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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles

Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff’s zoo

A Florida inmate has been arrested for feeding pet iguanas to an alligator at the sheriff’s zoo — next to the jail — after fellow inmates ratted him out, investigators said.

Jason Aaron Gibson, a 40-year-old suspected car thief, was one of the select inmates given the “privilege” of working outside at the petting zoo on Stock Island, officials at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told the Miami Herald.

Two other inmates who worked at the farm were left “distraught” and “heartbroken” after witnessing Gibson toss iguanas to a six-foot alligator named Irwin multiple times, officials said.

FLORIDA HUNTER DISCOVERS HUMAN REMAINS AT OCALA NATIONAL FOREST: SMELLED ‘LIKE DEATH’

Westlake Legal Group iguana-gibson Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

Gibson allegedly confessed to tossing Mojo and a smaller iguana to the six-foot gator. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

“I was so proud of them for stepping forward,” Jeanne Selander, a civilian jail employee running the farm, told the Herald. “They just couldn’t accept that. They really cared. I’m so sad they had to witness it.”

The death of “Mojo,” a large iguana who had lived at the farm for over a decade, hit staff members at the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office Animal Farm particularly hard.

FLORIDA VENOMOUS SNAKE EATS ANOTHER SNAKE AS GIANT WASP ATTACKS IN WILD VIDEO

“He was more of a pet,” Selander said. “I’m still in disbelief. Thirteen years I’ve been doing this and I’ve never had anyone do anything to the animals.”

Irwin the gator, which reportedly was fed dead rats once a week, ate at least one smaller iguana but didn’t eat Mojo because it was “too big,” Selander said. The gator reportedly held Mojo underwater for 30 minutes and left its carcass in the habitat.

Westlake Legal Group irwin-the-alligator-Monroe-County-Sheriffs-Office-Animal-Farm Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

Irwin the gator didn’t eat Mojo because the iguana was “too big,” staff said. (Monroe County Sheriff’s Office)

“Occasionally an iguana falls in and that’s the circle of life,” she told the Herald. “You don’t physically catch one and feed it. That is so cruel.”

Gibson was arrested Monday he admitted to the deeds, claiming the iguanas were a “nuisance” that “terrorize the other animals” at the farm, according to an arrest report obtained by the paper.

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He was charged with two counts of felony animal cruelty causing death, pain and suffering. He had been awaiting trial since June on a charge of grand theft auto.

The petting zoo opened in 1994 and has housed more than 150 animals, according to the Herald. The farm has been open to the public for free twice a month and has held special holiday events.

Westlake Legal Group florida-inmate-feeds-iguana-to-alligator-at-jail-zoo-inset Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article   Westlake Legal Group florida-inmate-feeds-iguana-to-alligator-at-jail-zoo-inset Florida inmate charged with feeding pet iguanas to alligator at sheriff's zoo Stephen Sorace fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/odd-news fox news fnc/us fnc ec2a1322-dcf3-531a-8997-e9627d34f5b4 article

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Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has charged two suspects for poaching thousands of native turtles in Florida in what the agency says is the largest seizure of turtles in recent history.

“The illegal trade of turtles is having a global impact on many turtle species and our ecosystems. We commend our law enforcement’s work to address the crisis of illegal wildlife trafficking,” FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said.

The two suspects were found in possession of hundreds of turtles that had a black market value of $200,000. Over 4,000 turtles were taken illegally and sold over a 6-month period, according to the agency. The sellers reportedly received cash and even traded turtles for Marijuana products on occasion.

MASSIVE ELEPHANT FOUND DEAD ON TOP OF SQUISHED CROCODILE

Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

FWC Photo (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

Michael Boesenberg, 39, was charged with dealing in stolen property as an organizer, 9 counts of standard caging requirements for captured wildlife, 3 counts of taking over the bag limit of turtles, being over the possession limit of turtles, sale and offering turtles taken in the wild, possession of marine turtle parts, possession of black bear parts, possession of marijuana, possession and intent to sell drugs, and possession of a controlled substance, according to the FWC.

