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Re: Roundtail

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The Horned Lizard Forum ]

Posted by Lester G. Milroy III on June 09, 2002 at 19:15:15:

In Reply to: Re: Roundtail posted by Jaylyn on June 09, 2002 at 17:34:05:

: : : Hello!
: : : I am from Alberta, Canada - a few weeks ago I purchased a roundtail (Actually I was told he was a desert HL, but sent a picture to Lester to identify as I had suspicions - thanks Lester!) HL at a reptile show. The seller did know their diet requirements and came pretty close on the housing/hibernation requirements. We live in the country and have excellent access to ants, I have experience with other reptiles and stay home to look after them - so I knew we were prepared to look after him. From his size, Lester estimated him to be 3-4 years old.

: : : My first question is - how can it be econimically feasible to import WC HLs (when so many die in the process) and sell them for $55 CAN (the cheapest animal at the show)?

: : : My second question is regading a the ants. I will send a picture for identification if needed - but they are red with a black abdomen and quite small. We also have tiny all light red ants and black ants. Are these all OK to use? To date, I've only used the red and black ones. I refridgerate them before feeding, but the problem is if I drop more than four in at a time and they warm up - they often attck him and he gets quite frightened. So, I drop them in one at a time for him. How many ants a day should he be getting? I have also have given him a few pinhead crickets which he likes (no more than 5 a week) - is that too many?

: : : And finally, he doesn't dig down into the sand at night - he climbs into a plant pot (with a plant in it) to sleep. Could the sand be too cold (the house drops to about 65F at night)? Or is it OK that he sleeps there?

: : : Thanks for any feedback!
: : : Jaylyn
: : :

: : :Jaylyn, if the HL has picked his spot in the plant container, that is what is right for the HL. Sometimes you just have to let the animal decide what is acceptable.

: : The ant question is hard to answer until the ant genus/species is identified. If the ants are not within the HLs natural range, experimentation will have to be done in order to determine compatibility and tolerance. The ants may not be compatible. If an identification can be made, then there can be another decision made.

: : Exporting WC HLs to Canada is a problem. The only thing there is, is WC HLs in the pet trade. With an increase in numbers being captured, that puts greater demand on the wild populations and increases the number of HLs that will die in transport. Economics, like you are promoting, at the cheaper price, would guarantee increased demand on wild populations. Nearly all of the HL species now are protected at state levels and soon at the federal level. This venture would also promote illegal trade of protected species, because most folks, law enforcement folks too, do not know the difference between a Roundtail HL and a Desert HL. How about the Regal HL? Or the Shorthorned Lizard? Or the Coast HL? There is already a major increase in the import and export of protected and endangered species. Why create another problem or the decline of a species that is already shifting in population decline? How would the HLs survive in an area that is not their natural range, even in captivity? Food resources are not present? No study on the availability and compatibility of ant resources in Canada? Increase in the number of folks who do not know how to care for the HLs in the first place. Lester G. MIlroy III

: Lester,

: I hope you don't think that I think that the export of HL's to Canada is acceptable - to the contrary! I just couldn't understand why it was even done (ethically it shouldn't) - the cost of shipping, export lisences, etc. - it just doesn't make sense economically to even bring them in. I know it was wrong to make an impulse buy - without researching the animal thoroughly -I just thought I could give the little guy a better chance than if some kid bought him that lived in the city with no easy access to ants. If I had known that they were threatened - I would never had bought him (I take full responsibility for my ignorance) and contributed to the financial gain of people collecting them.

: I know another gentleman bought a pair at the show in hopes to breed them. My initial thought was perhaps we could breed his female to mine, too and put less pressure on the wild caught animals. But, I think maybe that is wrong. They are demanding and it does take alot of time to collect ants (and as you stated if the ants are compatible) - they aren't necessary to have in the pet trade.

: I have been thinking of doing some education about them (in that they do not make good pets) at the next reptile show in Alberta. Perhaps a post in our reptile society list group would be in order?? If that is something you think might be somewhat beneficial - any specific numbers/or good literature would be much appreciated.

: With the all the legislation proposed - is there any possibility of putting a ban on collection of ALL HLs for comercial purposes? Or are some species actually prolific? As far as export to Canada - I know it can be a deterrent to have to import CITES listed animals. Are their numbers reaching levels that they may qualify for a listing?

: As far as the ants I have been feeding to Hudson - would you mind if I e-mailed you a picture?

: I appologize for the niave questions ...

: Jaylyn

:Hello Jaylyn. I did not think that you were looking for ways to import more HLs into Canada. I am pleased that you see the problems clearly. Most folks want to make the buck and forget that the animals pay the price. The ethics of the whole process is severly lacking. If there were more people doing the research on the conservation, biology and ecology of the horned lizards, the problems of declining populations would be a greater focus. The only way I promote collecting the HLs is through mitigating the sites where HLs would be lost due to development. The populations could be set up in large enclosures for study and a portion could be allowed in the pet trade (still not in my support).

The Roundtails are not fully protected, yet, because collection is still allowed in Texas. They are protected in New Mexico and Arizona. Interesting, is it not. But of course, the Desert HLs are protected from take in California but not in Nevada. Creates a major problem for law enforcement and wildlife management.

A ban of all HLs from the pet trade is coming. The HL populations are declining. Many are declining much faster because of smaller ranges. Collectors are fighting the bans on commercial collection and as long as the profit for the collector and the states that allow this kind of collection (Nevada and Texas) continue, the problem will only get worse until the HL populations are at the critical level (what ever that may be). Some species are already at that critical level, but the protection then becomes a political issue, instead of a scientific issue. Maybe your observations with "Hudson" will be an aid. Who knows?

I do not know if CITES is working with the HLs yet. The only CITES protected HL so far is the Coast HL in California. It has had CITES protection for many years. The Endangered Species Act is probably the most valuable protection available. A lot of states have an ESA or Environmental Quality Act that also provides protection. But, here again is the political issue.

Yes, please send me some pictures of the ants and I will see if I can get an ID on the genus/species. It may be difficult to ID the exact species with a picture, but a genus ID would get into the "ballpark."

Any questions you have, let us see if there is an answer. Take care. Lester G. Milroy III

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