A major technology break in snake biology was the publication of surgical protocols for implanting radiotransmitters in the body cavities of snakes. While many researchers have reported using some variant of these protocols successfully, protocol details often vary from study to study and best-practice procedures are not easily determinable given the variety of circumstances over which studies occur. Although professional society standards and federal regulations make explicit recommendations about this surgical procedure, some of the nonstandard techniques recommended for this protocol may raise the eyebrows of institutional animal care and use committees. In this commentary we discuss regulatory and logistical aspects of the intracoelmic radiotransmitter implant procedure for snakes, and we provide a pragmatic framework for choosing among surgical variables.
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Vol. 34 • No. 5