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Old 09-04-03, 01:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Question Methods of permanent individual identification?

Wondering if any herp researchers in the group know of means to permanently identify individual snakes?

I know some people have used microchips for larger species in private collections, but wondered if anyone involved in research might know of other methods.

Have tattoos or tags been used in catch and release studies where an individual snake needs to be identified - or do they rely on individual skin pattern identification? Any other ideas?

thanks,


mary v.
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Old 09-04-03, 01:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The most common method of marking individual snakes in the field is clipping small notches out of the subcaudal scales.
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Old 09-04-03, 02:51 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks Scotty,

Is this something that will stay with the animal through multiple sheds or would it be lost with growth of the scales - is it really close to the margin of the scales? What is used - just a small hole punch or is it clipped with scissors? I imagine that if it is permanent it would be somewhat painful for the animal - sort of like ear notching in rodents?? Is it a method that could be used on hatchlings or does the snake have to be of a certain size?

thanks again for the response,

mary v.
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Old 09-04-03, 03:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Fingernail clippers or small manicure type scissors. Make sure they are sharp. The notches last for many successive sheds. Obviously it is more difficult with smaller species or neonates. In the case of neonates this method will not last as long due to the faster growth. I won't get into a "pain" debate here, but I don't think this scale clipping is anywhere near painful as notching a rodents ears. You should not cut deep enough to draw any blood. It takes a little practice, and remember to make detailed notes of the pattern of notches.
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Old 09-04-03, 03:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I recall a rattlesnake documentary where they put little beaded tags on the snakes... I think they were held in by injection possibly? I cannot remember how they were affixed... sorry I can't give more info
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Old 09-04-03, 04:59 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I microchip my boas, neonates incl. (usually at about one month or so). What species are you looking to ID?
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Old 09-04-03, 06:02 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I'd seen a show that I believe was about anaconds and they guy and his wife would scetch tail markings to keep records.
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Old 09-04-03, 06:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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What is the point of microchipping?
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Old 09-04-03, 06:33 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Invictus
What is the point of microchipping?
Microchips usually contain the owner's information (name, address, phone # etc.) and I believe the pet's info, so, if a lost pet is found and brought into a center that has the equipment to read the chip, they can track down the owner and return the pet to them. We all know that snakes are master escape artists, so, I think it's a good idea.
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Old 09-04-03, 06:40 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I know with anphib's they draw the animals markings which is pretty time consuming Chip's are the best option IF you can afford it
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Old 09-04-03, 07:30 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The whole purpose of a microchip is simply identification, nothing more. It provides a unique number that will forever more be associated with that animal. A data base is required to store the info about owners, genetics, etc. And as a breeder it costs about $10.00 each if you perform the procedure yourself, and about $60.00 from a vet. Sadly the herp hobby/industry is too busy being short sighted, focusing on the here and now and the next new morph rather than seeing even the near future.

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Old 09-04-03, 08:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Thanks for the additional info. I was looking for something for identifying colubrids - I have only worked with microcips for dogs and they are quite large to use on neonatal or even young corns or milks. I really like the idea of microchips for larger or adult snakes as a means of permanent identification - aside from the problems of chip migration.

I was hoping for something that would be visible externally and last the lifetime of the herp, rather than having to rely on a scanner to read a chip code. Are their chips available that can be used for smaller species?

thanks,

mary v.
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Old 09-04-03, 08:53 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Chips are indeed getting smaller, however the problem is that the implantation "needle" is huge. And admittedly not suitable for animals that small. Sorry there is nothing else that comes to mind for visual ID.

Oh, and chip migration has since been addressed and vitrually eliminated with newer technology. Many chips (I use AVID) have a coating which bonds with the tissue, forming in effect a scar around the chip thus preventing migratation.
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