Herpetology

Discussion in 'The Octopus' Den' started by Colin, Jun 2, 2003.

  1. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Yep, that's my other big interest :)

    Anyway, this is an on-going thing in the UK where DEFRA (the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) are about to kick the animal trade into shape in the UK. What this means is things like the possible banning of keeping snakes that can get to over 8 foot long, the revision of the DWA (Dangerous Wild Animals) license which covers venemous snakes and other dangerous animals etc etc.

    Although I have yet to find reference to blue ring octopuses there is a good chance that they will find their way onto this proposed updated list of DWAs, this means that a vet inspection of your premises, the holding tank, your security arrangements and your insurance details will all need checked in advance of purchasing an octopus or face a heavy fine and ban from keeping animals... from hamsters and up!

    I know how many people as hobbyists feel about keeping blue rings and other venemous animals but i feel it may be about time that this came about. As caring ceph keepers we must make sure that we act responsibly and that our small corner of the pet trade doesn't end up in the firing line as much as herpetology has!

    here is usefull links to sites by the hobbyists in the UK http://www.f-b-h.co.uk/index.htm and http://www.defra.gov.uk/ for the governing body.

    So, it doesnt really affect us here but as i have lectured on the subject i thought it was very interesting and a possible warning shot? Perhaps sharks, stonefish, lionfish etc etc will find their way here too??????
     
  2. Venom

    Venom Cuttlefish Registered

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    Too true!

    I am the Asst Vice Pres of the Southeastern Hot Herp Society (www.venomousreptiles.org) , the largest venomous reptile society in the world with members in 30+ states and 11+ countries.
    A point we are constantly trying to get across is the need to be proactive. Everyone wants total free reign to keep what they want and not have laws regulating things, well all it takes is 1 mishap and people who have no idea what the heck they're talking about (politicians) will spring into action and pass laws to make things "safe" and protect thr voters.

    The point is there a few ways to handle things....

    1 sit back and hope nothing changes and you can keep what you want - keep your head in the sand and hope no one notices the possibilites.

    2 wait for the axe to fall. someone gets nipped by something toxic, or worse yet, someone gets nipped by someone esle's toxic pet. Then the government freaks and outlaws them all and you have to break the law or go through hell to keep what you want

    OR
    3 be proactive and work with the powers that be to get a set of rules/permit system in place BEFORE something bad happens.

    I kept preaching that the upside to permits is if you have one, then they CAN'T take your animals unless YOU screw up!

    Realistically, which is more dangerous...
    an 8' novenomous snake or a blue ring that can kill in minutes from just a nip that you probably won't even feel.
    I would say your concerns are warranted!

    -V
     
  3. Melissa

    Melissa Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter

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    Venom, your reference to people who don't know what they're talking about is well-taken. A few years ago, some aides to the Mayor must have had a great time, when after some hubbub about pets, the Mayor released a memo banning the majority of animals from homes.

    I can still hear little old ladies going on about how they'd defend their canaries and budgerigars from the Mayor. Polar bears and lobsters and other unlikely pets were included. Lizards were included, but my mother and brother still have their lizards. Dogs were not on the banned animal list. I doubt blue rings or many other genuinely dangerous but possibly housebroken creatures made it onto the list, either.

    Melissa
     
  4. Clem

    Clem Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    Melissa,

    Here's the NYC fine scale for dangerous animals:

    Blue-ring sitting on subway steps: $100
    Gaboon pit-viper smoking in bar: $250
    Wolverine busking on sidewalk: $400
    Polar bear molesting U.S.S. Intrepid: $1000
    Mesonychoteuthis swimming in Central Park reservoir: $1500

    :roll:

    Clem
     
  5. Venom

    Venom Cuttlefish Registered

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    Unless an Octo happens to be involved in an "incident".
    OR A well intentioned, yet misguided, lawmaker or pillar of the community type happens to see one of the gajillion venom shows on Discovery, sees that some Octos can be dangerous, then happens to see or hear of one in a store or collection, or available on the net ;)

    Plausible scenario:

    Pillar of society sitting home with kids/grandkids/dog whatever, watching TV. The kid/grandkid/dog happens to really like watching old Steve-O. "Crikey! This lil Ripper, called the Blue Ringed Octopus, can kill a man in under 4 minutes!" as he's trying to balance it on his nose, or drop it down the front of his pants.
    Fast forward a week later, we see our hero of the story walk into a pet shop to get some doggy treats. There in a tank is an Octopus for sale! The sign says simply "Octopus". Now our good friend Mr. Bimac, as we all know is harmless, but he has that beautiful blue ring on the side and decides to show it off against the glass.
    "OH DEAR LORD! A BLUE RING JUST LIKE I SAW ON TV!!" I must call my friend the mayor and have this stopped before a school full of children all come here ona field trip and feel the need to stick thier hands in unsupervised and get killed, then the blue ring escapes into the sewer and kills the whole state!!"

