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Old 04-01-2013, 11:43 PM
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Default Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

These guys are too cool. I've had breeding group for years and just got some more WC to add to it, if any survive. Sadly, they come in such poor health that they rarely survive. So, before anyone here wants them, only a couple people have every been successful with them and there is a reason for that.

Hope to set up a large Euro cage for these.

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Old 04-01-2013, 11:46 PM
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Those are so cool looking. How far can they glide? Good luck with yours

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Old 04-02-2013, 12:35 AM
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Justin, what size enclosures do you need to give these? Is it a typical tank or is it mostly screened?
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Old 04-02-2013, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Of course you have the coolest stuff Justin . Good luck with these beauties!


D
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:47 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

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Originally Posted by Spaff View Post
Justin, what size enclosures do you need to give these? Is it a typical tank or is it mostly screened?
Hey Justin, can you post pics of the Draco caging so we can get an idea of the size your having breeding success with, as well as what temperatures are you running and how many per cages. Also what kind of food do you feed and is the food free ranging.Thanks, Bill
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:21 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

No point on giving the care info on these, they'll all die!!! I don't want to give anyone hope here. I just picked up this latest batch because they looked better then any others I have seen, but I'd be surprised if even one lives.

It took me 600 specimens, yes 600!!!!, to get just 13 specimens to stay alive for my breeding group, on F3 now. For years I bought up every one that came into the country. Even if they survive shipping and eat, even after you hydrate them, a few weeks later they bloat up and die from Kidney failure. If they weren't so common in the wild, I would have never been ok with them coming in. Plus, all the dead ones got used in a university lab, so they at least went to use.

Don't waste your money on these unless you go catch them yourself. And no, not selling and CB babies that I know of. I don't have enough in my group and people would never pay what I feel they are worth.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:59 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post

It took me 600 specimens, yes 600!!!!, to get just 13 specimens to stay alive for my breeding group, on F3 now.
Wow, I must have been lucky. I had a pair for little over two years before I sold them. I had them in one of those zipper, sun shade cages. They were fun to keep, I just ran out of space in college.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:05 AM
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I once ran into a 10 year old kid who has one for a year!!! It's possible, but not the norm. Maybe with better shipments, I don't think they are hard to keep, just hard to find where they are not totally dehydrated. The ones from Indonesia always did better, but so few came in. This one was from Vietnam.

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Wow, I must have been lucky. I had a pair for little over two years before I sold them. I had them in one of those zipper, sun shade cages. They were fun to keep, I just ran out of space in college.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:06 AM
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Babies!

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post
I once ran into a 10 year old kid who has one for a year!!! It's possible, but not the norm. Maybe with better shipments, I don't think they are hard to keep, just hard to find where they are not totally dehydrated. The ones from Indonesia always did better, but so few came in. This one was from Vietnam.
You know how it goes. Now that I know they have such a high mortality, I will buy another pair and they will die in days.

They were not hard to keep at all. I just misted twice a day and make sure they have good ventilation. They are such a cool species.
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Old 04-02-2013, 04:18 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Any particular reason why they are so prone to kidney failure and/or dehydration?

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Old 04-02-2013, 04:28 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Extended dehydration before, during, and after export. If these guys were done correctly, I don't think they would be that problematic. Babies are a pain, but adults generally do alright if enough small foods are offered (1/8" crickets, termites, ants, and fruit flies).

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Any particular reason why they are so prone to kidney failure and/or dehydration?

D
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:49 PM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Just crazy as I was just doing a search on these guys last week.. I had a 1.2 group that did really well for me in 1997.. I housed the group in an all screened home made enclosure aprox 30" square and 60" tall with 2-75w basking areas.. I had one clutch of 2 eggs laid that failed to incubate in the low 70's.. Misting was 2x a day and feeding every other with dusted 1/2" crickets and silkworms.. Glad to see someone working with them because they are truly an amazing herp.. Wish you the best with them Justin!
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:36 PM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post
No point on giving the care info on these, they'll all die!!! I don't want to give anyone hope here. I just picked up this latest batch because they looked better then any others I have seen, but I'd be surprised if even one lives.
Actually, there is a point--our hobby is all about education and sharing knowledge. Consider that these guys are often offered inexpensively at herp shows; also, sometimes they may show up at animal rescue outfits. I have three specific questions:

1) Hydration: Should they be kept really humid until acclimated? Or more like a chameleon, well ventilated with a timed mister?
2) Is it true that they need more space than other small lizards of comparable size?
3) Do they need ants in their diet? Or can they subsist on supplemented small crickets, fruit flies, phoenix worms, etc.?

