research projects


Scales and Tails Conservation Fund
Scales and Tails is a huge believer in conservation and education through research. We have teamed up with highly respected and acclaimed Reptile Biologist Dr. Chris Murray, on various research projects in the past, and have big plans for research in the future. Below is a list of projects we would like to continue to support: 

*A portion of every transaction is designated to each project*

 1. Crocodiles on steroids: tying human-supplied hormones to attack increases and the physiological disruption of Costa Rican crocodiles.
Here, we investigate the role of methyltestosterone (MT), a synthetic hormone used in aquaculture, in disrupting the sex hormone profile in the American crocodile in Costa Rica. We aim to contrast natural versus compromised hormone profiles, expand our knowledge of MT's effects on crocodilian sexual differentiation, investigate modes of bio-exposure and quantify ecosystem effects.

 2. Indonesian crocodile conflict and the problem of aquacultural containment.
Indonesia is characterized by vast expanses of fish and shrimp growing ponds that provide crocodile habitat and food sources. This area also boasts one of the highest rates of crocodile attacks and incidents in the world. We investigate how large aquaculture practices in the region provide an easy source of conflict and work with local officials to lessen the rate of attacks and promote coexistence. We also test the hypothesis that aquaculture practices induce hormone disruption that may lead to heightened conflict.

 3. Fearsome reptiles or loving mothers? The role of prolactin in maternal care. 
Alligators are known for their active defense of their eggs and young from predators or intruders. The fact is that only a small portion of alligators defends the nest and only a small portion of crocodilian species exhibits this behavior at all. Being a transitional group to birds, the most caring mothers, we explore the role of the hormone prolactin in eliciting the tender maternal behaviors seen in alligators as part of a larger study hypothesizing convergent function of this hormone across vertebrates!

 4. It's a boy! Understanding sex ratio maintenance in rattlesnakes.
It has long been debated that sex ratios (the number of boys and girls in a population) depends on the reproductive success of individuals that produce the minority sex in any generation and that this minority sex switches back and forth. In this study we use Arizona rattlesnake species to test this idea between widespread and locally restricted rattlesnakes. We also use physiological means to test whether larger shifts in sex ratio mean more intense reproductive investments to look nice for the opposite sex!