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Herp Conservation

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Captive Bred Schneider's Skinks

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"Grandfather Great Spirit fill us with light, give us
the strength to understand and the eyes to see.
Teach us to walk the soft earth
as relatives to all that live"

- Sioux Prayer

Conservation is the responsible use of our natural resources and environment. To put it simply, it means to use or take some of the resource rather than all of it.


Conservation is important for a lot of reasons. One reason its important is that it preserves a resource for future generations. Think about never being able to hunt or fish with your children or grandchildren because the fish or game you catch went extinct due to heavy hunting or fishing pressure. What if your favorite bird to watch never came to your bird feeder anymore because the type of tree they lived in were all cut down and therefore they couldn't make a nest and have baby birds?

Money is another reason for conservation. Think about this basic example for a minute; if commercial fishermen were allowed to catch as many fish as they want, of what ever species they want, when ever they want, they would bring in a lot of money maybe for a year or two. What happens after those couple of years? All of the fish had been caught (just a basic example to make a point), so now what do they do? They caught all of the fish and therefore there are no baby fish, no way for the species to continue. Such an example would crash the fishing industry. This example holds true for just about all natural resources. You cannot make money off of something that doesn't exist anymore.

Human health and wellbeing is another good reason for conservation. What would happen if everyone were to burn what ever they want, however they liked? There would be clouds full of poisonous gases billowing out over our homes and work places. A lot of areas of the world burn coal to make electricity. What happens when we turn on a television or a light switch? Electricity is used to power them, so therefore more coal is burned to make that electricity. That coal that is burned puts poisonous gases into our air; its one reason why we have acid rain in the world.


Did you know that frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders are considered "indicator species"? This means that these species are used by biologists as an indicator to determine the health of a specific environment. Amphibians have thin skin, therefore making them very vulnerable to chemicals, such as those in bodies of water. Amphibians, due to their thin skin, are usually the first to die off in areas of high pollution. The more amphibians in an area, usually means the healthier (health of an area also considers the loss of habitat) it is. How strong are the amphibian populations in your home town?

Did you know that lakes with a limestone bottom help neutralize acidic water? One large source of acidic lake water is acid rain (the reduction of acid rain would result from the reduction of burning coal). Most fish and amphibians cannot survive well in very acidic water. Highly acidic waters reduce growth and overall health of fish. Highly acidic waters kill amphibian eggs and even adults. Lakes, such as those found in the Adirondack Mountains of New York State have granite bottoms. Due to the granite lake bottoms and acid rain, fish populations and their health are not nearly as good as what they could be.

Did you know that an individual tortoise can live for at least a few hundred years? The individual tortoises that Charles Darwin looked into the eyes of on his expeditions, are the same individual tortoises that are looking into the eyes of today's scientists.

Did you know that crocodiles are more bird like than reptile like? There are at least 4 reasons why this is. Reason one is that both birds and crocodiles have a 4 chambered heart as opposed to most reptiles which have a 3 chambered heart. The second reason being that both birds and crocodiles construct nests to lay their eggs in. Reason three is that both crocodiles and birds defend their nests unlike most reptiles (skinks also being an exception to this rule). The fourth reason is that both birds and crocodiles raise their young, again unlike most reptiles which lay their eggs and leave the young to fend for themselves.

My pet turtle (or rather their wild counterpart) can out live me? Yes! Turtles in the wild, just like tortoises, also live for at least a couple hundred years. Your pet turtle could live longer than you, your children, your great grandchildren, your great great grand children combined and possibly even longer. Turtles wandering through George Washington's vegetable garden, could very easily be the same ones wandering through your vegetable garden now. Talk about time travel! Scientists are just recently discovering the true life span of these shelled time travelers.


The following is a list of some reptiles and amphibians worldwide, that are in serious danger of becoming extinct. The animals are listed by where they live. Next to each animal is their scientific name in parentheses and the cause of their demise next to that.

