Home | 2011 | June

Monthly Archives: June 2011

Salmonella and Pet African Dwarf Clawed Frogs – Unraveling the Story

Male Dwarf Clawed FrogHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  A recent (April, 2011) report that over 200 people contracted Salmonella from captive Dwarf Clawed Frogs (Hymenochirus boettgeri and H. curtipes) has pet owners concerned and seeking advice. The story has also re-ignited discussions about the wisdom of keeping African Clawed Frogs, Xenopus laevis, turtles and other amphibians and reptiles.  Unfortunately, not all of the information that has been generated in response to the report is accurate, and much of it only serves to confuse pet-owners.

Zoonotic Diseases

It is important to understand that any animal, be it insect, fish, frog, dog or bird, has the potential to transfer diseases (known collectively as zoonotic diseases) and parasites to humans.  The FDA’s 1975 ban on the sale of turtles below 4 inches in length put a spotlight on reptiles (why they chose 4 inches as a cut-off only served to add to the confusion, incidentally!), but it is a serious mistake to regard them as the only animals capable of making us ill.  Read More »

Urban Turtle fest – the New York Turtle and Tortoise Society’s Annual Show

NYTTS SHOWHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Early June brings to NYC one of my favorite herp events, the NY Turtle and Tortoise Society’s (NYTTS) annual show.  The word “show”, however, does not due justice to this wonderful event, as you’ll see below.

A NYC Chelonian Tradition

The show is held outdoors, in a schoolyard located in the West Village, one of NYC’s most interesting and vibrant neighborhoods. While members do have a chance to display their turtles and tortoises and compete for trophies, much more goes on as well.  The vital, hands-on conservation work of NYTTS, the Wetlands Institute and other local institutions is highlighted and visitors learn how to become involved.  Of special value to me is the opportunity I and other turtle keepers have to share what we have learned with one another in person – a refreshing break from emails and such! This year, as always, I made many new contacts and was especially delighted to meet up with old friends that I had not seen in some time.  Read More »

Recent Field Research – Unusual Snake and Frog Feeding Observations

Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Many interesting field research reports are published in professional journals such as Copeia, Herpetologica and Herpetological Review, and are not available on the internet.  From time to time I’ll provide summaries of some of the fascinating articles that I come across.  Today’s report, drawn from Autumn, 2010 publications, covers a favorite topic of mine – feeding records.  As theses reports show, snakes and frogs often do battle – and the results are hard to predict!

Fer-de-lance and Smoky Jungle Frogs: Venom vs. Poison

In Costa Rica, a Fer-de-lance partially swallowed and regurgitated a Smoky Jungle Frog.  The snake was rendered lethargic incapable of defending itself for at least 45 minutes (and would likely not repeat the experience!).  Smoky Jungle Frogs produce Leptotoxin, a powerful chemical that causes rapid death from cardiac arrest when administered to rats.  People have reported experiencing “tingling” sensations after handling Smoky Jungle Frogs. Read More »

Inexpensive Homes for Sliders, Painted Turtles and other Semi-Aquatic Species – Part 2

Chitra indicaHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  Turtle-keepers have a great many options when designing their pets’ homes…plastic bins, filtered aquariums, outdoor ponds, and many others all have their place.  In this article I’ll cover everything you’ll need to create an inexpensive habitat for most semi-aquatic and aquatic turtles, including Red-Eared Sliders, Painted and Map Turtles, Cooters, Reeve’s Turtles and others.  I’ll also mention money-saving alternatives to certain products, along with non-essential “extras” that can be added if you wish.  Please see Part 1 for information on enclosures, basking sites and shelters.

Ultra-violet “B” Light

Turtles that bask in the sun (heliothermic species) need a UVB source in captivity.  Most commonly-kept species, such as Sliders, Cooters, Painted and Map Turtles, fall into this category.  Musk, Snapping, Soft-shelled and other largely aquatic species seem to do fine without, but many keepers provide UVB as “insurance”. Read More »

The Natural History and Captive Care of the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake – Part 2

Yellow Rat SnakeHello, Frank Indiviglio here.  The Trans-Pecos Ratsnake, Bogertophis subocularis, stands apart form it’s many relatives in both appearance and habits.  Please see Part 1 of this article to learn more about the natural history of this most interesting desert-dweller.

General Care

Although less closely related to the “typical” ratsnakes (i.e. the Yellow Ratsnake, please see photo) than originally believed, the basic care of the Trans-Pecos closely follows that of other commonly kept species.  Please see the article below for general care; today I’ll focus on points specific to the Trans-Pecos Ratsnake. Read More »

Scroll To Top