A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

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hellihooks
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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 15th, 2011, 9:12 pm

Frank,
EVERY action anyone ever does, is based on their ethical perspective. Every action you mentioned might generate several pages of conversation... :shock: And that's JUST one topic. I'm simply trying to 1st find areas of agreement, between all the different types of fieldherpers...Hell... we can't even agree as to whom that term should apply, or what the term means... :shock:
Once we pick a process by which we judge what's ethical and determine the scope of the guidelines (for this forum or world-wide appeal) We can get down to the business of identifying areas of agreement and disagreement.
I think the spectrum of 'collecting' (from zero to commercial) is intimately tied to defining the term fieldherper, as Gerry's thread and Mike's poll have aptly demonstrated, and I hope that, before moving on to new topics, we could come to some agreement on those two items.
In a similar fashion, I think the topics of 'impact' and 'photography/data collection' go hand in hand as well... which is why I asked you to start that discussion, on another thread. To make any progress, we can do several things... tackle and concentrate on one topic at at time, or run several threads concurrently, on different topics. We simply can not discuss EVERYTHING that needs to be addressed on ONE thread... way to confusing and counter-productive. I will really miss not being able to discuss your topic Frank, as I believe that a lot of what I might have had to say would agree with your position... even though I'm a data collector and (mostly voucher) photographer.
My 'job' though, is to TRY to maintain some measure of order, remain impartial and fair... not to express my opinions. :(
I think it makes better sense to start AND finish topics before starting new ones, lest we start every topic and not reach any conclusions on ANY... and end up with 80 pgs of arguing as our end product. the irony of that would only be exceeded by it's 'sadness quotient'
So... rather than interupting an ongoing discussion... I ask you again Frank, to please begin another thread... :thumb: jim

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Paul White » October 15th, 2011, 9:14 pm

Or even depict the animals doing what they actually do. Its all about the picture.
that's what increasingly bothers me about so-called nature photography. How often do you actually see snakes posed like they are in national geographic? Rarely. I'd like a (decent) shot of a snake barely visible in a rock crack or half hidden under leaf cover, you know, like you actually see them in the field. It's more honest and informative. Snakes are a lot more likely to be barely visible than just flat out in the open IME (otherwise field herping would be a lot easier!). They don't just sit coiled up in an open field for hours on end for all to see. I'd like more photographs that reflect behavior, versus just getting a colorful shot.


ok ik'll return tomorrow more thoughts, mr sober.

edited for spelling, grammar and sobriety. I do not have a Texas sized hangover, just a Rhode Island sized one :lol:

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 15th, 2011, 9:23 pm

Paul White wrote:
Or even depict the animals doing what they actually do. Its all about the picture.
that's athwat increasingly bohters me about snocalled nature photography. Howoften do yosee snaksposed like ydo in national geographic? rarley. I'd likea (decen) shot of a snake tha barely visible inarock crack orhalf hidd uder leafe cover, you know, lie you actually sethem. IT's more informativve too!


ok ik'll return tomorrow more thoughts, mr sober.
I don't know Paul... sounds like you're gonna have one Texas-sized hangover tomorrow... :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 16th, 2011, 7:00 am

Hi Jim

I know what your doing, and thank you for doing that.

But I am not you, so my approach is to concerntrate on the part that I feel is most important.

I think you can keep doing what your doing and maybe others and I will bring up some important ideas in the one little area I am concerned with.

For instance, I am going to start another thread on snake behavior. When I get the time.

The reason I am is, most here only think of interference as a bad thing for animals.

When in fact, reptiles can and do learn to use humans for their own benefit. Which is a side of the coin that is omitted here. Thanks and good ethics

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 16th, 2011, 7:30 am

I am going to start another thread on snake behavior. When I get the time.

The reason I am is, most here only think of interference as a bad thing for animals.

When in fact, reptiles can and do learn to use humans for their own benefit. Which is a side of the coin that is omitted here. Most here fail to understand or do not want to understand herp behavior. Not that I know all that much. But behavior is something I feel is very important and ignored in the past.

Also is this not a forum to "Say your piece" to be heard etc?

My concerns are within this thread, ethics. And specifically ethics for newbies to this site.

I think your approach is a little off. Look at it another way. You are taking on a number of different areas where you feel ethics need to be applied. I some of your areas exceed this site.

I am only taking on one area that you already listed and attempting to define that area.

Whats odd is, few are willing to talk about the details, which is what I feel is important.

Personally I feel most of the areas talked about are not specific to this forum and are covered in other areas. You know, laws already exsist, and the ethics of being a good citizen, etc.

I think these two are specific to this site.

1. the disruption to herps lives caused by our use.

2. The distruction of cover, rocks, ac, bark, etc, while securing the herps for our use

Those two are directly related to this site and a product of all the herpers here, no matter what their intended use for the animal. pictures, study, vouchers, life lists, etc

My opinion is, those two areas are important to this site alone.

Your right about taking lots of pages to define one of those areas.

So far, this thread is on page 13 and has not come up with much detail.

ITs not about right or wrong, and no matter what ethics this site come up with, no one has to consider or use them. Ethics are not rules or laws or ordinances, They are only a guideline of moral behavior particular to this site.

As it is, its a see and copy approach, those that come here, copy those that already post here. And if those that already post here are icing down the herps or removing them, then newbies "think" its OK to do that.

No matter what is written here, some people on this site will still ignore the guidelines and behave unethically anyway. Thats what people do.

Which brings up this question, what will happen if someone consistantly behaves unethically in any of the areas you list?

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Ribbit » October 16th, 2011, 9:59 am

hellihooks wrote:I think the spectrum of 'collecting' (from zero to commercial) is intimately tied to defining the term fieldherper, as Gerry's thread and Mike's poll have aptly demonstrated
The point I took away from Gerry’s thread is that the term “field herping” is generally considered to be independent of whether collecting is involved. You seem to be saying the opposite.