    OK some things are slightly exagerrated, yet basically plausible.
    You say, "Surely, they'll believe an expert that tells them it's a bimac!"
    There's currently a very public battle going on in one fo the midwestern states involving a pet shop's claim that alligators and crocodiles only grow as large as the fish tank they are kept in and as such, are viable pets. Experts of course raise the BS flag and tell them the opposite, but the town council decides to believe the pet shop owner, since he's been selling them for so long. Viola, any kid with $50 can go buy a carnivore that can potentially reach 14' and 800lbs.

    This is why I say if at all possible be proactive and get involved shaping the laws that effect YOU!

    OK, I've rambled enough, storytime is over :)

    -V
     
  6. Venom

    Venom Cuttlefish Registered

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    Getting the permits to keep whatever you want and are qualified for?

    Priceless ;)
     
  7. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Hah! coming from the most regulated state in the union (az), I can tell you that the whole thing about animal regulation is a crock of crap. some of the finest exotic venomous animal collections I have ever seen exist in our state (where, technically, you can't have most everything)... if the government steps in any further, why don't they outlaw pit-bulls, and rotties too? after all, don't they injure and kill more innocents than snakes (I won't even bring up the octopus, as that is just silly)
    Allowing the government more access to your home and records is a huge mistake, one that I made more than a decade ago, and have had much cause to rue...
    Go to every game and fish meeting and throw tomatoes, introduce bills, and let them know that you DO care...don't let what happened in arizona happen to you!
    Greg
     
  8. mikeconstable

    mikeconstable GPO Registered

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    UK HAS banned pit-bulls,
    30 years ago (at least) Croydon (south London) would not allow pet shops to sell poisonous marines like lionfish
     
  9. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi Greg
    Why would you say that they have the finest collections in Az? Is that because of strict regulations or are they illegal collections in your state? Just curious.

    As Mike said American Pitbulls are banned in the UK and that was only AFTER kids got bitten/maulled/killed by them and suddenly everyone reacted with one big massive knee-jerk response and there was mayhem. Everyone that owned a terrier that looked even remotely like an american pitbull was branded irresponsible and hassled in the streets, such is the public outcry exagerated by the media.

    So, dogs like that are now frowned apon and its illegal to keep A. pitbulls.

    By being pro-active and by getting involved with local governing, I suggest that we could be the ones to advise the people making the final decissions.

    (damn, have to go to work :( )

    be back later :)
     
  10. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Totally support your views! Here in AZ, the herp groups dropped the ball with lobbying, and they passed ridiculously restrictive laws...Lets not let that happen again!
    the collections I have seen here rival anything I have seen anywhere in the US...and I have seen quite a few...I have some friends in Germany that have beautiful displays, but I have only seen the pics (alas!) My point was that the check system of governmental laws established in AZ are ineffectual, and are carried out by untrained personnel who, in general, were rejected by the police or sherriff's depts, and picked up by g&f...not exactly the cream of the crop. Venom is lucky in Florida, where they have a reasonable set of rules that seem to work out well...all of us out here are very envious! Every year we go into the public meeting re:reptiles , at the councils HQ, and try to set up a similar program, but it is like water eroding rock...every year a little bit of headway. I don't know if I will see the changes in my lifetime, to be honest.
    If we had only been more organized in 1976 when they passed these ridiculous laws, we wouldn't be fighting this up-hill battle...luckily, the marine keeping community out here is kept well aware of possible changes, and has some good public support....
    Greg
     
  11. pakoc

    pakoc Larval Mass Registered

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    It seems to me there is too much scare mongering about this.
    Simple solution, who wants to keep Blue Ringed Octopuses anyway. They're too small, deadly poisonous, can escape as well as any other octopus from a poorly secured tank and do nothing that any other octopus doesn't do. So anyone who keeps a Blue ring has only got it for the shock factor anyway, forget the fact that they are effectively risking everyones life around them, their family etc. I would say anyone wishing to keep a Blue Ringed Octopus shouldn't qualify for a licence on account of the fact they are prepared to keep one in the first place.
    Secondly, Pit Bulls and Rotweillersare dangerous animals. They are bred to fight. Who would want a Pit Bull or a Rottweiller either. Poisonous snakes are potentially lethal. I enjoy my hobby but wouldn't want to risk my life doing it. Is this the thrill of keeping these things. The traditional image everyone has of a Pit Bull owner or a rotweiller owner is someone with tatoos and body piercings strutting their stuff with Rex on a short chain lead and spiked collar. I wonder what Blue Ring owners look like.
     
