Madison Area Herpetological Society

Educational Articles

Here you will find articles and information that we find important for people to see or know.  Anything from news and events to articles about care or new animals in the hobby.  Check back frequently to see what’s new in the world of Herpetology!


Herptiles in TV Series and Other Media-Part 2

Herptiles in TV Series and Other Media-Part 2 By Eric Roscoe In this article, we will be documenting examples of reptile, amphibian, and invertebrate appearances in individual episodes of, and/or TV series, as well as for all councils and platforms of computer, television, and handheld video gaming, and any other miscellaneous visual media in which Continue Reading >

Herptiles in Movies and Film

Herptiles in Movies and Film By Eric Roscoe Reptiles, amphibians, and even in many cases arachnids and other invertebrates have long been widely shown and featured in numerous different forms of TV, movies, films, books, and other media and popular culture. For good, bad, or indifferent, these animals are often among the most instantly and Continue Reading >

The Must Knows of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

The Must Knows of Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) By Eric Roscoe Perhaps one of the most common and widely reported, but also one of the most preventable disorders seen in captive and pet reptiles of many species is that of Metabolic Bone Disease, or MBD, or also sometimes known as rickets. MBD is somewhat of Continue Reading >

The Do’s and Don’ts of Cohabitation

Can I Keep My Animals Together? The Do’s and Don’ts of Cohabitation By Eric Roscoe and Ryan McVeigh   Perhaps one of the most commonly asked questions on herp related forums and Facebook groups is whether their animals they currently own, or are prospectively interested in can be cohabitated together. Cohabitating, or “cohabbing” is the Continue Reading >

Find Your School District’s Animals in the Classroom Policies

Wisconsin School District Pet Policies

How Can I Become Involved in Local Herp Conservation?

How Can I Become Involved in Local Herp Conservation? One question that is occasionally asked through email, social media, and in person is how can you, as a member of the Madison Area Herpetological Society (MAHS), or as a local citizen can become more involved in any local herptile related conservation efforts. While there are Continue Reading >

The Role of Educators and Pets in the Classroom

The Role of Educators and Pets in the Classroom By Eric Roscoe   There is very little to no doubt that the practice of keeping pets, or animals in general, provides numerous forms of enjoyment, purpose, and support. In the United States alone, pet ownership continues to increase drastically, with reptiles and amphibians (which are Continue Reading >

Did I Really See a Big Cat in Wisconsin?

Did I see a Big Cat in Wisconsin? By Eric Roscoe   Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on the animal and the context), over the past several years, there have been occasional, periodic news media reports of cougars, or mountain lions (Puma concolor) as well as other exotic big cat species across various areas in Wisconsin Continue Reading >

The Scoop on Poop!

What’s the Scoop on Reptile Poop? By Eric Roscoe   As with all animals, reptiles and amphibians (which are collectively known as herps, or herptiles) urinate and defecate, just as we need to, as wells our dogs, cats, and other animals. Once the food they have previously consumed has been passed through their stomachs and Continue Reading >

It’s Cold Out There! Cold Weather Tips For Your Pet Herps

It’s Cold Out There! Cold Weather Tips For Your Pet Herps By Eric Roscoe One significant aspect that can often influence and affect our ability to keep pet reptile, amphibian, and even invertebrate species (such as tarantulas, scorpions, and insects), as well as the ways pet owners and enthusiasts may be able to keep them, Continue Reading >

Wisconsin Schools and Herpetology

Where in Wisconsin can I go to school for Herpetology? One question that is very frequently asked, particularly by graduating high school seniors, or even by those earlier in their high school or middle school careers, is: “Which schools can I go to for herpetology (the scientific branch of study of reptiles and amphibians, or Continue Reading >

Wisconsin State Import/Transportation Requirements

Importing Pets from Outside Wisconsin Household Pets A “household pet” is an animal from a traditional companion animal species: dog, domestic cat, ferret, hedgehog, pet bird, rabbit, or domestic rodent (gerbil, guinea pig, hamster, or domestic mouse or rat). All other animals kept as pets, including dog hybrids, domestic cat hybrids, and exotic small cat Continue Reading >

Wisconsin Native Herptile Regulations

5/1/17 Update: 4/20/2017: Chapter NR 16 – 2017-04-20 Revisions to the WI Native Amphibian and Reptile Regulations have been published in the Administrative Code and Register. These are largely housekeeping changes designed to reflect current taxonomy and statuses of species in Wisconsin. Further updates will be provided when available.  169.12. Sale and purchase of native Continue Reading >

The Very Best of Herp Dad Jokes!