I thank you in advance for sharing.
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Old 04-02-2013, 09:35 PM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

It's good to see there is at least some success going on with these guys. These guys have always been on the top of my wish list for years but I never tried to own them since care seems to be a bit tricky. Perhaps in a few more years but for now I'll continue to enjoy the photos I see of them.

I'd be interested to see your set up for them Justin if you don't mind? Good luck with the new ones and hope they keep doing their thing for you.
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Old 04-02-2013, 10:51 PM
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These are really cool! I never even knew such things existed! Must say, I'm not up for wild caught...but I love looking at all the pictures you've been putting up lately and would love to see their enclosure. You must have a huge warehouse going on to keep all this stuff separate for quarantine. Good luck with them.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:33 AM
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While I would agree on many species of WC animals, why are you against them? Curious, as when they are done sustainably and with community participation they allow for a reason for habitat to remain in-tact. Sadly, this is not done with many species, but it has and will continue to be done. When you talk to the native people of many of these countries they actually see it as us stealing their livelihood when we are breeding these animals. I've actually had governments refuse to export certain species as they were afraid we'd breed/steal their natural resource. It's really a totally different point of view in many of these countries, especially when they have little opportunity to make a living.



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These are really cool! I never even knew such things existed! Must say, I'm not up for wild caught...but I love looking at all the pictures you've been putting up lately and would love to see their enclosure. You must have a huge warehouse going on to keep all this stuff separate for quarantine. Good luck with them.
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Old 04-03-2013, 01:51 AM
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The Draco has always been a favorite of mine, I did have some back in the late 70's, sadly their was not much known about the at the time, at least now there is a little known. So this is why I am being persistant in asking for the info that I did and I can see others here would like to know as well.
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Old 04-03-2013, 02:12 AM
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While I enjoy sharing pics and success, I don't really like the idea of a "care sheet" type format online for this species when I don't think people are going to have success with them, no matter what they do. Until export care of these improves, I don't know how much I want to encourage anyone even trying to keep this species. I mean, 13 out if 600 animals surviving, and people here want to give them a try? I guess I don't get that. I was hoping people world learn from those mistakes. Until export conditions improve, nothing will really help. It I knew what I know now, I would have stayed clear of them.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:22 AM
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I would agree with an animal that has a .4% survival rate.

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Old 04-03-2013, 03:52 AM
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While I would agree on many species of WC animals, why are you against them?
No...you misunderstand... **I** am not up for wild caught animals. Those who know what they're getting into, what they're doing, have the best interest of the animals, and are prepared to care for them properly...that's great. Personally, I'm not ready for all of that. I had a wild caught pair for a short time when I first started (go ahead...smack me) and while I had no problems, I simply worry too much now and don't want to introduce them into my now much larger collection. I imagine it goes way beyond acclimating frogs who have never been caged and worrying about pathogens from different continents.
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post

It took me 600 specimens, yes 600!!!!, to get just 13 specimens to stay alive for my breeding group, on F3 now. For years I bought up every one that came into the country. Even if they survive shipping and eat, even after you hydrate them, a few weeks later they bloat up and die from Kidney failure. If they weren't so common in the wild, I would have never been ok with them coming in. Plus, all the dead ones got used in a university lab, so they at least went to use.
Not to sound argumentative, but don't you think that their captive care could have been better advanced if there were multiple, experienced keepers working with them?
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Old 04-03-2013, 05:53 AM
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It sounds like someone needs to work with the importers/collectors to insure the animals are treated better. Sounds similar to mandarin ratsnakes. Prove easy to keep in captivity, but due to poor treatment of the WC they practically all die.
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:00 AM
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No, because the problem is not with the captive care, but the care of the animals prior to export. I have been trying to work with exporters to improve this and hopefully I'll have an Indo exporter doing it right soon, but until then, you can provide the best care, but it won't do a thing, they'll likely still have organ failure 2-4 weeks after doing quite well.

I have these guys to the F3 generation, the captive care has already been figured out.

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Not to sound argumentative, but don't you think that their captive care could have been better advanced if there were multiple, experienced keepers working with them?
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Old 04-03-2013, 09:02 AM
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It's being done, but when exporters sell them for $3.00 each, it's a bit hard.

