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RE: Pituophis l.gibsoni hatchlings

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Posted by: ginter at Tue Jun 4 20:24:34 2013  [ Report Abuse ] [ Email Message ] [ Show All Posts by ginter ]  
   

Bob, there is very little known about this animal in the wild and only a few have ever kept them in captivity. They reside in a populated region of the world and in general snakes are not treated very well by the local population (as is the fate of most snakes). The motto of most Guatemalans is "A seen snake is a dead snake". There is no good data on how well local populations are doing in the face of agriculture and an ever growing number of humans and their automobiles. A young herpetologist, ecologist in Guatemala by the name of Danny Mazariegos has been working with this fascinating subspecies for several years and was the first person ever to captive breed and produce offspring. Danny and his father Rodger are working hard to create education opportunities for tolerance and conservation of wildlife in Guatemala but it is an up hill battle for sure.

Over the years several people have been able to import Gibson's gopher snakes on two occasions but both were unable to successfully reproduce them prior to mortality of the wild caught adults. With some great assistance from Danny we were able to sync the breeding schedule of our 1.3 unrelated captives and get copulation. It seems that they breed in the early winter. The clutch size appears to be much smaller than the nominate form P.l.lineaticollis.

I have been struggling with establishing this subspecies in captivity outside of Guatemala for over 15 years. I traveled to Guatemala with a fellow biologist and obtained the export permits after meetings with Guatemala's equivalent to our USFWS. This was not an easy task. We spent several weeks searching for animals and struggled with a shipping company to get them on a plane. Since 2007 we have worked with this group in an attempt to get successful breeding. With some major set backs and some genuine pure luck it is finally a reality. For Pituophis enthusiasts this is a major day in history!


   

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