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2016 ZooChat UK Challenge

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by Shorts, 31 Dec 2015.

  1. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    Just one word: Reptiles

    Snakes, lizards, crocodilians, tortoises, turtles, terrapins and let's not forget the wonderful tuatara.

    I know this challenge may leave many cold but hope it might encourage a few to pay a little more attention to some fascinating "non-mammals". I had a similar "Damascus" experience myself with birds when I visited Blackbrook at it's peak (no pun intended) and, lacking mammals, was forced to take more time to appreciate the birds on show. In short, get involved -it might be good for you, see it as adding a little more fibre to your "zoo diet" :D.

    I was a little concerned that last year's challenge was a little too daunting and perhaps alienating so I've tried to make this one a little lighter. The logic behind this is that because I feel it's impossible to see all the reptiles in the UK in a year (and nobody would attempt this) this means that it's realistically possible to build up a substantial total without having to travel (too) massive distances across the whole country. Sure, to win you still need to travel but I genuinely believe it's possible to win this challenge by focusing on a few areas and visiting a lot of collections in those areas.

    Whilst some collections (such as London and perhaps a couple of others) will certainly be needed to be visited to underpin chances of winning the combination of many species being represented in a number of collections and some species only being present at a small number of places means that there is most likely more than one way of winning this challenge -that's what, I hope, keeps it interesting and accessible to many.

    An interesting random factor is that, like birds of prey species, reptiles often "pop up"/appear from nowhere, especially at smaller collections, so it's likely that the number and types of species on show at the start of the year will be different to that at the end.

    As always, I'm keeping the challenge to a species level as I don't want to get bogged down in the quagmire of debating validity of sub-species and/or genetic purity of specific animals (Nile Crocodiles anyone?). Taxonomy is not the greatest strength of mine so I'll rely on others to challenge anyone trying to sneak sub-species in and, if necessary, I'll take appropriate counsel for assistance on any related debates. My decision on any of these squabbles is "final" (subject to better evidence being presented and new scientific findings).

    I'm not sure of the (current) maximum number of species potentially viewable in the UK and perhaps only someone with too much time would do the research to find out :D. To be honest, I'm not sure that a definitive total could be established given the inaccuracies that tend to exist on Zootierliste for the smaller, less-visited, collections. In a way I'm hoping this keeps the challenge fun and encourages people to visit a load of collections, pay more attention to the reptiles and note what they see (i.e. minimum of effort/stress).

    For clarification, rules are as follows:

    1. You have to actually see the animal, even if just for a second. You don't score if you visit a collection but don't see the animal (harsh, but fair);
    2. Proof via photographs is not required, your word is your bond;
    3. You have to see the animal via normal public access (i.e. not including zookeeper for the day or photography days behind the scenes) during normal public opening hours (i.e. no scoring because you know the keeper and can get access before/after hours). Basically the species has to be seen as Joe Public would;
    4. Any severely limited opening or private collections (e.g. Heythrop, WHF, and any similar collections or refuges) don't count for this challenge. Controversial I know, but see previous point and I didn't think it fair to include a handful of days these collections might be open to the public as this might logistically disadvantage a large number of people;
    5. Report/update your progress on this thread as you go along (let's say mandatory reporting from fifteen species and above);
    6. The winner will be deemed to be the person(s) who's seen the most at 31st December 2016;
    7. My (final) decision is final but I'm open to discussion and debate on any specific points.

    Right, do your Zootierliste research, get your atlases out and Satnavs/smart phones set, go!!

    As a bonus this year, and for a bit of silly fun, I'm planning to give out an additional trophy to the person who sees the same reptile species at the largest number of collections (i'm thinking this probably means Bearded Dragons, Leopard Geckos or Corn Snakes but we'll see).

    Finally, can Hevden please get in touch and let me know their address so I can arrange delivery of 2015's trophy? (I'm getting deja vu there :)).
     
