Professional herpetologists and amateur terrarium keepers meet together in St. Petersburg
A Second Workshop "Terrarium Keeping Today"
was held on April 17, 2010. The workshop was organized by A.M. Nikolski Memorial Herpetological Society of
Russian Academy of Sciences, and Internet-portal "VitaWater.ru".
It is so nice to see old acquaintances, as well as new faces here at our second
Workshop, the curator of Herpetology division of the Internet-portal "VitaWater.ru" Andrey Gromov said.
He mentioned the enhanced status of the event: now it is associated with the Herpetological Society RAS,
within which a Section of Terrarium Keeping and Zooculture has been created recently. In future we plan to establish regional
subdivisions and fan clubs.
World experience and new initiatives
Prof. Natalia Borisovna Ananyeva, Dr. Sci., head of
A.M. Nikolsky Herpetological Society, vice
director of Zoological Institute RAS, recalled that in 1980ies there existed a working group for maintenance and breeding
of rare and endangered amphibians and reptiles within the Herpetological committee of Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Later on, its activity has been suspended, and now it is emerging again. She noticed that Germany might serve
a good example: the Society of Herpetologists and Terrarium keepers in this country encompass about 2000 members,
of which only 150 are professionals.
Current Workshop reflects an increased interest in private terrarium keeping
Russia, and the initiative of the internet-portal "Vita Water" follows the mainstream of the world herpetological practice.
Natalia Borisovna is sure that the "success of the producers of the terrarium equipment also benefits the further
development of terrarium keeping." "I hope we will find the ways of collaborations with colleagues and sponsors," she said.
The organizer of the meeting noticed, that the company
"OOO Hagen Rus", a Russian branch of the "Hagen" company,
the major sponsor of the Workshop, should be granted for the air of comfort during the Workshop.
Boris Gennadiyevitch Zhlobek, the general director of "Hagen Rus" said, it is an honor for us to
organize such a meeting. The "Hagen" company is an international corporation, whose goal is to create
a harmony between us, humans, and our pets. That's why "Hagen" pays a special attention to the
contacts with scientists and to studying reptiles and amphibians in their natural environments:
it helps to imitate specific conditions in the terrariums produced by the company.
Fifteen percent of the Hagen company's turnover of falls on the sale of terrariums of "ExoTerra" brand.
Benevolent and warm atmosphere reigned in the hall throughout the whole meeting.
All the speakers were listened with great attention
Desert iguanas are underestimated
The presentation of Igor Barsukov, the head of the
Herpetology department of the "Aqua Logo" consortium of companies,
was titled "Some new for Russia species of lizards and their prospects for terrarium keeping in Russia."
The presentation was accompanied by many photographs. He told that they obtained animals from South-Eastern
Asia: Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Filipinas, as well as from the Middle East, USA, etc.
The job of terrarium animals' dealer turned to be full of surprises. One regularly finds something unexpected
in the supplies from Asia, sometimes, even the species new for science. Thus animal trading contributes to expanding
the list of the world herpetofauna.
The speaker told about peculiarities of maintenance and breeding of
different species of lizards. Some of them are so easy to keep and breed in terrariums. Others can hardly be
adopted to the life in captivity, and their chances to be established in culture in Russia are slim.
I. Barsukov believes that the desert iguana Dipsosaurus dorsalis is underestimated by Russia terrarium keepers.
These "tremendous" creatures of 57-50 cm in length feed on insects, and are easy to keep.
Rhacodactilus go in hands
The presentation by Yuriy Kaverkin, a research scientist of the
Laboratory of herpetoculture (Moscow) was titled "New Caledonia Geckos
in nature and in captivity". After a brief review of the herpetofauna of this archipelago,
he concentrated on representatives of the genus Rhacodactylus. Those are the most popular inhabitants of terrariums nowadays.
What make them so special for terrarium keepers? These big geckos look pretty
bizarre; all species look different; they are easy to keep and breed, and besides you may pet them by hands.
