gila monsters should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. 

For more information about Gila monsters, go to

 The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is a center of excellence at The University of Arizona College of Pharmacy.

The center is certified by the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Visit for more information.

From Green Valley News

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Man who admitted feeding puppy to snake jailed; ordered to undergo psychological testing

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

PHOENIX An Arizona man is in jail after admitting that he fed a three-week-old puppy to a pet boa constrictor as two teenage boys watched.

Joseph Beadle has been ordered to undergo drug and psychological testing before he’s sentenced for felony animal cruelty. Police say he poured cooking oil on the pup so it would be easier for the snake to swallow it. Investigators also found the snake to be a victim of neglect and put it in the care of animal handlers.Beadle pleaded guilty to the animal cruelty charge last month, but was jailed after failing to show up for sentencing. The hearing has been rescheduled for next month. Beadle could get up to a year in jail and be fined 150-thousand dollars.

Update on this article.


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Amphibian, reptile area spans seven counties

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

WAPELLO — A new amphibian and reptile conservation area will be dedicated here next week.

The Southeast Iowa Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain stretches across seven counties and more than 470,000 acres, and is home to many of the state’s declining species.

A ceremony to dedicate the area is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. May 1 at Horseshoe Bend within the Port Louisa National Wildlife Refuge. The bend is located about nine miles southeast of Wapello at the southern end of Avenue F. The public is welcome.

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is hosting the event, which will include a brief presentation and the unveiling of a special Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area sign, followed by a short driving tour of the local habitats that make it an attractive landscape for many species of amphibians and reptiles.

“Designating the Southeast Iowa Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Area will provide important recognition of the value of this area to more than 70 percent of Iowa’s amphibian and reptile species,” said Karen Kinkead, a wildlife diversity program biologist with the Iowa DNR.

The list includes the ornate box turtle, Western hognose snake, mudpuppy and cricket frog, Kinkead added.

“The creation of this Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Areas in Iowa is a priority for DNR’s wildlife diversity program and fits well with Iowa’s Wildlife Action Plan, which promotes assistance for species with the greatest conservation need,” said Doug Harr, the Iowa DNR’s wildlife diversity program coordinator.

The ARCA program encourages large–scale habitat conservation to establish stable or growing amphibian and reptile populations.

The southeast Iowa area includes both private land and nearly 59,000 acres of public ground in the lower Cedar River and lower Iowa River corridors. With their existing acreage of protected lands, the corridors represent the perfect opportunity for amphibian and reptile conservation and habitat enhancement, Iowa DNR officials said.

Partnering on the conservation area were the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Natural Resources Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, county conservation boards, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation, The Nature Conservancy and private landowners.

“This unified effort represents a partnership that is an excellent example of how the human community can better conserve all natural resources in this unique landscape,” said Bill Ohde, an Iowa DNR wildlife biologist and the local area manager.

The public is welcome to attend the dedication ceremony.

From The Hawk Eye Newspaper

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Man Who Fed Puppy to Snake Held on Bond

Posted by Miqe on April 27, 2007

A Glendale man who fed his three-week-old puppy to a pet snake has been taken into custody after he failed to appear for his sentencing Tuesday.

Joseph Beadle, 40, surrendered in Superior Court Thursday. The judge told Beadle feeding a puppy to a boa is horrific and will not be tolerated.

He ordered Beadle to undergo a psychological evaluation and drug test.

“I applaud him (the judge) because I think his comments, that we need to get to the root of the problem to find out why he carried out this abhorrent behavior, are absolutely correct. I think it was the right decision,” said Kim Noetzel with the Arizona Humane Society.

Beadle is accused of coating his puppy in cooking oil and then feeding it live to his boa constrictor as two teenage boys watched.

“There are a lot of cases that make big news, but this case really captured the attention of the community,” said Noetzel.

Beadle claims he couldn’t afford to feed the snake.

“There’s never an excuse to feed a live animal, like a puppy, to a snake,” says Noetzel. “Now, that’s not to say snakes don’t eat small animals. They do. But, in nature, they don’t eat puppies and there are so many other options.”

Beadle is being held on a $5,000 bond and will be sentenced May 29. He could spend one year behind bars.  “; voteWindow.innerHTML = sHTML; = “absolute”; = “0px”; = “relative”; voteCaller.appendChild(voteWindow); } // ====================================================================== function voteNow(value,label) { if (!voteWindow) return false; // turn off other faders if (voteFade != null) document.images[voteFade].src = ‘/resources/comments/graphics/voteOff2.gif’; // light up the button voteFade = ‘voteb’+voteID; if (value == 1) document.images[voteFade].src = ‘/resources/comments/graphics/vote_yx3.gif’; else document.images[voteFade].src = ‘/resources/comments/graphics/vote_nx3.gif’; // set the rating text var rdiv = document.getElementById(‘rate’+voteID); var sign = ”; var color = ‘900’; if (value > 0) { sign = ‘+’; color = ‘090’; } rdiv.innerHTML = “[ “+label+” “+sign+value+” ]”//voteDone; document.getElementById(“rmiCmd”).src = “/scripts/vote.php?name=az:281658:6:462578:c:”+voteID+”&tag=”+label; voteDelayOff(); return false; } // ====================================================================== function voteHistory(id) { histid = document.getElementById(‘hist’ + id); var tagstr = histid.value; tags = Array(); tags = tagstr.split(“:”); var sHTML = ”; var pos_sHTML = ”; var neg_sHTML = ”; var votetotals = 0; for (var i = 0; i 0) pos_sHTML += ”

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Follow up on this story.


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