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Studying reptiles – The herpetology guide

Here in Australia, we are so very lucky to have a beautiful variety of fascinating native species. If you’ve always had a particular passion for those of the scaly variety, then you might be wondering what is the study of reptiles called? And how can I start?

If you have always wanted to further your knowledge of our incredible reptilian friends, then look no further. This guide will demystify the study of Herpetology and how you can begin your journey towards understanding the wonderful world of snakes, iguanas, turtles and more with an online course today!

What is herpetology?

Herpetology is the specific branch of zoology which deals with the study of reptiles and amphibians. 

Grouped together, these two very special animal types share many similarities. Both reptiles and amphibians hatch from eggs, are classed as vertebrates as they have backbones, and both are also all ectothermic – which means their body temperature is determined by their environment rather than regulated by their bodies. These amazing creatures only have a few subtle differences, mainly their relationship with water. Amphibians need water in their habitat, whereas reptiles do not require water, although they do often live near and spend time in bodies of water.

The study of Herpetology deals with these animals behaviours, habitats, physiology, development, genetics, and more!

Why study herpetology?

Herpetology can become a career, with the option of specialising as a Herpetologist. Or having knowledge of Herpetology can also help animal workers or owners of domestic reptiles to offer the best possible care. 

Whether it is as a scientific study or as a hobby, choosing to study reptiles can have positive impacts on the conservation of threatened species across Australia.

What does a herpetologist do?

Herpetologists spend their time doing research, studying reptiles and amphibians in the wild. Much of the focus of their work is dedicated to the conservation of these species. Using their findings, they will assess overall environmental conditions in a particular area or advise governmental bodies on conservation action. Using their work, they will usually begin writing journal articles or presenting at professional conferences. Some educate the public through programs and talks. Some will also choose to become professors, passing on their knowledge to future Herpetologists. 

To become a Herpetologist usually requires at least a four-year degree in biology or a related field, with a possible PhD or Masters study to attain research positions. 

As this is an expensive and time-consuming path, taking an introductory course in Reptile Zoology or Reptile Conservation is a wise idea. Not only will you be able to decide if this career is the right choice for you, but it will also look fantastic on a university application too.

Other opportunities

A knowledge of reptiles, without a long university degree, can bring an array of exciting career opportunities your way. 

If you enjoy sharing these species fascinating lives, working as a Zoo curator is a wonderful position. An administrative role that could involve running a herpetology department, managing educational programs, organising talks or shows, and other reptile related duties. 

If working hands-on is more your thing, then having knowledge of reptiles can look fantastic on your application to become a Zookeeper. Working in a reptile house, your job will be to ensure the animals are healthy and happy. You’ll play an important role in breeding programs, conservation efforts, research, public education and the enjoyment of visitors. Everyday duties may include everything from animal care and feeding to enclosure cleaning, design and maintenance.

Owning reptiles is an incredible experience. Keeping them in the best health, and even creating your own breeding programme, can be a fantastic hobby that helps boost endangered and special species numbers. Having further knowledge of Herpetology can aid you in creating an enriching and happy life for your scaly friends!

Studying reptiles online

We’ve spent 15 years perfecting our wildlife courses, using some of the best industry experts to teach our wonderful students. The online animal care courses we provide are built to be accessible, affordable and act as the perfect launchpad into your new speciality. With practical payment plans and 24-hour learning – our online courses make starting your new studies easy and adaptable to your lifestyle. 

The Certificate In Reptile Zoology is the perfect introduction to the world of reptile knowledge. Equipping you with the essential education to provide the best experience for any reptilians in your care. Covering anatomy, physiology, habitats and behaviour – as well as the Australian standards for reptile care. Meaning you will have a thorough and comprehensive understanding of how to provide the right environment for reptiles to thrive. 

With numerous reptile species currently at risk of extinction, it’s never been more important to learn how to protect our cold-blooded friends. Our Reptile Conservation course has therefore been designed by industry experts to help you become a wildlife warrior. Offering insight into the foundations of herpetology, as well as ecology and environmental needs, captivity legislation, conservation strategies, habitat management and so much more.

Whether you’re inspired by the idea of working in a zoo, helping a wildlife sanctuary, supporting an animal charity or entering a longer university degree, these positions can be extremely competitive. 

By completing an online certificate, you can gain an insider’s advantage, wow prospective employers, boost your job application quality and even share knowledge with your friends and family. You can help reptiles across Australia, including your own lucky pets too!

Studying reptiles infographic

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