  2. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    This, I think, will be a fun one. I suspect I stand little to no chance of being in the top rankings, however, as this will be a challenge where those who visit a lot more collections than I do (zoogiraffe et al) will have a distinct advantage than myself :p

    As such I'll set myself a relatively simple challenge - to get at least five lifeticks in these groups over the course of 2016.
     
  3. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Nice one shorts,suspect I will have fun with this one!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I would say spoil sport about your comments abut Nile Crocodile purity,but almost all the Niles in the UK are of known origin,well atleast to me they are,if you had said African Dwarf Crocodiles then that is a can of worms,as those that were with me at Whipsnade yesterday can attest to!!!

    Also seeing as you are counting Tuatara in the count are you also including all Bird species as well :p
     
  4. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't get it?
     
  5. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Quite; at least twenty minutes of debate at the enclosure and subsequent revivals of the discussion throughout the day rather demonstrate this is a thorny one :p of course, if the forthcoming paper officially elevating the three subspecies to species level is released within 2016, it's a thorny one which we will have to tackle!

    I believe he is being cheeky and pointing out that if tuatatas (non-squamate lepidosaurians) and crocodiles (non-avian archosaurs) are counted, birds could be too :p

    I think the challenge will be demanding enough as it is!
     
  6. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

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    perhaps if he had said crocodiles. The joke makes no sense with tuatara.
     
  7. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Think I know what the answer to this is, but just want to check for clarity: Where do you stand on pet shops/aquatic shops/garden centres? My assumption is that they don't count, however they are open to the public with set times, so would be seen as Joe Public would see them and wouldn't fit the bill of limited opening, special tours etc- anybody with enough commitment could in theory visit these so it wouldn't put anybody at a disadvantage. [You may class them as private collections though, but don't know how you're splitting what is public access and what is private - to me they are public access but privately owned - as are some zoos that would count].

    Of course, if they do count it adds the interest of changing stock meaning repeat visits to a local exotics shop could be highly fruitful.

    Finally, I don't think wild-seen animals counted last year so I'm assuming that rule carries forward to this challenge [not that I've ever been lucky enough to see any of our native wild reptiles].
     
  8. vogelcommando

    vogelcommando Well-Known Member

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    To start with, I'm not going to win this challenge because WHEN I will visit the UK during 2016, I'm afraid it will only include one or at most a few collections, anyway too few to make a chance to win the challenge !
    For the "extra" challenge I don't think it will be Bearded dragon, Leopard gecko nor Corn snake which is the most commonly kept herp, I would say Red-eared slider is the one which can be seen in the largest number of collections.
     
  9. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    There's always one :D.

    Pet shops/aquatic shops/garden centres don't count, because:

    1. Almost all the animals are there primarily for sale (or drawing people in to buy things), not primarily exhibition. That's not really what a zoo's about;
    2. It wouldn't be a level playing field for people competing as not all of the places are well known and animals on display wouldn't usually be there for too long (that's similar to the reason why zoos/refuges that are only open a handful of days per year don't count);
    3. They're not on Zootierliste;
    4. They don't have a zoo licence;
    5. Things are complex enough already.

    Wild animals don't count, largely for reasons 2-5 above.
     
  10. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    Can't argue with that, thought it'd be the case and makes a lot of sense :)
     
  11. adrian1963

    adrian1963 Well-Known Member

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    And it's not me this time lol
     
  12. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    So reading that if the Pet shop holds a zoo licence it can be counted then,in which case what a pity Wharf Aquatics no longer has one!!!
     
  13. Shorts

    Shorts Well-Known Member

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    No, it'd still fail due to reasons 1 & 2 (they're really the key/deciding issues issues, the rest just further the opinion in most cases). :D

    Regardless of that, Wharf Aquatics is always worth a visit though -I've seen species there that I've never seen in a zoo (I'm not sure what the staff think when I start taking photos of their stock :D).
     
  14. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    To be fair, when it comes to point 2 only the second half is a viable reason - " and animals on display wouldn't usually be there for too long " - as the first half - "not all of the places are well known" - could be equally applied to obscure little zoological collections :p

    And of course, it'll never be an entirely level playing field -someone living in London with easy access to the reptile house at Regents Park will have an advantage over someone like myself in a relatively zoo-poor area; overall, though, I think the challenge is as level as it could possibly be.
     