  12. Clem

    Clem Architeuthis Supporter Registered

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    I'm told they resemble academics from Dorset.

    Welcome back, Pakoc.

    :wink:

    Clem
     
  13. Venom

    Venom Cuttlefish Registered

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    uh oh, here we go......

    I do.

    I, for one, take great offense at your statement. :x

    I keep venomous animals and have done so for 14 years. I do not do it for shock value. I do it because I have chosen to do so.
    They interest me, I accept the inherent dangers and work accordingly.
    Based on your reasoning, anyone who chooses to keep potentially dangerous animals should not be allowed because they want to in the first place.
    I fail to see the logic. :grad:

    Do I feel anyone and everyone who wants to, should be able to keep cobras?
    Of course not, but I believe those with the qualifications and desire should be able to.

    Do we need to mention the Equestrian community?
    Horses kill thousands more people than blue rings and snakes combined.

    Hmmm, how about cars?
    Should anyone who wants a drivers license be denied having it because they want it and driving kills millions of people?
    What about trips that arent neccessary: trips to friends houses, trips to Disney, vacations, movies, etc. Do you feel these people who drive when it's not totally needed are unneccesarily risking people's lives? Simply because they want to drive?

    I have many years of experience, all of my animals are in a locked down, purpose-built, secure building in caging designed to be escape proof. Why shouldn't I be allowed to keep them? What about my Crocodiles?
    Wanna take them too?
    I do dozens of educational talks on reptiles and the environment every year, from schools and herp clubs to game and fish. Every year when Florida Game and Fish does thier display at the State Fair, wanna take a guess who they borrow the snakes for the displays from?
    Not a Zoo, not an animal park, but from a private individual who keeps a nice collection of venomous snakes.

    So I suggest you think a bit more before stereotyping and lumping people together. :roll:

    Admittedly there are the thrill seekers trying to show off by keeping something they don't have the skill or experience to keep, that's where the permitting process factors in. If they do it and aren't qualified and permitted, they break the law, they get the penalty.

    There are also plenty of people who have no business with a dog, a horse or a car. Heck there's a guy at my office that's so clumsy he puts himself and others at risk simply by walking while chewing gum!

    If you don't want to keep them, then don't. But saying no one else should; and that they, by virtue of wanting to, are therefore not qualified to do so is simply daft.

    I'll come down off my box now [/end rant]

    -V

    and oh yeah....
    I will be keeping blue rings soon as well.
    And, I do have a few tattoos :P
     
  14. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Venom,
    FYI, this thing called kapoc or pakoc or whatever, seems to derive some sort of pleasure from presenting his/her/its self as an academic...not to worry. It is probably just some prepubescent kid with lots of acne and some time on its hands. Not to worry.
    I also have been keeping venomous animals from the 80's, and have kept blue rings, and as you can attest to, venomous snakes are much more interesting in their habits than are cal kings or corn snakes...so too are the blue rings. You go for it...it is obvious that you know what you are doing, and hopefully, will shed some light on this much misunderstood creature...after all, it is all up to us!
    happy cephing!
    Greg
     
  15. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi all, there are truths on both sides.

    Having worked in many pet shops and also in a tropical zoo I have seen my fair share of people ask me where is the piranha tank and will they be okay in a bowl?, or can they buy a tarantula as a joke to scare their pal/spouse/mum? and 'well, if it gets too big I'll just give it back to you.' statements.

    To be fair, these people rarely actually get round to actually buying the animal but there really is no restrictions to say that a guy cant buy a tarantula and stick it in his girlfriend's bed for a laugh... I feel that many of the animals should be 'harder to obtain'.

    Also, in a period of a few years, over 20 iguanas were given to me and they ranged from 18" to 5' long. At best there were probably about 3 that were in a half decent shape when we took them in. Some of them died or got put down because they were in such poor shape yet the owners, who had zero experince of exotic animals husbandry before buying an iguana thought that they were in perfect health!!! A screening process would have stopped the deaths of thousands of these poor animals that were imported suring the 90s when the exotic animal trade boomed!

    Also lost count of the number of times Burmese Pythons over 12 feet long were offered to us, or red ear terrapins whos shells had a consistency of cheese! Were they feeding them LARD?

