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  • [♪ intro music ♪]

  • [snake rattling]

  • All pictures shared in this video are shared with the consent of the credited owners.

  • You've probably heard of fishing, camping, birding, hiking, and hunting,

  • but do you know about herping? What is herping?

  • Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians.

  • Herping is the act of searching for reptiles and amphibians in the wild.

  • The term herping is used by both professionals and amateurs, who are referred to as herpers.

  • Some herpers are knowledgeable professionals

  • who can earn a living from herping in various capacities,

  • such as wildlife photography, research expeditions,

  • and collecting wild specimens for scientific research.

  • And for others, it's an enjoyable hobby

  • and a way to test your ability to understand the behavior of different species.

  • For me, it's the latter.

  • I have been enjoying herping as a hobby all over the world

  • since before I even knew that there was a word for finding reptiles and amphibians.

  • But herping isn't and shouldn't be as easy as crashing around the wilderness until you find something.

  • In this video I'd love to share with you some of the basics

  • to help you get started with your own herping adventures,

  • and to share some tips and advice which will ensure that

  • you are a positive influence within the herping community.

  • Herping is going to be different around the world with different laws and environments,

  • so use this video as a rough guide and tailor it to suit where you're going to be herping.

  • Also, if you're a herper, what has been your greatest find so far?

  • For me, my greatest find was the Malayan pit viper. Amazing!

  • I saw this sign in Kenya and I think it works really well for herping.

  • "Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints."

  • Beautiful.

  • To herp successfully, you need to understand the behavior of the species you're searching for.

  • Are they nocturnal? Diurnal? Crepuscular?

  • What temperatures do they like? When are they hibernating?

  • And when are they likely to be on the crawl for food? When is their breeding season?

  • Where will they likely be nesting?

  • Understand all of these things to give you the best chance

  • of finding the species you'd like to encounter.

  • [camera click]

  • Let's talk a bit about safety.

  • If you don't 100% know the species you encounter, don't touch it!

  • The most dangerous snake on earth is the one that just bit you.

  • I know it can be tempting to take a free handling selfie with a venomous snake or

  • to take a video clip with something awesome,

  • but just don't.

  • The reality of getting bitten by a venomous snake in the wild

  • is that you and your partner or group may not be able to get you to safety.

  • Also if you do manage to get to a hospital for antivenin,

  • they may not have the specific antidote for you.

  • If you do get bitten in the USA and your health insurance won't cover your medical bills,

  • you can potentially kiss your house and your pension goodbye.

  • Just don't risk it.

  • And on that note, be aware of the plants around you.

  • You don't want to accidentally lean against or squat on any poison ivy.

  • Really.

  • You don't.

  • If for whatever reason you do happen to get tagged by a venomous snake,

  • remain calm. Take a picture of the snake for identification

  • and calmly have your herping buddy or buddies get you to a place where you can receive medical assistance.

  • The more you panic the faster your heart will beat

  • and the faster the venom will spread around your body.

  • It's a total myth that you can suck the venom out of a wound

  • and you can't just pee on the wound to neutralize any stinging

  • like you would with some jellyfish stings.

  • You have to get yourself to a hospital and take a picture of the snake with you.

  • Handling wild specimens. Okay. I know it's tough

  • and I know it's tempting, believe me.

  • But it is always, always better not to touch any reptile or amphibian you find in the wild.

  • Not only does handling cause the animals stress,

  • but you could also be potentially contaminating the animal

  • and therefore its environment with your own bacteria which it's not used to.

  • In some states and countries,

  • it is completely prohibited to disturb or touch any native wildlife.

  • So check your local laws first.

  • Flipping is when you overturn logs, rocks, stones, and other things to look underneath for any animals.

  • If you do flip anything, it's extremely important to put it back.

  • Otherwise, you completely destroy the microhabitat.

  • It can be tempting to rip apart decaying logs or peeling tree bark to expose any hidden invertebrates,

  • But please don't do this. It destroys homes for much more than what you can see with the naked eye.

  • Also, you may encounter flippable objects which at first glance look like junk.

  • An old carpet, a couch, a wooden board, or a piece of sheet metal.

  • These are often fantastic little safe spots and even

  • nests for some reptiles and amphibians.

  • Be very careful when disturbing what looks like junk.

  • Boards are often laid down by herpers

  • because they offer snakes and amphibians cover and food.

  • Boards are placed in strategic locations and left to mature for a number of years.

  • First of all, the rodents move in, and then they're followed by the snakes.

  • If you flip a board, please, please, please put it back exactly as you found it!

  • Some people study the same site for decades

  • and disrupting a board can ruin valuable research.

  • If you have a large yard or a piece of land,

  • consider putting your own boards down to study too.

  • In our yard we have boards which house salamanders, frogs, and even milk snakes.

  • Don't disturb your boards too often or the reptiles and amphibians won't feel comfortable enough

  • to use it as a place to hide or breed.

  • Okay, finding places to herp and people to go herping with.

  • This is tricky, really tricky.

  • And my best advice is to research the reptiles and amphibians you really want to find,

  • read about their known geographical ranges,

  • and utilize apps such as Instagram to search for the hashtags of these animals

  • and try and decipher where the sightings are.

  • It's really not much use to ask herpers where they go.

