WOW-Reptiles and Amphibians!

Posted on 01. May, 2014 by in World of Wonder, WOW! Blog

Were you one of the many people who attended Reptile Day at Davidson College a few weeks ago?  Well, WOW was there and we got to meet a lot of interesting people as well as reptiles and amphibians.  Reptiles and amphibians are part of a group called Herps. We saw a great looking snapping turtle and some lovely snakes including a black rat snake that liked to be up in the tree.  There were frogs and toads in abundance.  A baby alligator, lizards and salamanders also made an appearance.

Some of the characteristics that identify animals as a part of this group are that they are egg laying, cold blooded, scaly skinned, vertebrates. This means they are not mammals, birds,  or fish.

Why should we be interested in these animals?  There are many reasons to be interested in them.  They can play an important role in maintaining a healthy natural environment. Many of them eat lots of insects and I think that probably makes things nicer around  here in the summer. They also eat mice and other rodents.

They are important ecologically. They can be both predator and prey and so they can play a role in maintaining the balance in their ecosystem.  In addition, Reptiles and Amphibians are very sensitive to disruptions in their environment.  They have evolved to have very particular needs as far as where they breed.  Because their life cycle is complex they have need of different environments for different stages of development.  For example salamanders lay their eggs in the water but spend most of their life in the woods. So that makes us aware of the need to keep a diverse landscape around us.  And that’s what Davidson Lands Conservancy is all about.

Below are some links to information about this very interesting and important group of animals.  I hope you’ll take time to learn more about them and enjoy this special part of the World of Wonder.

Here’s a link to a guide to Frogs and Toads in North Carolina: http://www.herpsofnc.org/herps_of_NC/anurans/anurans.html

And if you go to this site you can learn about the Carolina Herp Atlas: http://www.carolinaherpatlas.org

This site tells about which herps are endangered. http://www.endangeredspeciesinternational.org/reptiles3.html

And this site give good information about the ecological significance of Reptiles and Amphibians.

http://www.wildlifehc.org/new/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/Amphibians-and-Reptiles.pdf

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