Glossary - Wiki (In Progress)

Below is a community built glossary of words and terms used in the reptile hobby.

There are certain terms that have been used incorrectly for many years and have became a hard habit to break for some. Having a set standard that we can refer to during conversation will make it much easier for both the veterans and newcomers.

This is a long way from being finished, but it is a start.
Feel free to add anything you see missing, but before you do, at least Google it to make sure your wording and spelling are correct. Please add in alphabetical order.

If you see/hear any words being used that you don’t understand and can’t find them on the list, drop a comment with the word in question and we will get it added.

Use this Screenshot_20201014-202627_Chrome icon to edit

Thank you to @chesterhf @mblaney @nathan_e and @trnreptiles for helping me put together what we have so far.


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1.1.1 sex description

♂•♀•:question:

1.0.0 = 1 male.
0.1.0 = 1 female.
0.0.1 = 1 unknown sex.

Example:

6.3.8 = 6 males, 3 females and 8 unknown sex animals.

100% het

Reptile has been confirmed to carry a recessive gene for a certain trait, usually through breeding


A

Acute

Of only a few days’ duration.

ASF

African Soft Furs - a species of feeder rodent.

Albino

Lack of pigmentation present in the skin.

Allele

An allele is one of two or more versions of a gene. An individual inherits two alleles for each gene, one from each parent. If the two alleles are the same, the individual is homozygous for that gene. If the alleles are different, the individual is heterozygous.

Ambient Temperature

The temperature of the environment overall.

Amelanistic

Lacking melanin (black pigment).

Anthropomorphism

The act of attributing human characteristics to a reptile.

Anuran

Tailless amphibians- frogs, toads.

Arboreal

Lives off the ground, such as in trees.

ATB

Amazon Tree Boa

Autotomy

Shedding/disconnecting body parts, usually in defence.

Axanthic

Lacks Red pigmentation, Yellow pigmentation or both.


B

Bacteriocidal

Bacteria-killing

Base Pair

Base pair describes the relationship between the building blocks on the strands of DNA.

Bask

When a reptile lays in a warm area to increase its body temperature

BCC

Boa Constrictor Constrictor

BCI

Boa Constrictor Imperator

BCL

Boa constrictor longicauda

BCO

Boa constrictor occidentalis

Benign

Nonaggressive, not of immediate threat. Often used to characterize neoplasia (cancer).

Black Eyed Leucistic / BlkEL

White/Albino animal with black eyes.
Leucism is a term used to describe a wide variety of conditions which result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—which causes white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticles, but not the eyes.

Blue / In Blue

The stage of the shed process in which a snake’s eyes are completely cloudy.

Blue Eyed Leucistic / BluEL

White/Albino animal with blue eyes.
Leucism is a term used to describe a wide variety of conditions which result in the partial loss of pigmentation in an animal—which causes white, pale, or patchy coloration of the skin, hair, feathers, scales or cuticles, but not the eyes.

BP

Ball Python

BRB

Brazilian Rainbow Boa.

Brumation

Brumation is a term used for the hibernation-like state that cold-blooded animals utilize during very cold weather.


C

Candling

A method for determining the fertility of eggs by placing a bright light against them to check for veins.

CB / Captive Bred

A animal that was birthed in a captive setting.

Carapace

Upper portion of the shell of turtles/tortoises. Sometimes also used for invertebrates.

Carnivore

Meat eating animal.

CHE

Ceramic heat emitter.

Chelonian

Turtle, terrapin, or tortoise.

Chimera

An organism that contains two or more genetically distinct populations of cells that originate from different zygotes.

Chromatophore

Pigment containing cells:

  • erythrophores (red)
  • iridophores (silvery-white)
  • melanophores (brown-black)
  • xanthophores (yellow)
Chromosome

A chromosome is an organized package of DNA found in the nucleus of the cell. Each parent contributes one chromosome to each pair so that offspring get half of their chromosomes from their mother and half from their father.

