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Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 01 Jun 2003 Topic: New member!!



Hi all, i'm a seventeen year old amateur Herpetologist from Lancashire. Just thought i'd try at getting myself known. I try to get down to Dorset twice each year for field work, and normally go out with Herpetological Conservation Trust wardens Chris or Neil. Already know David Bird who helps me out with my yearly field trips to Greece in June, through his valuable experience in this region of Europe. I mainly specialise in European reptiles, and do alot of captive work with European reptiles and amphibians at home, due to lack of areas in my area to find any reptiles.

How do i get JPEGS onto forum?, as i have many good photos of Lacerta agilis (Male & female) from Dorset, as well as Vipera berus mating, taken on my April trip. Don't have digital camera, but i use "Dynax 4" 28-80mm camera, takes great photos, but lose bit of quality when scanning them onto PC via printer.

Cheers,

 




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 01 Jun 2003 Topic: Common Frog in Captivity



Paul,

I commonly collect many batches of common frog spawn in my area in late February. Although some claim that this does more bad than good, this has certainly not been the case near me, as due to the work of myself and a few friends we have spread the frog population over a wider area in my village. Collecting adult frogs is not a good idea. I have once kept a Iberian Parsley Frog overnight in Spain, but only because it had a fishing hook through it's leg and i wanted to help it carefully and correctly. If frogs are 3cm they will probably die soon, so do the best thing and put them back near the edge of your pond. As they are odviously getting enough food to grow from juveniles, if you want to do something with frogs collect spawn in early year, but make sure that it is of the Common Frog first.

Hope this helps you decide,




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 01 Jun 2003 Topic: Common Frog in Captivity



Paul,

If you want to keep frogs as pets there are many species commonly avaliable in captivity that do well and thrive for many years. I work at Manchester Museum, where we have one of the largest collections of neo-tropical and commonly kept frog species in the world. If you are just starting out i would highly recommend the European Tree-Frog (Hyla arborea), i have a mating pair at home, and they are very hardy captives. They are about 4-5cm in length and are easy to maintain, although as with any frog species, purchasing juveniles can be risky. No heating is required, as they are native to Netherlands and even Denmark. Look for adult frogs, as juveniles are delicate and quick to hop out of your hands. Also recommend N.American Gray Treefrogs. Stay away from tropical frogs from Costa Rica such as Red-Eyed tree-frogs (Agalychnis callidryas), we have many juveniles suddenly dying at the musuem, due to tricky requitements. I disagree that such frogs such be so commonly offered full stop, and should only be purchased by specialists in my opinion.

Sorry to move of European herps there, but just trying to give the correct advice.

 




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 01 Jun 2003 Topic: Creepy crawlies



When i go to countries such as Spain and Greece looking for reptiles and amphibians i commonly encounter very large yellow centipedes as well as small black scorpions on Greek islands. I know that the more venomous scorpions are those with small claws, which these ones do have. Does anyone know what species they are? A yellow centipede also ran over my foot when i was wearing sandels in Iberian peninsula and i got no bite, i didn't move so it probably thought that it was a rock. I was trying to sneak upon a Spanish Psammodromus lizard at the time. Just curious for the next time one decides to run over my foot.


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 02 Jun 2003 Topic: Anguis cephallonica????????



This is photo taken last summer on Greek island of Cephalonia, rather unusual head proportions in my opinion, got David Bird to check it out but i doubt that anybody is entirely sure about this specimen. It was attacked by a group of cats and bit them in return. My friend who lives on the island took this photo, i didn't see any anguis when i visited the island last June, but am returning for 2 weeks field work next week, so if i find Anguis cephallonica i will take detailed photos to send to the correct individuals for a good looking over. The chap who took the picture is genuine, and he showed my a higher resolution photo when i was on the island and how it had cat's furr in it's mouth. It did definately bit one of the cats, as it has small wounds, after both cat and slow-worm were found on his patio one night. He killed the Anguis as it had a large wound on it's other side, not visiable on the pic. He is not a Herpetologist, in fact he is terrified of snakes. This species only occurs on Cephalonia and Ithaca, and i will certainly try to find them next week. Ophisaurus is also present and common on the island, but i doubt there is a link. I'd say that it is a very old Anguis, most other people i have shown the photograph to agree with me. I am only seventeen and have only visited Greece over the last few years for reptiles, just wondering if anyone else has seen such a specimen. David Bird passed on the picture to Natural History Museum, but nothing appeared to develop from this.