Westlake Legal Group Michael-Boesenberg-Lee-County-Sheriff-office Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

Michael Boesenberg, 39, faces charges for possession and sale of sea turtles (Lee County Sheriff office)

Michael Clemons, 23, was charged with two counts of taking over the bag limit of turtles, being over the possession limit of box turtles, selling and offering for sale turtles taken from the wild, and transporting wild-caught turtles without a permit, the agency reported.

Westlake Legal Group 48860381332_0b68e28f57_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has charged two suspects for poaching thousands of native turtles in Florida in what agency says is the largest seizure of turtles in recent history. (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The FWC says they launched a sting operation after receiving a tip in February 2018. As a result of a search warrant on Aug. 12, they determined that a “well-organized” ring of wildlife traffickers were illegally catching and selling wild turtles to large reptile dealers and illegal distributors who shipped a large majority of them overseas on the black market.

“Putting a stop to this criminal enterprise is a significant win for conservation,” said Col. Curtis Brown, head of FWC’s Division of Law Enforcement. “Arresting people engaged in illegal wildlife trafficking supports our environment and legal businesses. It is especially positive and rewarding to be able to release many of the turtles back into the wild.”

“We know that the global black market in live animals includes traffickers smuggling protected species of turtles out of the United States, usually for export to the Asian pet market,” Dr. Craig Stanford, Chairman of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Tortoise and Freshwater Turtle Specialist Group told the FWC. “This sinister and illegal trade threatens the future of many species of North American animals, and as one of the most threatened animal groups on the planet, turtles are at the forefront of our concern.”

BOA CONSTRICTOR ‘AT LARGE’ IN AUSTRALIAN TOWN, ‘FRESHLY SHED’ SKIN DISCOVERED

Westlake Legal Group 48860381067_af7d02d048_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

Over 4,000 turtles were taken illegally and sold over a 6-month period (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The pair reportedly targeted habitats known for the specific species, eventually depleting the turtle populations so much that they had to expand to other areas of the state to meet their growing demand.

“Wild turtle populations cannot sustain the level of harvest that took place here,” said Dr. Brooke Talley, the Reptile and Amphibian Conservation Coordinator for the FWC. “This will likely have consequences for the entire ecosystem and is a detriment for our citizens and future generations.”

Westlake Legal Group 48859831613_3bd7631496_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The FWC says they launched a sting operation after receiving a tip back in February 2018 (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

The species taken included: Florida box turtles, Eastern box turtles, striped mud turtles, Florida mud turtles, chicken turtles, Florida softshell turtles, Gulf Coast spiny softshell turtles, spotted turtles and diamondback terrapins.

Investigators also found the pair to be in possession of the skull and shell of a protected Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest species of sea turtle that’s also on the critically endangered list.

Westlake Legal Group 48859831933_0ddd8e39b5_b Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

The skull and shell of a protected Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, the rarest species of sea turtle on the critically endangered list. (Florida Fish and Wildlife)

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The seized turtles were given a health evaluation and had their species identified by biologists at the FWC. The agency says over 600 turtles were returned to the wild and two dozen were quarantined and released at a later date. The illegal commercialization of wildlife ranks fourth behind guns, drugs and human smuggling, according to the agency.

Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e   Westlake Legal Group 48860380802_d6cddbe734_k Two suspects charged in largest seizure of turtles in recent history, FWC says fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/crime fox-news/us fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc David Aaro article 491ec08e-f360-556e-bb26-92230ca8a23e

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Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile

A fight between an elephant and a crocodile in Africa ended in both creatures dying. But what shocked onlookers is that the massive mammal landed on top of the crocodile, flattening the reptile in the process.

A photo of the bizarre sight was posted to Kafunta Safari’s Facebook page and it was deemed an “extremely strange situation,” with authorities called in to investigate.