The listeners were given many useful recommendations on organization of terrariums, feeding habits, and maintenance
of different Rhacodactylus species.
Traumas due to keeper's negligence
Denis Nikitenko, a veterinary doctor
at the "Clinics of Dr. Sotnikov" presented a talk "Reptiles' Surgery: general principals".
He listed anesthetics used by veterinary doctors during surgeries, analyzed pros and contras of the cheap and
expensive drugs; injections versus inhalation methods of anesthesia; peculiarities of putting stitches.
Photographs of injured animals greatly impressed the audience. Those injuries were caused not only
by risky ways of animal transportation, but also by careless keeping.
While the workshop participants were informally socializing at the
Buffet, associates of the retail shops' chain "AgiDis" presented a master class
"Terrariums: equipment and design". The system "Tropical rain" was demonstrated
in action and attracted particular attention.
Socializing and informal communication
Master class on the terrarium equipment
Afterwards, the finalists of the
internet-quiz "Erudite: amphibians (2009-2010)"
were announced. Dmitriy Skorinov from St.Petersburg took the first place.
The second was Gleb Vanin from Sterltamak; he was also the author of the best question.
The third place went to Artiom Lisachiov from Novosibirsk.
Consortium of companies "Aqua Logo" sponsored the prizes for the winners.
Awards for the winners of the online quiz "Erudite: amphibians" season 2009-2010 presents Igor Barsukov,
a representative of the consortium of companies "Aqua Logo"
Shrub frogs prefer minimalist design
The presentation of the Director of the company "Zookon,"
Eugene Rybaltovsky was titled "Biology, specific features of maintenance and
breeding of the Shrub frogs (Rhacophoridae)". Racophorid family is gaining popularity, he said. Some
tree frogs of this family grow up to 18 cm. Representatives of the genus Theloderma breed so easily that special
efforts should be applied to stop reproduction.
Eugene breeds about 50 amphibian species. He shared his experience
in propagation of rhacophorids, told about real and imaginary problems of this pursuit, about correct feeding
habits, methods of water purification, etc. A glass container with water and a snag or a few pieces of bark of
the cork tree is sufficient for maintenance and breeding of the majority of species of tree frogs. Noteworthy,
attitude towards cleanness makes the difference: the principle condition for maintanace of the tree frogs
sensu stricta is cleanness; theloderms, on the contrary, feel better when sitting "in mud up to ears."
The speaker expressed a hope that the number of amphibian fans will increase, so far the fans of
lizards and snakes take over.
A Snake Farm
Sergey Riabov, the director of Tula Regional Exotarium, acquainted the
participants with the reproduction biology of the group of Asian colubrid snakes.
About 250-270 species of these snakes are kept in the Exotarium. Annually 3-5 thousand of offspring snakes are produced.
Some species lay eggs up to 9 times per year. Sergey was talking about rare species, about episodes from his practice,
peculiarities of hibernation (temperature, humidity values), and optimal feeding ration.
At the end, a movie
"Vietnam: in the Depths of Tropical Forests" was demonstrated. In impenetrable
jungle, the authors, among which was Dr. Nikolay Orlov, a researcher of the Zoological Institute RAS, managed to
shoot rare species of amphibians and reptiles in their natural habitat.
Natalia Borisovna Ananyeva, Prof., Dr. Sci., the president of the
A.M. Nikolski Herpetological Society,
the president of the European Herpetological Society (SHE), the vice director of the Zoological Institute RAS:
"The meeting is useful for everyone – for professionals and amateurs;
its major message is promoting knowledge; exploration and preservation of biodiversity. The survival of
the Planet Earth is the problem number one, and workshops like this are blocks to understanding this issue.
Naturally, comparatively to such countries as Germany or Netherlands, herpetoculturing is not that developed,
but in Moscow and St. Petersburg the process is on the way. Many people nowadays can keep exotic fauna due
to existing network of animal trading, availability of equipment and recourses for self education.