Chronic

of longer than a brief duration.

Cloaca

In animal anatomy, a cloaca is the posterior orifice that serves as the only opening for the digestive, reproductive, and urinary tracts (if present) of many vertebrate animals, opening at the vent. All amphibians, reptiles and birds have this orifice, from which they excrete both urine and feces.

Clutch

The term given to a group of eggs layed by a individual.

Codominance

Codominance is a relationship between two versions of a gene. Individuals receive one version of a gene, called an allele, from each parent. If the alleles are different, the dominant allele usually will be expressed, while the effect of the other allele, called recessive, is masked. In codominance, however, neither allele is recessive and the phenotypes of both alleles are expressed.

Cohabitation

The practice of keeping more than one reptile in the same enclosure. Not recommended for most reptile species

Colubrid
Cranial

The top of the head.

Crepuscular

Active at twilight

Crocodilian

Crocodiles, Alligators, Caimans, & Gavials (Gharials)

Crossing Over

During the formation of egg and sperm cells, also known as meiosis, paired chromosomes from each parent align so that similar DNA sequences from the paired chromosomes cross over one another. Crossing over results in a shuffling of genetic material and is an important cause of the genetic variation seen among offspring.

Cyanophores

Cyanophores are blue chromatophores and are responsible for the blue pigmentation in the skin.

Cryptosporidiosis / Crypto

D

Dermal

Referring to the skin

Dewlap

Throat fan- vertical loose flap of skin seen in some lizards.

Dimorphic

Possessing 2 forms. Often used to describe sexual dimorphism, in which male and female characteristics markedly differ (e.g., size, color, etc.).

Diurnal

Awake and active during the day

DNA sequencing

DNA sequencing is a laboratory technique used to determine the exact sequence of bases (A, C, G, and T) in a DNA molecule. The DNA base sequence carries the information a cell needs to assemble protein and RNA molecules. DNA sequence information is important to scientists investigating the functions of genes.

Dominant

Dominant refers to the relationship between two versions of a gene. Individuals receive two versions of each gene, known as alleles, from each parent. If the alleles of a gene are different, one allele will be expressed; it is the dominant gene.

As a example, Enchi (Dominant) X Piebald (Recessive) = Visual Enchi het Piebald.

Enchi het Piebald X Piebald = Visual Enchi visual Piebald

Dorsal

The area along the spine.

Dorsolateral

The upper sides.

Dysecdysis

Difficult or impaired skin shedding or molting.


E

Ecotherm

An ectotherm is an organism in which internal physiological sources of heat are of relatively small or of quite negligible importance in controlling body temperature. Such organisms rely on environmental heat sources.

Erythrophores

erythrophores are red chromatophores and are responsible for the red pigmentation in the skin.

ETB

Emerald Tree Boa


F

Fossorial

Burrowing beneath the earth.

Founder effect

Lack of genetic variation caused by a population formed from a small number of individuals.

F/K

Freshly killed prey items.

F/T

Frozen Thawed. Frozen prey items that have been defrosted.

Frugivore

An animal that eats only fruit.


G

Gene

The gene is the basic physical unit of inheritance. Genes are passed from parents to offspring and contain the information needed to specify traits.

Genes are arranged, one after another, on structures called chromosomes. A chromosome contains a single, long DNA molecule, only a portion of which corresponds to a single gene

A sequence of nucleotides that encodes for a gene product.

Genome

The genome is the entire set of genetic instructions found in a cell.

Genotype

A genotype is an individual’s collection of genes. The term also can refer to the two alleles inherited for a particular gene. The genotype is expressed when the information encoded in the genes’ DNA is used to make protein and RNA molecules.

Geophagy

Earth eating

Gout

Refers to the accumulation of urate crystals in tissue sites.

Gravid

A female that is bearing eggs or embryos.

GTP

Green Tree Python


H

Heat Lamp

A ceramic bulb set up that is used with a thermostat to heat an enclosure.

