Event Description

In order to pass off this merit badge at Scout Expo and receive a signed Blue Card, you must print off the Merit Badge Worksheet for this Merit Badge and fill it out as completely as possible. Then fulfill the requirment(s) listed below that are in BOLD and bring some evidence that you have completed the requirements with you to Scout Expo.

 

Reptile and Amphibian Study Requirements

  1. 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.
  2. 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 state.
  3. Describe the main differences between
    a. Amphibians and reptiles
    b. Alligators and crocodiles
    c. Toads and frogs
    d. Salamanders and lizards
    e. Snakes and lizards
  4. 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.
  5. Describe how reptiles and amphibians reproduce.
  6. From observation, describe how snakes move forward. Describe the functions of the muscles, ribs, and belly plates.
  7. 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.
  8. Do ONE of the following:
    a. Maintain one or more reptiles or amphibians for at least a month. Record 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).
    b. Choose a reptile or amphibian that you can observe at a local zoo, aquarium, nature center, or other such exhibit (such as your classroom or school). Study the specimen weekly for a period of three months. At each visit, sketch the specimen in its captive habitat and note any changes in its coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits and behavior. Find out, either from information you locate on your own or by talking to the caretaker, what this species eats and what are its native habitat and home range, preferred climate, average life expectancy, and natural predators. Alsd amphibians.


NOTE: Scouts must not use venomous reptiles in fulfilling requirement 8a. Species listed by federal or state law as endangered, protected, or threatened must not be used as live specimens in completing requirement 8a unless official permission has been given. In most cases all specimens should be returned to the wild at the location of capture after the requirement ish and game officials in your state regarding species regulations before you begin to collect.