A couple years ago during a summer research program in Iowa, I met a few people who were into “herping”— the process of looking for amphibians and reptiles. I had never heard of such a process before, but it was something I very much enjoyed. A couple days ago, I met up with some people from that program and went herping with them at some Illinois sites. Three (denoted) photos below are some of our results.

The rest of the photos are other reptiles and amphibians I’ve seen since my time in the Park.

All photos by me.

Species:  As seen in Illinois— dekay’s brownsnake. / blue-spotted salamander / As seen in Illinois— blue racer. / As seen in Illinois— American toad. / wood frog / snapping turtle

Something quite cool about amphibians is their role as environmental bio-indicators. Because they live in both aquatic and terrestrial environments, their population numbers and dynamics are often indicative of positive or negative changes occurring in those environments.

It is important to note a few things when herping, if you decide to try it yourself.

1. Respect what you find.

2. Don’t handle something you’re not comfortable with or have no knowledge of its proper treatment.

3. Be aware of your surroundings.

4. Make sure you leave cover items (logs, rocks, etc.) back where you find them.

5. And do your research!

Until next time!

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