John

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 12:41 pm

John,
No... collecting is certainly part of what some fieldherpers do. The question now is, what level of collection, (and for what purpose) do most of us think herp-related activities should called something else... in other words, where should the cutoff be... private collection? obtaining breeder stock? commercial collecting? Rattlesnake round-ups? killing snakes for sport/fun? (big problem in my area... :( ) My opinion no longer counts... you guys tell me.

Frank... let er rip... or if you like, I'll start the thread for you. :thumb: jim

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Re: For Hellihooks

Post by Phil Peak » October 16th, 2011, 1:17 pm

Retes wrote:
My particular concern is photograghy. People catching, holding, posing, cooling and other manipulations to the animals. In this case, the animals are a tool to get good pictuces. The competition is to get GREAT pictures. Thats how many here relate to Field herping. They do not seem to care about the animals. Or even depict the animals doing what they actually do. Its all about the picture.
You know as well as I do that anyone can buy a great camera and anyone can pose a cold snake, anywhere they want. But not anyone can take a great in situ shot of important behavior.
But Frank, there are differences between pictures and photographs! ;) All joking aside, do you believe people are cooling snakes down in ice buckets to obtain good photographs? I have never done this and actually never heard of it being done. I'm not saying that it doesn't happen, just that I've never seen it or heard about it. Are you seeing a lot of this?

Phil

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Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 2:08 pm

This thread is for discussion of how data collection & photo collection, and how fieldherping in general affects individual herps, populations, and species as a whole. For other topics, such as environmental impacts, and collection issues, please find and post on the appropriate threads. Thx... jim

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Environmental impacts of Fieldherping

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 2:11 pm

This thread is for discussion of the impact that fieldherping has on habitat and the environment. Thx... jim

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielDherping.

Post by Owen » October 16th, 2011, 2:53 pm

Unless you restrain the animal, any impact would be minimal. 95% or more of what I photograph is never touched. In the old days, I can recall counting scale rows at mid-body and caudal scales and such. Also measuring SVL and total length. I'm sure handling can change behavior as well as frequenting den sites even if no handling. Of course, you can't prove or disprove that handling is detrimental unless you had several near equal populations and left some alone and handled the $h*t out of the other.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 16th, 2011, 3:04 pm

Phil Peak wrote:All joking aside, do you believe people are cooling snakes down in ice buckets to obtain good photographs? I have never done this and actually never heard of it being done.
I've been guilty of this a couple times.

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by kyle loucks » October 16th, 2011, 3:20 pm

I'm with Owen... Some species, such as skinks in the east, require the animal to be captured for proper id in most cases. Some animals need to be moved so they are not injured while replacing cover objects. Otherwise, I prefer not to handle most of the animals I find.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 16th, 2011, 4:02 pm

Hi Phil,

Sorry to say, its a common practive. folks collect snakes, take them to their hotel/campsite, put them in a cooler to chill them so they can control them while photographing them.

Some do it in the field as well. thanks

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by Phil Peak » October 16th, 2011, 4:06 pm

Reptiles are not porcelin dolls. They encounter numerous obstacles in their daily lives and deal with these instinctually, not emotionally. I do believe there are situations when discretion applies and a complete hands-off policy should be the rule. An example of this is gravid timber rattlesnakes at a rook. There are many others but, I believe these are the exceptions and not the rule. And yes, as has been brought up some animals must be brought to hand to examine more closely for proper ID. Also, there is a need for clear crisp photo's which accurately portray species for books, posters, field guides, etc..Without these the general public would not have a resource to properly identify herps and many would be needlessly slaughtered for fear that all snakes are venomous. Lastly, voucher photos must be taken by those actively involved in conservation programs. Without these it is impossible to develop conservation strategies when you are unable to give the agencies responsible for wildlife management the information they need to appropriate funds for the conservation of said species.

I have also noted that many (not all) of the hands off contingent of herpers happen to live in the desert (west). This is all well and good when your back-drop is rocks and sand. Its a bit less an option when your study site consists of thick broom sedge thats six feet high (east) and so thick that you are unable to see the earth below it much less its inhabitants.

Phil

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Phil Peak » October 16th, 2011, 4:12 pm

Retes wrote:Hi Phil,

Sorry to say, its a common practive. folks collect snakes, take them to their hotel/campsite, put them in a cooler to chill them so they can control them while photographing them.

Some do it in the field as well. thanks
Thats horrible Frank. I'm totally with you on this one and I believe that anyone that would do such a thing clearly does not care about the animals.

Phil

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 16th, 2011, 4:31 pm

Phil Peak wrote:Thats horrible Frank. I'm totally with you on this one and I believe that anyone that would do such a thing clearly does not care about the animals.
Some people lay out AC and reptiles occasionally freeze to death under it. Those people clearly do not care about the animals...

These are the kind of statements that aren't going to build any kind of consensus or agreement, only push people away from the discussion. For myself, I care greatly about the animals, in spite having cooled 2 or 3 snakes and lizards for photographs.

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Re: Environmental impacts of Fieldherping

Post by mikemike » October 16th, 2011, 4:56 pm

There's definitely impact from the people that rape habitats etc, but I don't think the environmental impact from respectful, responsible herpers is all that much, especially compared to other aspects of outdoor recreation. I think that mountain bikers, horseback riders, etc., and even rock climbers have more environmental impact than a responsible herper.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Phil Peak » October 16th, 2011, 5:10 pm

Bryan Hamilton wrote:
Phil Peak wrote:Thats horrible Frank. I'm totally with you on this one and I believe that anyone that would do such a thing clearly does not care about the animals.
Some people lay out AC and reptiles occasionally freeze to death under it. Those people clearly do not care about the animals...

