What is a Herp?

What is a Herp?

Frog Tracker: | About | Full Map | Data Summary | What is a Herp? | Species Guide |

Herpetology is the study of amphibians and reptiles. These two groups of animals can be collectively referred to, in short, as “herps”. The goal of Frog Tracker is to record sightings of any and all herps, not just frogs!


Frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts are all amphibians. Amphibians usually have slimy skin, and like to live in damp places or near bodies of water.

The skin of amphibians is very sensitive, as they breathe partly through their skin. Because of this, amphibians can be used as indicators of environmental health. Never pick up an amphibian if you have just used lotion, hand sanitizer, bug spray, or any other topical application! You could make it very sick. 🙁

The term “amphibian” means “double life”, and amphibians do spend a part of their life in water. Tadpoles are frogs in their aquatic juvenile stage, and salamanders and newts also have an aquatic larval form.


Reptiles can be distinguished from amphibians by their scales (or in the case of turtles, their shells). Reptiles include snakes, turtles, lizards, and skinks. Reptiles are cold-blooded and keep themselves warm by basking in the sun, so you may be able to find one just sitting on a rock, seemingly doing nothing. Be very careful in handling reptiles, as snakes and turtles may bite!