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Mike Pingleton  - Trustee  

Copyright 2004 World Chelonian Trust. All rights reserved

Mike Pingleton has been a turtle enthusiast for nearly thirty five years. Like many young children in the 1960's, Mike's first turtle experience involved a neonate slider, complete with plastic 'death bowl', purchased from the local dimestore. Aside from a resistance to turtle-borne pathogens, the experience left him with more than a casual interest in reptiles and amphibians. Mike joined the St. Louis Herpetological Society back in 1974, when how-to books were in short supply, the internet was a classified government project and swap meets and symposiums were far in the future. Enthusiasts shared their hard-won knowledge as best they could, via newsletter articles, science journals and by word-of-mouth.

Over the years Mike kept most of the aquatic turtles found in the midwestern United States. He has a fondness for Clemmys insculpta and for Kinosternids of any kind. In 1997 he adopted a pair of adult Redfoot tortoises and immediately fell in love with the species. Information on the care, breeding and natural history of this species was sparse and spread out among a number of sources, which led Mike on a quest to compile information for his own use and for other Redfoot enthusiasts. This led to the publication of The Practical Care and Maintenance of the Redfoot Tortoise in Captivity by Carapace Press in 2001. Mike is also the co-owner and co-moderator of the Redfoot mail list on YahooGroups, which has grown to nearly three hundred members. Space and time constraints currently limit his chelonian keeping to Redfoots and some long-term rehabbed Box Turtles.

In addition to a small herd of Redfoots, Mike also keeps and breeds lizards, snakes, and amphibians. He is very interested in tropical frogs and has successfully bred a number of species of Reed Frogs (Hyperolius) and Foam Nesting Frogs (Polypedates). Mike is one of the founders of the Champaign Area Society of Herpetoculturists, celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. He has served as President of the group for the entire time, but will gladly step down "if someone else wants the job, or when it's not
fun anymore".

Mike lives in Champaign, Illinois, with his wife and three daughters. He works as a project manager for the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois. Working at the birthplace of Mosaic, the first web browser, led to an early interest in the power of the website. Mike created one of the first herp-related websites in 1994, and ten years later it is still going strong.

Household animals aside, his most passionate herpetological interest lies with activities in the field. Each spring you'll find him planning trips to locales far and wide for the purpose of observing and photographing amphibians and reptiles in their native habitat. Lepidoptera and botany, birdwatching and geology also figure into outdoor excursions. Trip accounts are duly recorded in the Notes From The Field section of his website.

Mike is grateful for his wife Nell's understanding and support as he pursues his many interests. He has been a WCT member from the start and is looking forward to contributing more to the organization in his role as Trustee. - World Chelonian Trust                Return to Biographies


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