Reptile and Amphibian Study
NOTE: Scouts must use only nonvenomous 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.
- 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
- 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
- Describe the main differences between
- Amphibians and reptiles
- Alligators and crocodiles
- Toads and frogs,
- Salamanders and lizards, and
- 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 amphibians found in
your local area that are not protected. discuss the
food habits of all ten species.
- Describe how reptiles and amphibians reproduce.
- From observation, describe how snakes move forward.
Describe the functions of the muscles, ribs, and belly
- 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 the transformation of the
tadpoles (frogs) or larvae (salamander).
- 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.
- Give five superstitions about reptiles and amphibians
and a correct explanation for each. Give seven examples
of unusual behavior or other true facts about reptiles