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Glossary of Herpetological Terms

... compiled by Dave Royans & Sue Knight
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Term Definition

Refers to caves hollows and other formations in weathered Limestone which often provide suitable habitat for reptiles typified by the presence of red soil.


The study of sets of chromosomes.


A standard presentation of all the chromosomes in a cell.

The practise of eating a slough/shed skin. The practise is more usual in Lizard species where 248 species in 16 different families have been recorded both from captivity and in the wild. 19 cases of keratophagy in 14 species of snake from 4 families (Boidae Colubridae Elapidae and Viperidae) have currently been reported. All except one were in captive environments whether this is a reflection of the greater likelihood of witnessing such an event in captivity is unknown. Various theories have been put forward for its reason ranging from nutritional properties of the sloughs sensitivity of skin accidental ingestion avoidance of predators reduced parasite load and specifically for snakes artificial behaviour related to stress. All these hypotheses may have merit under certain circumstances with probably accidental ingestion being the most likely in most cases from food scent transference to misidentified slough for prey.
Greek: Meaning Hollow
KY Jelly
KY Jelly is a water-based lubricant often used to lubricate probes before sexing a snake
This site has information on the following genera of Ratsnakes ... Spilotes, Spalerosophis, Ptyas, Zamenis, Elaphe, Rhinechis, Senticolis, Pseudelaphe, Pantherophis, Bogertophis, Orthriophis, Gonyosoma, Oreocryptophis, Oocatochus, Euprepiophis, Coelognathus, Archelaphe