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HERPETOLOGY comes from the Greek language origin “herpien,” which means “to creep.” It’s a branch of zoology that includes the study of two of the seven classes of "chordata" or animals with vertebrae. Herpetology looks at amphibians (i.e., frogs, toads, newts, salamanders and the less familiar legless, limbless caecilians) and reptiles (i.e., snakes, lizards, tortoises, turtles, crocodiles, terrapins, the limbless burrowing amphisbaenids, and the ancient tuataras). Herpetology studies include some familiar backyard creatures as well as ones you may never have seen or heard of before. The keeping of reptiles and amphibians as pets is known as herpetoculture.

Featured Herpetoculture

Ball Python
From western and central Africa, ball pythons (Python regius) usually grow to 3’-5’ and have a life span of 15+ years.…
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Bearded Dragon
A lizard from Australia, bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps) live 6-15 years and grow to 12-24” long, subsisting on a varied…
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Blue Tongue Skink
Blue tongue skinks are a special category of beginner lizard that seem to fulfill the wish list of all the attributes that…
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Corn Snake
Found in the southeastern United States, corn snakes (Elaphe guttata) usually grow 3’-5’ in length and have a life span…
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Crested Gecko
From the New Caledonian islands near Australia, these crested geckos (Correphalus ciliatus, formerly Rhacodactylus cilitaus)…
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Greek Tortoise
Greek tortoises enjoy leafy greens and perhaps chopped timothy hay to keep their beaks trimmed, with small amounts of chopped…
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Green Iguana
Green iguanas are some of the larger examples of the pet reptile world, found from Mexico and Central America down through…
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Leopard Gecko
A small fat-tailed lizard native to Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, the Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) grows to…
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Milk Snake
Milk Snakes (Lampropeltis triangulum) are found from Canada and the eastern U.S. all the way south to Venezuela. They are…
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Veiled Chameleon
Impressive lizards hailing from Saudi Arabia and Yemen, veiled chameleons (Chamaeleo calyptratus) are arboreal creatures…
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Herp Finders’ Guide

Dog or cat or bird or sugar glider owners are sometimes surprised to find that people interested in snakes, toads, turtles and lizards are just as enthusiastic about their creeping, slithering and burrowing pets as any golden retriever or macaw owner is about his or her own pets - maybe even moreso!. Learn more >>

Interesting Facts

Many people have a perception that snakes are “gross” and “slimy” creatures, but anybody who owns a pet snake soon learns that it is quite the opposite: their skin is smooth and dry! That being said, your pet snake probably won’t appreciate being touched too regularly or for too long. Strike a happy medium by handling your pet snake a few minutes per day so it remains used to and unafraid of you, but not so much that it becomes stressed out.


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