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Aesculapian snake

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JaySteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Jul 2011 at 10:55pm
Thanks guys.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Jul 2011 at 8:16am
Hi Jay - I guess I do feel quite protective of them, both as individuals I've got to know over the last four years but also because they may become part of a study which could help with 'proper' conservation of relict Aesculapian populations (and those of other snakes, for example our own adders) by providing useful info on inbreeding, population dynamics etc).  You're right that they're longer than you'd think when you see them coiled up - snake 7 is around 1.3m, I think.
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2017 at 10:28am
Oi
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Robert V View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jan 2017 at 10:35am
Hi all ye that survive! Lol
 
I thought I'd regurgitate this thread as I came across an interesting snippet in an ancient archive of anecdotes called Wild Animals in Captivity by A D Bartlett, the superintendent of Regents Park zoo during the late 1800's.
 

REPTILE HOUSE.

The old reptile house became unfit for the safe keeping

of the lizards, venomous snakes and other reptiles that

were deposited therein. It is very fortunate that no

serious accidents occurred by reason of some of them

having made their escape. The practice of feeding some

of the snakes upon tame white mice was looked upon by

many of the lady and children visitors as cruel. When I

was spoken to, and written to, on the subject I took

adv.antage of a suggestion that the common brown mouse,

of which we had more than enough, would answer for

feeding purposes quite as well as white ones. I therefore

had mouse-traps set in all directions, and supplied the

wild instead of the tame white ones.

 

I soon discovered my mistake. These wild brown mice,

if not killed directly, were soon engaged in gnawing their

way out of the case, and the same opening which they

made also allowed some of the snakes to follow. The

tame white mice seldom or never attempt to gnaw their

way out. Years after the old reptile house had been

disused, harmless snakes that had escaped in this way

were found in the mill-room underneath the old house.

They had doubtless lived upon the rats and mice that

swarmed in this place.

 

The keeper of the reptile house came to me one day

and told me that he had missed one of the cobras. I

examined the empty cobra case, and found a mouse-hole in

the corner leading into the water-viper's case. The water-viper

appeared to have lately fed and to be well filled out, and

I had some misgivings that the lost cobra,

in creeping through the mouse-hole, had been caught and

swallowed by the water-viper.

 

The fear, coupled with the anxiety of thinking that so

dangerous a serpent as a cobra was at liberty, caused me

to determine to settle the question at once. I had the

water- viper killed, and, upon examination, found the nearly

digested cobra, which was a great relief to me and all the

others. 
RobV
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Paul Ford View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul Ford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jan 2017 at 11:15am
Very interesting Rob!

Thanks
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JaySteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2017 at 10:12am
Thanks for sharing this. It does make one question whether there is the possibility that at least some of the Aesculapian Snakes found along Regents Canal did indeed originate from escapees from ZSL?

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Caleb View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2017 at 11:34am
Originally posted by JaySteel JaySteel wrote:

It does make one question whether there is the possibility that at least some of the Aesculapian Snakes found along Regents Canal did indeed originate from escapees from ZSL?

I don't think this is particularly likely, given that the origin and timing of the introduction is already quite well known. Will & Tom Langton's piece in the London Naturalist gives this summary:

"A second feral population has been extant since the mid 1980s along a canal embankment habitat in Camden, north London.This was first reported to TESL in 1998 by Ester Wenman, then head keeper of reptiles at London Zoo. Aesculapian snakes had apparently colonized the area during an experiment reported by the British Herpetological Society Legal Officer, Peter Curry, who was working there and keeping this species at the Inner London Education Authority Centre for Life Studies at the time that it was closed down around 1986. One account was that eight snakes had been released ‘on the quiet’ around the time of closure to try to form a population, several of which were recaptured, but some remained at large.Those caught initially were being euthanased but the view was then taken to leave the others ‘to take their chances’ where they were. Ten years later, in an aviary close to the embankment, fragments of juvenile Aesculapian snakes were found in a laughing thrush Garrulax sp. aviary, suggesting that the snakes had bred."
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JaySteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2017 at 12:02pm
Yes, they would have to of remained undetected for a hundred years or so before breeding with the LEA released specimens. Highly unlikely, as you say.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2017 at 5:57pm
I'd agree with Caleb (well, I would, wouldn't I, given that I co-authored the quoteWink) - but wouldn't it be nice to prove their single-location origin with DNA swabs from any snakes found on the canal?  Oh, of course, NE and ZSL aren't interested in doing the kind of study that CCW/WMZ are conducting in North Wales, worse luckConfused
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JaySteel View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JaySteel Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Mar 2017 at 6:09pm
There must be some organisation that would be willing to fund this research for the London snake population? 
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