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 02 Jun 2003 Topic: Anguis cephallonica????????



Sorry, here is picture, forgot to attach.

administrator37823.6787037037


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 02 Jun 2003 Topic: Anguis cephallonica????????



Hi Alan,

Very much like all your photographs you posted on the forum. This specimen will probably just be a very old slow-worm as they are known to live much longer than snakes. It has no vental groove, which means that it is not a Glass Lizard. It was about 50cm, i went to the local vet on the island who had a slow-worm in a jar, but he had thrown it out the day before i visited him. I will certainly investigate it further when i return next week, but i suspect that any Anguis i see will be a typical specimen, and not like the one photographed. Slow-worms are often hard to track down in hot Med countries, as even in this country, how often does one see a slow-worm out basking? When summer approaches they often retreat further under ground than usual.




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 02 Jun 2003 Topic: Anguis cephallonica????????



Lee,

Other Anguis on Cephalonia, Ithaca and s.Greece are same in size and shape to UK fragilis, but with vivid lines along flanks. Called 'cephallonica' after Cephalonia. Anguis and Ophisaurus can bite, but only if physically being hurt by something, in this case a cat. As if a human picks one up, a Anguis will never bite, unless one causes it pain, and even them probably won't bite.




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
No. of posts: 38


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Posted: 02 Jun 2003 Topic: Sand lizard photos



These are photographs taken in April of male and female sand lizards spoted in Dorset, the male in particular allowed me to get face to face with it without him retreating, as my camera has poor zoom. Thought everyone would be interested.




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 03 Jun 2003 Topic: Creepy crawlies



Thanks Lee,

Although i believe that the small black scorpions from south Med are dangerous, i just don't know what species they are. Have only seen one or two of these, but the centipedes i see more than most animals.




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 25 Jun 2003 Topic: Where can I find adders in Northwest



Hi,

I live in the north-west and i have to say that that in Lancashire (were i live) according to papers i have read Adders are almost extinct, the last one i heard of was seen at a reservoir near Blackburn. There is no point trying to pursue reptiles in this area, unless you find out other places. There is of course Southport for Sand Lizards or Natterjack Toads, but a license is needed to pursue them, and don't hold your breath on being given info on their exact localities. Best off arranging organised event in Dorset with one of wardens like i do each year if you are really interested, best way of not getting into trouble in regard to Smooth snake and sand lizard.

Sorry its not the answer you wanted. You just have to work around it like i have had to do, it all depends on how desperate you are to get into it.

 




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 25 Jun 2003 Topic: Tree Frog



Paul,

I have kept the European Tree-frog for some time now, are you sure this is what it is? How big is the frog?, normally they grow no larger than 5cm, and unless your specimen is a minority it should have a dark stripe passing from the snout to the back legs. Doubt it is a common frog as i am sure i wild caught one would be dead by now. Try to post a photo if possible.

 




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Posted: 02 Jul 2003 Topic: Reptiles on Ikaria... David?



Lee,

The Richard Clark papers i am sure are not the most up-to-date of the Greek Islands. I have heard of new ones being produced for the Aegean Islands, but the island you mentioned is certainly not the most surveyed of this group. I know that papers are in production covering the whole of the Greek Islands, but am not sure on their release. I highly doubt that Ophisaurus apodus would be a new for the island, certainly on the Ionian islands, they are quite common in Spring-time, but far less so in the summer. Malpolon monspessulanus is certainly the most common snake on the Greek island in which myself and Dave Bird have recently been surveying. However if Coluber caspius occurs there also i cannot imagine these species being of any new interest. As Coluber caspius is probably the most common of the Aegean snakes as far as i know.

Ophisaurus occurs on the majority of the Aegean Islands, as does Coluber caspius according to the lists i have. Turkish Gecko is also very evident in this region, and found on nearby Samos, Thassos, Lesvos.

Dave will probably have more new information regarding the island. Ask him to get in touch.



Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 12 Jul 2003 Topic: Common Frog Identification & Sightings



Having just noticed the recording page for the common frog, i made several observations in early february near Rochdale, Lancashire.

About 35+ frogs appeared in the lodge and mated and disappeared within the space of under 2 weeks. Some of the frogs were large, others quite small as sub-adults.
Male frogs called only for couple of days, and all disappeared of the scene about a week later. I found about 10 dead individuals, some of which had died whilst mating, others had wandered to close to the footpath, upon arrival or departure of the lodge. I even saw a few that had been killed on the nearbly road.

