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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 03:33 PM Thread Starter
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Recent additions

I just thought I'd post some pics of the more recent additions to my snake collection. Sorry they're a little blurry, but I think my camera is on its last leg, for some reason the focus has been doing really strange things lately. Time to upgrade I guess.

Southwestern Speckled Rattlesnake, Crotalus mitchellii pyrrhus

She was born only about a month ago, but note the little "button" of a rattle. They're born with that, and their rattle extends with each shed of their skin, not purely with age. Plus, the rattle is pretty fragile. It is made out of keratin, the same kind of material our fingernails are made of, so they break off sometimes. So the length of a rattlesnake's rattle is not an accurate measure of its age.

Ornate Cantil, Agkistrodon taylori

Sometimes referred to as the Mexican Moccasin, it is closely related to the Cottonmouth, but obviously, from Mexico. Notice the bright green-yellow tail tip, that is an easy way to identify most North American Cottonmouths and Copperheads as babies. They all have it, and it is used for luring food, namely small frogs and lizards, into striking range. The color slowly fades, and turns body color or to a gray by about a year of age.

Western Pygmy Rattlesnake, Sistrurus miliarius streckeri

Very cool little snakes with a tiny rattle that only gives off a high pitched buzzing noise that you almost can't hear. Kind of like the noise of a fly in a window pane.

Hopi Rattlesnake, Crotalus viridis nuntius

This is the species the Native American Hopi tribe used in their rituals and rain dances, and so forth. They're pretty rare in captivity, I was lucky to come across this little boy.

I suppose I should note that I, in no way, advocate the keeping venomous snakes. It is something that takes proper training, and a good amount of education and support. It isn't something someone should just go out and do because they think it would be cool. It takes a large amount of responsibility and acceptance of the potential consequences, not to mention the knowledge of what to do, and the resources to do it, if the worst should occur.

Rav

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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 03:54 PM
 
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very pretty snakes.
i like the third picture
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 03:58 PM
 
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That Agkistrodon taylori is GORGEOUS!! Nice pics!
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 05:55 PM
 
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have you had an accident with one of them?
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 06:34 PM
 
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we have rattlesnakes here in MT and we ~fear~ them in the fields of our ranch and on our property!! i just avoid the likely 'den' areas and etc.....
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 07:17 PM Thread Starter
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I have never had an incident with a venomous snake. I keep them in a locked room, in locked enclosures, and only handle them with the appropriate tools. Of course, there are certain things - like medical treatments - which require getting closer than others, but for the most part, there is no need to ever be within the "danger" area. For cage cleaning they get hooked out, and placed into a temporary enclosure, the cage is cleaned and they're hooked back in. Photography is typically through glass or at range with a zoom lens.

Though the media only picks up on the most sensational ones, the vast majority of snake bites generally occur when people try to kill them or find one and try to show off by teasing it with a stick or something stupid like that. Not surprisingly, snake bite statistics show that the majority of bites occur in males aged 18-25, with alcohol involved. Accidental bites are actually quite rare, and most occur on the ankles or feet when hiking, or on the hands while gardening. Dealing with venomous snakes in the wild is largely common sense. When out hiking or climbing, always look where you place your feet and hands. Wear a good pair of hiking boots or when gardening, wear a light pair of leather gloves - while they won't necessarily protect entirely from a bite, it is better than nothing. For property protection, to discourage snakes from coming around at all, keep your grass cut short, don't leave wood piles or debris piles around, keep feed that could attract rodents stored. Nothing too difficult.

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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 07:24 PM
 
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Very beautiful snakes.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-26-2006, 09:56 PM
 
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Where do you live that you are allowed to keep hot snakes. In colorado you do serious jail time for keeping them without a permit.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 12:08 AM Thread Starter
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Actually, most states do not regulate venomous reptiles. New York, Ohio, Florida, Colorado and Arizona are a few. I am in Texas, which does not regulate non-native reptiles at all. Texas leaves such things to municipal governments to be enforced by animal control officers, and most cities have animal control ordinances which specify that "animals dangerous to the public" are not permitted within their city limits. Some cities do have an exception, typically intended for educational purposes, if permission is granted by the Chief of Police or other local authorities, but most cities don't allow them at all.

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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 03:16 AM
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Beautiful snakes, Rav. Congrats on the new additions!

Stephanie

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 06:18 AM
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Great Pics Rav!

You didn't say how you got them, did you you breed those guys, or plan to?

I've always been enamored with Cantil's. I think they are among the most beautiful of snakes. I've just never had the temerity to try hot snakes.

It looks like you have a nice collection there. I'm really glad you elaborated on your safety precautions. I have no doubt that you have taken all of the right precautions and treat the animals with the respect they deserve. It also looks like if you did have an incident, any bite could be treated by CroFab, which is probably on hand in just about every TX emergency room.

bob



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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 12:16 PM
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Beautiful Snakes Congrats

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-27-2006, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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I'd like to breed a few select species, Rock Rattlesnakes, the Speckleds, maybe Massasaugas, but the market for venomous snakes is so limited (though not nearly as limited as one might think) that I really like to make sure that I'm going to be able to sell/place any babies before I start pairing up the adults. I say limited in that I don't give a hot snake to just anyone, they really have to demonstrate to me that they know what they're doing. Commercially available, it can actually be scary. Almost anyone could have a mamba on their doorstep in 24 hours for less than 150 dollars if they knew where to shop.

I get most of my animals through rescues or similar situations of overstock and "Here, take this." The Cantil I received as a gift. The Hopi was in trade for some work I did. The pygmy and speckled were given to me.

Contrary to what most people think about people who keep venomous snakes, I'm not crazy - ok, not -entirely- crazy. When I got into it, the first thing I did was write a detailed protocol book, with information on each species I keep and its venom effects, as well as phone numbers of local emergency resources, stores of antivenin, and experts in reptiles and toxicology. The regional ER doctor snakebite expert is also a friend, so I think I have most of my bases covered. Though, I do keep Atheris as well, which are African vipers that have no commercially available antivenin to treat their bites. I prefer not to take chances though, so keep my distance as much as possible and use the tools. Hooks, tongs and tubes make close handling pretty much unnecessary except in the most extreme of cases - like all snakes, there's always one that has problems shedding, or one that needs a medical treatment. So it isn't entirely hands off.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 05:52 AM
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I know what you mean, I was shocked when I learned how large the market is for venomous snakes. This was quite a few years ago, on my first visit to a "hot" reptile show. This was one of the largest shows east of the Mississippi, and there was just about every kind of herp there you could imagine. Young Gaboon Vipers to adult pairs of King Cobras for sale.

I almost jumped out of my skin when a young kid, easily younger than 14, bumped into me. He was holding a couple of those clear plastic containers you get salads in from Wendy's. Inside each of them was a baby rattlesnake of some kind!!! A rubber band was all that secured them.

I still go back to that show occasionally, and it's grown even more. Thankfully, at least you have to be with an adult if you are under 18 to get in, but I'm sure many of the dealers aren't all that picky about who they sell stuff to.....

Bob



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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 07-28-2006, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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I can't stand going to those shows. It just seems to me with that many people and that many venomous snakes all in one place, it is just begging for a disaster. I'm also a big believer that I should have more protection from a deadly snake than I give myself from left-over potato salad.

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