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Posted by alex on April 14, 2003 at 13:55:00:
Sorry I went away for the weekend, and the thread is kinda far down now
I think the lab switched to reptiles because any large mammal is prohibitive in cost for the amount of research done on them, and the tegus were the only animals bred by the facility that are easy/safe to work with and easy to import in large quantities (they also breed neotropical rattlers, redfoots and caimens down there, but those aren't easy for students who haven't worked with reptiles before)And one of my friends loves reptiles, would be doing his work on them anyways, and I think the rest of the lab just picked up on it.
But they're very variable in temperment. Rainbow warrior, from the pic below, was very calm (died this last year in brumination, unforunately) he was contrasted with one named little b@stard.... They're also amazingly variable in colour and size, all from within one cohort. Go figure. They apparently didn't all hatch out green either, but are true merianae based on range, scalation, femoral pores, etc.
Anyways, one should be done her directed studies soon, and switch to her masters on their respiration, and another friend is just about to embark on his study... so in the next few years there should be some stuff on their breathing coming out. Preliminary traces I've seen of bruminating tegus look really interesting.