These are the kind of statements that aren't going to build any kind of consensus or agreement, only push people away from the discussion. For myself, I care greatly about the animals, in spite having cooled 2 or 3 snakes and lizards for photographs.
It's unlikely that reptiles are freezing to death under AC that I placed out and I know you only stated this for arguments sake but for clarification purposes I feel compelled to point this out. Now, why are you freezing reptiles for photography? Perhaps you have a good explanation for doing so and for this reason I withhold judgement. I would be interested in hearing why you felt it necessary.

Phil

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 16th, 2011, 5:23 pm

Phil Peak wrote:
Retes wrote:Hi Phil,

Sorry to say, its a common practive. folks collect snakes, take them to their hotel/campsite, put them in a cooler to chill them so they can control them while photographing them.

Some do it in the field as well. thanks
Thats horrible Frank. I'm totally with you on this one and I believe that anyone that would do such a thing clearly does not care about the animals.

Phil
Context is important. How long? How cold? What conditions? Why? What are the options?

I doubt anyone is putting snakes in "ice buckets" overnight. If they are, that's animal cruelty, inexcusable and largely pointless. I've used the "cool down" trick twice. Both times for spastic little snakes that were nearly impossible to photograph clearly enough to show identifying criteria. It worked well both times and I'd argue that it REDUCED stress on the snakes.

How long? Took me less than three minutes both times.

How cold? I'm guessing no cooler than 60 degrees. Probably even higher.

What conditions? DRY cooler with the snake in a container to prevent any direct contact with cold surfaces.

Why? Snakes were spastic but I needed/wanted/whatever identifiable photos. Other posing techniques (see "options" below) weren't working and I wanted to REDUCE stress, handling time, and risk of injury.

Other options?
  • 1) In Situ: Ideal, but not always possible for an identifiable shot.

    2) Simple posing: Usually works fine. Many herps rely on crypsis to avoid detection and will hold still in hopes that you lose sight. This creates a fantastic photo opportunity if the herp is left alone after the shot is taken then the cryptic instinct is reinforced. However, some animals resist posing and attempt active escape.

    3) Repeated posing: Repeated attempts to recapture, re-pose, repeat subject herps to excessive stress, possible injury, and repeated defeat of their natural flight response. Even if the herp is not injured or over stressed, it may "learn" to no longer rely on flight as a means of escape. Of course, from the herp's perspective, this may be little different than dealing with a curious or uncertain predator which they ultimately escape.

    3) Hide posing (letting the herp crawl under a cover item and settle down then removing the cover in hopes it will stay put when the cover is removed): Works great -when it works. Some herps immediately bolt once the cover is lifted. Repeated use of this technique risks stressing the animal and conditioning it not to rely on seeking cover as a means of escape. Perhaps this is little different than repeatedly seeking new cover while being repeatedly uncovered by a foraging predator. Allowing the herp to "escape" under cover after you have your photo may reinforce the hide instinct or at least offset some potential harm.

    4) "Calming" the animal: Anything but "calming". This approach involves handling or restricting the herp until it "settles down". While the animal may appear calm, it may be just the opposite. Excessive handling may simply tire the animal into submission, cause lactic acid build up that leads to temporary immobilization, or cause it to simply give up on all natural defense options.
Any of the above options other than "in situ" can cause stress and potential harm. Repeated attempts of any one or combination of the above increases the risk of harm. In SOME cases, a slight chilling of the animal to slow its response may be the least stressful option for the animal. IF this is done, it should be done in moderation and with great care. The photographer should also stick around until the animal is fully warmed up and active.

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by azatrox » October 16th, 2011, 6:10 pm

This thread is for discussion of how data collection & photo collection, and fieldherping in general affects individual herps, populations, and species as a whole. For other topics, such as environmental impacts, and collection issues, please find and post on the appropriate threads.
So are you asking to what extent data collection/photoing affects herp pops to the exclusion of other environmental impacts, handling, collecting, etc.? What exactly is meant by "data collection"? How are we collecting data? Simple GPS coords, or are we actually handling animals and taking measurements, blood samples, etc. but not collecting?

For what it's worth I believe that strict in situ photo taking (no handling) and strict GPS coord accumulation have a negligible effect on herps, populations, etc. Basically, you see an animal, snap some photos and leave it exactly as you found it...same with GPS...you see an animal, get GPS coords and move on...

Some may disagree, but to my mind, this is no different than any other large animal passing by the snake without having direct contact with it...With some species and in some habitats, this happens quite frequently....the snakes don't seem to mind so long as they're not hassled, molested, etc.

-Kris

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by Bill Love » October 16th, 2011, 6:19 pm

Ditto on the above opinions. Minimal messing around is just another minor stress in a herp's life that's essentially a series of them between brumation, hunting, dodging predators, breeding, etc. Occasionally heavier messing around is deemed necessary to get the data (or image); I have no problem with that either. When I do that, I simply imagine what the outcome might have been if a typical person came across the critter, and decide on the spot that meeting up with me is by far the lesser of those 'evils'.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by chad ks » October 16th, 2011, 6:23 pm

hellihooks wrote: So... rather than interupting an ongoing discussion... I ask you again Frank, to please begin another thread... :thumb: jim
Why create another thread?

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Re: Environmental impacts of Fieldherping

Post by Daryl Eby » October 16th, 2011, 6:30 pm

Flipping cover can be harmful but some basic considerations can greatly minimize that harm.

Different cover has different risk characteristics. Loose cover like rock on rock or board on board is the least likely to be harmed. Well seated cover, like partly buried/embedded logs or rocks are the most likely to be harmed.

Different climates have different capacity to help cover items "re-seat" and recover from harm. Humid woodland heals quickly deserts can take years.

Weather conditions have a huge impact. A good hard rain can re-seat disturbed cover very quickly. Drought or desert conditions will exacerbate harm from bad flips and can cause very "slight" damage to result in serious harm.

