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L. Neil Smith's
Number 816, April 5, 2015

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Yang and me
Yang & Me

Nihon Ishigame: One Year Later
by Jeff Fullerton

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Attribute to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

The end of March which went out like a lamb for a welcome change; was milestone being a year since I wrote one of my first turtle articles for this journal; Nihon Ishigame: An Outlaw Turtle Enthusiast Goes Japanese. Right about that time I ordered 1.2.0 (an adult male / female trio) of Japanese Pond Turtles—Mauremys japonica from a breeder in Florida. Which did not successfully breed that year but after wintering in my garage in similar fashion to the native species I kept in the past—and with a colder hibernation cycle similar to the temperate parts of Japan—and getting settled in—there is renewed hope of producing offspring to one day pair with the 4 juveniles of the same species which I also purchased over the course of last year.

Since then—the former Outlaw Turtle Keeper has gone even more cosmopolitan with the acquisition of 4 juvenile Chinese Box Turtles: Cistoclemmys flavomarginata and the same number of juvenile European Pond Turtles: Emys orbicularis—of which one died last fall—unfortunately. And there were the ambitious projects of building outdoor pens—for those and the remaining native US turtles—Gulf Coast Box—Terrepene carolina major and Striped Muds—Kinosternon bauri—some of which are finished, some works in progress and one still yet to be built.

I anxiously await the warmer weather that is slow in coming so I can get the entire flock moved outside. But the weather remains unseasonably chilly. Early spring flowers are coming a couple weeks late. Just a week ago we even had a brief frigid aftershock of Norseman's Hell which was more an irritant than a dreaded existential danger—but an irritant none the less.

Easter weekend which I had the fortune to be off—is turning out a bit chilly as well after we were teased with the promise of a 70 degree day on Wednesday which never quite made it that high on the account of rain moving in that afternoon.

Global warming: Miss Me Yet?

So much for the wasteland of sand and snakes that some people call the Southland; dreading the prospects of it moving north of the Mason Dixon Line. Actually I love that wasteland of sand and snakes! And the northern version in New Jersey. Would be nice to catch Corns and Kingsnakes on a regular basis like I can garters and ring necks here in Pennsylvania. And an occasional Pine or tricolored Coastal Plain Milk or Scarlet King!

Maybe it is better the way things are. At least those creatures are all non-native and the Bucket Heads can't declare them "In-Dayn-Ger-d! Or say (in their annoying nasal tone) "You can only possess two" or "One" or "Zero" if they would put them on a no catch list like wood, spotted and eastern box turtles which I chose to give up in order to be able to continue to pursue my passions in life and to speak candidly about the threats to the reptile hobby and other hobbies—and Freedom in general.

All the while I continue to learn and grow in the hobby and expand my understanding of the new species that I am working with. Like last year I am once again searching the web for husbandry info. In particular the Chinese Box. One of my season's projects is to design and build them a much bigger outdoor enclosure with even more clumps of grass and ferns and other interesting features. I found this guy in Florida who is apparently having good results. And I love his conservation philosophy in light that there are probably more of these turtles now in captive breeding colonies in the USA than in the wild in China—that alive in captivity is better than extinct!
[Link to YouTube]
Amazing tutorial on the species.

And this one:

[Link to YouTube]
Success with yet another Asian box turtle species even rarer than the ones I have! Good old McCord's Box which surely has a price tag every bit as toe curling as the Cuora trifasciata—the Golden Coin Turtle!

And then there are the thoughts of the reptile shows which I have not been to in years. While searching for info on the All Ohio Show I stumbled across this link to a site about one in Japan a few years ago. It looked like a really cool one to go to as it reminded me very much of some of the good ones I've been to in the US and what looked like a nice selection of species.
But I'm a little dismayed at the guy for his multiple disclaimers "I don't own or import any of these species" in regard to the asian turtles like the Beal's 4-Eyed & some of the primates on display. Must we constantly apologize for being reptile and exotic animal enthusiasts? It's almost as bad as republicans constantly apologizing for their constitutionalist base.

Especially when it's much more fun to make wisecracks about the Green Police and thumb our noses at the "Spaceballs" from Planet Harrisburg! As opposed to groveling to them in hope they might allow us to keep something on the 'approved list'. When will people get it through their thick heads that its not about "Dolphin-Free Tuna" but ultimately "Tuna Free Tuna" in the end.

If only I had the foresight to start a breeder colony of Scalia bealei when they were abundant in the trade years ago. But like Shakespeare said : who can look into the seeds of time and tell which ones will grow and which ones will not? Or better yet—from Charles Dickens by way of Michael Savage: The Law is an Ass. Maybe it's time we stop kissing it so much.

Like in this one titled "Fun Time With Box Turtles"
[Link to YouTube]
The title would surely get some flack from the Nature Nazis & the commissars from the PFBC as it could be construed to endorse catching and keeping them for pets. I always got a kick out a friend from Maryland who often referred to some of her acquisitions as "Road Rescues". The Queen of Mean from the DNR would not be amused! As for the video; it is very educational about the natural history and husbandry of box turtles but there is a fair amount of groveling to the authorities.