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It sounds like someone needs to work with the importers/collectors to insure the animals are treated better. Sounds similar to mandarin ratsnakes. Prove easy to keep in captivity, but due to poor treatment of the WC they practically all die.
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:57 PM
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What do you suppose could be done on the exporters end to make sure they arrive sufficiently hydrated?

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:06 PM
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Keeping them hydrated, fed, reducing stress, and packing fewer per bag. If they also caught them instead of paying the local children. This would ensure they'd get back to the proper facilities faster.

I'd gladly pay an export $50 per Draco to the exporter if they did it correctly.

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It sounds like someone needs to work with the importers/collectors to insure the animals are treated better. Sounds similar to mandarin ratsnakes. Prove easy to keep in captivity, but due to poor treatment of the WC they practically all die.
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What do you suppose could be done on the exporters end to make sure they arrive sufficiently hydrated?

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Old 04-03-2013, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post
While I enjoy sharing pics and success, I don't really like the idea of a "care sheet" type format online for this species when I don't think people are going to have success with them, no matter what they do. Until export care of these improves, I don't know how much I want to encourage anyone even trying to keep this species. I mean, 13 out if 600 animals surviving, and people here want to give them a try? I guess I don't get that. I was hoping people world learn from those mistakes. Until export conditions improve, nothing will really help. It I knew what I know now, I would have stayed clear of them.
Who here said they "want to give them a try?" I do not think that anyone here is hankering to acquire Draco; certainly not I. But the purpose of entities such as this one is to teach and learn. Some kid might have one, some zoo might have two, some animal rescue joint might have three--and they could all benefit from your experience. That is why Bill and I asked specific questions, to learn. Knowledge is not neatly bounded--the keeper of Acanthosaura, Bronchocella or Calotes could benefit from what you have learned (how they're similar, and how they differ). Also, do we know for a fact that no DB members live in SE Asia? Maybe someone reading this has the opportunity to catch one 5 miles from their home (think Hawaiian Jackson's keepers--grrr...)

Do you believe that your posting information is going to inspire some knucklehead to acquire some? News flash: That fool is going to get them anyway. In the meanwhile, the entire herp community benefits from knowledge. I don't believe that I am the only one who likes to read care sheets about animals I have no plans to acquire (like PDFs:-) But I am affiliated with a couple of animal rescue outfits, so I try to be prepared (like these bratty juvenile snapping turtles I am boarding now--actually these things are pretty smart--but when the time comes, they're gone..)

For what it is worth, I understand what you mean that husbandry is largely irrelevant if one can only acquire compromised animals. Was always the case with chameleons, many agamids, rhacophorids, etc. I always found it frustrating that Agama and Calotes--in nature, two very successful genera--were so blasted fragile. I avoid these, as well as Dracos. (Yet I also heard the same thing about Corythophanes, and I can tell you--it's bullshit. Keep them correctly, and they are fun, rewarding pets. I bred this lizard in the early 1990s, and I would not have known had I not tried.)

At the risk of being too forward: Why post the pics if you do not want to discuss it? That would be like someone posting pics of their successful vivarium, writing, "Sorry, no questions..."
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:05 PM
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Why not post pics? Someone might enjoy the photos and know that someone is working with them successfully.

It not against giving out info on these guys, but I'd prefer to do it in private and see who I'm giving it too. I want to be able to stress to them that they'll likely fail, that animals will suffer, and I'd strongly advise against it. I mean, I put considerable time and resources into this genus, I think I should at least be able to dictate who obtains that I do from me, no?


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Who here said they "want to give them a try?" I do not think that anyone here is hankering to acquire Draco; certainly not I. But the purpose of entities such as this one is to teach and learn. Some kid might have one, some zoo might have two, some animal rescue joint might have three--and they could all benefit from your experience. That is why Bill and I asked specific questions, to learn. Knowledge is not neatly bounded--the keeper of Acanthosaura, Bronchocella or Calotes could benefit from what you have learned (how they're similar, and how they differ). Also, do we know for a fact that no DB members live in SE Asia? Maybe someone reading this has the opportunity to catch one 5 miles from their home (think Hawaiian Jackson's keepers--grrr...)

