Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

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azatrox
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Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by azatrox » March 14th, 2011, 6:34 pm

Herp Nation LIVE with Dan Krull has Russ Johnson of the Phoenix Herpetological Society on to discuss the recent criticism of the PHS within the herp community, stemming from a Fox News TV story that showed a PHS member using a mixture of gasoline and water to find a rattlesnake.

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Continue the conversation here, in this thread, or in the first thread that appeared on FHF about this over on the Board Line for more extended discussion.

Follow this link to view the Fox News story....
http://video.foxnews.com/v/4584146/face ... tlesnakes/

Below is all of the discussion, both from this video posting and the original post about this topic. It began after the line below, and started on March 14, 2011.

---------------------------------------------------------

"azatrox" posted the following, which began the discussion..........

http://video.foxnews.com/v/4584146/face ... tlesnakes/

Since when is it ok to pour gasloine all over the ground to scare up a hiding snake? One would expect one of the more prominent reptile education organizations in Phoenix (and their volunteers!) to know better than to engage in this type of ecologically destructive behavior.

Unbelievable.

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Kent VanSooy » March 14th, 2011, 6:38 pm

Water might have done the job just as well (and certainly been worth a try). I did like the Uta...

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by justinm » March 14th, 2011, 6:46 pm

Wow, gasoline...

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by BChambers » March 14th, 2011, 6:58 pm

WTF? :shock:

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Natalie McNear » March 14th, 2011, 8:15 pm

Have any of you Arizona guys contacted the organization? That is pretty unacceptable (and possibly illegal?).

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by mikemike » March 14th, 2011, 8:34 pm

That's pretty lame and absolutely uncalled for.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by VanAR » March 14th, 2011, 8:45 pm

as with the recent roundup article, how can people not realize the danger of pouring gasoline on to/into the ground? It ain't called a carcinogen for nothing, folks!

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by azatrox » March 15th, 2011, 3:03 am

Natalie...yes, I have posted my thoughts on the subject to their FB page.

I will be contacting both the Az Dept. of Environmental Quality and the AzG&F Dept. tomorrow regarding this...

PHS does alot of work with AzG&F, and I imagine if they were made aware of this type of activity, they just may curtail that relationship. (Then again, they're a government organization, so I wouldn't be a bit surprised if citizen complaints fell through the cracks is disheartening regularity.)

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by azatrox » March 15th, 2011, 3:23 am

I filed a report both with ADEQ and AzG&F to investigate the issue. Not sure what will come of it all, but I felt it best to report it and let them investigate.

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Daryl Eby » March 15th, 2011, 3:43 am

Unbelievable.

This is even worse than the ignorant round-up goons pumping gas fumes. I can't believe that someone affiliated with a herp group would do this. Hopefully PHS will denounce this vehemently, the gaser will be re-educated (or even prosecuted), the news station will issue a clarification, and the public will learn that this in NOT acceptable.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by reptilist » March 15th, 2011, 7:50 am

I have issued a fatwa. Release the Kraken!

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by monklet » March 15th, 2011, 9:04 am

reptilist wrote:I have issued a fatwa. Release the Kraken!
:lol: :lol: :lol: ...good thinkin'!

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by kysnakeguy » March 15th, 2011, 12:33 pm

MORON :evil: :evil: :evil:

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Gibson » March 15th, 2011, 12:43 pm

wow that's crazy... :o

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 15th, 2011, 1:39 pm

Herp Nation LIVE has reached out for an interview. We'll keep you posted. Seen HNL yet? We've got a few episodes under our belt.....

Here is our first one, covering the Herp Stamp concept....
http://herpnation.com/?page_id=1576

Others include interviews with Gerold Merker, Mike Pingleton, and some yet-to-be-aired interviews. Stay tuned!

thanks,
scott

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by DaneConley » March 15th, 2011, 2:44 pm

Ok when I clicked the link there was the video then some other audio talking about hitting people with stupid sticks... :lol:

But yes this is completely rediculous. Then charging 75$. Which one way to get people to kill the snake than pay a man to get it.

Gasoline...wow. Why did he have it on him! Has he done this multiple times before?

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Dan Krull » March 15th, 2011, 7:27 pm

Does anyone know if it is illegal to use gasoline in this way in Arizona?

Can you cite specific laws?

