What is a Herpetologist?

A Herpetologist does NOT study herpes or sexually transmitted diseases!

A Herpetologist is a kind of zoologist who specialises in the study of reptiles and amphibians.

What are reptiles?

  • Snakes
  • Lizards
  • Crocodiles
  • Turtles and tortoises

What are amphibians?

  • Frogs
  • Toads
  • Newts
  • Salamanders
  • Caecilians

Herpetologists usually work in museums, universities and institutions that are involved in classifying reptiles and amphibians. They often work closely with Taxonomists.

What does a Herpetologist do?

  • they research reptiles and amphibians
  • they conduct outdoor expeditions for research
  • they study the habitat and lifestyles and life-cycles of these creatures
  • they monitor feeding habits
  • they study their relationship to their surrounding and other animals
  • they monitor populations and breeding habitats
  • they research factors like pollution, deforestation etc which may affect these creatures
  • they study diseases and potential prey
  • they conduct experiments and dissections in the laboratory
  • they specialise in a particular field like: rattlesnakes or leopard toads

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in science and research?
  • passionate about reptiles and amphibians?
  • inquisitive?
  • patient?
  • able to work on your own?
  • detail orientated?
  • willing to work in all weather conditions?
  • willing to work in remote areas?

How do I become a Herpetologist?

Most Herpetologists start their career doing a Bachelor of Science (BSc) at one of our local universities.

Once you have your BSc it is recommended you do an Honours degree in Herpetology. It will depend on you and what you want to study. Check your local university for their choices.


  • CLICK HERE to check for a training institution near you to see what they offer.
  • Make sure you understand their entry requirements for each course.
  • To avoid scams, make sure your institution is registered with the Department of Higher Education. 
  • CLICK HERE to check accredited Private Higher Education Institutions. 

  • CRI: Cape Reptile Institute
  • SSAR: Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles


CAREERS TO CONSIDER:  Bryologist … or … Conservation Ecologist

Is becoming a Herpetologist the right career choice for me?