Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Be a Herpetologist


Jen Mui


Herpetologists are scientists who study reptiles and amphibians.  To be a herpetologist you first have to learn about the reptiles and amphibians found in your area.  If you live in Illinois, you can use this database to find species in your county.


How many species of reptiles and amphibians live near you?


Choose one species to learn more about


• Name of the species

• How do you identify it?

• How big does it get?

• What kind of habitat does it need?

• What does it eat?

• What are its predators?

• Is there anything you can do to help this species?


Now let’s do an experiment. You will need a friend for this.

1. Cut out the gartersnake below (or use a rubber snake if you have one). 

2. Hide the snake in different habitats — some habitats to try: tall grass, short grass, flowerbed, leaves, rocks, sidewalk.

3. See how long it takes your friend (the predator) to find the snake in each type of habitat.

4. In which habitats was it easiest to find the snake?


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Illinois Natural History Survey

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