A few basic tips:
  • Think before you flip. If you're not certain that you can effectively restore the cover, don't flip it.

    Consider all the angles. When flipping, consider the direction and angle of the flip that will cause the least disturbance and allow you to best replace it.

    Say no to dugs. If the cover is buried or imbedded to an extent that you have to dig around it to lift it and/or will have to dig out a cave in to replace it, just say no.

    Don't drop it. Never just drop the cover back in place. Lower it carefully.

    Leave it like you found it. Always return the cover to the original position and conditions.

    Shift happens. Cover or items under the cover sometimes shift. When this happens, clean up your shift. Move the cover back into proper position and/or move the shifted items from underneath if they might prevent the cover from going back into position.

    Watch your holes. If there are access hole leading under the cover, make sure they still exist when you're done. Also, make sure you are not creating new access.

    Check your skirt. The perimeter (skirt) around a cover item is critical for protecting the original humidity and temperature gradients. If dirt, debris, plant matter, whatever around the cover is disturbed, try putting it back in place. If there was not a gap around the edge of the cover when you arrived, there should not be one when you leave.

    Dry flipping chafes. Moisture is your friend. Conserve the moisture and humidity under your flips they are more likely to put out in the future.

    Just add water. If you're unable to sufficiently re-seat the cover, fill holes, and replace the skirt, consider wetting the perimeter of the cover. This is especially helpful in dry climates where the little bit of humidity under the cover may have been critical to its inhabitants. The water will not only add moisture, it will help the soil around the cover to form a new seal.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Phil Peak » October 16th, 2011, 6:37 pm

So what you are saying Daryl is you do not stuff snakes into coolers on ice? Near the ice, but not in actual contact with the ice? What the heck are you photographing? I've managed to get some pretty good photo's of some difficult to photograph species by being patient and dare I say, gentle.

Phil

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Re: Environmental impacts of Fieldherping

Post by justinm » October 16th, 2011, 6:40 pm

Jim, WTF? It's not Winter yet. I don't get all these posts lately about our impact, on every aspect of the world. If you're going towards a goal I'd love to know, but these posts are really buzzkilling the whole forum for me. Ugh.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Scott Waters » October 16th, 2011, 7:00 pm

The topics related to ethics will all be merged into this topic (and have already).

thanks,
scott

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Re: Data/photo impact & general impact of fielfherping.

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 7:02 pm

azatrox wrote:
This thread is for discussion of how data collection & photo collection, and fieldherping in general affects individual herps, populations, and species as a whole. For other topics, such as environmental impacts, and collection issues, please find and post on the appropriate threads.
So are you asking to what extent data collection/photoing affects herp pops to the exclusion of other environmental impacts, handling, collecting, etc.? What exactly is meant by "data collection"? How are we collecting data? Simple GPS coords, or are we actually handling animals and taking measurements, blood samples, etc. but not collecting?
-Kris
Data collection can range from insitu voucher photos up through actual DNA sampling. There is an topical overlap for collecting herps for data (museum vouchers) but I think that's better addressed under the 'Collecting' heading.
Effect of photography (including all actions associated with it) is another topic, as is 'general' negative/positive effects of fieldherping on herps. thx jim

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 7:04 pm

I resign as moderator.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Scott Waters » October 16th, 2011, 7:05 pm

Lots of angles when it comes to herping ethics, for sure. We are looking into an article (for Herp Nation Magazine) about in-situ herping. Definitely an interesting thrill to go herping, and to remain totally hands off. Photography? Well, I guess that changes things, even if you don't touch the herps. Good discussion, nonetheless. :)

scott

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 16th, 2011, 7:33 pm

Phil Peak wrote:So what you are saying Daryl is you do not stuff snakes into coolers on ice? Near the ice, but not in actual contact with the ice? What the heck are you photographing? I've managed to get some pretty good photo's of some difficult to photograph species by being patient and dare I say, gentle.

Phil
Actually, there was not even any ice or ice packs, just cool water bottles. I've only done this twice that I recall, and only for about three minutes. I'll give a few details because it may dispel your misgiving or provide instruction on when or how to reasonably use this technique.

Once was with a group of four or five ground snakes with different color morphs. I wanted to get a group shot to show the variety and they were too active to keep all in frame. In truth, they were probably too warm since I was unthinkingly trying to use the hide technique to pose nocturnal snakes on very warm ground on a hot day. Cooling them slightly while also using a cool water bottle to cool the place I posed them made all the difference in the world. They were still mobile and alert, just not hyper and freaked out. If I caused any harm in this particular photo attempt it was likely from carelessly overheating them (which the cooling helped offset) and bunching them together where the stress pheromones from the other snakes may have triggered further stress.

The other time was with a very small black head snake (forget the subspecies) and it was completely spastic. It refused to go under or stay under any hide or even slow down. Each attempt to pick it up from the rocky desert soil risked injuring it or stressing it further. Instead of repeating this risk, I placed it in a cool (not even cold, again just cool water bottles and no ice or cold packs) cooler for 2-3 minutes while I set up a mini-tripod overlooking a clear patch of desert ground. I then gently slid the snake out of the jar, clicked my one decent shot while he FINALLY sat still for about 10 seconds. I then watched him resume normal activity and go along his merry way. This snake also may have been slightly overheated since I found him crossing hot pavement shortly after sunset. The cooling likely help him.

I'd consider these two instances very similar to finding a very warm water snake out basking and dipping him in the creek to cool him off (and bring out more color) before taking a "herp in habitat" shot. Basically the snakes were near the top end of their preferred heat (or possibly overheated) and very active as a result. Cooling them slightly did not drop them below their normal active temp range for season and location where they were found.