Do you believe that your posting information is going to inspire some knucklehead to acquire some? News flash: That fool is going to get them anyway. In the meanwhile, the entire herp community benefits from knowledge. I don't believe that I am the only one who likes to read care sheets about animals I have no plans to acquire (like PDFs:-) But I am affiliated with a couple of animal rescue outfits, so I try to be prepared (like these bratty juvenile snapping turtles I am boarding now--actually these things are pretty smart--but when the time comes, they're gone..)

For what it is worth, I understand what you mean that husbandry is largely irrelevant if one can only acquire compromised animals. Was always the case with chameleons, many agamids, rhacophorids, etc. I always found it frustrating that Agama and Calotes--in nature, two very successful genera--were so blasted fragile. I avoid these, as well as Dracos. (Yet I also heard the same thing about Corythophanes, and I can tell you--it's bullshit. Keep them correctly, and they are fun, rewarding pets. I bred this lizard in the early 1990s, and I would not have known had I not tried.)

At the risk of being too forward: Why post the pics if you do not want to discuss it? That would be like someone posting pics of their successful vivarium, writing, "Sorry, no questions..."
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

But if their export conditions were continually poor, and massive die-offs were almost assured, don't you think that buying up every one that came into the country just perpetuated the status quo of bad shipping standards?

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No, because the problem is not with the captive care, but the care of the animals prior to export. I have been trying to work with exporters to improve this and hopefully I'll have an Indo exporter doing it right soon, but until then, you can provide the best care, but it won't do a thing, they'll likely still have organ failure 2-4 weeks after doing quite well.

I have these guys to the F3 generation, the captive care has already been figured out.
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Blue_Pumilio View Post
Why not post pics? Someone might enjoy the photos and know that someone is working with them successfully.

It not against giving out info on these guys, but I'd prefer to do it in private and see who I'm giving it too. I want to be able to stress to them that they'll likely fail, that animals will suffer, and I'd strongly advise against it. I mean, I put considerable time and resources into this genus, I think I should at least be able to dictate who obtains that I do from me, no?
I respectfully disagree with you. I maintain that the purpose of these sites is to share knowledge. You have a (legal) right to do what you want, but we all benefit from shared knowledge. And not publicizing your findings will not discourage irresponsible and/or impulsive buyers--they will be always be part of our hobby.

Again, for what it is worth, I have no personal interest in keeping Draco. But as a keeper of arboreal agamines, I think--no, I know--that learning about this genus would be quite educational. For example: Do they live in the canopy, or on the trunks? How large are their territories? Can they be ecologically compared to Anolis? How much intraspecific aggression? Do they need ants? And: Why, compared to other arboreal lizards--are they so prone to dehydration? More than Calotes or Acanthosaura? Learning about these guys would enhance my knowledge of Japalura, Calotes, Gonocephalus, etc. Maybe not in terms of specific husbandry, but certainly in regards to their evolutionary ecology-- which should be the basis of our husbandry, no?
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Old 04-03-2013, 04:43 PM
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Dave, I agree that I was too focused on the result of successfully keeping these guys and because it it, many animals died. I can agree with that. If they were not a common species, I would have had even more reservations. My goal was to supply CB animals that would live, to crowd out the WC ones that died. I evolved a little, I've bred them to F3 so far, hoping for F4 this year (but have limited females), and really, before I buy 600 more WC ones, I'd like to do it right, and not just hope for the best.

Just buying a few is not going to reach that goal of captive breeding these guys, and it will do nothing to keep ill-fated imports from coming here in the future. While I might not agree, now, with buying all those Dracos to see them die, that process could still keep cheap ones destined to die from coming in if I can ever produce enough.

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But if their export conditions were continually poor, and massive die-offs were almost assured, don't you think that buying up every one that came into the country just perpetuated the status quo of bad shipping standards?
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

So 600 of these little creatures have to die in order for us (you) to have 13 of them? What is the point of that? Because we (you) want them?

I'm sure I must be missing some important element to this.
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Old 04-04-2013, 12:58 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Frogface, why do you keep dart frogs? Why do we keep anything? I'm sure that in the beginning of the dart frog hobby, the numbers were just about the same.

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Old 04-04-2013, 12:59 AM
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Frogface, why do you keep dart frogs? Why do we keep anything? I'm sure that in the beginning of the dart frog hobby, the numbers were just about the same.

D
Aaah the sins of our fathers. I dunno.
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Old 04-04-2013, 02:02 AM
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Aaah the sins of our fathers. I dunno.
Unfortunately yes, think of how many $10 histronica wound up in a 10 yo's critter keeper during the 90's! Though, I agree with you to some point, .4% survival rate is pretty crummy.

