June 1st, 2020 - August 31st, 2020

It's Herpetology season!

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles, such as frogs, snakes and salamanders. Amphibians are animals that are soft-skinned, cold-blooded and usually undergo a metamorphosis. There are over 7,000 species of amphibians worldwide. Reptiles are animals that have scales, are cold-blooded and do not have a larval stage. There are over 10,000 species of reptiles worldwide. The North Carolina state reptile is the Eastern box turtle, the state salamander is the marbled salamander and the state frog is the pine barren tree frog.

Herpetology Fun Fact

Western North Carolina is known as the “Salamander Capital of the World” because there are more species of salamander there than anywhere in the world.

More Herpetology Tips

Click on the resources below to learn more amphibians and reptiles.

Herpetology resource apps:

  • Snakes of North Carolina
  • Audubon Reptiles and Amphibians

Herpetology Challenge

To earn your Herpetology Field Badge all ecoEXPLORERS must complete the Core Herpetology Challenge and pick 3 out of the 4 Weekly Challenges listed below. For tips and tricks to completing your Herpetology Field Badge check out our Guide To Herpetology Badge.

The deadline for earning your Herpetology Field Badge is Friday September 4th.

Core Herpetology Challenge

  • Find and take 6 photos of reptiles and amphibians.
  • Upload each photo onto your ecoEXPLORE dashboard
  • You may only repeat species one time. For example, you may only submit two photos of an American Toad.

Herpetology Weekly Challenge One

  • Watch our Welcome to Herpetology video
  • Complete the Who's That Herp? activity. Take a photo of your completed activity and upload it onto your ecoEXPLORE dashboard with the title Herp Weekly Challenge One.

More challenges will be added when we revisit herpetology in August. And don’t forget about our Virtual Herpetology Season Summit on August 29th, which also counts as one of our Weekly Challenges! 

Landon Ward, University of North Carolina, Asheville Herpetology Science Mentor

Landon Ward works in the Environmental Studies department at UNC Asheville, where he has taught since 2010. His course offerings include conservation biology, tropical ecosystems, and herpetology. His current research interests include studying invasive boa constrictors on the US Virgin Island of Saint Croix and studying vernal pool salamanders in western North Carolina. Mr. Ward’s favorite course to teach is field herpetology, where he takes students on a 2 week camping trip to search for herpfauna from the coast of North Carolina all the way to the Florida Keys. Student learn about the diversity of reptiles and amphibians in the eastern US and learn about the conserving them.

Aside from his teaching duties at UNC Asheville, Mr. Ward also maintains and captive-breeds a large collection of reptiles. He often uses reptiles from his collection for teaching and outreach. He enjoys traveling to local schools with snakes and other reptiles to educate students about reptile adaptations and the ecological roles that reptiles and amphibians play.