Reptiles and Amphibians
Secretive. Slimy. Scary. Dangerous. Killers!
When people think of herps (the informal term covering reptiles and amphibians, used most often by the nerds that study and own them, like me) at least one of these terms usually ends up being used. While they can be applicable selectively to certain species or groups, it shows just how much of a negative bias there is toward the groups as a whole.
In reality, reptiles and amphibians are diverse an wonderful groups with members that span the range from incredibly simple, instinctive creatures to some of the most highly intelligent animals on the planet (Did you know birds are best classed as reptiles too? They won't be covered in this database, but in fact birds are more closely allied to crocodilians than the crocodilians are to all other reptiles). Many come in fantastic colors and patterns, plenty of species are incredibly docile and make for wonderful pets, and they can be life-long companions too; a well-kept boa constrictor might be around for half a century, and of course some turtles and tortoises might just be around for 3 or 4 generations of your family, maybe more!
Reptiles and amphibians are also the sources for many medicines and research aims; if you have diabetes, chances are your treatment came from studies on the saliva of Gila Monsters, and high blood pressure treated by analogues of proteins found in viper venom. Can some reptiles and amphibians be dangerous? Absolutely, same as any animal may be (that includes Fluffy sitting on the couch next to you), but they are worthy of respect, understanding, and appreciation for the roles they play in the environment as well as what they have come to do for us.
Snakes are my greatest passions among the herps and will be the prime focus of this section of the Database, but other species can be included upon submission by readers or as I find openings to include files on species. Snakes and other reptiles will be classified below under Family, within which as deemed necessary subsection links if present may include subfamilies, sections, tribes, or simply genera and species.