Many frogs, lizards and snakes are not just entertaining, but very beautiful".
Boris Gennadievitch Zhlobek,
general director of the company "OOO Hagen Rus":
"Keeping amphibians and reptiles at home is a new hobby for Russians, but it is very popular
in Western Europe. In many cases these animals are less demanding than cats and dogs; in addition you have a beautiful
piece of interior decoration at home. Terrarium keeping experienced a true boom in 2008, and have been developing during
the crisis as well. "Hagen" production is innovative, the equipment is complex enough; thus people must be trained
to use it properly.
We teach sellers, organize competitions, and read lectures. The Workshop is very useful for amateur keepers
of reptiles and amphibians, for example a master class "how to assemble terrariums". Professionals, also,
I think, get something new out here. Probably, next year we meet somewhere in Yubileunyy or SKK or other big sport complex".
Igor Barsukov, the head of Herpetological department of consortium of companies "Aqua Logo":
The idea or the workshop is up to date, because an interest to this problem exists.
The meeting has been performed well, and would be nice if it is held in future on the regular basis. Perhaps it
could be carried out in different cities? A dialogue between professionals and amateurs is very important;
especially because many amateurs gained a high level. Now the main goal is not in attracting neophytes, but
in educating of those already in the field. Today the primary market for reptile and amphibian fans has been
formed, but we do not know yet how stable it is, isn't it just a splash of curiosity towards the exotics?
We are able to influence on this process. In Germany, every fourth family keeps a reptile or amphibian;
in China, Association of Terrarium Keepers contains one million people. Sure, this hobby will never
become as popular as aquariumistics, but interest towards aquarium keeping will grow.
Animals in Russia are expensive, more expensive than in the USA, and "flourishes" of
the law prevent pushing away illegal market. But eventually, knowledgeable fans will
force the traders to raise their level. Besides, we have valuable scientific staff,
lacking in many countries-exporters. Many herpetologists are aquarium fans at heart.
Denis Nikitenko, DVM, a veterinary doctor at "Clinics of Doctor Sotnikov":
The overall level of veterinary medicine in Russia is low. For example, in New York
doctors have a narrow specialization. In Russia though, they treat everything from lizards to elephants.
In Russia there still exists distant veterinary education! However, now you can get postgraduate education
for your money. During the last decade endoscopy has developed rapidly in our country.
In Yekaterinburg tomography was purchased for animals. In comparatively wealthy Moscow,
St. Petersburg, and Petrozavodsk there is ultrasound. But the equipment is very expensive.
For comparison, in the U.S., turtles are subjected to MRI diagnostics.
And, alas, in St. Petersburg there are only 2-3 doctors that treat reptiles.
My advice to the terrarium keepers: read literature before taking an animal; getting information is not a problem now"
Dmitriy Petlin (Moscow):
"We come here for the second time. Interesting people are getting together,
professionals, so you are getting the information from the first hands. About two years we are engaged in
terrarium keeping; we keep snakes and lizards. You can enjoy them as you enjoy pictures or flowers;
it is interesting to choose environment for them. In this workshop we were carried away
by some new for us creatures, the tree frogs. Also I would like to hear an expert advice on breeding boas.
Sophia Remizova (St. Petersburg):
"Five years ago I got the iguana; for a year and a half I've been
keeping other lizards as well. They are so interesting to watch at, as if looking after wildlife.
The meeting is very useful in terms of information. It turns out that in St. Petersburg there is
a possibility to treat reptiles. The level of fans is growing; they are coming here even from Moscow.
I am interested to know specific things about the conditions of keeping, about the secrets of
successful breeding. At the Workshop you can learn that.
Nadezhda Dobrynina, foto Е.Iozefavichus, D.Melnikov and V.Kovalev.
Аквариум. Современная Аквариумистика.
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