Herbivorous

Vegetarian, preferring or requiring a diet of plant material.

Hemipenis

The paired copulatory organ of a male snake or lizard.

Herpetology

Scientific Study of reptiles and amphibians.

Heterophil

The reptile version of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell

Heterozygous

Heterozygous refers to having inherited different forms (or alleles) of a particular gene from each parent. A heterozygous genotype stands in contrast to a homozygous genotype, where an individual inherits identical forms of a particular gene from each parent.

Hide

A faux cave that is placed in the enclosure for a animal to conceal itself.

Homozygous

Homozygous is a genetic condition where an individual inherits the same alleles for a particular gene from both parents.

Humidity

Humidity is the concentration of water vapor present in the air.

Husbandry

The control and management of animal care.

Hybrid

A crossbred offspring of two seperate species.

Hydrometer

A device used to measure the humidity of a environment.

Hyperthermia

abnormally warm

Hypomelanistic

An animal that lacks melanocytes; may be albinistic, xanthic, iridophoric, or erythric/erythrophoric

Hypothermia

abnormally cold


I

Iatrogenic

A negative reaction caused by the treatment given.

IBD

Inclusion body disease.

Idiopathic

A disease/condition of unknown cause.

Incomplete dominance

Incomplete dominance is when a dominant allele does not completely mask the effects of a recessive allele and the resulting phenotype is blend of both alleles.

Inherited

An inherited trait is one that is genetically determined. Inherited traits are passed from parent to offspring according to the rules of Mendelian genetics.

Invasive Species

An invasive species is a non-native species that spreads from the point of introduction and becomes abundant.

Iridophore

Iridophores are a iridescent chromatophores and are responsible for the iridescence/reflective pigmentation in the skin.


J


K

Kinesis

A hinged, movable portion of the plastron; can be sexually dimorphic.

KSB

Kenyan Sand Boa


L

Lock

The term given for when a male and female are in the physical act of reproduction

Locus

A locus is the specific physical location of a gene or other DNA sequence on a chromosome, like a genetic street address. The plural of locus is “loci”.

Leucophores

Leucophores are white chromatophores and are responsible for the white pigmentation in the skin.


M

Malignant

Aggressive, often fatal. Often used to describe neoplasia (cancer).

MBD

Metabolic bone disease.

MBK

Mexican Black King.

Melanism

The production of too many dark pigments.

Melanophore

A black-brown pigment cell.
Melanophores are black/brown chromatophores and are responsible for the black/brown pigmentation in the skin.

Mendelian Inheritance

Mendelian inheritance refers to patterns of inheritance that are characteristic of organisms that reproduce sexually. The Austrian monk Gregor Mendel performed thousands of crosses with garden peas at his monastery during the middle of the 19th century. Mendel explained his results by describing two laws of inheritance that introduced the idea of dominant and recessive genes.

Microphthalmic

Tinier eyes than normal

Monogenic

Trait caused or controlled by a single gene

Morph

The term used to describe the visual impact of a mutation.

Mosaic

An organism with two (or more) genetically distinct populations of cells that have arisen from the same zygote.

Mutation

A mutation is a change in a DNA sequence.


N

Naris/Nares

Nostril/nostrils

Necropsy

A postmortem exam. While ‘necropsy’ can be used for both humans and animals, ‘autopsy’ can only be used for humans.

Neoplasia

Cancer

Nocturnal

Awake at night.


O

Omnivorous

Eats both plant matter and flesh.

Ophiophagous

Snake-eating

Optic

Referring to the eyes

Osseous

Bony

Otic

Referring to ears

Oviparous

Egg-laying. Not the same as ‘ovoviviparous,’ see below.

Ovophagous

Egg-eating

Ovoviviparous

Producing young by means of eggs which are hatched within the body of the parent.

Ovulation

P

Pairing

Placing a male and female in a enclosure together in hopes of reproduction.

