Herpetology Badge

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. Western North Carolina is home to only two venomous snakes – the Northern copperhead and the timber rattlesnake. 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 you must:

  • Submit six Shares of reptiles or amphibians
  • Complete the Herpetology Challenge:
  • Create an account on the citizen science project, HerpMapper
  • Submit an observation by using Herpmapper.org or download their mobile app.
  • Send a screenshot of your completed observation to ecoexplore@ncarboretum.org
  • Celebrate at our Herpetology Season Summit on August 24th and learn how to measure, mark, and track box turtles using radiotelemetry.

All Field Badge materials must be submitted by Friday, August 16th

Landon Ward, University of North Carolina, Asheville

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.