  • I know this sounds horrible,

  • But herpers are notoriously secretive and suspicious and for good reason.

  • Seasoned herpers won't just tell you their locations to be nice to you

  • because the threat of poaching and over-frequenting a site is real.

  • You have to really earn a fellow herper's trust and to truly respect herping as an art form. Take it from me.

  • Most herpers are fantastic people and truly love herping.

  • That's why they want to protect their professions and their hobbies.

  • There is a well-known saying among herpers.

  • "It's not who you take herping, it's who they take."

  • Not everyone should be entrusted with knowing where certain reptiles and amphibians are,

  • and many herpers build special attachments to individual animals they see year after year.

  • Trust me, herpers aren't trying to exclude you by not sharing their sites,

  • they're trying to protect the safety of the wildlife that they study, and you should do the same.

  • If you're interested in becoming part of a herpping crowd,

  • show that you're trustworthy and build a name for yourself.

  • Join herping Facebook groups to share good quality pictures of reptiles and amphibians you find in the wild.

  • Always read the rules before posting in herping Facebook groups.

  • Eventually, you might find some acquaintances who may be interested in herping with you and vice versa.

  • The right attire can make or break your herping trip.

  • Sturdy walking boots with water resistancy are essential.

  • Make sure you break these in before your herping trip. Otherwise, this happens.

  • Even if it's hot, it's a good idea to have long trousers which you can tuck into your boots.

  • Remember when you're herping you'll probably be in long grass not just open trail.

  • So protecting yourself from vegetation, ticks, and mosquitoes

  • is far more preferable than working on your tan.

  • Because my herping trips tend to start earlier in the day when it's cooler,

  • I have a warm zip-up and a moisture-wicking long-sleeve shirt underneath.

  • One of my favorite pieces to wear in the field are face shields. I get mine from SA Company.

  • They mop up your sweat and keep your face and neck clear from insects.

  • I also use them to cover my head and my hair in insect-dense places.

  • Otherwise my hair becomes a home for all sorts of creatures that I do not want to bring home.

  • Gear. Heading out into the wilderness feels amazing

  • but make sure you have what you'll need for the day plus some extras, just in case.

  • Here are some things that I recommend.

  • [♪ music ♪]

  • There are specific tools that you can buy to aid you with herping.

  • Snake hooks are great for handling snakes at a safe distance.

  • Danny and I have a huge collection of very sexy snake hooks, grabbers, and pinners at home,

  • but we rarely take them out unless we're traveling abroad or to another state.

  • In New Jersey it's actually prohibited to enter a state forest with a snake hook

  • because you are not supposed to pester the native wildlife.

  • Again, understand your local laws.

  • Many herpers have what is known as a beater vehicle.

  • This is a sturdy vehicle usually with good ground clearance,

  • which you can throw around and literally beat around without worrying about its aesthetic.

  • If you are planning on going offroad,

  • ensure that your vehicle is fit to travel.

  • Take extra fuel or gas with you if you can, as some places can get remote.

  • And ensure that you have a spare tire and a puncture repair kit.

  • Of course, if you're planning on driving to an easily accessible location,

  • these may not be required, but it's always good to be prepared.

  • Be vigilant! Danger is real and when you're out herping it's really easy to get distracted.

  • Be on the lookout for any native predators. Be mindful of cliffs.

  • Remember which direction you came from.

  • And if you spot anything suspicious or encounter something which you think may be connected to a crime,

  • do not touch it.

  • Record the location, take a picture, date it, timestamp it, and report it to the local authorities.

  • Make records. If you successfully find reptiles and amphibians,

  • make a note of the location, the time, the date, the weather conditions.

  • This will help you to understand the optimum conditions for finding these animals again in the future.

  • If you find anything which you think could be a sign of biological menace,

  • such as vast amounts of dead fish or fungus-covered amphibians,

  • photograph your findings and record your location

  • before reporting this to your local environmental office.

  • Herpers play a vital role in monitoring the health of local ecosystems and habitats.

  • One of the biggest threats to amphibians today is chytridiomycosis.

  • Also just referred to as chytrid for short.

  • It's a fungal disease, which has already decimated many wild populations of amphibians.

  • Sanitation.

  • Speaking of diseases, it's a great habit to get into

  • to disinfect your boots and your equipment between uses and sites.

  • A 3% bleach and water solution is great to carry

  • pre-mixed in a bottle to clean your boots with.

  • You don't want to track chytrid or any other disease from place to place.

  • Use bleach solutions far away from any bodies of water,

  • preferably on tarmac or on gravel,

  • to minimize the disinfectant coming into contact with animals or other water sources.

  • For snake hooks and pond nets, antibacterial wipes are essential between uses.

  • Don't use bleach on those. Just use antibacterial wipes for snake hooks and pond nets.

  • Lastly but most importantly, have fun!

  • Explore, discover, learn, and make memories.

  • And don't poach wildlife. Don't do it.

  • I will personally throw you in jail.

  • Legit all 5 foot 4 inches of me will citizen arrest you and stick your hiney behind bars.

  • Do not poach wildlife.

  • Psst! Don't forget to subscribe!

[♪ intro music ♪]

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B1 UK snake wildlife wild bleach handling find

HOW TO FIND SNAKES - HERPING FOR BEGINNERS

  • 109 11
    Boyeee posted on 2018/07/20
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