Paradox

A term used to describe a snake that has contradictory markings to its genotype and predicted phenotype. An example would a BEL showing brown/black patches. The Paradox phenotype is usually caused by chimerism or mosaicism.

Parietal Eye

A photoreceptive median eye-like organ found in the tuatara and some lizards.

Parthenogenic

Reproduction by the development of an egg into an embryo without fertilization by a sperm cell- females producing female babies without a male. Seen in some Lacerta and Hemidactylus species.

Peracute

Of very brief duration- minutes to hours.

Phenotype

Set of observable traits and characteristics. This can include color, patterning, behavioral traits, size and more

Piscivorous

Fish-eating

Pigmentation

Pigmentation refers to the coloring of the skin.

Plastron

Bottom (ventral) portion of the shell of turtles, terrapins, and tortoises.

Polygenic

Trait caused by the additive effect of multiple genes. Examples of a polygenic trait include size and behavior

Popping

A method of sexing baby snakes by everting their hemipenes (or lack thereof).

Prehensile Tail

Tail that can be used to for grabbing/wrapping.

Probe

A tool used to determine the sex of certain reptiles.

Punnett square

A diagram used to calculate the possible outcomes of breeding between two individuals


Q

Quarantine

The procedure of isolating a new animal to prevent viruses that the new animal may have from infecting other animals.


R

Rack

A shelving unit for holding multiple reptiles.

Radiograph

Commonly called an ‘X-ray,’ an image obtained with x-ray irradiation

Recessive

Recessive is a quality found in the relationship between two versions of a gene. Individuals receive one version of a gene, called an allele, from each parent. If the alleles are different, the dominant allele will be expressed, while the effect of the other allele, called recessive, is masked. In the case of a recessive genetic disorder, an individual must inherit two copies of the mutated allele in order for the mutation to be present.

RHP

Radiant Heat Panel

Rostral

Pertaining to nose/front of head

RUB

Really Useful Boxes. Brand if plastic boxes used by many in the hobby.


S

Saurian

Lizards

Scutes

Flat scales or plates, usually on tummy

Sex Chromosome

A sex chromosome is a type of chromosome that participates in sex determination.

Slugs

Infertile eggs.

Spur

Remnants of the pelvic limb, can be found on alongside the cloaca. Seen in some species, e.g., boiids.

Strike

When a animal lunges to either attack prey or defend itself .

Substrate

A substrate is any material used on the floor of a enclosure. Soil, rocks, sand and aspen are examples of substrates.


T

Temp gun

Laser or infrared thermometer

Thermostat

A device that controls the heating elements of the enclosure.

Thermometer

A device used to measure the temperature of a environment.

Terrestrial

Lives in the land.


U

Urates
Uricotelic

Primary nitrogenous waste product is uric acid, not urea.

UTH

Under tank heater.

UVA

Type of ultraviolet radiation produced naturally by the sun. Reptiles can see colors produced by this wavelength of light, but humans can’t. Seems to provide mental health benefits for diurnal reptiles as well as stimulate appetite.

UVB

Type of ultraviolet radiation produced naturally by the sun. Triggers a physiological process which helps both humans and reptiles make their own vitamin D3, which in turn helps them metabolize calcium. Lack of UVB can lead to MBD in many diurnal reptiles.


V

Vago-vagal reflex

A handling technique that involves gently covering the eyes of a lizard and calming it into a trace-like state.

Venom

Toxins released/produced by a animal.

Vent

See ‘Cloaca’.

Virus

A virus is a submicroscopic infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of an organism

Vivarium

A cage or container for keeping reptiles and amphibians.

Viviparous

Live birth

Vomeronasal Organ

Pheromone and scent detector, adjacent to roof of the mouth.


W

Wild Caught

A animal that was brought from a natural wild habitat into a captive setting.


X

Xanthophores

Xanthophores are yellow chromatophores and are responsible for the yellow pigmentation in the skin.


Y


Z

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