"Cooling" herps in this fashion might give you a few seconds or perhaps a minute of slightly reduced activity. It is a FAR cry from chilling a herp until it is completely torpid and can be literally posed into any position desired. I'm sure some folks do that, but that is not what I'm talking about here.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 16th, 2011, 9:05 pm

well there you go, hahahahahahaha

You see what I am talking about, finally folks are discussing the subject and guess what, no one agrees. hahahahahahahahaha

Different folks rationalize different reasons they are disturb the animals, hahahahahahaha

For Kris, I agree whole heartedly, if you do not touch them and only record them, it will not bother them at all.

But others have to GET THAT PHOTO. So they rationalize all manner of things to allow that.

Well Scott, and Jim, this is why you have ethics. Ethics are something thats flexible, and no one HAS to abide by them, they can be unethical if they want.

But what ethics do is offer a guideline as to allow herpers to think about the impact they are having, and they are having an impact.

For Mikemike,

Boy do you use some odd logic. Sir, all those things indeed impact herp populations, and we are adding more pressure to all of that. Sir that does not make it OK, or harmless.

Well my fear has come true, Most of the folks here say they love these animals, but many sure do not have any concept that these animals are BEHAVIORAL, and that behavior is aimed at trying to survive in nature. It really should be very clear that when we alter that behavior, it can have negative results.

RobK

Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by RobK » October 16th, 2011, 9:42 pm

Retes wrote:Well my fear has come true, Most of the folks here say they love these animals, but many sure do not have any concept that these animals are BEHAVIORAL, and that behavior is aimed at trying to survive in nature. It really should be very clear that when we alter that behavior, it can have negative results.
Frank? You seem like an ethical type guy all around. Just curious how far you're willing to go with those ethics? Do you apply your standards to all animals or just herps?

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 16th, 2011, 9:56 pm

Frank,
Ive been studying 'Ethics' for over a decade, with for the last 5 years, a concentration in environmental ethics. I'm in fact, working on a 'Unifying Foundational Basis for All Moral Thought' so with all due respect, you lecturing me on ethics... :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
You have a grasp of one small part of the question, but fail to see to the heart of the matter. The question is, who/what benefits/suffers from any given action, and is the initiator's claim to cause that action justifiable?
Here it is in a nutshell... a data collector collects data for the benefit of the species... the photographer collects photos (largely) for his own benefit. So... what gives him that right? THERE is the question you're TRYING to ask. It's the Moral Standing question, which has gone unresolved for 2000 years (which BTW, I also have a new theoretical solution for, in another paper of mine... :D )

I wish everyone the best of luck sorting these things out... me... I'll just write a book on the subject... and probably beat you guys done... :lol: :lol: :lol: cyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa jim

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by -EJ » October 17th, 2011, 3:12 am

I'm trying to grasp how person would or should study 'ethics'... do you get paid for this. The point being... one person.

This brings me back to how one person should tell another person what to do.

Ethics study has to be irony at it's best.
hellihooks wrote:Frank,
Ive been studying 'Ethics' for over a decade, with for the last 5 years, a concentration in environmental ethics. I'm in fact, working on a 'Unifying Foundational Basis for All Moral Thought' so with all due respect, you lecturing me on ethics... :roll: :lol: :lol: :lol:
You have a grasp of one small part of the question, but fail to see to the heart of the matter. The question is, who/what benefits/suffers from any given action, and is the initiator's claim to cause that action justifiable?
Here it is in a nutshell... a data collector collects data for the benefit of the species... the photographer collects photos (largely) for his own benefit. So... what gives him that right? THERE is the question you're TRYING to ask. It's the Moral Standing question, which has gone unresolved for 2000 years (which BTW, I also have a new theoretical solution for, in another paper of mine... :D )

I wish everyone the best of luck sorting these things out... me... I'll just write a book on the subject... and probably beat you guys done... :lol: :lol: :lol: cyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa jim

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 17th, 2011, 5:12 am

Retes wrote:Well my fear has come true, Most of the folks here say they love these animals, but many sure do not have any concept that these animals are BEHAVIORAL, and that behavior is aimed at trying to survive in nature. It really should be very clear that when we alter that behavior, it can have negative results.
I'm really quite tired of your constant harping and judgment on this point. Your tunnel vision is completely blinding you. You are so intent on judging the harm done by others that you are imagining harm, dismissing ulterior benefits, and losing sight of the harm YOU are causing.

How about we flip the issue and examine the potential harm of your observational approach and its potential lethal impact on herps.

You pride yourself (rightly so) in repeated observation of many herps over many years and witnessing "undisturbed" behavior. Is that REALLY natural? Is it natural for herps to ignore the approach and presence of humans and go on about their lives as if the human is not a threat? Shouldn't it be natural (and healthy) for herps (or any animal) to avoid contact or even being seen by potential predators? Yes, humans ARE prey animals, historically and currently. These animals that allow you to approach and observe them are very highly attuned creatures that more often than not sense your presence. They also should know (by instinct or life experience) that a human is a potential threat. Yet, they ignore and tolerate you. Is that natural? Is that healthy. Are you not defeating their instinct and natural behavior by conditioning them that you pose no threat? Does that conditioning to tolerate and ignore you transfer over to other humans? In other words, do they become tolerant to the approach of other humans? Will they now ignore the approach and presence of humans that may mean them harm. Has your conditioning of these animals changed their natural behavior and put them at increased risk from other humans?

Still not following? Let's try an analogy. Wild animals such as deer and elk have learned to avoid humans. This is natural since many humans prey upon them. Wild animals in busy and protected parks get conditioned to tolerate and ignore the presence of humans, some even learn to eat out of their hands. Is this good? Well, it is certainly good for humans. We are now able to get much closer to them. We are able to watch their natural behaviors (other than behaviors relating to natural fear of humans). We are able to "get the photo". We are able to study them in great detail. Does any of that harm the animals? Well, no. Of course not. Well, not until a hunter sneaks into the park and takes advantage of the unnatural conditioning to shoot a few trophies that he would never have been able to approach so easily in the real wild.

