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Old 10-05-03, 07:17 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Barometric pressure and herps

Does anyone know of any genuine research that explores the effects of barometric pressure fluctuations on reptiles? This is something that's been rattling around in my brain for years and I've never come across anything more than theory and conjecture.

It must play a significant role in the acclimation of imports. Most tropical species would originate at or near sea level and if they're shipped to me, they wind up at 4000 ft on arrival. Also, I'm curious about the oxygen saturation levels in incubating embryos.

Sorry, I'm on my second cup of coffee and the sun's not up yet. You can't expect me to sit here and contemplate these things by myself, can you?

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Old 10-05-03, 08:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Give me a few days and I will find you an answer. I will talk to my co-workers this week and see if any of them know or have an explanation.

I would say that the barometric pressure has no affect, for example 1012.1 hPa feels the same on your body regardless if you are 14000 ft up or if you are sitting in the bottom of the deepest cave. But O2 saturation will have an affect. There is a reason why elite athletes train at high levels.


Another option is to go to weathernetwork.ca and under interact go to communications and Ask The Expert

They will get you an answer.

http://weathernetwork.ca

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Old 10-05-03, 09:00 AM   #3 (permalink)
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As far as the pressure is concerned, I'm thinking that there must be some effect on the animal's physiology, particularly the sensory systems. The ordeal of shipping in pressurized cargo can't be good. Anyone who's travelled by air knows how variable the cabin pressure can be.

I used to do a lot of mountain travel and always paid close attention to my altimeter/barometer to navigate and predict weather change. Too great a shift in density/altitude can have catastrophic effects on mammalian cardiopulmonary systems. This is what started me wondering if there was a reptilian equivalent.

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Old 10-05-03, 10:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Excellent subject Wuntu Menny! I always wanted to do that research. I cannot disagree with you on your last post.
There are many factors that can affect reptiles' behaviour and physiology that we maybe never or in some years can find the answers.
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Old 10-05-03, 10:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I dont know if it is the altitude changes and climates, but with my lizards and other reptiles being transported throughout the mountains for shows, for ex. to TARAS at 1200' above sea level, to the BC coast where I live at 300" above sea level, the animals all seem to show lethargy and lack of appetite upon completion of the trek. It takes a good 3-5 days after being back in their enclosures to resume regular eating and sleeping regimes. For that 3-5 days, it almost seems as if they are in a deep sleep. Maybe its just me being a worried Mom, but these are my observations. Makes a person wonder what affect airline transportation of reptiles at high elevations do to their inner clocks.
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Old 10-05-03, 10:55 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Makes a person wonder what affect airline transportation of reptiles at high elevations do to their inner clocks.
Good point beth wallbank!
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Old 10-05-03, 12:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I absolutely think there is some truth to barometric pressure causing behavioral differences, because I've seen it even in humans. Ever notice that places at lower elevations have much higher crime rates than places at high elevations? Look at Ottawa. Highest crime rate in Canada, only 300' or so above sea level. Calgary - voted safest place in Canada to live, 4000' above sea level. Hmmmmm.... another example. Houston - sea level. High crime. Denver, CO - 9000' above sea level. VERY safe place from what I've heard from some old friends of mine who lived there for a while. I may be wrong on these ones, because I've never lived in the states, but maybe there is some validity to it after all...

It has been proven that people at high elevations have up to a pint more blood than those at low elevations. More blood is required because of the lower oxygen - the body reproduces more blood cells to compensate. Maybe the same is in reptiles, and there is a direct correlation between their behavior and the amount of blood in their system.

Good topic, Wuntu Menny.
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Old 10-05-03, 01:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Interesting stats, Invictus. I wasn't aware of any connection with crime rates and elevation.

I posed a similar question to a friend of mine a few years ago while he was studying zoology. At the time, I was inquiring about possible links between home range altitudes and lung morphology in chameleons. Chameleon lung structures vary considerably from one specie to another and consequently is one of the prime criteria used when classifying them into genera and species.

It was my opinion at the time that there may be a connection between volume and complexity of the lungs and relative air density of their preferred habitat. Lungs with higher capacity or greater surface area should correspond to higher altitude ranges. The zoologist friend informed me that a fellow student of his was working on field research regarding that very topic. As yet, I haven't been able to review the results. I'm not sure if the data has been compiled and published yet.

At any rate, this little theory keeps making my brain itch and every once in a while I like to run it by others to get some different perspectives.

Kinda makes you think, don't it?

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Old 10-05-03, 05:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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The Elevation vs crime rate is a joke It made me laugh my a$$ off
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Old 10-05-03, 05:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
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well it is often observed that changes in barometric pressure from storm systems can stimulate breeding behavior in some animals so there should be some effect expected. Still I would imagine that reptiles have similar pressure balancing mechanisms to prevent bodily harm as other species but they could have symtoms. Somebody can fly 100 neonates and ground ship a 100 and have a fair sample for observation.
 
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Old 10-05-03, 06:35 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Bryce,

There actually is a connection. The link lies in population density rather than altitude, but its a link none the less. Take a look at any map highlighting the distribution of humans. We invariably congregate near coastlines where trade and commerce create jobs and revenue. Naturally, the higher the density of human inhabitants, the higher the crime rate.

Of course it could be that those of us living in the rarified air are simply too tired to get off our butts and knock off the local liquor store!

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Old 10-05-03, 06:37 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Bryce - It wasn't a joke... just a crazy observation. I think there SHOULD be a study done about the correlation between elevation and crime rate. Who are you to say it's a joke? Can you disprove my theory?
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Old 10-05-03, 10:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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If your theroy was correct then this couldnt happen *all citys*were randomly picked and are between CO and TX

http://www.bestplaces.net/html/crime...y=10535&view=T

http://www.bestplaces.net/html/crime...y=10587&view=T


http://www.bestplaces.net/html/crime...y=10523&view=T

This doesnt really prove much but it its all relative
If people become less violent and happier at high elevations then wouldnt people in planes must be the happiest people on the planet right?
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Old 10-06-03, 12:25 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Like I said... just a crazy observation. Don't you have any crazy theories?
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Old 10-06-03, 01:25 AM   #15 (permalink)
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...

The only thing I really care about is if snakes breed better or worse at higher elevations. So find that out and I'll pay you for your findings.
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