Hypoxia by Altitude and Welfare of Captive Beaded Lizards (Heloderma Horridum) in Mexico: Hematological Approaches

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
S. S. Guadarrama, H. Domínguez-Vega, H. M. Díaz-Albiter, A. Quijano, E. Bastiaans, P. Carrillo-Castilla, J. Manjarrez, Y. Gómez-Ortiz, V. Fajardo
Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science
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Heloderma horridum is one of the few known venomous lizards in the world. Their populations are in decline due to habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. In Mexico, many zoos have decided to take care of this species, most of them at altitudes greater than the natural altitudinal distribution. However, we know little about the capacity of the reptiles to face high-altitude environments. The objective of this study was to compare hematological traits of H. horridum in captivity in high and low altitude environments. Our findings show that H. horridum does not respond to hypoxic environments, at least in blood traits, and that the organisms appear to be in homeostasis. Although we cannot know if individual H. horridum housed in high-altitude environments are completely comfortable, it appears hypoxia can be avoid without modifications of blood parameters. We suggest that future work should address changes in metabolic rates and in behavioral aspects to understand how to maintain the health and comfort of the reptiles native to low altitude when they are housed in high-altitude environments.


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