Not all educational articles in this section end up being all that educational. Some end up being more for humor and entertainment, and herp (reptile and amphibian) “dad” jokes are certainly one of those. Here you will find a simple, yet hilarious compilation of the very best herp dad jokes that we have told or Continue Reading >

Why Venomous Reptiles?

Why Venomous Reptiles? By Eric Roscoe There are few other animals that elicit as wide and as strong of emotions and reactions (and have thus developed as undeserved of a negative reputation) as snakes in general. While perhaps a few other well-known animals such as sharks, spiders, and even crocodilians, bears, or big cats, for Continue Reading >

Using Live Plants in the Terraria

Using Live Plants in Reptile/Amphibian Enclosures/Vivariums   Using “live”, or living plants inside an enclosure or vivarium for your reptile or amphibian is rapidly growing in popularity, and there are both many different species and types of plants which may be used, as well as materials and methods by which it can be done. Live Continue Reading >

Reptile Show and Event Suggested Best Management Practices (BMPs)

Reptile Show and Event Suggested Best Management Practices (BMPs) Reptile shows and many other public and private educational events, seminars, and outreach serve as a public forum for the entire reptile and amphibian (as well as pet owning) community/industry. Many people, who may have previously been afraid of or disliked reptiles, are introduced to these Continue Reading >

How to Attract Herps (Reptiles and Amphibians) To Your Property

How to Attract Herps (Reptiles and Amphibians) To Your Property By Eric Roscoe   We are glad that you have, or have decided to take an interest in helping promote local conservation efforts by making your home or property more herp (reptile and amphibian) friendly! There are many different ways, materials, and methods that can Continue Reading >

Deterring Unwanted Snakes (Or Other Reptiles/Amphibians)

Deterring Unwanted Snakes (Or Other Reptiles/Amphibians) By Eric Roscoe Wisconsin currently has 21 different recognized species of snakes that, depending on the species and their ranges, can generally be found or encountered statewide. However, only 2 species in the state are venomous and medically significant to pets and people, the timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) and Continue Reading >

Which Animal Should I get for Which Sized Enclosure?

Which Animal Should I get for Which Sized Enclosure? By Eric Roscoe One very commonly asked question that is often posted on Internet and social media, particularly by those new to reptile keeping, is the question of “which animal(s) should I get/or are suitable for which sized enclosures”? This will of course depend on many Continue Reading >

Relevant Reptile and Amphibian Themed “Holidays”

Relevant Reptile and Amphibian Themed “Holidays” By Eric Roscoe There are many different weird, wacky, or special in their own right “holidays” out there that give recognition to or celebrate just about everything. There are also many websites out there that even list them by month, year, date, or by other details, and there are Continue Reading >

Reptiles and Amphibians in Environmental Education (EE)

Reptiles and Amphibians in Environmental Education (EE) *By Eric Roscoe What is “environmental education” and why is it important? These are some of the question that can be asked to perhaps best be able to introduce the subject and explain what it is, what it does, and what it seeks to instill and accomplish. When Continue Reading >

Wisconsin Environmental Education Standards

Overview of Environmental Education The Wisconsin Environmental Education Board (WEEB) defines environmental education as “a lifelong learning process that leads to an informed and involved citizenry having the creative problem-solving skills, scientific and social literacy, ethical awareness and sensitivity for the relationship between humans and the environment, and commitment to engage in responsible individual and Continue Reading >

Wisconsin Science Content and Performance Standards

Content Standard Science Standard A (Science Connections) Content Standard: Students in Wisconsin will understand that there are unifying themes: systems, order, organization, and interactions; evidence, models, and explanations; constancy, change, and measurement; evolution, equilibrium, and energy; form and function among scientific disciplines.These themes relate and interconnect the Wisconsin science standards to one another. Each theme is Continue Reading >

How Did that Animal Get its Name?