Malagasy Spider Tortoise (Pyxis arachnoids) - pet trade, habitat loss
Leaf-tailed Geckos (Uroplatus spp.) - pet trade, habitat loss
Leaf-nosed snakes (Langaha spp.) - pet trade, habitat loss
Arboreal snake (Stenophis citrinus) - pet trade, habitat loss
Plowshare [Angonoka] tortoise (Geochelone yniphora) - pet trade, habitat loss
Madagascar ground boa (Acrantophis madagascariensis) - pet trade, habitat loss
Madagascar tree boa (Sanizinia madagascariensis) - pet trade, habitat loss
Nosy Be Pygmy Leaf chameleon (Brookesia minima) - pet trade, habitat loss
Tomato frog (Dyscophus antongilli) - pet trade, habitat loss

Water monitor (Varanus salvator) - habitat loss
Rough neck monitor (Varanus rudicollis) - habitat loss
Dumeril's monitor (Varanus dumerilli) - habitat loss
Mangrove Cat snake (Boiga dendrophila) - habitat loss
Elegant bronzeback (Dendrelaphis formosus) - habitat loss
Reticulated python (Python riticulatus) - pet trade, habitat loss
Dog faced water snake (Cerberus rynchops) - habitat loss
Wagler's pitviper (Tropidolaemus wagleri) - habitat loss

Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus) - habitat loss
Green sea turtle (Cheonia mydas) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers
Hawksbill sea turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers
Kemp's Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys kempii) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers
Olive Ridley sea turtle (Lepidochelys olivacea) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers
Leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers
Loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) - speed boats, habitat loss, shrimp traulers, poachers

Kemp's Ridley sea turtle:


What if I told you that for approximately $10 - $15 US Dollars (about $5 per item), that not only could you drastically reduce the amount of electricity you use, reduce the chances of blackouts and brownouts, and save approximately $90 US Dollars per year on your electric bill? What if I said that those are just a few things these items would do, would you use them? The item I am talking about can be found in almost any grocery store, hardware store, drug store, etc. I am talking about fluorescent light bulbs. These bulbs come in a wide range of lengths, shapes, and sizes. To learn more on these bulbs, visit Energy Star for details.

When shopping for groceries, try to avoid items with excess packaging such as individually wrapped slices of cheese. It is actually cheaper per slice of cheese to buy a brick of it rather than the individually wrapped slices. These individually wrapped slices cost you more money as well as harm the environment when you throw away the packaging.

When at the checkout counter, ask for paper bags rather than plastic ones. Some stores even have reuseable totes to pack groceries in rather than any bags at all. If your store has neither paper bags nor resuable totes, then try using as few plastic bags as possible. If you do end up with plastic bags, use them for additional purposes such as garbage bags as opposed to purchasing garbage bags. This too will help reduce the amount of plastic harming the environment.

When you purchase beverages such as soda or beer, recycle the cans and bottles. In most, if not all states there is a fee that is added on at the time of the purchase. To get this money back, you need to return the containers back to the store. To put it simply, recycle anything that your area is capable of recycling.

When you leave a room, turn off the light. This will save you money and reduce the amount of electricity needed.

When shopping for a new appliance, try to purchase one that is Energy Star approved. These machines will save you hundreds of dollars over the lifespan of the machine by reducing the electricity or water that is needed. With the Energy Star approved air conditioners, it only saves you money and reduces electricity use when you TURN ON THE "SAVE MONEY" FUNCTION. Not turning on this feature only cheats you and the environment and as we all know, "cheaters never prosper!".

On those hot summer days, try to use fans rather than air conditioners as much as possible. If the temperature is unbearable and you must use an air conditioner, use it only until the temperature drops and turn it to a reasonable setting such as 68F to 75F in order to reduce electricity useage.

Using insulation will help keep your home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. It will help drastically reduce heating and cooling expenses. It should help you save hundreds, if not even thousands of dollars over its lifespan.


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