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Nature versus nurture

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Rear-Fanged Forum ]

Posted by Francis Tan on April 11, 2003 at 02:58:27:

In Reply to: Re: Clelia vs Bothrops...... posted by regalringneck on April 10, 2003 at 21:24:22:


Thank you for your similarly "civilized" response to my post. Reading back, some of my points were not that clear as I had intended. I also wish to clarify that there is no pursuit on my part of any apology for the way you think. However, opinions can be changed subject to persuasive arguments to the contrary.

It is true that the practice of taping shut a venomous snake is not to be trifled with but it can be done. The other alternative, of course, is to kill the prey item concerned and feed it to its intended predator. Judging from its feeding response, I'd venture to say that your Clelia would no doubt relish being fed this way or be persuaded to do so with little trouble.

All these leads up to the main issue - animal rights. Much of what you consider to be their rights, I do concur with. However, there is something which has been ommitted, i.e. being fed nutritious food in as safe an environment as possible.

For example, if you do own a dog or cat, would you toss in, say. a live rat for it to be killed and consumed? Going by the laws of nature, the dog or cat would have to subdue it and, in the process, run the risk of being injured.

To what degree, we know not, but I'm sure you have heard horror stories of snakes being eviscerated by their prey or vital organs, e.g. eyes being injured in their struggle. In fact, I remember seeing once a documentary depicting an anaconda being killed by a bite on its head by a coatimundi caught in its coils. Both animals died but at what price to the predator?

This, unfortunately, is the cycle of life and death in the jungle. In the case of your captive animals, the laws of nature have been altered somewhat. By taking them out their natural environment(presumably for noble causes like propagation of their species?), we assume the responsibility for ensuring their well-being. Again, I take the example of the cat and dog, which are surely among the most domesticated of animals.

Would you just grant them the most basic or rights as you described, or take a few extra steps? Would it be just enough to provide them a clean environment and have access to sufficient food? So what if they get nipped and acquire some scars in the process? It's the law of nature, right?

I, for one, have encountered well-meaning but ill-informed "humanists" who have trouble with the fact that snakes eat uncooked, whole animals. However, there can be no denying that most of us, including many eminent herpers, advocate the feeding of pre-killed prey items. Unless and until this is shown to be impossible with the animal concerned, attempts should be made to switch our captive animal to this form of safe feeding.



:Francis, you pose your position & challenge in a civilized manner & thus I will respond... I'll put my responses in [xyz] to differentiate them from your txt...

:I saw the picture(before it was deleted) that lead to all the flames. While this pic showing the Bothrops being devoured is interesting, I'm afraid I find no similar fascination with the Crotalus.

:[Entirely your choice, others see it differently]

:My reason is this: Why feed the Clelia in question a live prey knowing fully well it could(in this case would) be injured? I was pretty appalled to see the puncture wounds on the Clelia.

:[Having maintained many many squamates over 30+ years...I've also observed many many times that prey too large to be swallowed is very rarely attacked. I've also observed when that prey is a snake, it never attacks the predator; for example a large gopher snake will be most content living w/ a smaller king snake or even a regal ringneck; thus in this situation if you read my original post....I DIDNT EXPECT THE CLELIA TO ATTACK & THUS BE BIT...IT WAS A SCENT TRIAL! Crotalids have a very specific behavioral response to the scent/presence of kingsnakes (& Indigos), lastly while appalling for you & the possibly the troll, those fang punctures were virtually irrelevant to the Clelia, as one would expect given they have evolved with this reality.]

:To sum up, I do understand that some snakes prefer live prey but injuries can be avoided by merely taping the mouth of the prey item shut. I also accept the fact that some species of snakes are ophiohagous by nature.

:[Please Francis, never try to tape the mouth of a viper, for the troll....this might be a splendid idea!]

:Howveer, for an animal that's being kept in captivity, a bit of kindness in this form would not be too much to expect? Letting them be bitten by their prey just to gratify your senses borders on abuse, don't you think so?

:[Here is one of your central themes; Kindness... AKA animal rights...this is an area I normally vehemently reject but I'll wade in to it a bit here...
:For me captive herps have the following "rights":
:The right to a terraria that is normally clean, of an appropriate size, has concealment, clean water, & an appropriate temperature / humidity gradient.
:The right to a nutricious and varied diet that is what they would encounter in nature.
:The right to regularly crawl about outside the vivaria to scent fresh air, grass, & feel different textures & sunshine on their bodies.
:The right to breed at least once in their lives.

:When I used to feed mostly live rodents, they would regularly bite my snakes, being bitten by their prey is part of the risk of being a snake. Rarely are these injuries significant.

:We as interested observers can be "gratified", we can foment & perhaps partially answer basic hypothesis, & in doing so, we can better fulfill our own lives. For my doing this, I make no apologies & encourage others to question & explore into the largely hidden world of ophidian behavior.]


:[Vivir con gusto; John Gunn]


::Hopefully the troll & his dullard-clone-aliases are in a stupor & satiated for the moment, perhaps they might give us a day or 2 to indulge in a cyber-discussion!
::Interesting head morphology on your Clelia, appears to be more elongated, other Clelia I've seen & my own are substantially different???
::Did you take this shot? Was it during daylight? Any other jpgs available?
::Thnx for taking the time to post it.
::C&B; jg


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