“The park authorities were called (to investigate death of elephant and eventually remove the tusks) and they suspect the elephant was injured and the croc was following it, when the elephant collapse while trying to climb the bank of the river,” Kafunta wrote on Facebook. “Squashing the croc. Very strange. The park authorities didn’t find any trace of human foul play in regards to the elephant’s death.”

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

ENORMOUS 30-FOOT CROCODILE TERRORIZED DINOSAURS 210M YEARS AGO

The incident, which took place at Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, was discovered by Kafunta’s guide, Andrew Mwanza, on Oct. 8.

Although elephants outweigh crocodiles by a considerable margin, the dangerous reptiles have been known to attack young elephants or those that are sick or injured. In 2010, National Geographic captured rare photos of a Nile crocodile attacking an adult elephant.

Westlake Legal Group kufanta Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

Nile crocodiles can reach up to 16 feet in length and weigh up to 500 pounds.

“From the pictures I’ve seen, the croc was a small subadult or small adult, and I highly doubt it was trying to take an injured adult elephant down. That seems like a lot of work for a smaller predator, and not in its favor,” Marisa Tellez, co-founder of the Crocodile Research Coalition, said in an interview with LiveScience.

Westlake Legal Group luangwa-safaris-kafunta-zambia-tourism-wildlife Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

(Credit: Kafunta Safaris)

“Of course, you will always have more bold individuals that will take more than they bargained for,” Tellez added. “I am also wondering if this may have been a young female defending her nest from an elephant possibly trampling all over it.”

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Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f   Westlake Legal Group luangwa-kafunta-safaris-zambia-wildlife-travel Massive elephant found dead on top of squished crocodile fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature/mammals fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 1c25dd01-9f1e-5829-803a-f42fd739871f

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Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python

Officials in South Florida captured a record-breaking 18-foot, 4-inch Burmese python in Big Cypress National Preserve last month as part of an ongoing effort to remove the invasive species from the Sunshine State.

Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Python Action Team (FWC PAT) captured the 98-pound, 10-ounce female snake on Sept. 22, the commission announced Friday.

Westlake Legal Group 48799882251_4771f2b8f5_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

Cynthia Downer and Jonathan Lopez brought in a 98-pound, 10-ounce python from the Big Cypress National Preserve. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

It is the largest snake ever caught by the team and the largest captured at the Big Cypress preserve. It’s also the second-largest python ever caught in the wild in Florida and just four inches short of being the longest wild python ever captured in Florida.

According to Fox 13 Tampa, the largest python ever caught in Florida was captured in 2013. That female python was over 18 feet, 8 inches long and weighed 128 pounds.

“Capturing large adult females is critical because it prevents them from potentially adding an average of 30 to 60 hatchlings to the population each time they breed,” the FWC said in a statement.

Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s Python Action Team caught its largest snake last month. (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

“These snakes, coupled with the thousands removed by our partners at the National Park Service and the South Florida Water Management District, make a significant impact to protect Florida’s native wildlife,” FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton said in a statement. “With leadership from Gov. Ron DeSantis, we are committed to working with our partners […] to accomplish our goal of removing pythons from our beautiful state.”

PIT BULL DIES AFTER PROTECTING FLORIDA KIDS FROM SNAKE, FAMILY SAYS

Environmentalists say Burmese pythons are responsible for killing deer, alligators and other important wildlife in the state. Their presence in the wild is the result of the snakes escaping or being released from homes where people keep them as pets.

The FWC also announced Friday that its Python Action Team had captured its 900th Burmese python on Sept. 24 in the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor Wildlife Management Area in Miami-Dade County. That snake weighed just a quarter of a pound and measured just over two feet long.

The public can help by reporting snake sightings online, using the app “IVEGOT1” or by calling the state’s Exotic Species Hotline at 888-IveGot1 (888-483-4681), the commission added.

