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Rethinking Venomous...

Snakes, Lizards, Salamanders, Turtles, Frogs, etc.

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Ash
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Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:53 am

Nothing crazy venomous. Just rattlesnakes, gila monsters and beaded lizards...

I'm very intrigued by gila monsters, actually. I don't know too much about milking, but I think it could be really fun to milk gila monsters.

I know that collecting venom is not as simple as just milking an animal--you have to freeze-dry the venom and I'm sure there's plenty of rules that come and go with it and paperwork. I know you sell the venom by the gram--and it takes about ten gila monsters to get that much (I read they yield about .1-.2 during a milking).

I've joined a gila monster forum on facebook. I want to know how often you go in between milking them. I read for snakes it takes about a week for them to replenish their venom, but don't quote me on that.

Gila monsters aren't deadly either. Their bites are just excruciating. They are slow-moving. So there's no true danger there, which makes them pique my interest. But their venom is going towards some really cool, interesting research. I'm sure the venom is not in high demand, but I night make some cash now and again.

I'd be more interested in just keeping the gila monsters and using them for education. There's a lot people don't know about them. But milking them sounds fun, and also sounds like it could really contribute to some of the medical research going on.

Any thoughts or advice? I'm starting up the search again for a keeper of hots here in Utah who could mentor me. Mostly in regards to keeping rattlesnakes--I like the sidewinders and diamond backs (western and red). I've read that the red diamond backs are laid back snakes and that their venom is one of the least potent in rattlesnakes. Their rattles fascinate me.

My one concern would be getting a COR for gila monsters and bearded lizards here in Utah without having prior experience. Hence why I would be seeking a mentor. Though I can't imagine they'd give me too much grief since they're not lethal. All gilas in the trade are captive born and are supposed to come with extensive paperwork to prove such. So that wouldn't be much of a problem, I wouldn't think.

I read they eat 1-2 times a week. But in all honesty, since they are closely related to monitors, my guess is they require food more regularly, but people haven't figured it out yet. Just a theory. Everybody said monitors were supposed to be fed once or twice weekly but that turned out to be false. So probably true for gilas as well. And they are carnivores! Which makes them easy to keep! They shouldn't need UV light if that's the case, but I'd want to double-check to be sure.

Plus, who can resist this? It's so cute!! http://img4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20070702180311/wikiality/images/d/d0/Gila_monster_spit.jpg Its mouth is a gaping hole of death, lol. My sister doesn't like their mouths.

Of this cute picture of two stuck gilas: http://www.wildhorizons.com/wp/wp-content/gallery/Part%201_GilaMonsters/images/TAW-1148_urban-Gila-monsters.tif.jpg
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby minervasden » Fri Sep 05, 2014 12:06 pm

In regards to gilas: If you aren't familiar with Dr. Mark Seward look him up. http://www.docseward.com
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby KingObeat » Sat Sep 06, 2014 2:30 am

I recently sold my beaded lizard. They're really easy to take care of. They'll do fine in a 3 to 4 foot tank, feed once a week, they like to drink and soak, so keep a large water bowl in the tank. I highly recommend you contact Steve Angeli for advice. I purchased mine from him and he's probably the biggest breeder in the US. http://www.helodermahorridum.com/

As for venomous snakes, I currently keep 2 western diamondbacks. I didn't have anyone to teach me how to work with venomous, so I had to myself. But working with a mentor is definitely the best way to start. I already had a experience working with aggressive, non venomous snakes, so I just applied the same techniques.
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Sat Sep 06, 2014 4:58 am

Thank-you for the tips! I keep hearing Dr. Seward's name thrown around, so I'll definitely look him up. Sounds like he's "the guy," lol.

KingOBeat, I didn't realize you kept venomous. That's really cool. How are your western diamondbacks? I read that they are feisty and not for the beginner, so I shied away from them. But they're the most "iconic" rattlesnake, and I liked them best. How did you teach yourself to handle them?

Good news! A member in a venomous group I'm part of recommended someone here in Utah. The member owns a venom lab in CO, but it sounds like mentored under this person in Utah. He gave me his contact info, so I'm definitely going to get in touch with him.