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by azatrox » March 15th, 2011, 9:11 pm

Herp Ninja...

I don't have the specific law, but when I spoke to AzG&F to file the report, (I also filed one with ADEQ because I wasn't sure who's jurisdiction this would fall under) the AzG&F person stated that using gasoline to pursue wildlife (in this case a hiding snake) would be something they would investigate.

I imagine that if it wasn't illegal (or possibly illegal) he simply would have told me so.

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 16th, 2011, 12:31 am

Herp Nation LIVE w/Dan Krull will have an interview with the PHS about the situation. We will post it saturday (probably evening). Look for an announcement about it here on the forum when it is available.

thanks,
Scott Waters

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by FunkyRes » March 16th, 2011, 3:14 am

While I still think it shouldn't have been done, doesn't gasoline evaporate rather quickly?

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by ACK! » March 16th, 2011, 7:57 am

:shock:


I wonder how private property rights and the legalities of "pest control" will factor into this.



:roll:

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by pete » March 16th, 2011, 2:35 pm

[quote][/quote]While I still think it shouldn't have been done, doesn't gasoline evaporate rather quickly?


All kinds of nastiness persist in the soil and in rock crevices for years after gasoline has been spilled. That is my biggest bitch with the roundup folks. They ruin micro habitats for an indefinite period of time. I find it hard to believe that idiot was a herp society member. Perhaps he just won the shirt in a raffle.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 16th, 2011, 6:41 pm

I'll mention it again, we are doing an interview on Herp Nation LIVE with Russ Johnson of the PHS who is eager to talk about the news story situation, etc. Look for that announcement (of it going live) on saturday afternoon/evening.

thanks,
scott

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by cerbatrosy » March 16th, 2011, 9:22 pm

I've heard of local ranchers here dumping gas
on den sites and lighting them on fire..
enuf to turn your stomach..

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Y.Morgan » March 16th, 2011, 11:29 pm

FunkyRes wrote:While I still think it shouldn't have been done, doesn't gasoline evaporate rather quickly?
Herp Ninja wrote:Does anyone know if it is illegal to use gasoline in this way in Arizona?

Can you cite specific laws?
Compounds in gasoline do volatilize quickly if they are exposed to sun/air....like on a paved surface with no stormwater to transport them. In sandy/rocky soils (as typically found in Phoenix), the compounds are apt to migrate down until they're bound up by clayey soils or until they hit groundwater, at which point they migrate laterally. In either case, they don't typically volatilize for many, many years. ADEQ has action levels for various chemicals of concern. Benzene (a serious carcinogen found in gas) is the chemical that typically triggers cleanups on sites with petroleum releases because it has an action level of only 5 ppb (parts per billion) in groundwater. I can't recall what the action level is in soil; but it is low. Suffice to say, there are environmental laws in place that can make it very expensive for the landowner and/or responsible party to haphazardly release gasoline.

That said, the amount of gasoline that was used appeared to be relatively small. It's not like the whole world is going to end over it. But it's an ignorant method of snake removal and it was particularly foolish to display this method on TV. Dan's heart is in the right place....he's a good guy with good intentions...based on the 2 times I met him. Obviously, he made a mistake and was simply not aware of the harmful and lasting effects of his actions.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by monklet » March 17th, 2011, 7:30 am

A very informative response. Thanks. How do the rattlesnake "gassers" get around environmental regulations? ...or are they doing it illegally. I can't recall.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by ThomWild » March 17th, 2011, 7:59 am

Y.Morgan wrote:Compounds in gasoline do volatilize quickly if they are exposed to sun/air....like on a paved surface with no stormwater to transport them. In sandy/rocky soils (as typically found in Phoenix), the compounds are apt to migrate down until they're bound up by clayey soils or until they hit groundwater, at which point they migrate laterally. In either case, they don't typically volatilize for many, many years. ADEQ has action levels for various chemicals of concern. Benzene (a serious carcinogen found in gas) is the chemical that typically triggers cleanups on sites with petroleum releases because it has an action level of only 5 ppb (parts per billion) in groundwater. I can't recall what the action level is in soil; but it is low. Suffice to say, there are environmental laws in place that can make it very expensive for the landowner and/or responsible party to haphazardly release gasoline.