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Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207   Westlake Legal Group 48799882606_d63ee6a928_k Florida wildlife officials capture 18-foot, 98-pound Burmese python Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/wild-nature fox-news/great-outdoors fox news fnc/science fnc article 9a38e54a-ca26-5b26-85ce-e1fa597c1207

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Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

A Florida family is devastated that an eight-month-old pit bull died Tuesday after protecting two boys from a venomous snake.

Gary and Gina Richardson’s sons were in their backyard Monday in Sumter Country cleaning their dog Zeus’ water bowl when a coral snake slithered undetected up to the two children.

“All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son and he was bit four times,” Gary told Fox 35.

5 ARRESTED IN FLORIDA DOGFIGHTING RING: DOJ

The family rushed Zeus to a vet in Ocala.

“I knew when he first came in that something was wrong and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying,” Gary said.

The vet gave the puppy medicine and the family was hopeful that he would get better, but he died the next day.

“He’s been a member of the family,” Gina said. “It just killed us. We just knew the antivenom was going to work.”

Zeus had lived with the Richardsons since he was born in January.

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“Pit bulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life,” Gary said.

“If you find (a pit bull) that’s aggressive, most likely, it’s because they weren’t treated right,” Gina said. “If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

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Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

A Florida family is devastated that an eight-month-old pit bull died Tuesday after protecting two boys from a venomous snake.

Gary and Gina Richardson’s sons were in their backyard Monday in Sumter Country cleaning their dog Zeus’ water bowl when a coral snake slithered undetected up to the two children.

“All of a sudden, he started attacking the snake which was close to my son and he was bit four times,” Gary told Fox 35.

5 ARRESTED IN FLORIDA DOGFIGHTING RING: DOJ

The family rushed Zeus to a vet in Ocala.

“I knew when he first came in that something was wrong and (it) was very traumatic because I knew he was dying,” Gary said.

The vet gave the puppy medicine and the family was hopeful that he would get better, but he died the next day.

“He’s been a member of the family,” Gina said. “It just killed us. We just knew the antivenom was going to work.”

Zeus had lived with the Richardsons since he was born in January.

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“Pit bulls are the most loyal dog I know of, and I’ve had a lot of different animals in my life,” Gary said.

“If you find (a pit bull) that’s aggressive, most likely, it’s because they weren’t treated right,” Gina said. “If you treat them right, they would give their life for you and I owe my son’s life to him.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6090302634001_6090299845001-vs Pit bull dies after protecting Florida kids from snake, family says Vandana Rambaran fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/florida fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/lifestyle/pets fox news fnc/us fnc fe7c0644-6b3c-5e06-bd15-da756b59390b article

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Huge ‘well-fed’ snake caught in Australia, dubbed ‘Chonk’

A snake catcher in Australia has snared a huge red-bellied black snake, dubbed “Chonk” because of its sturdy appearance.

Reuters reports that the venomous 6-foot snake was caught by Bryce Lockett at a rifle range on the outskirts of Brisbane. Lockett told the news outlet that the snake slithered out of a creek system where it had been kept “well-fed” thanks to fish and frogs.

MUTANT SNAKE WITH THREE WORKING EYES FOUND IN AUSTRALIA

Westlake Legal Group Snake-RT Huge 'well-fed' snake caught in Australia, dubbed 'Chonk' James Rogers fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/science fnc article 2dcd579f-d144-501c-bc00-83ef36a4c28c

The huge “well fed” snake. (Snake Catchers Brisbane, Ipswich/via REUTERS)

“Red-bellied Black Snakes are one of the most frequently encountered snakes on the east coast of Australia, and are responsible for a number of bites every year,” says the Australian Museum, on its website. “Despite the number of bites received every year, very few human deaths have resulted.”

The museum explains that many of the snake’s bite victims “experience only mild or negligible” symptoms, although some end up being hospitalized.

HUGE VENOMOUS SNAKE ‘HIDING’ NEAR PLAYGROUND CAPTURED AFTER BRIEF STRUGGLE, VIDEO SHOWS

A large eastern brown snake was recently caught within 16 feet of a children’s playground in Australia.

