10 Gentle ‘Herp’ Rules

To observe around any kind of amphibian & reptile

“Amphibians face unprecedented threats from habitat loss, climate change, disease, and populations worldwide are disappearing. The fate of turtles, snakes, and the like (i.e., reptiles) is not much better…” How about we start noticing and caring?

‘Herping’ (*) is increasingly popular as a means of enjoying the wildlife of ponds, pools, and puddles, but we have to remember the impact this may have on their inhabitants. Respecting wildlife and habitats is the top priority for all those engaged in field herping and photography of reptiles and amphibians. Encounters with wildlife can be exhilarating but we must remember to behave mindfully. Here, we are presenting details, considerations, and requirements for when you’re out there exploring forests, ponds, and pools. Keep in mind that the general EwA Wildness Etiquette also applies to Herping.

Knowing is Caring: Learn before you go. Observe wetlands species well prepared so as to minimize your impact, to maximize both your safety and the welfare of the wildlife, as well as for the pleasure of everyone. Enjoy!

#DYK —The Status of Reptiles & Amphibians in the World ➔

There are more than 7,650 species of amphibians currently known, and many more species are described each year. The vast majority of amphibians are frogs and toads (~6750 species), followed by salamanders (~710 species) and caecilians (~205 species). However, amphibians face unprecedented threats from habitat loss, climate change,  disease, and populations worldwide are disappearing.

The ten most common threats to Top 100 EDGE Amphibians. Numbers represent the number of species impacted by each threat. Data from IUCN Red List.

Around 30% are threatened with extinction, which is more than birds (13%) and mammals (21%). However, this is likely an underestimation of the true number, as the majority of amphibians described since 2004 have not been assessed by the IUCN Red List. At least 42% of all known amphibian species are declining, and as many as 159 amphibian species may already be extinct.

Read More » EDGE Amphibians | EDGE stands for Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered.

As for reptiles, according to a 2013 study from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) in conjunction with experts from the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC), 19% of the world’s reptiles are estimated to be threatened with extinction. Out of the 19% that are endangered, 12% are classified as Critically Endangered, 41% Endangered and 47% Vulnerable.

Extinction risk is not evenly spread throughout this highly diverse group: freshwater turtles are at particularly high risk, mirroring greater levels of threat in freshwater biodiversity around the world. Overall, the study estimated 30% of freshwater reptiles to be close to extinction, a percentage that rises to 50% when considering freshwater turtles alone, as they are also affected by national and international trade.

Read More » Almost One in Five Reptiles Struggling to Survive (IUCN publication 2013)

References & Extended Bibliography ➔

If you are planning to visit wetlands and the wildlife around, please take the time to also check our general EwA Wildness Etiquette and our habitat-focused EwA Wetlands Rules. Help the protection and conservation of the habitats and species that you enjoy. Thanks!

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Home / Engage / Species & Habitats Focused Etiquettes / The Casual Herping Rules
◊ Note that this Etiquette is and will remain a work in progress. If there is anything else you would like to see added, please let us know and we’ll do our best to include it. Let’s be Earthwise Aware. Let’s enjoy and protect wildlife responsibly! Thanks for your support!

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