Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Definitions and Conventions

It occurred to me that although my vocabulary and knowledge have grown by leaps and bounds in the past month (herptile? diurnal? anery?  what in the...???? and how has it only been a month?), not everyone has been following along at home.  Ergo, I thought it might be helpful to explain a few things here rather than endlessly break into blog entries to explain what in the world I'm talking about.

Please bear in mind that this entry is by no means static; my intention is that I will come back and add to it when the need arises.  Also note that when I have lifted a definition from another site, I have hyperlinked the word I'm defining directly to that site to ensure proper attribution.

On to the meat of the matter.

If you look over on my sidebar under "The Zoo" heading, you'll see various number strings directly below each snake's name.  These are standard gender/ quantity annotations within the herptile community.  For example, Sither's number is 1.0; this means he's a male and there's one of him.  Sarah's number is 0.1; this means she's a female and there's one of her.

In actual practice the designation would be 1.1 Kenyan sand boas, which would mean one male (the number before the decimal) and one female (the number after the decimal), but I was going for what would make the most sense to any folks outside the reptile world and would simultaneously fit into my limited sidebar space.

Okay, I was also going for cute :P

Anyway, the same applies to Scales and Lucy.  Formally, their gender/quantity would be indicated as 1.1 cinnamon ball pythons.

Sometimes we don't know the gender of an animal, and in that instance there is a third numerical slot.  If Slither and Sarah produced a litter* a few years down the road, their progeny prior to sexing could be described as 0.0.15 baby sand boas.  Or if some genders were obvious while others weren't (it can happen with very young sand boas), it could look something like 4.3.8, meaning 4 verified males, 3 verified females, and 8 unsexed offspring.

Definitions and Abbreviations
Anerythristic - often shortened to anery; a mutation that keeps the animal from producing erythrin, the red pigment.

Diurnal - active chiefly in the daytime.  This describes none of our current snakes.  They are not exciting pets on a "let's sit here and observe the snakes this afternoon" level.

Feeding Time at the Zoo - Thursday nights.  God help me.

F/T - frozen/ thawed; refers to reptile food, generally rodents of an appropriate size.  Also referred to as "mousicles", "mousesicles", or "ratsicles" depending on the individual and origin of the food.  The mousicles are shipped in a container filled with dry ice, already frozen, and I just thaw the appropriate amount on feeding day.  Consider it a small, poo-filled chicken.

Herptile - denoting, relating to, or characterizing both reptiles and amphibians.

Nocturnal - actively chiefly during the night.  This would describe our animals, not only the snakes but also the cats.

Sexually Dimorphic - where the two sexes have different shapes, sizes, etc. from each other.  This is the case with Kenyan sand boas.  If you'll look at the picture of Slither and Sarah on my first entry and note their tails, you can see that Slither's tail is a bit more slender and gradually tapered, whereas Sarah's is a bit more "chunky" looking and has much less gradual taper.

Zombie Mouse/ Rat Dance - the dangling of an appropriately sized f/t rodent in front of the snake in a manner meant to convince the animal that its food is alive.  The sand boas don't need much convincing.  We'll see how this works with the ball pythons.

*Doubtful as the genetics likely won't play to their favor.  The anery gene is recessive, so I'd end up with a ton of little orange sand boas, all heterozygous for anery with Dodoma genetics wandering around in there.  I'm still new to this, but unless I'm planning to breed several generations out I don't see the benefit to that pairing.

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