Water Life Magazine 1936-58: Part 7. Herpetology Articles in Volumes 4 and 6, 1938 and 1939 . Downloads Available

The scanned articles on herpetology can now be downloaded from the Downloads page above. The usual Water Life authors, L.G. Payne and ‘Amphibius‘ as well as other writers have wide-ranging contributions. Alfred Leutscher is also there.

The mass import of tortoises from Mediterranean countries is highlighted with snippets from newspapers on the numbers involved and an eye-witness account of the terrible state of tortoises after unloading in the London docks. LEP transport, the shipping and forwarding agents which closed in the mid-1990s, reported that 15,000 tortoises weighing 6 tons were carried in special crates. LEP incidentally were not our favourite company having sent only one man to unload our household goods sent by sea from Hong Kong in 1968; they dropped a long crate onto the road and broke two pieces of jade (epoxy glue is still holding the pieces together). The person who saw what was going on at the docks said that 50,000 were used as ballast and just piled into crates.

There is also a report of the arrival of a Galapagos Land Iguana at London Zoo. It was brought back by Sir Thomas Sopwith (then Thomas Octave Murdoch Sopwith) on his yacht Philante (later H.M.S. Philante) and collected as part of a fishing cruise. Sopwith was of course the British aviation pioneer who built 18,000 aircraft during the 1914-18 War including the famous Sopwith Camel. The later company, named after his test pilot Harry Hawker, produced the even more famous Hawker Hurricane.

There is also an intriguing note from a man who stated that he had found three Balkan whip snakes (now Hierophis gemonensis, then Zamensis gemonensis with Coluber gemonensis before and after) in southern England. He later provided information on how they could be identified.

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