[Time for some sarcasm]
So, YOUR behavior is putting the herps you observe at risk. Why are you doing this? It is supposed to be about the animals, Frank. You're supposed to care about them and not your selfish desire (to see them repeatedly in the future). If you REALLY care about the animals, go back out to the all the animals whose human avoidance behavior you have altered and kick some sand in their face. Remind them that humans can't be trusted. Remind them to avoid humans. Not to do so means you only care about your own voyeuristic desires. Once you've done that, never go back outside and risk altering animal behavior again. Do it for the animals, Frank. Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha.
[Sarcasm off]

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 17th, 2011, 6:20 am

hellihooks wrote:I resign as moderator.
Thanks for trying! Seriously.

This discussion has become too unwieldy. I supported the idea of breaking it out into separate topics and possibly even a separate sub-forum. Your efforts to start some of those separate topics was helpful. Too bad all those new threads got consolidated back into this monster thread. The odds of converting all this discussion into a workable document just went from unlikely to impossible. Without some means to separate and deal individually with the many different sub-issues, this whole exercise will likely result in more harm than good. Every time we get close to moving forward on one point, three more points pop up and pull us back. Sad! :(

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 17th, 2011, 6:28 am

-EJ wrote:This brings me back to how one person should tell another person what to do.
Are you telling him that he shouldn't do that? Hmmmm. Did you mention irony?
:beer:

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Daryl Eby » October 17th, 2011, 6:36 am

What were we talking about ? :?

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by hellihooks » October 17th, 2011, 6:50 am

-EJ wrote:I'm trying to grasp how person would or should study 'ethics'... do you get paid for this. The point being... one person.

This brings me back to how one person should tell another person what to do.

Ethics study has to be irony at it's best.
]
EJ... you pay to go to a University, and take classes, to earn degree's. Realistically... the only job in philosophy is teaching philosophy, and if your really lucky, after you die, you may become famous.
Philosophers don't TELL people what to do... they examine ideas and suggest what they think makes logical sense... so that people can choose how to behave.
Absolutely EVERYTHING in the human realm is rooted in underlying philosophy...Politics, Religion, Ethics... and yes, even Science, which developed from, and was once considered just a branch of philosophy.
We all have personal philosophies, most based on what we think is common sense, and right...but don't stop nearly often enough to consider if what we think is actually the best way to go. We just keep on Keeping On... living unexamined lives.... :roll: Ethics gives people the chance to look at and consider how they live their lives, and presents them with different ways of thinking and behaving, for them to consider. It makes people THINK... so yeah... attach whatever amount of irony to that, that you see fitting. :D jim
Daryl... thx. you nailed it... task just became impossible, and what could have been a VERY noteworthy achievement for FHF, will now end up VERY ironic. You can NOT have a 'free-for-all' ethical discussion.... there has to be some order. :roll: jim

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 17th, 2011, 8:06 am

For RobK,

First, I attempt to impose as little interference as I can.

But thats also not the point. If I do interfere like pick them up, I try to limit as it to less harmful situations. Like I mentioned before, do not breach behavior at criticial times. In most cases, I do not touch them.

Now for the point, If I do interfere like picking them out or posing them, or taking data, I realize exactly what I am doing, I weight the risk.

Which is what I think ethics are suppose to allow.

For EJ and Daryl,

listing ethics is not telling you want to do. In this case, interference to the animal. It should draw a line where doing some things can cause harm, on the otherside, doing some things will not cause harm, then the herper can make their choice.

And Daryl, what makes you think I or others do not get tired of you. Frankly, I could care less how you feel about me. This subject is about the animals.

For all of us, ethics is not something we all have to agree on, period. All we have to do is agree on a general area or direction and then DO WHAT WE WANT.

I think in the long run, hmmmmmmm even the short run, the management of this site needs to set a basic guideline as to what is ethical and what is not. Or they can make several sets, and have the members vote on them. Whatever.

But having the members agree, is about like allowing the fox control of the chicken coup.

Hellihooks, you do seem like your studying ethics, as you concern was way way way past the scope of this forum. This is a little specific forum, and our ethics should be confined to our unique area of concern. Not how to live a human beings is a complicate civilized world.

As it is, no body is unethical, because there are no ethics practiced. That makes it easy, yet, many do have ethics and where this forum is leading is causing those to leave.

Heres a good example I witnessed recently. I spend a few days with Mark O'Shea, he personally saw nothing wrong with pinning and holding diamondbacks behind the head, just to take them off the road. Hmmmmmmmmm OK, he had to get his picture taken before the snake was actually taken off the road.

I hope many here find that unethical. Pinning large bodied venomous snakes can be very harmful to the snake, hmmmmmmmm and the herper too. There is no real need for that.

Now Daryl may argue, well if you used snake clamp sticks, you could injure them far more then if you pinned them very very gently. hahahahahahahaha guess what, both are unethical in the sense that both can cause harm to the animal. The ethical decision is to weight the situation and let the dang snake crawl off on its own. Or slide it off. or coax it off, or use the snake stick if a car is coming. But to pin it, well that would be last. Tube it first. Ethics is considering what your doing.

As I said earlier, why does so many people go to Z?

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 17th, 2011, 8:15 am

Phil Peak wrote:It's unlikely that reptiles are freezing to death under AC that I placed out and I know you only stated this for arguments sake but for clarification purposes I feel compelled to point this out. Now, why are you freezing reptiles for photography? Perhaps you have a good explanation for doing so and for this reason I withhold judgement. I would be interested in hearing why you felt it necessary.
I've cooled reptiles twice for photos that I can recall. Once with a skink and another time a melanistic gartersnake. The animals were not "frozen" but cooled off for ten to fifteen minutes in a chilled cooler. It was purely for the selfish reason that I wanted good photographs. Keep in mind that reptiles in the west can be much more active and difficult to photograph and pose than in the east. Its mostly open canopy out here and substrate temperatures can exceed 100 F even in the shade. That's much different from my experiences in Ohio.