That said, the amount of gasoline that was used appeared to be relatively small. It's not like the whole world is going to end over it. But it's an ignorant method of snake removal and it was particularly foolish to display this method on TV. Dan's heart is in the right place....he's a good guy with good intentions...based on the 2 times I met him. Obviously, he made a mistake and was simply not aware of the harmful and lasting effects of his actions.
Just curious and not to get too far off topic, but does this mean that mixing gasoline with water would be more harmful? I realize you are probably using less gasoline if you do this, but if you were to use one cup of gasoline straight and one cup of gasoline mixed with a gallon of water, wouldn't the gas mixed with water have a greater potential to penetrate greater amounts of substrate and an increased chance of it getting to ground water or reaching the clay layer? Wouldn't it also spread it over a larger area increasing the effects taking into thought the components low action levels?

I really have no idea what I am talking about, these questions just ran through my head as I was reading your post.

-Thomas

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by TimCole » March 17th, 2011, 8:08 am

[/quote]
Obviously, he made a mistake and was simply not aware of the harmful and lasting effects of his actions.[/quote]

Considering the amount of publicity concerning the use of gasoline in Rattlesnake Round-ups, this is difficult to believe.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Y.Morgan » March 17th, 2011, 6:58 pm

TimCole wrote:Considering the amount of publicity concerning the use of gasoline in Rattlesnake Round-ups, this is difficult to believe.
After stewing on it all day, I agree with you, Tim. How could an educated adult think it's okay to spray gas on the ground....on TV...in pursuit of an animal he devotes so much of his life to? I don't get it.
ThomWild wrote:but does this mean that mixing gasoline with water would be more harmful? if you were to use one cup of gasoline straight and one cup of gasoline mixed with a gallon of water, wouldn't the gas mixed with water have a greater potential to penetrate greater amounts of substrate and an increased chance of it getting to ground water or reaching the clay layer? Wouldn't it also spread it over a larger area increasing the effects taking into thought the components low action levels?
Like you implied, diluted gas is obviously less bad than pure gas for the immediate receptors (the snake and all other animals/plants in the area). And also, I agree with you that by diluting it, the water actually serves as a vehicle for the gasoline and potentially carries it deeper into the soil, increasing the impacted area....like spraying Roundup during a rain storm.
monklet wrote:How do the rattlesnake "gassers" get around environmental regulations? ...or are they doing it illegally. I can't recall.
As far as I know, all states have regulations against releasing gasoline. Enforcement of environmental regs, though, typically targets the industrial sectors where the potential for harm is much greater. Regulators aren't likely to have the time/resources to pursue small-scale "gassers", especially if they are gassing private property and nobody complains.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by jdustin » March 18th, 2011, 9:58 am

Holy cow!
How to destroy all borrowing animals in a way that is "safe for the environment".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2umEFHeo6mw
Image

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Jeremy Westerman » March 18th, 2011, 10:04 am

Why is a herp society doing extermination/pest control anyway? I am certain that a legitimate pest control business would not be allowed to use gasoline in this fashion by law.

Using a harmful chemical on native wildlife within its native range: Fail.
Completely unethical behavior to destroy habitat or harm wildlife.

disposing a harmful substance near a human residence: fail.
I am sure laws were broken here. EPA should be notified.

providing an extremely poor choice example on TV: fail.
To make such a poor choice in the first place is deplorable but to do it on TV is completely irresponsible. I am certain that this homeowner and any who watched this will assume this is a good and legal way to "deal" with snakes found in their yard. Such thoughtless actions can have huge unseen impacts for years. Who knows how many people will emulate this immoral method now that they have seen it used by a "specialist" on the news?

Education should have been the tool and if it was still necessary to remove the animals, it should have been done professionally and humanely. If wildlife in this particular urban interface is undesirable, then it is the homeowner's responsibility to remove good wildlife habitat from around their home.

This individual should have his ethics, morals, and judgment seriously reevaluated.
So disappointed in this particular reptile enthusiast.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 18th, 2011, 10:36 am

Again.......we are interviewing Russ Johnson of the PHS tomorrow for Herp Nation LIVE with Dan Krull. It will be posted saturday afternoon/evening. We want to give them an opportunity to respond to the video, as well as answer some of these questions/concerns that have been raised. Look for that on Saturday.

thanks,
scott

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by azatrox » March 18th, 2011, 3:29 pm

Thanks Scott! Looking forward to the interview.

