Have you ever noticed how no animals have colours that clash? Like you never look at a bird or a butterfly and go ‘Really? That red with the orange?’ Everything just kind of works.
Dear snake community
What’s up with people saying they have “3.2 Thamnophis atratus atratus" and "0.2 Thamnophis marcianus marcianus" and "1.1 Thamnophis sirtalis sirtalis ‘florida blue’”
What? You can’t have one-fifth of a snake???? Is this just something the garter snake community does? I want to know this stuff before I introduce myself on the garter snake forum.
The numbers indicate how many of each sex. the first digit is males, the second is females, and if there is a third, it is unsexed or juveniles. Thus, 1.0 is one male, 0.1 is one female, 3.2 is three males and two females, and 0.0.4 is four unsexed or juvenile individuals. :)
Whenever I the frills on Uroplatus sp’s lower jaws like this:
I think of shit like this:
Uroplatus frills would make A+ table cloths
One of my favorite snakes. What kind of setup do you have it in?
A terrible one. We are working on fixing it. But its a fairly small tank (maybe two feet wide, by one foot by one foot - good enough while it’s still a small snake). It has built in illumination. Running around room temperature and a bit warmer, and humidity upwards of 60%. We have a corner of sphagnum moss, which is nice and humid - where Limoncello spends most of his/her time - and a cork hide.
The rest of the bedding is currently reptipine, which I know is inappropriate for snakes - we are going to change it in the next two days. Sneaky bastards sold it to me with me thinking it was coconut shavings, and it didn’t click until today that it wasn’t. Anyway, will be replacing it with soil probably. I like a more natural feel to my terrariums, and mandarin ratsnakes like to burrow. win/win (plus we could put in some plants, which I would like).
What would be a good way to become a herpetologist? Right now I am studying applied biology, and I was thinking of a master in herpetology (there is one in brussels, belgium, which is quite close to me). Also the stuff you are doing would be my dream job (I think), being a…
Becoming a herpetologist is a complicated thing. There are a lot of ways to go about it. One of them is, as you say, to go do that masters in Brussels (for those interested, this is the one pokos-photos is referring to). That masters looks very good - some of the professors on it are really fantastic, and actually one of them, Prof. Miguel Vences, is one of the leaders in my own niche field of herpetology. This is one of the only herpetology master’s programmes in the world. The programme looks very good, and I actually considered it myself for a while, so by all means, I recommend you consider it too!
That being said, there are other ways to be come a herpetologist. You can go straight into a PhD, if you can find a professor who will allow that with just a bachelor’s degree. Alternatively, you can do a master’s in a more general subject (evolution, ecology, systematics, etc.), and tailor it towards herpetology by doing herpetological research - this requires that you find the right kind of affiliations at the university you go to. This would be possible, for example, in Hamburg, if you are able to speak German. Or here in Munich if they continue to do the Masters of Evolution, Ecology and Systematics. Or at about one or two dozen universities in the US, several in Australia, and maybe two in the UK.
After your master’s, you would then move onto a PhD. The options for where you could do this are enormous.
The most important thing is that learn your subject. Educate yourself. And make yourself an expert on your subject.
Herpetology, as I approach it, is a highly academic subject - you are committing to multiple degrees, and possibly an entire lifetime in education. Granted, there are other directions you can go with it, and you can jump out and maybe into some other occupation along the way, but if, as you say, what I am doing is your dream job, then I think you will probably wind up following a very similar path to me.
So good luck with it! I hope it works out.
An excellent question, thanks Anon.
Ultimately, the honest answer is that that might be a problem for you in your career. However, there are some important caveats to that statement, and they make all the difference.
Firstly, I would like to say that I strongly disagree with most education systems and how they assess intelligence and the ability of individuals under tutelage. I have found that ability to do well in college does not necessarily correlate with an individuals intelligence or their likelihood to succeed. Therefore, you should not get too caught up on your ability to do well in college, because it is not the be all and end all of your employability.
That being said, employers, and especially graduate schools, tend to put a lot of weight on grades (especially in America - the rest of the world is somewhat more lax, and doesn’t involve the GREs). So it is important to do as well as you can. My point is, don’t get too caught up in your grades, but still strive to do your best.
Second, if you do wind up getting a less-than-perfect overall grade on your degree, you must bear in mind the following fact: in biology, and especially in zoology, field and research experience counts for almost as much, and sometimes more, than a college education. It is possible to get around having poor grades in some cases, by having ‘equivalent work or research experience’. This means that, if you find the right place and have a few years of work experience - research - under your belt, you can circumvent the limitations that would otherwise be imposed by your degree grade.
This brings me neatly to my third point: decide, at some point, how far you want to go with academia. Taxonomy is an academic field. Zoology is less so, but still heavily academically dominated. By this I mean, decide if you want to get a PhD or not. Many taxonomists, who are well respected and have many good species descriptions to their names, do not have doctorate degrees. Most of these individuals have followed a passion, but were not interested in getting a doctorate along the way, because it is a lot of work, and perhaps they, like you, do not fair the best under pressurised education systems. The same is true in zoology: you can do a huge number of things within the field of zoology, and many of them are not strictly ‘academic’ - that is to say, they do not necessarily require a PhD or a Master’s degree. Thus, bear in mind that, while a PhD will, on the whole, make you more employable in the field in which you want to work (and will give you a higher pay grade), it is not 100% necessary in many parts of the three fields you are interested in.
Fourth: volunteer as much as you can while you are still fresh. The more rich your work experience is on your CV, and the more familiar you are with the organisms or subject you are interested in, the more likely you are to be able to slide through gates that would otherwise be closed to you.
The education system can make things hard, but it is possible to get grunt work in a lab with even a poor bachelor’s degree, and to work your way up from there - outside of the academic pipeline things move slower, but they do still move, and they can be a viable option if the normal education system does not work for you.
TL/DR: Ultimately, if this is your passion, I think you should go for it. I would say that to anyone. Do what you can do, as far as you can, and give it everything you’ve got. If it doesn’t work out, at least you can have no regrets about not trying.