Herping

Field herping is basically all about the search for reptiles and amphibians in the wild.

Can I become a herper?

Of course, but herping successfully on a regular basis demands experience, specific knowledge, skills and persistence.

Do I need to have a certain plan or goal while herping?

Herping can be done with or without a predetermined plan or goal, but if a specific species is the target to find, a prepared plan could be needed.

 

Is it easy to find reptiles and amphibians in general?

Spotting frogs and some lizards is something quite common for many people, but dedicated field herpers are constantly studying about herpetofauna and their potential subjects. It's about maximizing chances and creating more advantages during the attempts to find for example rare and secretive living species.

Where and when to find herpetofauna?

Geographical ranges, seasonal circumstances, weather conditions and the presence of indispensable (micro)habitat requirements are vital elements. Understanding these vital elements will definitely increase your chances. Reptiles and amphibians inhabit many different types of habitat around the world. Think about places like mountain slopes, valleys, forests, deserts, swamps, heathlands and, of course, in or around any type of water body.

Will I always be able to find something at the best possible location?

Even at the best possible location a sighting is not guaranteed. Hiking long distances and searching for many hours without achieving a single result is definitely possible. Flat terrain can be fairly easy to cross, but facing difficult terrain conditions can be part of the job as well. Many field herpers will be challenged both mentally and physically more than once. Decent preparation can be useful or even essential, although of course a bit of luck can help as well.

What is the ultimate reward in the world of herping?

Obviously that is something very personal, but the unexpected experience (e.g. finding your 'lifer') eventually will feel extremely rewarding. Especially if it changes a tough day or situation. 

 

Do's and don'ts?

It is important to understand a few things according to herping and being active in herp habitat. And that doesn't only mean understanding the theory from behind your desktop or phone, but also showing proper behavior and practical responsibility. Keep in mind that areas you will likely enter belong to reptiles and amphibians. We are nothing more than uninvited guests. Reptiles and amphibians depend on these often fragmented and vulnerable places. Leave nothing but footprints and all object as found originally. Damaging or relocating stuff can cause huge trouble for herpetofauna, because these elements might play a crucial role in their habitat.

 

Do not touch/grab reptiles and amphibians without a good reason, especially when you don't know how to work with these animals. Never collect herpetofauna from the wild! Species might be endangered already, highly sensitive to stress increasing factors and this kind of actions will be lethal 

for the animals soon or later. Observe 'in situ' (untouched and as found). Humans are able to transfer/spread diseases through physical contact. Amphibia are sensitive to bacteria, which potentially can exterminate complete populations and more. Handling venomous snakes should be done only by experienced people. There are species that use certain periods to build up their level of energy and to increase quality of their reproduction activities. They are more vulnerable during that time and stress/disturbance causes death for individual animals or even (future) populations. Keep safe distances and your subject will be less disturbed.

 

Last but not least: do not share details and locations with other people openly. This is an unwritten rule that should be respected.

Why so passionate about herping?

The combination of an endless fascination for herpetofauna and the thought that field herping (with its multiple different techniques to use) is not the ordinary work, makes that most herpers become addicted to this way of life.

Other or additional questions?

Do not hesitate to ask by using the contact form.

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  • Wouter van Brenk

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