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Improved procedure for implanting radiotransmitters in the coelomic cavity of snakes

Bryant, G.L., Eden, P., De Tores, P and Warren, K.S.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013 (2010) Improved procedure for implanting radiotransmitters in the coelomic cavity of snakes. Australian Veterinary Journal, 88 (11). pp. 443-448.

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Objective To investigate the expulsion of radiotransmitters in snakes and modify the surgical technique for coelomic implantation to prevent its occurrence.

Design To enable monitoring of snakes for an ecological study, radiotransmitters were implanted in 23 south-west carpet pythons (Morelia spilota imbricata) using the standard surgical technique. In a further 23 pythons we used a refinement of the technique, which anchored the tracking device, using non-dissolvable sutures, to the snake's rib-cage. We also investigated the potential mechanisms for expelling the radiotransmitters in one snake that underwent an exploratory coeliotomy.

Results Of the initial group of snakes, 12 (52%) expelled the radiotransmitter between 4 days and 3 years post implantation. In the later group, which underwent the refined technique of implantation, none of the radiotransmitters was expelled and no adverse responses were observed.

Conclusion An appropriately sized radiotransmitter anchored to the rib-cage of the snake will prevent expulsion of the device and appears to be well tolerated. Non-attachment of the tracking device enables it to migrate along the length of the body, particularly during feeding and reproduction. Caudal positioning of the transmitter's antenna provides a possible pathogenesis for expulsion into the cloaca.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 2010 The Authors
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