How Did that Animal Get its Name? By Eric Roscoe Common names, which are also known by the synonyms of “vernacular”, “colloquial”, and some other terms, are largely just that by definition-common names that are applied to a species in ordinary and/or informal discussion or discourse. In most biological and scientific contexts, however, it is Continue Reading >

Education Assistant Volunteer Positions-Wisconsin Statewide!

The Madison Area Herpetological Society (MAHS) is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of the education and conservation surrounding frequently misunderstood reptiles and amphibians. We are currently seeking to fill an ongoing need for volunteers throughout the state of Wisconsin to assist in identifying, running, and organizing educational outreach events and Continue Reading >

Shedding the Uncertainty: How to Identify Snake Sheds

Shedding the Uncertainty: How to Identify Snake Sheds By Eric Roscoe One very commonly seen and asked question and topic that recently has been asked with greater frequency both online through Facebook, social media, and other forums, as well as in person, is identifying snakes based on their shed, or sheddings being found or left Continue Reading >

Emergency Preparedness for Herps

Emergency Preparedness for Herps By Eric Roscoe Disaster or emergency preparedness is an issue in which many pet owners and hobbyists of both reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as “herps” or herptiles) as well as other species of animals oftentimes do not expect, think about, or are prepared for. Fires, floods, power outages, hurricanes, tornadoes, Continue Reading >

Basic Reptile, Amphibian, and Invertebrate Health Checklist

Basic Reptile, Amphibian, and Invertebrate Health Checklist By Eric Roscoe Reptiles and amphibians, which are collectively known and referred to as “herps” or “herptiles” are perhaps among the fastest growing segments of the pet industry. According to the most recent American Pet Product’s Association statistics for 2015-2016, there are well over 13 million reptiles alone Continue Reading >

Making Sure Your Animal Measures Up!

How to Measure Your Snake/Other Reptile! By Eric Roscoe Another very commonly asked question and subject many reptile and amphibian hobbyists, enthusiasts, and pet owners have about their animal(s) is how long they are, or otherwise, how to accurately measure them in terms of their length. Luckily, this quick article will highlight and cover some Continue Reading >

Dealing with the Dreaded Snake Mite (or Acariasis for the Technical Term)!

Dealing with the Dreaded Snake Mite (or Acariasis for the Technical Term)! By Eric Roscoe Perhaps one of the worst things any pet owner or herp (reptile and amphibian) hobbyist, breeder, or enthusiast can experience is discovering that their newly acquired animal, or collection of animals, has snake mites. This is due to several reasons Continue Reading >

How to Find Your Escaped Reptile

How to Find an Escaped Snake (or Other Reptile) By Eric Roscoe One very commonly asked question or request for advice among pet owners and keepers with reptiles that is asked both online and in person is what to do or where to look for an escaped pet snake. In a vast majority of instances, Continue Reading >

What to Do About Pet Store Neglect?

What to Do About Pet Store Neglect By Eric Roscoe The issue of neglectful, or substandard pet stores with live animals has been an old and very long running one that perhaps is familiar to the vast majority of reptile and other pet owners, keepers, breeders, and hobbyists. There are many different cases and examples Continue Reading >

My Snake/Reptile Won’t Eat! What Should I Do?

My Snake (or Other Reptile) Won’t Eat! What Should I Do? By Eric Roscoe Perhaps one of the most commonly asked reptile related husbandry questions asked in person, on forums, and elsewhere on the Internet, particularly among new or beginning reptile keepers, is “my snake will not eat! What should I do?” Anorexia, or an apparent Continue Reading >

Salamanders in the Basement!

Salamanders in the Basement! By Eric Roscoe It is very common for salamanders and newts to be found in basements, window wells, or crawl spaces of human habitations during late autumn or early winter when temperatures drop and conditions become colder. Most salamanders will naturally over winter underground and below the frost line in self Continue Reading >

Captive Reptile Myths: Science Vs. Sensationalism

Captive Reptile Myths: Science vs. Sensationalism By Eric Roscoe   Reptiles and amphibians (collectively known as herps) are among the fastest growing segments of the pet industry, with new developments and advances taking place in all realms of their care and husbandry each year. According to the APPA’s (American Pet Products Association) 2015-2016 National Pet Continue Reading >