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Earlier this year, a mutant snake with three working eyes was found in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia and Ann W. Schmidt contributed to this article. Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

Westlake Legal Group Snake-RT Huge 'well-fed' snake caught in Australia, dubbed 'Chonk' James Rogers fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/science fnc article 2dcd579f-d144-501c-bc00-83ef36a4c28c   Westlake Legal Group Snake-RT Huge 'well-fed' snake caught in Australia, dubbed 'Chonk' James Rogers fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/science fnc article 2dcd579f-d144-501c-bc00-83ef36a4c28c

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Mysterious 180M-year-old Jurassic-era crocodile identified

The identity of a massive prehistoric crocodile that lived 180 million years ago has finally been determined, nearly 250 years after its fossils were first discovered.

Known as Mystriosaurus laurillardi, the ancient reptile, which could reach nearly 15 feet in length, was first discovered in a Bavarian town in the 1770s. However, it was not properly identified until now because it was thought to be a member of a similar species, Steneosaurus bollensis.

“Mystriosaurus looked like a gharial but it had a shorter snout with its nasal opening facing forwards, whereas in nearly all other fossil and living crocodiles the nasal opening is placed on top of the snout,” the study’s lead author, Sven Sachs, said in a statement.

Westlake Legal Group jurassic-crocodile-1 Mysterious 180M-year-old Jurassic-era crocodile identified fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/archaeology/fossils fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 0c5b406e-bc8f-5b5c-833d-eed3e1b2ee35

The predator’s skull was found in a Bavarian town in the 1770s but experts have now discovered it was a Mystriosaurus laurillardi. (Credit: SWNS)

FOSSILS OF ‘SQUAWKZILLA,’ 19 MILLION-YEAR-OLD CANNIBAL PARROT, FOUND IN NEW ZEALAND

The research has been published in the scientific journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica.

M. laurillardi flourished during the Jurassic period and resided in the warm seas of the Earth during that period, along with several other large marine reptiles, including ichthyosaurs, according to researchers.

In April 2018, the jawbone fossil of a 205-million-year-old ichthyosaur was discovered in southwestern England, making it “one of the largest animals to ever live” — nearly the size of a blue whale.

The scientists added that the discovery of the fossil, in Germany and the U.K., where another skull was found in Yorkshire in the 1800s, highlighted that it could swim between islands, similar to its modern-day relative, saltwater crocodiles.

Westlake Legal Group jurassic-crocodile-2 Mysterious 180M-year-old Jurassic-era crocodile identified fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/archaeology/fossils fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 0c5b406e-bc8f-5b5c-833d-eed3e1b2ee35

The now-extinct species, which lived in tropical waters during the Jurassic period, was more than 13 feet long. It had a long snout and pointed teeth and preyed on fish. (Credit: SWNS)

One of the study’s co-authors, Dr. Mark Young, of the University of Edinburgh, said that uncovering the history of reptiles like Mystriosaurus will better aid researchers in understanding how diverse crocodiles were during the Jurassic.

“Unravelling the complex history and anatomy of fossils like Mystriosaurus is necessary if we are to understand the diversification of crocodiles during the Jurassic,” Young added in the statement. “Their rapid increase in biodiversity between 200 and 180 million years ago is still poorly understood.”

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Westlake Legal Group jurassic-crocodile-1 Mysterious 180M-year-old Jurassic-era crocodile identified fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/archaeology/fossils fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 0c5b406e-bc8f-5b5c-833d-eed3e1b2ee35   Westlake Legal Group jurassic-crocodile-1 Mysterious 180M-year-old Jurassic-era crocodile identified fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/science/archaeology/fossils fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 0c5b406e-bc8f-5b5c-833d-eed3e1b2ee35

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Terrapin turtle trafficker gets 6 months in prison — and he’ll have to shell out $250G

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced this week to six months in prison — and he’ll have to shell out $250,000 — for illegally trafficking thousands of threatened diamondback terrapin turtles, prosecutors said.