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Biker Dave » March 18th, 2011, 10:49 pm

The guy you see in the video is the guy who runs PHS.
I'm amazed by his lack of judgement in this situation.

As far as Herp Organizations doing "pest" control PHS and the Arizona Herpetological Association does this for a fee here in the valley of the sun. I know AHA volunteers are required to get a special permit from AZ G&F before being allowed to do this. I'm not sure if PHS has this permit.

I didnt see the full clip on tv so thanks for posting the full clip for us.

Dave Weber

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Bryan_Hughes » March 19th, 2011, 7:58 am

"Again.......we are interviewing Russ Johnson of the PHS tomorrow for Herp Nation LIVE with Dan Krull. It will be posted saturday afternoon/evening. We want to give them an opportunity to respond to the video, as well as answer some of these questions/concerns that have been raised. Look for that on Saturday."

... may the spin begin. The PHS agent is on video dumping gasoline onto the ground/snake and there's NOTHING for he or the PHS to say except "sorry, it was the wrong thing to do, and we'll never do it again."

I could only imagine the response I'd get from AZG&F if I put "dump gasoline on the snake to get it out" on my wildlife services license application.

I'm hoping they give the right response, not the face-saving one.

*edit to get my facts straight. My apologies to Mr. Krull.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Biker Dave » March 19th, 2011, 10:47 am

I just sent them an email stating in a nutshell that they should be ashamed of themselves and that "they have lost all credibility in my eyes."

Dave Weber

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 19th, 2011, 1:54 pm

Interviewed Russ Johnson a while ago. We appreciate their time to discuss the situation.

I'll keep you posted.

thanks,
Scott Waters
HNL

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Biker Dave » March 19th, 2011, 6:01 pm

Too bad you didnt talk to Dan M. the guy in the video dousing the ground with gasoline. The PHS "rescue" center is located in his yard and he is "the face" that is seen most on television here locally whenever anything reptile is brought up.

Shameful IMO....

Dave

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Scott Waters » March 19th, 2011, 6:33 pm

We contacted the PHS via their media contact line that is on their site, which said that would be Russ Johnson. We wanted the PHS, which is who is being represented in the video. If Dan wants to come on, we are more than happy to take that call.

Re: what we are presenting on HNL......
Keep mind that we are presenting this to get their response, ask some questions about how/why it happened, and then deliver that for community to view and discuss in threads such as this one. We don't do yelling and screaming on HNL, so if anyone is looking for that......look elsewhere.

Working on the vid now. It'll be up as soon as I have it available.

thanks,
scott

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Biker Dave » March 19th, 2011, 7:30 pm

Scott

Thanks for getting this done. I for one will be very interested in the "official" response.

Dave

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Verhoodled » March 20th, 2011, 5:38 pm

Biker Dave wrote:Scott

Thanks for getting this done. I for one will be very interested in the "official" response.

Dave
Ditto. So many questions, especially when you factor in gas prices.

How many crotes per gallon should I be getting? Do montane species require a higher octane? 87 should be fine for atrox, scutes and cerastes one would naturally assume, but crote viscosity is a budding field ablaze with misinformation.

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Will Wells » March 21st, 2011, 5:08 am

I just saw the interview and it really didn't look like the gas was diluted in 5 gallons of water. They kind of acted like it's no big deal. Hopefully our local news here in Phoenix will take up this story.

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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by monklet » March 21st, 2011, 6:49 am

Thanks for the video Scott/Dan et al.

I wonder if the snake would have come up if they had just poured a bucket full of pure water on it?

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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by Dusty Rhoads » March 21st, 2011, 7:05 am

It infuriates me that we can't learn to live with snakes and other organisms. We destroy and build on their land, and we expect them to just move out entirely or perish. Our way or the highway.

It seems the PHS president mentioned that this snake was set free elsewhere. I wonder if the PHS took into consideration something else here: There have been studies of Western Diamondback removal and relocation, and the vast majority will wonder around very much disoriented and will end up dead very soon. It's the same for Bogertophis (see below), which indicates that such mortal consequences of removal and relocation are well-conserved for most snakes (from colubrids to pitvipers).

I would not be surprised if many herpers and even some biologists don't realize that snake removal and release elsewhere typically spells death for said snake.

