|"Desert Digits" counting book is available for online ordering|
A message from FaceBook Herpetological Conservation International about snakes:
The goal of Zoo Crew and the links on this page is to excite and provide links for all potential wildlife biologists, veterinarians, conservation and law enforcement officer, private citizens, herpetologists and pet owners encouraging the humane treatment of ALL animals and peak interest in fields of biology, conservation, zoology, marine biology and research.
|2015 Vet Tech workshop at Browne Mackie College|
IMPULSIVE PET PURCHASES
Too often people do not read or learn what an animal requires to thrive, rather, they buy on impulse. The animals are ALWAYS the losers. Part of this message is felt as rescued animals... now ambassadors are introduced by the rescuers.
Pictured below, Liam the monitor lizard is a classic case. Rescued from a dumpster by volunteer and UNM Herpetology graduate Aja, he occasionally is brought into classrooms and is rewarded as he slurps down earthworms for his audiences.
|"Liam" was a dumpster rescue ***courtesy of volunteer Aja|
We work with reptile veterinary specialists to provide the animals health and well-being.
We encourage audiences always to leave the wild in your heart and not in your home.... to support CAPTIVE BORN & BRED.
Respected Reptile hobbyist Bob Applegate has said: "As a general rule, we STRONGLY recommend the purchase of a parasite and disease free, acclimated, captive produced animal over the acquisition of a wild-caught animal. This has the added benefit of being able to talk to the breeder about the care needed for that specific species and its history, feeding records, etc.
Many go into wild areas seeking reptiles and destroy habitat in these searches. It hurts to go into an area where habitat has been ruthlessly destroyed which in turn causes laws to be made limiting the ability to possess these animals."
|Photo by: Dr. Daniel Beck|
A special part of my outreach is with "Picasso" the Gila Monster & "Oso" the Mexican Beaded Lizard. Regarded as in the top 5 most "Critically Endangered" lizards in the world, the beaded lizard is one of two lizards in the northern hemisphere that is venomous. The other is America's most fabled lizard the Gila Monster. This family of lizards, called:
"Helodermatidae," have been around since the Cretaceous Period.
|Print by: Tell Hicks|
Seeming to crawl from under a
blanket of shale, the fossil of a
well-preserved lizard found in
Germany has been shown to be
an ancient relative of venomous
Gila monsters. Modern day Gila
monsters are found only in the
deserts of the U.S. Southwest and
The fossil reptile lived about 47 -100
million years ago near a volcanic lake
surrounded by a rich diversity of wildlife.
Researchers with the Senckenberg
Research Institute in Frankfurt, who
examined the fossil, say that canals in its
teeth suggest the primitive creature was
already producing venom.
Gila monsters and Beaded lizards were alive during the cretaceous
period which is when the mighty T-Rex and Triceratops roamed the
Click the white box directly below to see a Gila Monster Hatching by
Dr. Mark Seward:
Eggs are laid deep in burrows. Hatchlings drink the yolk inside the egg for nutrition before leaving the burrow to begin their lives.
Gila Monsters and Beaded Lizards venom is considered "defensive" and not used to "subdue or kill"
|"Bone Clones" provide realistic models of their jaw|
Venom glands are located on the sides of the
lower jaws and envenomation occurs through
chewing and squeezing capillaries up and into
The teeth do not conduct venom and are not hollow,
but are "brittle and tend to break off during the bite.
Both species have been known to roll upside down
to increase the amount of venom being expressed into
the harassing animal or human. It helps remind potential predators to not muck with these animals.
While no fatalities from a bite has occurred it is excruciating, nauseating, causing intense neurological symptoms.
The Diné (Navajo) people believe everything in nature
has its own place and purpose in the universe. Animals and other living
things play a significant role in the origin and existence of the Diné
Gila Monsters were created by a very powerful healing song.
They possess very mystical powers.
Diné medicine men use the Gila monster as a tool to diagnose ailments.
Its name is used as a prayer in the healing process, thus the Gila
monster is respected and honored.
is also believed some Diné women create weaving patterns which are
based on the skin designs of the Gila Monster. Apache and Navajo respect
and revere gila monsters.
- Similar to Gila Monsters, Beaded Lizards do NOT seek confrontations with humans but are shy, reclusive animals
- New Mexico Game and Fish Science in Education Program:
the Gila Monster and "Oso" the beaded lizard visit classrooms and venues throughout New Mexico
schools, museums, and public venues. The lizards also visit other states
raising awareness for Diabetes and obesity education.
- Byetta© is the name of the drug derived from the venom of gila monsters to treat diabetes type II. Oral extended release treatment: Byedureon is now available.
successful treatment with helodermin has been successful in killing the small cells of gastric and lung cancer.
|Venom is discharged through glands in the lower jaw|
|Centrifuge spins and separates components|
PROTECTION FOR BEADED LIZARDS:
All beaded lizards are listed as "Endangered" and the Montagua Valley Beaded Lizard
H. charlesbogerti is one of the top 5 most critically endangered lizards in the world.
|First babies hatched at Atlanta Zoo in 2012|
Atlanta Zoo has 8 pairs of Montagua Valley Beaded Lizards and is actively working to breed these animals, successfully hatching babies in 2012. Disney Wildlife Conservation Fund, Lilly Pharmaceuticals, Zootropic and the International Reptile Conservation Fund are working toward preserving the Montagua Valley Beaded Lizard.
PROTECTION - GILA MONSTERS:
It is illegal to molest, harm or capture a gila monster. They are considered: "Highly Imperiled" and illegal to transport across state lines without permit. The Pet Trade and human encroachment has nearly caused the total extinction of these animals. Mean spirited people and even feral cats have been cited as causing declines in the Gila monster populations.
To Report smuggling, poaching or cruelty against a native species: Operation Game Thief at:
|Arrested for killing a protected Gila monster in 2012|
|"Picasso" the banded Gila monster!|
Common Behavior of Beaded Lizards & Gila Monsters...
|Mexican Beaded Lizard|
While they MAY appear dead... they are sound asleep or may be day-dreaming.
7/16/16 Sandia Station of the NM Museum of Natural History-A public event. See FaceBook link above for driving directions:
- 7/18/16: Enviromental Monitoring Summer camp= Varying age group children to be involved in various reptile classes involving them in handling animals, conservation topics and career pathways.
- 7/20/16: Picasso the Gila monster gets her own book and will be "illustrated" (drawn) for a student created senior high project to create a children's book for elementary school age children about the effect of global warming on egg-laying reptiles.