26 October 2000
SUMMER wasn't quite been the warm herp-friendly season we hoped it would be in the UK (pouring rain and frankly chilly temperatures), but things have been ticking on in the Cyberburrow.
The biggest change you may notice on this site is that the reptile and amphibian pages have been placed together on the index page as "Herpetology". This does not mean that we have downsized - far from it. Rather, we found that some of the links we were putting in the reptile pages we were having to duplicate in the amphibian pages, and vice versa. Also, some issues relate to both classes, so it seemed right that we should have a sort of central page for them. It also seemed logical as after two years of doing this I have realised that many reptile keepers are interested in amphibians, and vice versa, and that we often face the same problems. Rest assured that we have not removed any of our pages, and that we will continue to add to the appropriate reptile or amphibian sections.
In July we added our second major snake guide, a survey of the various Thamnophis species. This is not so much a care sheet (there are some good books on Garter and Ribbon snakes listed in the Bibliography) as a listing of the different species, their ranges and (hopefully) how to tell one from another. Another snake guide, this time on the Elaphe rat snakes, is now about halfway finished. Again, the aim is not to replace the books on the subject but simply to give a quick guide and to encourage the interested person to go and read the books. I am aware of the criticism that there are too many self-styled "experts" on the Web producing quickfire and often inaccurate information, which is why I wrote the "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" article. If this site has been of help to anybody with reptiles or amphibians (or rodents or any other creatures) then it will have achieved its main aim.
The two large lizard projects we have undertaken on the site are still unfinished, namely the Gecko and Monitor pages, which I do want to complete soon. Work on the monitors is still proceeding, but I must admit the geckos have taken a back seat recently. They will be a project quite long in completion, as there are 700 species to cover. We are currently also updating and adding to the European Herptile pages, and as part of that we would like to add something on the lines of the Monitor pages for the lacertid lizards, which are quite a large family but which have little dedicated to them at the moment. We also intend to add a guide for frogs and toads similar to the one we did for salamanders and newts.
One important change that we are trying to work in is a more systematic way of describing the lizards and snakes in our family and genus guides. Readers of the Thamnophis page will notice that we are starting to put such items in bold as the number of ventral scales, scale rows, size of broods, etc. Hopefully this will allow people to take the information in at a glance, and to help in this process we would like to put a quick guide to distinguishing reptiles (including chelonians and maybe even crocodiles, amphisbaenians and the tuatara) in the not-too-distant future.
Non-herp related stuff is still being added on a secondary basis: we added a couple of popular computer strategy games to the Games page recently and have updated the Space Truckers link. We also added a few books recently. Weightier stuff (such as Weightier Matters) is on the back burner for the moment, although I can still think of some films I would like to review. Thanks to everyone who has sent us E-mails recently.
May 2000 (II)
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