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Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. Herpetology as a scientific study and as a hobby can have positive impacts on the conservation of threatened reptile and amphibian species. 


Study Amphibians and Reptiles from Home

  • Start studying any time and work at your own pace
  • Learn from tutors who are professional university trained zoologists
  • 100 hour course

Lesson Structure
There are 9 lessons in this course:
1.Introduction to Herpetology
2.Class Reptilia (Reptiles)
3.Reptile Biology
4.Class Amphibia (Amphibians)
5.Amphibian Biology
6.Ecology of Reptiles
7.Ecology of Amphibians
8.Conservation Issues
9.Keeping Reptiles and Amphibians


Lesson Aims
•Discuss the nature and scope of reptiles.
•Identify credible resources, and begin to develop networking with organisations and individuals involved with the study of reptiles around the world.
•Describe a range of different reptile species, including distinguishing characteristics, their needs (eg. environmental, food, etc) and behaviour.
•Identify and explain the anatomy and physiology of reptiles
•Discuss the nature and scope of amphibians
•Identify credible resources, and begin to develop networking with organisations and individuals involved with the study of amphibians around the world.
•Discuss the nature and scope of amphibians
•Identify credible resources, and begin to develop networking with organisations and individuals involved with the study of amphibians around the world.
•Describe the ecological requirements, reproduction and lifecycles of amphibians
•Describe the behaviour of a range of different amphibian species.
•Explain conservation issues that are impacting upon populations of reptiles and amphibians.
•Explain the management of reptiles and amphibians in captivity

Extract from Course:

There are many conservation programs in place to protect reptiles and amphibians all over the world. These can range from habitat protection to relocation, captive breeding and genetics research.

Conservation Genetics

Conservation Genetics is the combination of the studies of ecology, genetic variation, molecular biology, mathematical modelling and evolutionary taxonomy. At the centre of this study is the knowledge of population genetics. Genetic variation is essential to the breeding success and future existence of populations. Some species have high genetic variation whilst others have low genetic variation.

The knowledge of a population’s genetic variation is important in conservation biology to help manage endangered populations of reptiles and amphibians. There can be three causes of low genetic variation – inbreeding, genetic drift and genetic neighbourhoods (the size of an area in which mates can be chosen at random). Reduced genetic variation can greatly inhibit the growth of a population and can threaten the recovery of endangered species.

With advances in molecular technology, genetics studies can now be undertaken with minimal interference with reptiles and amphibians. This technology can help conservation geneticists identify populations which can help in their management. They can also help identify conservation priorities based on distinct evolutionary lines.

With regards to trade in reptiles and amphibians, genetic markers can be used to trace the location from which an individual originated.

Examples of Conservation Programs in Place

Freshwater Turtle Conservation
Freshwater turtles are under threat due to habitat modification, pollution, and capture for food, medical reasons and incidental trapping. Many countries have lost a large proportion of their freshwater turtles due to these impacts. There are many programs running around the world to protect freshwater turtles such as the Red River Giant Soft shell Turtle, the Bog Turtle, the Southeast Asian Giant Soft shell Turtle and the Mary River Turtle of Australia. These conservation programs involve monitoring of individuals and populations, habitat enhancement and in some cases, captive breeding programs.

Komodo Dragon Conservation
The Komodo Dragon of Indonesia is highly endangered due to habitat loss from increased pressure on forest and water resources. To aid its conservation, Komodo National Park was established to protect both the dragon and its habitat. This conservation of habitat works in conjunction with careful monitoring of individuals in the population to ensure their survival.

Corroboree Frog Conservation
The Corroboree Frog is native to the sub-alpine region of Kosciuszko National Park, Australia. Threats to the frog include damage of breeding sites by feral animals, disease infection such as the Chytrid Fungus, weed invasion and habitat destruction through forestry practices. The Department of Environment is working in conjunction with Taronga Zoo to increase population numbers of the frog. They have a captive breeding program in place, put in place measures to protect breeding sites and have initiated a weed control program.


Interacting with Reptiles and Amphibians

If you would like to be involved with reptiles and amphibians there are a number of possibilities that may interest you. These include:

  • Working in a zoo/wildlife park/nature centre
  • Working for government wildlife departments/agencies
  • Working for conservation groups
  • Working at a Natural History Museum
  • Working Reptile/amphibian photography
  • Researching and writing articles
  • Consulting
  • Wildlife tours
  • Interactive wildlife shows
  • Presenting information sessions

Or, of course, you can make a hobby out of herpetology and keep reptiles and amphibians as pets.


Enrol today in one of our best-selling courses that will provide you with the reasons and motivations to set you on the path where your passion lies.