The flip side of cooling, is keeping a reptile corralled for an extended period of time for photographs, until it is exhausted and can't move anymore. I don't think cooling is much different than this more "patient" approach.

My main issue isn't calling into question the practice of cooling or manipulating reptiles for photos. Its calling into question someone’s concern for the animals because you do not agree with them.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by chad ks » October 17th, 2011, 8:30 am

Daryl Eby wrote:
hellihooks wrote:I resign as moderator.
Thanks for trying! Seriously.

This discussion has become too unwieldy. I supported the idea of breaking it out into separate topics and possibly even a separate sub-forum. Your efforts to start some of those separate topics was helpful. Too bad all those new threads got consolidated back into this monster thread. The odds of converting all this discussion into a workable document just went from unlikely to impossible. Without some means to separate and deal individually with the many different sub-issues, this whole exercise will likely result in more harm than good. Every time we get close to moving forward on one point, three more points pop up and pull us back. Sad! :(
Daryl, I disagree with you. There's nothing sad about it, and this thread should be the one. If points continue to pop up, then good, that's supposed to happen.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Phil Peak » October 17th, 2011, 8:52 am

Bryan Hamilton wrote:
Phil Peak wrote:It's unlikely that reptiles are freezing to death under AC that I placed out and I know you only stated this for arguments sake but for clarification purposes I feel compelled to point this out. Now, why are you freezing reptiles for photography? Perhaps you have a good explanation for doing so and for this reason I withhold judgement. I would be interested in hearing why you felt it necessary.
I've cooled reptiles twice for photos that I can recall. Once with a skink and another time a melanistic gartersnake. The animals were not "frozen" but cooled off for ten to fifteen minutes in a chilled cooler. It was purely for the selfish reason that I wanted good photographs. Keep in mind that reptiles in the west can be much more active and difficult to photograph and pose than in the east. Its mostly open canopy out here and substrate temperatures can exceed 100 F even in the shade. That's much different from my experiences in Ohio.

The flip side of cooling, is keeping a reptile corralled for an extended period of time for photographs, until it is exhausted and can't move anymore. I don't think cooling is much different than this more "patient" approach.

My main issue isn't calling into question the practice of cooling or manipulating reptiles for photos. Its calling into question someone’s concern for the animals because you do not agree with them.
Interesting. I could only speculate on the physiological effects of cooling down a warmed up reptile for photographs but, I'd have to think that thermal shock is a real possibility. I have no experience photographing western herps but I can't imagine they would be much more difficult to photograph than crowned snakes, mud snakes or rough greens. There is much evidence to support this with the paucity of top notch "posed" photo's of these snakes on this forum as compared to the numbers of photo's of these species that are presented.

Phil

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Retes » October 17th, 2011, 10:53 am

Hi Phil

We do have some species that are difficult to photogragh, right off the top corals are one thats difficult.

We have coachwhips and whipsnakes, but they will on occasion, go cryptic and pose for a in situ shot. Corals, the dang things never stop.

Fortunately, the vast majority of corals encoundered are on the roads. And most are not found during breeding season, usually after that. How many pics of gravid corals have you seen here?

One species thats funny is, Vine snakes. Many herpers chase them down like the snakes are going somewhere. When in fact, all they do is crawl to the nearest bush or tree and POSE up a storm. This is a species where lots of FIELD HERPERS, put them on ice to pose them. Which is sad, Vine snakes are the king of posing. Thats their defensive behavior. They pose.

I think the problem you are having with Bryan is, dismissial of behavior. Many biologist have to dismiss behavior in order to gain data. Just think of the problems it would cause him if he accepted that his actions caused a change in behavior. It would make all their data taken in a disruptive way(pit tags, radios) void and useless(when the data envolves behavior) In a sense, he/they, must dismiss any negative impact.

What is sad is, Bryan attacks you or others instead of questioning his own methods. You do have one huge arguement for Bryan, In your case, the snakes choose and used the AC, on their own accord. In the case of posing or cooling, that is a forced action, the animals did not choose to have their pictures taken or be cooled off.

There is a huge difference between an individual snake picking something for its benefit(your ac) and being bagged, iced, and manipulated.

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Reptile behavior, for Bryan

Post by Retes » October 17th, 2011, 11:16 am

Hi Bryan,
This is a spin off of the ethics thread.

So you cooled some. Big deal. What concerns me is, why do you dismiss the fact that doing that possibly causes harm( harm=change in behavior not benefitual to the animal)(OR, a non voluntery behavior by the individual animal)

Whats funny is, you use a comparison of corralling the animal or somehow forcing the animals to pose, without cooling as if that is not a problem . So cooling is ok as well.

The reality is, manipulating the animal in either way can have an negative impact on its behavior.(routine altering which exposes the animal to danger)

What I find strangely odd is, in all your schooling didn't you take any classes on animal behavior?(ethlogy) and if you did, what the heck did they teach you????????

You should have learned that everything you do is a stimulis that causes a reaction. EVERYTHING. The key here is, how or what does this type stimulis do to the animal in question.

IF you take defensive behaviors, and I surely hope you understand that these animals do have a series of defensive behaviors. IF you list them, what are they?
Lets look at a few.
1. go cryptic, to not move, freeze, blend in, in an effort to go unnoticed.
2. to bluff, hiss, expand, etc, in an effort to appear larger and more imposing, to avoid actual physical contact.

3. to take flight

4.to fight, to bite, musk, constrict, etc.