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Old 04-04-2013, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

These have been coming in for many years, so that was not going to stop. The goal was/is to get a large bough captive colony going and breeding, that I could make WC animals no longer in-demand, within the trade. I've never been able to produce large enough numbers to sell any, but maybe one day.

Also, when I started, I had no idea it would take that many. My first group was only six specimens. A few years later I was buying 30-60 lots of them as soon as they arrived.

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So 600 of these little creatures have to die in order for us (you) to have 13 of them? What is the point of that? Because we (you) want them?

I'm sure I must be missing some important element to this.
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Old 04-04-2013, 04:15 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

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So 600 of these little creatures have to die in order for us (you) to have 13 of them? What is the point of that? Because we (you) want them?

I'm sure I must be missing some important element to this.
They were imported regardless of whether Justin bought them, so the number of survivors could have been far less if Justin wasn't persistent. This situation is probably analogous to the number of WC pumilio or auratus that have come in in the past 10 or so years. Obviously, there is a higher survival rate with those two species, but I'm willing to bet there have been at least 600 of them dying.

Groundhog, the only question I can answer in your list is regarding the ecological niche of these... An interesting phenomenon is how Old World Agamids fill very similar niches to New World Iguanids (when viewed as the superfamily Iguanidae prior to the split). You are correct that Draco spp. fit similar niches to Anolis spp. Dracos even have dewlaps!
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:49 AM
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Draco's are the old world Anolis!

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They were imported regardless of whether Justin bought them, so the number of survivors could have been far less if Justin wasn't persistent. This situation is probably analogous to the number of WC pumilio or auratus that have come in in the past 10 or so years. Obviously, there is a higher survival rate with those two species, but I'm willing to bet there have been at least 600 of them dying.

Groundhog, the only question I can answer in your list is regarding the ecological niche of these... An interesting phenomenon is how Old World Agamids fill very similar niches to New World Iguanids (when viewed as the superfamily Iguanidae prior to the split). You are correct that Draco spp. fit similar niches to Anolis spp. Dracos even have dewlaps!
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Old 04-04-2013, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Flying Dragons (Draco maculatus)

Spaff, I have been doing this since 1984, and I can tell you that survival rates were awful, especially for arboreal agamines, chameleons, Asian rat snakes, phyllomedusines, tropical salamanders, etc.

Then came:
--Vita Lite and Veri Lux;
--Real diet supplements like Zoomed and Nekton;
--Books like Elke Zimmerman's Breeding Terrarium Animals;
--increased captive breeding;
--Tropiflora and Black Jungle;
--The AVS series on herp care;
--Naturalistic vivaria;
--Sites like this one.

Back in the day, the problem was baby iguanas and boas dying; today it is abandonment--aah, the sins of the present. (That is why I think the pet lobbying groups go to far in their libertarian stance; we, as a hobby, have to acknowledge that there are some real idiots who keep exotics. It's real simple, people--if we don't do something about them, the Man will... )

But, in my 29 years of doing this, I have never heard, "Hey! Check these out! But don't ask me no questions, because I refuse to share my findings with the great unwashed..." Oh yeah, I've encountered those who do not share breeding secrets (and this is certainly not uncommon among plant snobs.) And in fairness, there was a time when some professionals were reluctant to share techniques and findings with "amateurs" (I just dismissed this as proprietary turf bullshit...)

I maintain that, to be a good herpetoculturist is to be holisitc and eclectic. By all means, I agree with the dictum to keep less species and "do more with the species you have." But learning is not neatly bounded--I keep lizards and tree frogs, but I learn about plant husbandry here. And while I may not care about the details of some dendrobatid's sex life, I do care about the species' welfare.

Let us say I decide to keep and breed ONE species of day gecko. I buy a couple of books--am I only going to read the sections on my species?!? Of course not... I suggest, as a heuristic tool, it is easier to abstract from the general to the specific than the other way round. (Learn lizards->geckos->day geckos-> P. robetmertensii.

So, please forgive what I thought were intelligent, relevant questions, in the spirit of contributing to knowledge

P. S.

If I could write a narrative worth a damn, I would so do The Secret Society of Draco--like Rosemary's Baby meets The Orchid Thief... Dallas Roberts as Steve Irwin, Robert Downey Jr, as Ed--who plays the ruthless Asian exporter dude?...
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