Last week Ray coined the phrase: steering to have a smooth cruise at everyone else's expense. That pretty much sums up the attitude of the control freaks; the mean greens and minions of the natural resource and wildlife agencies who have long been self-proclaimed enemies of the hobbyist community. It's all about the connivence of the bureaucrats and their ideal of a smooth cruise at our expense by taking away rights and declaring them privileges and arguing that we are risking a catastrophe just by having stuff. Essentially it is the same argument the gun grabbers and climate change activists make against anyone who stands in the way of their agendas. Like how dare you resist them. The anointed holy priesthood of the Mother Dirt Religion!

Many a Benedict Arnold turtle keeper has gone out on a limb to appease authorities by parroting the mantra that the number one reason for box turtle decline—was people catching them—like the guy who made the above video about the ones he "rescued". Which of course still "doesn't wash" with the wood turtle expert from Michigan—a DNR wildlife biologist who got his turtles along with a dream civil service job and the hell with anyone else. El Neil's declaration that wild animals are unclaimed property and would be better off with human ownership—which certainly applies to the box turtle that ends up road kill—would definitely make some of the conservationists go ballistic. Their solution is of course Agenda 21 and the abolition of private property and private transportation. That is really the only solution from a perspective of hard scientific objectivity—unless you are willing to shag your tail and accept an imperfect word where people are allowed to live where they want to, have turtles as pets and throw biocentric fascism under the bus. Which is the more ethical solution as opposed to oppressing or even murdering billions of human beings just to fulfill the desires of deep ecologists. It will not be the end of the world. The demigoddess Rachel Carson is not going to destroy the world in the fashion of Sodom and Gomorrah if private ownership and commercial breeding of box turtles and other species is legalized.

I find it ironic these people often don't believe in God but have a moral basis for prohibition. On the other hand El Neil and Ayn Rand are atheists; yet have a moral basis for individual rights and Liberty that in my opinion is not only every bit as good as the religion based one but certainly superior to the secular one being administered for the sake of the greater good or the altruistic mystique as Rand called it. In reality a lot of the moral outrage of the environmental movement is more like Howard Bloom's assertions that righteous indignation is jealousy with a halo and greed for real estate. In the case of environmental fascism it is just a convenient excuse for some people to to deny things to others which they claim privileged status to have. That was what Tucker meant in "Progress & Privilege" -about environmentalism being the popularization of aristocratic attitudes. In this case the scientific experts in the wildlife and natural resource agencies have become the aristocracy and we vulgar amateur reptile and fish enthusiast who want to collect and keep turtles or fish as pets are the equivalent of the peasants who would poach game from the estate of the feudal lord or King. And then you have their squires—the conservation officers / Bucket Heads to go out and terrorize the serfs into compliance and arrest and seize the property of the non compliant—like the minions of Edward the Confessor who smashed the stoves of those who violated the ban on coal.

Even long before I became aware of these things—the furious zeal in which game wardens and fish wardens went after violators—every bit as draconian as any cop going hog wild on a drug bust—always struck me as fascistic. And a callous disregard for the paradigm of innocent until proven guilty—which is turned on its head with the shifting of the burden of proof on the grounds that conservation law is special and its enforcers ought to have authority to trespass and do things that ordinary police are not allowed to do. I have been told that the cops often call the Game Commission when they want to stop a vehicle suspected of transporting drugs because they are allowed to do things without a warrant and then if they find drugs or other contraband besides illegally taken wildlife—they can just call the cops.

Those people have powers that are an authoritarian's wet dream.

And so they may yet try to ban or restrict non-native reptiles—but then it is time for hobbyists to rise up in protest and obstruct the environmental agenda in the fashion of the Gun Lobby. Or the Senior Citizens.

We should turn the reptile hobby into a third rail like Social Security and make them afraid to touch us out of fear of being electrocuted! In the case where the politicians have set up the system so the bureaucracy can make rules without having to answer to the people—make them do something about it—or throw them out and get someone who will. It was a hallmark of the Progressive Era to put the regulators outside the democratic process so unpopular rules and regulations done by constitutional amendment can't be repealed—like Prohibition of alcohol. Well it's time to reverse that trend by pushing for constitutional amendments at all levels of government that require legislative oversight of all regulatory agencies and to require that all new rules and rule changes—especially those resulting in the restriction of personal freedom or adverse economic impact on affected parties—be vetted by the legislature before they become the law of the land. And they will be laws rather than regulations—which can be overturned at any time by the people.

It will give the people more power to defend themselves against regulatory encroachment and also keep lawmakers occupied so maybe they have less time for other schemes.

Trillium nivale
Trillium nivale : the tiny native Snow Trillium blooming a few weeks later than usual this year.

Very tiny indeed!

Iris reticulata
Iris reticulata—also late.

Iris japonica
Iris japonica in greenhouse. Shame it is not hardy outdoors in this climate.

Yin & Yang
Yin & Yang: a pair of young Chinese Yellow Margined Box Turtles

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