Herpers are adventurous people. I can’t count the number of times I’ve emailed or phoned writers or photographers and discovered that they are out in the field and might be unreachable for days. It seems to be the natural progression that once you become interested in reptiles and amphibians, you invariably wander into the wild to see them in their natural habitat. From there, the call for adventure is nearly irresistible, and you soon find yourself treading not only where others fear to go, but where most folks think you are crazy for even trying.
And that is exactly what my family and friends considered me when I informed them that I would be preparing to trek into the wilderness of Guatemala to assist two organizations, Living Water International and With This Ring, in drilling a well so a local village could have clean water. My hope was to do some charity work and get the opportunity to see the country’s wildlife up close. “You’re insane,” one friend told me. “You do not need to be strutting around the jungle of Guatemala.”
Yes, he actually used the word strutting.
Obviously, this was not a person who would chase a departing snake into the brush just to get a good photograph, but I think my fellow herpers would understand.If you happen to be like me, you’ll love the articles in this year’s issue of Reptiles USA. On page 92, you can read all about how to forecast the weather and make use of it on your adventures. Then, on page 100, you can discover what herping in Albania is like and decide if it is something you might like to do yourself some day.
If you would rather stick closer to home and connect with people in your area, turn to page 118 and find a local herp society. Comparing notes with other keepers and learning new tricks and techniques for breeding reptiles is always a lot of fun.
As we do every year, you will find a listing of herp-knowledgeable veterinarians on page 106. Providing the animals in your care with a higher quality of life is part of the responsibility of ownership. We know it can be tough and costly, but it is better to get tests done early than treat a problem later. If you worry your reptile might be harboring a parasite, check out veterinarian Tom Greek’s article on page 86, and find out what to look for and what you can do to help your pet.
Within these pages, you are bound to find something of interest, but don’t stop here. If an animal truly fascinates you, do some advanced research, and if possible, take a trip into the wild and see how it lived before it ever became a vivarium captive.