Masses of frog spawn, more than i have ever seen anywhere, cannot predict how many, but there was vast amounts of tadpoles a few weeks later. However due to this water source being a fishing lodge, i highly doubt a huge amount of them will succeed in development. The introduction by some nice person of petrol tanks will not be benefical either.

Many batches of spawn had was also found in nearby puddles of water, i moved what i could into shallow area of lodge and a small pond nearby that hadn't produced many common frogs.

Last week whilst walking home past the lodge for the first time since March i saw a common frog that had been killed on the footpath. It was the biggest i have ever seen, the reason for this large population is that there is nowhere else in my area in which the frogs can breed. No newts or toads were evident throughout this period.

I'll give it another observation next year.



Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 15 Jul 2003 Topic: Adders in Yorkshire



Leigh,

I live near Rochdale, i normally go to Dorset to conduct my field work. I didn't know Yorkshire had many good adder sites. I would be interested in any additional information that you can give. Certainly in my area no reptiles are present. Although i once read that a BHS member saw 13 grass snakes within the Rochdale district in 1993.

If you could contact me by e-mail at:matt.wilsob02@btopenworld.com i would be very interested to look at the area as i am quite nearby. Not that i doubt you, just that i have not heard of such a population existing within the area. However i am not entirely certain where the area is in Yorkshire.

Do you record common lizard, slow-worm or grass snake in same area? If so it could be a very important area for reptile conservation within the county.

Cheers,




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 04 Aug 2004 Topic: January Sand Lizard



Kadry,

I have worked alot with Laudakia stellio from keeping them in captivity and studying the introduced populations on Corfu.

I would be interested to hear about your work.

Matt.wilson02@btopenworld.com




Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Posted: 18 Jul 2003 Topic: Natrix tessallata in Yorkshire?



Having read the atlas of R & A in Britain yesterday, i noticed a section noting the breeding of the Dice Snake in Yorkshire (Thompson 1971, Howes, 1973)

Does anybody know if the species has persisted further in breeding and if they still survive? I know that Elaphe longissima still survives in N.Wales and the possibility of Natrix tessallata surviving today is not impossible.

The R & A atlas also states nine specimens were recorded in 1973.

Any info anyone can offer would be interesting to know.


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Posted: 17 Jun 2005 Topic: Anguis cephallonica????????



Hi Jeroen,

It was a couple of years ago now when i wrote this! Since then have seen quite a few Anguis cephallonica on Kefallinia and Zakynthos, although non of the animals i have seen have quite had that head proportion although the heads on most have been visibly longer than those of Anguis fragilis.

Cheers anyway,


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
No. of posts: 38


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Posted: 22 Sep 2003 Topic: Coronella girondica



Tony,

Costa Dorada, N-E Spain 2001 i saw a single juvenile Coronella girondica. This was the only snake along with DOR Malpolon and live Natrix maura i saw during my week there. It was not a serious herping trip due to July heat sending most herps into hiding.

The snake was found freshly killed on a dirt-track, the habitat either side was Med Pine Forest, not a typical habitat for the species. It measured about 20cm, and i am 99% sure it wasn't austriaca. As my knowledge at the time was far lesser than at present.

I hope to do some work in Sicily with herps when i go with University in 2004. But next week i'm off to Corfu on a far more seriously taken field trip than the one in Spain, its been wet there this week so should be good as i have lots of new localities to try out.

I would be very interested to see your pics from Italy on the forum, V.ursinii would be a great snake to have photos of. I know someone who had a trip there this June, and a comnined 15 hours searching only produced a single Orsini's viper, but it was v.hot and you'll have exact locality sites i'd imagine. He also saw few N.natrix and C.viridiflavus, as well as lacertids.


Matthew Wilson

Matt Wilson
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Joined: 25 May 2003
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Posted: 29 Sep 2003 Topic: Unidentified snake Quiz



Dave,

Looks like a egg-eater of some kind. Most certainly not an Echis, but if in doubt might be worth looking for fangs or letting it bite an object and look for venom.

Have you tried feeding it yet?, might be be worth giving it an egg or mice and seeing if it is used to a captive feeding setup. It may well be wild caught escaped animal that may well have been forced fed.



Matthew Wilson

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