This paper shows how adult relocated subocs (that had survived and duked it out for territory and mates for years) died within a few days of being relocated:

Sawyer, M. W., and J. T. Baccus. 1996. Movement ecology and thermal biology of Bogertophis subocularis (Brown) from Texas (Serpentes: Colubridae). Southwestern Nat. 41: 182-186.

And for a study looking at the fate of relocated rattlesnakes, see here --> Nowak, E.M. (1998) Implications of nuisance rattlesnake relocation at Montezuma Castle National Monument. Sonoran Herpetologist, 11(1). Pp. 1-4.
*This page addresses the rattlesnake study some: http://webspinners.com/coloherp/cb-news ... tiles.html

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FOR THE RECORD!!!

Post by azatrox » March 21st, 2011, 7:36 am

I just saw the interview, and for the record I NEVER...NOT ONCE indicated that the man relocating the snake "should have gas poured on him and set on fire"...I challenge Russ Johnson and anyone else of like mind to find ANYWHERE where I have indicated that is the case...

Russ, I'm sorry you feel the need to deflect attention away from the actions of YOUR volunteer by attributing falsehoods to one of the people that brought your ecologically irresponsible activity to light. This is YOUR public perception problem, NOT mine.

Again, shameful that I'm having to defend my reputation and what I say (and more importantly what I DON'T say!) to this joker.

Russ Johnson, grow up.

-Kris

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Re: Unbelievable! PHS should be ashamed of themselves...

Post by Joe Farah » March 21st, 2011, 7:54 am

Maybe i missed it, but i don't recall it being mentioned.... Did they wash the snake off after all that? He's saying they didn't get the snake with the gas/water, but it sure looked like it to me.

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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by Brendan » March 21st, 2011, 8:49 am

monklet wrote:Thanks for the video Scott/Dan et al.

I wonder if the snake would have come up if they had just poured a bucket full of pure water on it?
First off nice job on the interview Dan and Scott! I think you handled it well.

Brad I think the snake was probably already on the surface or very close to the surface to begin with. From the video it looks like a gravid female and I am sure she at least had a portion of her body exposed to the sun between those rocks. If Dan (PHS guy) spent 2hrs in those rocks flipping and could not find that snake, something is wrong. I am willing to bet it was more like 2 mins he spent walking around those rocks before he went to plan B. If the snake was "down" below the surface and really needed a coaxing to come out my question are: 1. how the hell did they even know there was a second snake there? 2. why not just leave the area alone for a few hours and let her come back up on her own? (Anyone who has spent time observing rattlesnakes knows it was just a matter of time and the snake would have come up.)

The way I see it the folks they send on these removal calls really don't know much more about rattlesnake behavior than the people they are removing the snakes for. As an educated person if Dan didn't bring the gas himself, at the mere suggestion of using gas (by the homeowner) he should have said Not a chance!!! No matter how you cut it this was a very poor judgement call by the PHS. Dan is the MAIN RATTLESNAKE CURATOR for god's sake! I would hope that he would know a little more about them if he is responsible for their care. I think it should be the PHS's responsibility to do a follow up interview to set the record straight.

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azatrox
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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by azatrox » March 21st, 2011, 8:58 am

Yes, thanks for putting that together Dan & Scott...

Other than the political maneuvering and deflection done by Mr. Johnson (of which you had no control), it was a well done piece.

As far as "setting the record straight", the sad thing is that Mr. Johnson thinks he has.

-Kris

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Scott Waters
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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by Scott Waters » March 21st, 2011, 9:06 am

Yeah, it made sense to just merge them up. I meant to do it with my name being the author, but since I'm fairly new to the merge option......this is what we got! That's why I added the text about the merge. Anyway, yes, lets keep it all in here if we can.

Lots of good discussion thus far, both from the scientific and public relations angles.

Take care,
Scott Waters
HNL

ThomWild
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Re: Herp Nation LIVE - Phoenix Herp Society w/Russ Johnson

Post by ThomWild » March 21st, 2011, 11:53 am

I use what appears to be the very same rubbermaid bucket for cleaning my snake room and it is only 11.5L which equals 3.04 gal or 389.12 oz. With the ~4oz they claimed to poor in that makes it just over a 1% ratio. I don't know what that means as far as active levels and toxicity, any takers?

-Thomas

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