3 and 4, equal fight or flight, Heck they even taught that back in the fifties. I am sure they understand it better now a days.

These four areas are very simple, we have all seen them.

What is a concern is, what occurs when 1. thru 4. fail, that is, what occurs when the animal survives an attack??? Guess what, that is also behavior and goes hand in hand with these animals.

Simply put, if an individual survives an attack, it must avoid repeating that situation. If numbers 1, 2, or 3, succeed, then the animal has no need to change its behavior.

If the animals is physically abuse, that means that numbers 1 thru 3, failed, what will it do, what can it do?

Now the animal, must utilize other behaviors, like to avoid that situation.

The more extreme the contact, the greater, flight becomes.

Even minor encounters will cause a change in routine. Like simply avoiding that spot of contact. Severe encounters can cause a complete disruption in routine. This exposes the individuals to unknown and unsafe situations. That is, to reinter the selection process it faced as a neonate.

I fully understand, for field biologists to gather infomation is a expedient manner, like with using radios, you must breach these defensive behaviors, what I am questioning is, why do you dismiss behavior?

A huge concern is, how can you study behavior, when you breach that very thing your studying, behavior?

I find it a common problem that biologist dismiss behavior. Its seems they forgot that behavior controls the biology of the animal, it guides it. Yet you breach behavior as if it does not exsist.(to dismiss) This confuses me.

Please understand, its nothing against you personally, You seem like a very nice caring person. This problem is common in field biology.

I guess your taught in school that these animals do not react to a stimulis, you must be taught these animals are windup toys that you can do anything you want to and ITS OK.

Yes by disrupting their behavior, you will obtain data, but what data are you obtaining? that is what I question.

Its kind of that old, Jane Goodall, Diane Fossy, type analogy, they set biology on its ear by observing animals with limited impact or interference to the animal. Which included Using positive stimulis instead of negative stimulis, to observe animal behavior.

This is the same here with folks like Rich G and I, and others, who have observed large populations of long periods of time, without or with limited interference(our physical presense is limited interference)

We see a different animal, then those that capture, manipulate, and disrupt the animals. (i.e. telemetry, pit tag studies) We observe different behavior.

We see these animals with tight repeated routines, predictable behavior, high percentage of reproduction, Often in groups and pairs(for most of the year if not all year) etc.

Pit tagging disrupts this and causes the animals to scatter and form patterns of behavior less based on routine and far less predictable. Installing radios causes a more severe reaction, causing individuals to often completely void all routine and move for days and days, before attempting to reestablish some successful routine. I have been a part of these three methods of study.

And sir, if you do not think these animals have such tight routine, then your not watching this forum. Some of these individuals snakes are so routine, you can set your watch by them.

Again Bryan, its not so much about you personally, I am ranting over the overall approach of biology in the study of reptiles, where its common to dismiss base behavior, in lew of obtaining lots of fast data.

In my desert rat opinion, that approach is screwing the pooch. hahahahahahahaha Yes, you can obtain information, but I question the quality of that information. I do enjoy reading that type of information, but I think you should label those papers, what they do with a radio installed in them. i wonder what you would do is something installed a radio the size of a lunch box inside you? Yea I know, stop being FRANK.

Again, please its not personal, I am hoping you will address these issues and not become defensive like you did on the other thread. Sticking reptiles in a cooler does not make you a bad guy, it just makes you a bit insensitive. Just think, what would you do if something stuck you on ice until you could not run. Then think about the feeling you would get if you physically could not run from a predator. Yup, your just not very sensitive. Cheers

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by -EJ » October 17th, 2011, 11:24 am

Hell... I was just talkin' out my a$$ again... (Daryl... thanks for the giggle... again)

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Re: Reptile behavior, for Bryan

Post by justinm » October 17th, 2011, 11:34 am

Wasn't there already a thread that nobody cared about (this one viewtopic.php?f=2&t=8296&start=325 )? Can't you just put it there, or wouldn't your ego let you? ugh some of you guys who want to argue are really pissing in my cereal.

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Re: A Discussion of Herping Ethics (warning: long winded)

Post by Bryan Hamilton » October 17th, 2011, 11:55 am

Retes wrote:What is sad is, Bryan attacks you or others instead of questioning his own methods. You do have one huge arguement for Bryan, In your case, the snakes choose and used the AC, on their own accord. In the case of posing or cooling, that is a forced action, the animals did not choose to have their pictures taken or be cooled off.
Frank,

I wasn't attacking Phil. I was attacking the idea that if someone engages in an action and someone else disagrees with that action, its OK to question that person's commitment to the animals.

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Re: Reptile behavior, for Bryan

Post by teter247 » October 17th, 2011, 12:16 pm

This is a spin off of the ethics thread.
Spin offs are never as good as the original. Try watching an episode of The Cleveland Show.
I find it a common problem that biologist dismiss behavior. Its seems they forgot that behavior controls the biology of the animal, it guides it. Yet you breach behavior as if it does not exsist.(to dismiss) This confuses me.
First of all, as usual your arguments are completely ass backwards. It is not the behavior that controls the biology of the animal, it is the biology that controls the behavior of the animal. The biology guides the behavior. We are learning more and more every day about genetic traits that dictate behavioral tendencies within an organism. If you want to talk about organismal behavioral patterns, you must first identify the drivers to those behavioral patterns. Granted some of them may be learned, but even the propensity to learn behaviors has a genetic basis.

Also, what the hell kind of biologists are you talking to? You would be HARD pressed to find an ecologist, field biologist, or any of the like that IGNORES animal behavior! Once again, I think you need to spend a little bit more time reading actual scientific journals (There's a few whose sole purpose is the study of animal behavior even...I would start there), and a little less time affecting the natural behaviors of your backyard coachwhips through pseudoscientific feeding regimens.

TH

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