    It is very difficult to separate the issues here and my experiences of animal husbandry has left my view of most exotic animal keepers tainted but there are still a lot of excellent carers out there. Its just a fact that not everyone is up to the standard that these animals need. So to be fair to the animals, tighter legislation would help them.

    If someone REALLY understands the risk of owning a Blue Ring and has proactively provided a suitable environment for it then go for it. The simple fact that people have bothered to visit this site for info is a good start. I do feel that 'experts in the given fields' should be employed for the purpose. And not governement workers or vets who mostlt deals with domestic animals from day to day. Wouldn't be the first time I'd taken an animal to the vet and they'd said, 'looks in great health but what is it?'

    I am worried more about joe public who has no relevant experience buying any dangerous animal and something bad happens and then the sh*t hits the fan for all of us. With that I'm including anything venemous or large growing.

    Pakocs' view of a Rottie owner is exactly how they were portrayed in the British media. And it has stuck since then too! That wont change easily either. So that is actually a public perception that is often re-visited.

    hehehe i also think that looking at a venemous snake sit perfectly still for 3 days at a time is just as uninteresting as watching a Cali King sit still for 3 days at a time LOLOL :sleeping:
     
  16. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    All -- this is a worthwhile thread and I don't want to begin removing any posts or end up locking it, but I will if insults abound. Let's agree to put the original "pakoc thread" behind us -- the charades are over.

    No response to this post is necessary (or desired!). Thanks!
     
  17. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    Point taken.
    Colin...I guess you are right...I just went into the ven. room, and rattlesnakes sleeping aren't all that exciting or pushing the boundries of science. :)
    I also agree with you that it takes a keeper with a certain amount of experience and dedication to maintain a ven. collection, and blue rings should not be available to everyone...but the amount of bites that have been sustained in captivity (none in the u.s., as far as I can tell) certainly should not preclude its being available. Most stores out here ( I actually did call them all yesterday-gosh, just like research!) wouldn't even order one for me, citing their "deadly" characteristics. So, in a sense, the retail pet market is doing a fairly good job of policing itself...kind of a suprise, but a good one. I have never seen a blue ring for sale in a tank, I have always had to order them, and even that is a pain in the rear (can I say that?).
    Greg
     
  18. cthulhu77

    cthulhu77 Titanites Supporter

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    I also agree with your view of poor husbandry...I have picked up several hawks and falcons that had to be euthanized because the well-meaning homeowner had kept the injured bird in a box with some paper towels and fed it bread for a few days...I really do believe, though, that the growing existance of "nature" shows has done wonders for the general public insomuch as far as educating them on basic habits and food preferences of many non-domestic animals. I regularly give talks at schools around the state, and the difference in education (re:animals) is amazingly different from a decade ago. In fact, most people I talked to yesterday (checkout cashiers, a waitress, gas station attendant, etc) actually KNEW what a blue ring octopus was, and that it was deadly...you have to admit, it certainly is a sensational animal!
    I too have taken in my share of sick iguanas, pythons, boas, etc...and it does get depressing. But I have found that most of the people, once educated on the mistakes they may have made, will not do it again. The pet trade is a little to blame for this...I have often heard pet store salespersons (now how is THAT for PC, Tony?:)) tell a potential buyer that "this a special breed of burmese python that only gets to be 5' long, etc..." Especially with our rotten recession going on, stores are doing anything they can to sell animals and tanks, however possible. I make a point of only buying from local stores that have a honorable and intelligent sales staff, and I go out of my way to support them...when the Phoenix Zoo calls me looking for a weird type of fish, I send them straight over to the store I buy from...and it has proven to be good for everyone involved.
    Bottom line? Perhaps common sense is the only meter stick we can use here...it certainly seems simple enough.
    Greg
     
  19. Colin

    Colin Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Well said!

    that's why i knew that you'd all have a look at the herpetological goings on! i just felt it was relevant to all of us who keep animals as pets.

    Yeah, Greg, the kids that i have spoke to over the years have a great general knowledge about animals and their plights.. its the adults that scare me! :)
     
  20. Venom

    Venom Cuttlefish Registered

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    ahhh sorry,
    being the new guy here, I didn't realize this "person" was a repeat offender.
    I guess I just never have been able to grasp a person's need for confrontation being so great that they would go to a message board on the net with the express purpose of creating havok and discord.

    But they really don't seem to be in short supply and every board gets thiers occasionally.

    Best response is usually to ignore them, sorry I fueled his fire ;)

    -V
     

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