What ware your beginnings. what was your first experiences that connected you with with herptiles?
For me it it was:
An immediate attraction-
At 6 years we had tadpoles at school to see the metamorphoses.
I wanted the froglings so much I stole a few and put them in my pocket to take home. the outcome is obvious. But that made me want to learn how to keep them alive.
At 9 years old my friend had newts in his pond. I was fascinated and hoked.
I found out the timing of breeding congregations of for frogs, whent to places where it occurred and put them in my pond.
I got my first snake at 10 years back in the 70s and did my best. it was wild caught as all were then in then available UK. Didn’t last long. I was so upset i had to learn why.
In the 80s i started to get wild caught american snakes (which was all that was available at the time as there was no captive breeding) I volunteered at the center for life studies at london zoo to experiment and learn how to initiate breeding (Hibernation for many snakes was not even realised as required)
Then I found out how to breed north american snakes and it took off from there.
I have been crazy fascinated (as my parents say) since the age of 2 years. It started for me with bugs, and growing up in Idaho we always had lots of your ‘average’ common bugs like Praying Mantis, Katydid, Centipede, Poly Poly, etc. My favorite was obviously the Mantid
My earliest memory was with a kindergarten classroom with a hermit crab and crested gecko as a class-pet. There, we watched caterpillars metamorphize into Painted-Lady Butterflies.
There was also a large unused lot about a 0.25 mile from my house with lots of trashed roofing and tire material. Me and my dad would go out there every day and flip the rubble for lizards when I came home from school and after my Wild Kratts and Steve Irwin TV watching. After it rained we would also find toads, frogs and salamanders there as well. It was my 6 year old dream.
For me, it was probably going to my grandma’s house as a child and catching fence lizards in the backyard. Sometimes I would even see a rattlesnake, but they obviously wouldn’t let me anywhere near that
When I was younger I lived i the middle of nowhere like 1/2 a mile into the woods. we had a lake in our backyard, so I would constantly find snakes, lizards, salamanders, toads, frogs, tadpoles, roly polys as I called them then, pretty much everything.
I know a lot of people grow up with a fear of snakes ingrained into them, so I’m thankful my parents never taught me to be afraid of snakes/reptiles.
I actually had a “pet” ringneck snake growing up that would sit by the steps to our basement I would bring him inside and watch tv with him.
Mine wasnt an event, but rather a person. Watching steve irwin on animal planet is 110% why i love reptiles so much and always admired them. It also taught me the important of IDing herps before trying to catch them haha.
Ring neck snakes are hands down my favorite species of snake. They are so chill. I wish i could safely keep one, but its a bit harder than pythons because of how small they stay
I’ve been fascinated with reptiles, amphibians, any sort of small critter literally as long as I can remember.
Some of my early memories:
Flipping over a board used during the springtime to traverse a very muddy spot in the yard and finding a little yellow and black salamander. I was about 4 years old at the time.
During the spring, excitedly running down to the ditch at the end of our country home and looking for tadpoles in the water. I would often catch some in a glass, but had no idea how to care for them, so they’d be released soon after catching them.
At 5 years old, “the reptile man” came to my kindergarten class. We read the boa constrictor poem by Shel Silverstein, and then he showed us an actual boa constrictor, which was, to my child’s mind, impossibly large! (In fact, that memory stuck with me so well that when I was first getting into reptiles as an adult, I saw an adult retic at a reptile store and was sure it was a boa because I remembered that boas are the huge snakes!)
When I was a bit older, my cousin and I found a swarm of frogs at the lake. We caught so many and stored them in the bathtub, which our mothers weren’t particularly happy about!
At that same lake, with that same cousin, we found a friendly garter snake. We kept that snake with us all day and finally released him at the end of the day.
Yes they are so so fantastic! Their colors are gorgeous as well. The one I “had” was a super vibrant one. I would love to see them become established in the hobby!
One of my first experiences with snakes in a positive way was when I start karate there was a father of one the girls there that had pet garter snakes. He even carried one with him at all time as the temps were perfect for them. It would just chill with him and in his pocket, and they were very friendly for wild caughts. It really showed me that snakes could be super sweet.