  15. KevinVar

    KevinVar Well-Known Member

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    It took a little longer, but as discussed with Shorts I have created an equal challenge for members from Belgium and the Netherlands. I'm looking forward to see how much the results will differ both figure and species wise. :)
     
  16. zoogiraffe

    zoogiraffe Well-Known Member

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    Well lets get this challenge started and give the rest of you something to shoot at,but this year I will only list the species that I have seen and not the collection I have seen them at,as I know where quite a few odd species are kept that aren't on zootierlist,so I plan on making people work this year!!

    1) Tentacled Snake (Erpeton tentaculatum)
    2) False Gharial (Tomistoma schlegelii)
    3) Giant Asian Pond Turtle (Heosemys grandis)
    4) Painted Turtle (Batagur borneonsis)
    5) Burmese Brown Tortoise (Manouria emys)
    6) Annam Leaf Turtle (Mauremys annamensis)
    7) Roti Island Snake-necked Turtle (Chelodina mccordi)
    8) Red-tailed Racer (Gonysoma oxycephala)
    9) Bell's Angle-headed Lizard (Gonocephalus bellii)
    10) Reticulated Python (Malayopython reticulatus)
    11) Mangrove Snake (Boiga dendrophila melanota)
    12) White-lipped Viper (Cryptelytrops albolabris)
    13) Asian Water Dragon (Physignathus cocincinus)
    14) Crocodile Monitor (Varanus salvadorii)
    15) Gaboon Viper (Bitis rhinoceros)
    16) Parson`s Chameleon (Calumma parsonii)
    17) Galapagos Giant Tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra)
    18) Radiated Tortoise (Astrochelys radiata)
    19) Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus)
    20) Casque-headed Lizard (Laemanctus serratus)
    21) Caiman Lizard (Dracaena guianensis)
    22) Green Crested Lizard (Bronchocela cristatella)
    23) Indochinese Box Turtle (Cistoclemmys galbinifrons)
    24) Yellow Spotted Amazon River Turtle (Podocnemis unifilis)
    25) Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)
    26) Panther Chameleon (Furcifer pardalis)
    27) Green Iguana (Iguana iguana)
    28) Yellow Rat Snake (Pantherophis alleghaniensis)
    29) Corn Snake (Pantherophis guttatus)
    30) Horsfields Tortoise (Testudo horsfieldii)
    31) Central Bearded Dragon (Pogona vitticeps)
    32) Royal Python (Python regius)
    33) Berber Skink (Eumeces schneideri)
    34) Yellow Anaconda (Eunectes notaeus)
    35) Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)
    36) Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
    37) Common Boa Constrictor (Boa constrictor)
    38) Crested Gecko (Correlophus ciliatus)
    39) Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius)
    40) Savannah Monitor (Varanus exanthematicus)

    I suspect many of you will be able to work out which collections I have visited,and will also work out that I had more than a few no-shows but they will be picked up at somepoint!!!
     
  17. SHAVINGTONZOO

    SHAVINGTONZOO Well-Known Member

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    On a visit to Drusillas some years ago I was delighted to see a Common Lizard sunning itself on the road as I walked from the nearest railway station.

    A wild reptile seen whilst walking to a zoo!

    :)
     
  18. TeaLovingDave

    TeaLovingDave Moderator Staff Member

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    Last year I saw about half a dozen wild herp taxa on the grounds of Alpenzoo :)
     
  19. Javan Rhino

    Javan Rhino Well-Known Member

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    I've seen lizards in Spain and Canary Islands, just nothing in this country :p
     
  20. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

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    Well, for a few hours at least, I am ahead of Zoogiraffe!
    After visiting Whipsnade (13 species) on 1/1/16 and London Zoo (35) today, my total is 48. Only 2 no shows in the Reptile House, I was surprised there were only 31 possibles in there! I have made a list, but won't waste my time typing it out yet, as I'm pretty sure I'll be out of contention within a week or so!