Boy Scout Merit Badge
REPTILE AND AMPHIBIAN STUDY
- Describe the identifying characteristics of six species of reptiles and
four species of amphibians found in the United States. For any four of these,
make sketches from your own observations or take photographs. Show markings,
color patterns, or other characteristics that are important in the
identification of each of the four species. Discuss the habits and habitats of
all 10 species.
- Discuss with your merit badge counselor the approximate number of species
and general geographic distribution of reptiles and amphibians in the United
States. Prepare a list of the most common species found in your local area or
- Describe the main differences between
- Amphibians and reptiles
- Alligators and crocodiles
- Toads and frogs
- Salamanders and lizards
- Snakes and lizards
- Explain how reptiles and amphibians are an important component of the
natural environment. List four species that are officially protected by the
federal government or by the state you live in, and tell why each is
protected. List three species of reptiles and three species of amphibians
found in your local area that are not protected. Discuss the food habits of
all 10 species.
- Describe how reptiles and amphibians reproduce.
- From observation, describe how snakes move forward. Describe the functions
of the muscles, ribs, and belly plates.
- Describe in detail six venomous snakes and the one venomous lizard found
in the United States. Describe their habits and geographic range. Tell what
you should do in case of a bite by a venomous species.
- Maintain one or more reptiles or amphibians for at least a month. Record
the food accepted, eating methods, changes in coloration, shedding of skins,
and general habits; or keep the eggs of a reptile from the time of laying
until hatching; or keep the eggs of an amphibian from the time of laying until
their transformation into tadpoles (frogs) or larvae (salamanders).
- Do TWO of the following:
- Identify at night three kinds of toads or frogs by their voices. Imitate
the song of each for your counselor. Stalk each with a flashlight and
discover how each sings and from where.
- Find and identify (by sight) eight species of reptiles or amphibians.
- Give a brief talk to a small group on the subject of reptiles and
amphibians. Use at least three living specimens you have collected.
- Tell five superstitions about reptiles and amphibians and give a correct
explanation for each. Give seven examples of unusual behavior or other true
facts about reptiles and amphibians.
NOTE: Scouts must not use venomous reptiles in
fulfilling requirements 8 and 9. Species listed by federal or state law as
endangered, protected, or threatened must not be used as live specimens in
completing requirements 8 or 9c unless official permission had been given. In
most cases all specimens should be returned to the wild at the location of
original capture after the requirements have been met. Check with your merit
badge counselor for those instances where the return of these specimens would
not be appropriate.
Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973,some plant and
animals are or may be protected by federal law. The same ones and/or others may
by protected by state law. Be sure that you do not collect
Your state may require that you purchase and carry a
license to collect certain species. Check with the wildlife and fish and game
officials in your state regarding species regulations before you begin to
BSA Advancement ID#: 96
Source: Boy Scout
Requirements, #33215E, revised 2002