What was your beaded lizard like? Did you "handle" it often, or was it more of a look-at animal?
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby KingObeat » Sat Sep 06, 2014 8:24 am

My beaded lizard was a little pissy when he was in his cage. Once I got him out he usually calmed down. Even when aggressive they're not that hard to work with. Leather gloves provide good protection. Most of the adult beadeds I've worked with have been pretty mellow and Steve Angeli told me most are when they get older.

Just a FYI: I'm not a venomous expert. I've only been keeping hots for five years. Western Diamondbacks definitely have a bad attitude and tend to squirm a lot. Mine are cbb, so they're not nearly as bad as the wc ones I've worked with. Deciding on a "beginner venomous snake" is a controversial topic among hot keepers. The only reason I started with rattle snakes is because they're native to my state and were the only venomous species I had access to.

here's some pics.

Image


Image
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Sat Sep 06, 2014 5:45 pm

They're beautiful. :) I really like the albino one!

Thanks for all the information.
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Wed Oct 15, 2014 11:56 pm

KingOBeat, I see what you mean about "what's the best starter hot" being a sensitive question among the venomous community. :shock: I never would have guessed it would be so controversial! It starts up an argument as fast as venomoids do, I swear. :lol: I guess it's like the ball python groups where the "face-palm" question from newbies is "Is my ball python a morph?"

Oh, and I've also learned that using the scientific names is imperative if you're wanting to interface with venomous keepers. They never refer to a snake by its "name." All taxonomy.

I'm shying a bit away from venomous snakes, but my interest in gilas has gone way up. I don't know if I can afford to get any next year or afford to go through the permitting process, but we'll just have to see. I think I'm going to concentrate mostly on foxes and a water monitor in 2015. :) But we'll see!

EDIT: Oh, lol, another thing with venomous keepers... DON'T mention that you like ball pythons ever, haha. You will be the laughing stock. And if you want to be a troll on a venomous group, post pictures of your pet hognose. The "feeback" is hilarious, lol.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby KingObeat » Thu Oct 16, 2014 12:42 am

Yea, venomous keepers can be real jerks. That's why I rarely talk to them online. I've had much better experiences talking in person at Reptile shows. I understand why they're like that since it only takes one idiot to get bitten and then the hobby gets thrown under a microscope by the media.
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Thu Oct 16, 2014 3:43 pm

KingObeat wrote:Yea, venomous keepers can be real jerks. That's why I rarely talk to them online. I've had much better experiences talking in person at Reptile shows. I understand why they're like that since it only takes one idiot to get bitten and then the hobby gets thrown under a microscope by the media.


I don't blame them either for the same reason you mentioned. I usually don't involve myself in the debates, and I rarely ask questions just to avoid unnecessary drama, lol.
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Re: Rethinking Venomous...

Postby Ash » Tue Feb 03, 2015 11:59 pm

So gila monster COR is in the plans. I'm writing out my proposal, and will use several months to spiff it up. I've been in contact with Dr. Seward--though admittedly, mostly trying to get a hold of his book, but I got it finally, lol--and he is THE guy I'm getting my gila from without question.

So I'm going for the COR this year. Whether or not I'll be able to afford a gila this year is another story since I have enclosures to build and I've had to greatly reduce my work hours for medical reasons.

Lots of reputable gila owners have been more than willing to help me go through the process and provide whatever help they can to get me permitted. One of them, who has been amazing and so helpful, was actually granted a COR to come through Utah and exhibit his gila monsters for two programs. He is coming out in May, and I am definitely going to his programs, wherever they are. It will be so amazing to actually see one. I don't even think Utah's Hogle Zoo has them--but maybe I just never noticed before.

Anyway, just thought I'd put that out there. I'm mostly typing up the outline for the proposal, and then hopefully I can get Dr. Seward and the other helpful people I've mentioned to go over it with me, and maybe vouch for me. I think getting Dr. Seward's "okay" would mean a lot, since he is THE guy in the gila monster world of research. But that is a little further along. Right now I need to get writing the proposal down and then making it fluent.

I need to double-check, but I'm pretty sure my vet would be more than willing to work with gila monsters. So I'm not too worried there, but I'll have to contact her to see. Not that they require "checkups" but I should have a vet listed.
3 red fox, 4 pectinata iguanas, nile monitor, BW tegu, sailfin dragon, leachie gecko, 6 snakes, salamander, 3 tarantulas

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