Genetics De-Mystified

Genetics De-Mystified By Eric Roscoe Currently, in the world of herpetoculture, there are an ever increasing number of color and/or pattern abnormalities (often referred to as “morphs”) being produced in snakes. For example, there are presently over 100 such abnormalities in the Corn snake (Pantherophis g. guttata). But how is this done? The answer lays Continue Reading >

Wisconsin Reptile and Amphibian Ordinance Listing

Wisconsin Reptile & Amphibian Ordinance Listing Here, you will find a thorough listing of applicable state of Wisconsin and county laws and ordinances pertaining to the keeping of reptiles and invertebrates for the state of Wisconsin. Although this listing is intended to serve as a reference, laws and ordinances, especially on the county level, are ever Continue Reading >

8 Things You Didn’t Know About Animal Planet/Discovery Network

1. Shift away from Science. The network has undergone a drastic re-launch involving significant changes to the network’s image and programming content. Once regarded as an educational, science and natural history based network, Discovery Communications is now “not looking to be a natural history channel, but rather an entertainment destination” according to the network’s president Continue Reading >

Reptiles and Salmonella: What You Need to Know!

Reptiles and Salmonella: What You Need to Know! By Eric Roscoe Salmonella is a genus of primarily rod shaped bacteria found worldwide, with two species being known, Salmonella enterica and Salmonella bongori, which is by far the more commonly seen species in the digestive tracts, as well as on or in the skin, scales, food, and Continue Reading >

Forced Perspective, Snakes Measuring Up Their Food, and Other Dubious Internet Sensations

*Photo by All About Snakes Forced Perspective, Snakes Measuring Up Their Food, and Other Dubious Internet Sensations By Eric Roscoe Just about anyone who uses or is familiar with the Internet, email, social media, and other such platforms has very likely viewed, shared, or downloaded photos, songs, videos and messages, on almost certainly a regular Continue Reading >

Field Herping Beginner’s Guide

WI Field Herping Beginner’s Guide “WHAT IS FIELD HERPING?” Field herping is when you strap on your boots and go out hiking in an attempt to find native species of reptiles and amphibians.  These animals are photographed and each individual has a long list of animals they want to find and take pictures of and Continue Reading >

Pythons in the Florida Everglades: Fact vs. Fiction

                                                                                                              Continue Reading >

How to Monitor Local Legislation & Ordinances in Your Area

Monitoring Legislation By Eric Roscoe How do I know when an ordinance is being proposed for my area? Unfortunately, legislation affecting the keeping of reptiles (and many other animals) is being proposed at all levels of government from federal and state, to county, municipality, or village and township. Oftentimes, some sort of publicized incident or Continue Reading >

Suggested Protocols for Venomous, Large Constrictors, and Crocodilians

Section I – Mishandling of reptiles declared public nuisance and criminal offense The intentional or negligent exposure of other human beings or the environment to unsafe contact with reptiles that are venomous, with large constricting snakes, or with crocodilians being potentially injurious and detrimental to public health, safety and welfare, and the environment, the indulgence Continue Reading >

Find a Wisconsin Herp Veterinarian

Do you live in Wisconsin and are in search of a reptile veterinarian? Then this page is the resource for you! Here, you will find a listing of veterinarians throughout the state able to see and treat reptiles. Please note that phone numbers, veterinarians, and other specific contact information may be subject to change. Be Continue Reading >

Tips on Renting with Herps (Reptiles and Amphibians)

Tips on Renting with Herps (Reptiles and Amphibians) By Eric Roscoe One topic that is frequently asked about is the issue of renting with reptiles and amphibians. In other words, how can one successfully locate herp friendly housing? What should be done if you run into issues over your animals with the landlord? It can often Continue Reading >

Herpetological Terms and Definitions

Often when talking about reptiles and amphibians with fellow keepers, you will hear terms like “het” or “exothermic,” and may not always know what it means.  Below is a reptile keepers guide to herpetological terms and their definitions.  Keep an eye out as this list will be updated as we think of more.     Continue Reading >

Top 10 Beginner Care Sheets

As people are getting more and more interested in reptiles, better and better information is being put together on keeping them.  We at MAHS have put together some Care Sheets that cover basic care for what we consider the 10 best reptiles for beginners.  This is a great start to basic care, and what’s needed, Continue Reading >