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Herpetological Society meeting set for December 5

Posted 11/17/2014

Tom Crutchfield in front of a snake.

Tom Crutchfield. Submitted photo.

Who’s who in reptiles, Tom Crutchfield, guest speaker

Join University of Nevada Cooperative Extension as they host the monthly Herpetological Society meeting on December 5. The evening’s presenter is the Who’s Who in Reptiles: Tom Crutchfield. Crutchfield’s topic is "I Searched for Adventure and Found More Than I Bargained For."

The name Tom Crutchfield often evokes a number of different responses. Awe, respect, curiosity and even the occasional curse word have accompanied a discussion about him. To some, he is the icon who brought many rare and unusual reptiles into the hobby. To others, he is an adventurer who has traveled the globe in search of unique reptiles and amphibians. To the select few, he’s that infuriating fellow who beat them to the punch when it came to breeding a new and exciting morph. But whichever category you fall into, you have to acknowledge that his passion for the reptiles he keeps and breeds is all-consuming and very broad.

Never one to turn down a new venture, Crutchfield quickly parlayed his expertise into a variety of herp-related activities. He began to work with the movie industry, helping to supply some of the animals for such films as Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, The Serpent and the Rainbow and Alligator. He was also a consultant and an animal wrangler for George Romero’s Day of the Dead.

Crutchfield’s latest project involves a more scientific approach. Along with Loma Linda University, he has been helping with biodiversity and conservation studies in the Bahamas and West Indies. Crutchfield has focused on studying West Indian boas (Epicrates spp.) and their recent decline, the endangered West Indian rock iguana (Cyclura rileyi ssp.), and the area’s biodiversity in general. He is currently working with the other three authors to complete a paper detailing the entire West Indian complex of boas of the Epicrates genus.

The Herpetological Society meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Lifelong Learning Center located at 8050 Paradise Road, Las Vegas, Nev. The meeting is “pot luck,” (bring a covered dish to share). You must be a member to join the presentation. Membership dues are $20/year, payable at the meeting. For more information email or call M.L. Robinson.

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