David Sommers, 64, of Levittown, poached the protected turtles and their eggs from New Jersey marshes, sold them online and illegally shipped them over the course of nearly six years, from November 2011 until October 2017, the Justice Department said Thursday.

A grand jury indicted him on July 10, 2018. On Feb. 4 he pleaded guilty to falsely labeling packages containing the protected critters.

Westlake Legal Group 0531-sea-turtles Terrapin turtle trafficker gets 6 months in prison -- and he'll have to shell out $250G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc d548765d-c3b2-5ce9-b3ed-cb67203f6005 article

Turtle advocate Karen Testa feeds diamondback terrapins at her group’s rehabilitation center in Jamesport, N.Y. (AP)

TWO-HEADED TURTLE SPOTTED ON SOUTH CAROLINA BEACH: ‘WE THOUGHT WE HAD SEEN IT ALL’

“The defendant had a simple business plan: Poach protected turtles and their eggs from their natural habitat, advertise them for sale online and then illegally ship them to customers by concealing the actual contents of the packages,” U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain said. “Sommers represented himself as a legitimate reptile breeder when he was, in fact, endangering the lives of these animals and breaking the law.”

Diamondback terrapin turtles are native to the eastern and western U.S. and are known for their diamond-shaped shell markings. While coveted, their population is shrinking, and New Jersey banned the collection, transportation and possession of diamondback terrapins in 2016.

GREEN TURTLES ARE DYING BECAUSE THEY’RE EATING PLASTIC THAT LOOKS LIKE FOOD

The turtles are protected by New Jersey state law, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which listed the species as threatened in 2013.

“Sommers used a sham business to shamelessly mask an illegal trade in threatened and protected species,” Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Bossert Clark said. “The Justice Department and our law enforcement partners will safeguard our nation’s natural resources and biodiversity and prosecute wildlife traffickers to the fullest extent of the law.”

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Westlake Legal Group 0531-sea-turtles Terrapin turtle trafficker gets 6 months in prison -- and he'll have to shell out $250G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc d548765d-c3b2-5ce9-b3ed-cb67203f6005 article   Westlake Legal Group 0531-sea-turtles Terrapin turtle trafficker gets 6 months in prison -- and he'll have to shell out $250G Melissa Leon fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/pennsylvania fox-news/us/us-regions/northeast/new-jersey fox-news/us/crime fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox-news/politics/justice-department fox news fnc/us fnc d548765d-c3b2-5ce9-b3ed-cb67203f6005 article

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South Carolina woman, 68, bit by alligator while walking dog near pond

Westlake Legal Group alligator-dinosaur-study South Carolina woman, 68, bit by alligator while walking dog near pond Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/southeast/south-carolina fox-news/science/wild-nature/reptiles fox news fnc/us fnc article 605b40bb-5d65-56fb-b61d-4de2ec0097c5

A South Carolina woman was walking her dog Monday night when an alligator attacked her near her home, officials said.

The 68-year-old woman was outside her home in Hilton Head Island, roughly 25 yards away from a pond in the Sun City retirement community, around 10 p.m., according to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

ALLIGATORS HAVE ‘TASTE’ FOR FLORIDA MEN, STUDY FINDS

Authorities caught the alligator, which was about 9 feet long, and euthanized it.

A spokesperson with the Bluffton Township Fire District, which responded to the scene, told WTOC the incident was not a “trend.”

“We surely look at those to see if there is a preventive message or effort that we can put forth to help folks avoid those scenarios. The unfortunate truth is they are wild animals, and wild indicates the fact that there is no trend, there is no way,” Cpt. Lee Levesque said.

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The alligator bit the woman on her leg and hand/wrist area, according to what she told authorities. She was transported to a hospital for medical treatment.

The sheriff’s office warns those in Beaufort County “to be mindful of alligators and to please be careful when walking near ponds and lagoons — especially at night when visibility is limited.”

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