What are the effects of climate change on animal breeding patterns?

  • Thread starter BillTre
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In summary: That's a lot of information, so I'll just summarize it for you: The frog population is not doing well and they are trying to do something to help. The snake that bit her was captured and will probably be released. There is a potential risk that the snake will eat the frog's young, but the frog's chances of survival are better if they are raised in a small area where they might be able to breed.

What shold happen to the snake?

  • kill snake, tracker not worth recovering

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  • #1
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My daughter (Ezmie; pronounced Esme) graduated college and has been working as a field biologist in various places. She is now working on a project to characterize what is going on with a particular frog along the S. Carolina-Georgia border (frog's population is not doing well).

They wanted to recover a frog that they had tagged with some kind of electronic tracker.
It was located under some leaves under a bush.
She reached in and was bite on the hand by a copperhead snake. Copperheads are poisonous, but not that bad. Similar to a rattlesnake in the kind of venom, but not as bad.
She was with a group of people who rushed her to a hospital.
She was put into an ICU and got anti-venom. Her hand swelled up and it had drastically reduced movement as a result. She hurt for 2 or 3 days and her arm (the one attached to the bite hand) swelled a bit too. Did a lot of sleeping and is now out.

Mean while, her fellow workers, armed with the frog tracker, found and apprehended the snake (which was thought to have eaten their frog):

  • IMG_3305.jpg
This is somewhat reminiscent of Bill Murray's movie the Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (where Steve Z. is out for revenge on the shark that ate his friend).

Not sure what the fate of the snake will be:
  • kill it, recover tracker
  • kill snake, tracker not worth recovering
  • don't kill it, let it poop out the tracker
  • don't kill it and release it somewhere
This is a great opportunity to do my first poll:
Well that's disappointing. I wanted the poll at the bottom.
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  • #2
Glad she's ok. That must have been scary.

I'd hang on to the snake until the tracker... um... emerges then let it go. I doubt it's acquired a taste for human flesh, and killing it won't encourager les autres.
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  • #3
Ibix said:
encourager les autres.
There is a king snake...but is there a Byng snake?
  • #4
BillTre said:
She reached in and was bite on the hand by a copperhead snake.
I had a similar experience with a compost pile. I reached under the pile while move some material and got bitten (mostly like a copperhead, since we've seen them in the yard). Hand and form swelled a bit, but it subsided after a while. I had some pain and numbness (neurotoxin). Didn't go to hospital, but just let nature run its course. Poison dissipated after some hours, swelling reduced and the pain/numbness subsided.

I'd X-ray the snake rather than harm it. If it contains the tracker, see if it poops it out. Otherwise, keep tracking the snake. It should be released in the area found. One could then follow it in and around where the frogs are located.
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  • #5
Glad she is okay.

Does the tracker put out an ID number, or is the number just inscribed on it? If the tracker just puts out a non-descriptive ping, then it would be good to recover it from the snake before releasing the snake, in order not to confuse other frog hunters. If it puts out its ID number along with the RF ping, then it could be released with just a notice to other frog hunters that the tracker is likely in a snake or has been barfed back up somewhere.

I assume that they are working closely with the local Fish and Game folks to figure out the relocation logistics...
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  • #6
I think they will wait for the tracker to come out before they release it.

I do like the revenge scene from the movie though:

  • #7
The subject of this thread seems to answer the original question, ie: What is Happening to the Frogs.

The snake(s) found a free, all-you-can-eat, buffet!
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  • #8
Tom.G said:
What is Happening to the Frogs.

The snake(s) found a free, all-you-can-eat, buffet!
Actually, the frog situation is a bit more complex.
I don't remember all the details, but it something like this:
These frogs have a restricted domain and therefore are more susceptible to extinction than more widespread species.
They have not bred in two years do to the weather being hotter and drier. They need certain wet periods of the year to breed.
They spend a lot of time underground and are hard to find.

They want to work on conditions for raising the young, but they had none to raise because the frogs weren't breeding.
Based on my manipulative history of getting animals to breed for laboratory and hobbyist purposes, I thought they should try to make a small patch very wet environment where the frogs might be (if possible) and see if the frogs in that area would then breed.
A small local environmental manipulation might do the trick. Breeding fish in captivity is done for lab reasons, economic (aquaculture) reasons, recreational (hobbyist) reasons, and conservation reasons.
Fish have to be fed well enough to be in breeding condition (females full of eggs, a energy rich product). Physiologically, once that is achieved, conditions the frog has evolved to, can be trigger breeding behavior (this may be the wet environment). The triggering, in some animals, can be done with injections of various hormones, like GNRH (gonadotrophin releasing hormone), which trigger reproductive behavior. There is a little industry that supplies hormones for this.
This could then be a guide for engineering the watershed to benefit the frogs specifically.
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  • #9
Feed snake laxative.
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  • #10
BillTre said:
They have not bred in two years do to the weather being hotter and drier. They need certain wet periods of the year to breed.
I heard a similar story within the last week, but I cannot remember the animal. The hotter and usually drier climate reduces the breeding of many animals, especially those like amphibians, and others who live in water, or otherwise need water in which to breed.
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