Welcome to The Lost Beagle, Hudson Valley Herpetological LLC’s blog. A word of explanation is in order here. If you’ve explored the rest of our website, you already know that Hudson Valley Herpetological LLC (“HVH”) is a privately owned reptile collection and business venture with roots in New York State’s Hudson River valley. Basically, we’re snake breeders. The question of the moment, however, is – what is the purpose of this blog? And perhaps more importantly – why in the world have we named our blog “The Lost Beagle?” Let’s see if we can shed some light here.
On December 27th of 1831 the HMS Beagle, a 10-gun brig sloop (a small sailing warship, typically with two masts, though by 1831 the Beagle had been converted to three masts), set sail on what would ultimately be a five year journey to survey the coast of South America. On a previous voyage to the region, Captain Robert FitzRoy had found himself wanting in the department of a geologist to help him examine the land. Determined not to be similarly disadvantaged, FirtRoy sought out a trained naturalist to accompany him on his 1831 voyage. The man he found was 23 year old Charles Darwin. The ensuing voyage would prove to be one of the most important scientific expeditions in world history, for it was the observations made on this journey that would form the building blocks for Darwin’s theory of evolution by means of natural selection.
From our first reading of Charles Darwin’s account of selective breeding in The Origin of Species, we’ve been fascinated with evolutionary biology, natural selection, and the science of heredity. Understanding basic genetics and the concept of natural selection are critical to understanding who we are and where we come from, and can provide interesting insights into subjects as diverse as sports, business, politics, and the stock market. We’ve found our involvement in the captive reproduction of reptiles to be an excellent avenue for exploring many of these seemingly disparate issues.
So – why this blog, and why our chosen title? Like Darwin’s voyage aboard the Beagle, we view our voyage at HVH as one of discovery. Building our collection teaches us about different geographies and different cultures (we probably wouldn’t know so much about the terrain and culture of New Guinea if we didn’t keep a large group of Boelen’s Pythons). Breeding our snakes and watching eggs develop has led us into a far deeper exploration of reproductive biology than would otherwise have been the case. Selling our offspring in the marketplace is a real-time experiment in free markets and a wonderful introduction to market psychology and the principles of investment. Simply owning reptiles, given current regulatory scrutiny, has forced us to think more carefully about the role of government in regulating private commerce. The list goes on and on.
At this blog we’d like to explore these issues, as well as others that come up in the course of our journey at HVH. Unlike Darwin, however, who at least knew (physically anyway) where he was going when he boarded the HMS Beagle, at HVH we really have no idea where we’re going or how we’ll get there. And hence the name – The Lost Beagle – musings on the journey of life through the lens of breeding snakes.