Melissa Kaplan's
Herp Care Collection
Last update January 1, 2014

For Parents and Teachers

Learning is the evolution of the mind.
- Alison Crocker

Learning is not compulsory... Neither is survival.
- W. Edwards Deming

"Our greatest natural resource is the minds of our children."
- Walter Elias Disney

Try not to have a good time ... This is supposed to be educational.
- Charles Schulz


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Cover Image: Iguanas for Dummies.  Book written by Melissa Kaplan.
by Melissa Kaplan

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Education is serious business. Whether the ones teaching are teachers in a school or other educational setting, or parents homeschooling or otherwise interacting with their children, educating our children is the most important thing we do.

But that doesn't mean learning - and teaching - can't be fun. With that in mind, on this page you will find links to articles, lists and resources, most relating to reptiles or amphibians. They are presented with the hope that they will put some fun into your learning and teaching.

Reptiles as Pets
So, you think you want a reptile?
Key Considerations in Selecting Reptiles
Holiday Gifting
Herps as Gifts
Wild, Exotic Animals Kept as Pets Raise Risk of Disease, Injury
Ideas for National Pet Week in the Classroom

Reptiles In The Classroom
As a freelance educator, I frequently go into classrooms to present hands-on lectures about reptiles. This, in addition to the calls and e-mail I get from parents, students and teachers, has given me the opportunity to see how reptiles are kept in classrooms. And, I must say, on the whole, it isn't very good. Teachers are just as likely to get the incorrect information and not have the right, or even necessary, equipment, for the animals they keep. My concern and experiences in this area led me to do my master's thesis on classroom reptiles. If you are thinking about keeping one or more reptiles in your classroom, please read about the Special Needs of Classroom Reptiles

Please access the caresheets available through my site to learn how to properly set up and care for the reptiles and amphibians you may have. Make use of your local herpetological society - many have outreach programs and even if they don't, they should be able to provide you with care information. If you don't know of any in your state, let me know where you live and I will send you what herp society and reptile veterinarian information I have. Herp society and veterinarian listings are available for many states and other countries at my Herp Societies page.

Looking for my Beastly Garden of Wordy Delights?

Looking for coloring pages?

Not Just Herps
Why do you want to get rid of your pet? Is it because someone in the family is allergic to it? Or has it just become inconveniet? Keeping in mind that the majority of pet species are sentient, intelligent enough to learn your routines as well as their own, recognize people, have specific likes and dislikes, and get highly stressed when there are any major changes in their lives and yours, please make sure that you aren't like any of the people discussed in Pet Dumpers' Litany of Lame Excuses. If you aren't giving more thought to getting a pet than you are to getting a car, you shouldn't have pets.

Examples Incorporating Reptiles, Learning and Fun
Doobie the Leopard Gecko's Fun Page
M&M Survival Challenge - Can't beat a camouflage experiment using chocolate candies!


Activities and Lesson Plans
Beastly Words - or compiled into PDF
Dr. Splatt's roadside attraction
Imagine: A Visualization Exercise
Just for Kids: Humans and Animals
More than Half a Million U.S. Students Learn: What’s a Herp?

Myths and Fascinating Facts
Ophidiphobes and Ophidiphobia
Rainforest Imagery
Uncool Boffins: All Children's Perceptions of Scientists
The Use of Reptiles in Public Education


Other Web Resources For Parents, Teachers and Students
Advanced Genetics Wizard
Animal doc com - take University of Georgia's virtual tour of a vet hospital
Bell Museum/Minnesota Herpetological Society Resource List (PDF)
Bibliography on the Biology of Reptiles and Amphibians
Center for Science in the Public Interest Nutrition Action Healthletter
Cortland Herpetology Connection - Learn to use animal identification keys's Online Field Guides's Little Explorer's Dictionary
International Fund for Animal Welfare
IFAW's Amphibians and Reptiles as Pets
Iowa State University's Tasty Insect Recipes
Katerpillar & Mystery Bugs
Kids.Net.Au (Kid/Teen-friendly search engine)
Kid's Corner (USFWS)
Teacher's Guide: Mold is for Wimps: Antibiotics from Big, Scary Reptiles

National Biodiversity Information Infrastructure's Teacher Resources
National Museum of Natural History Division of Reptiles and Amphibians
National Wildlife Federation - Environmental Education, Kid Zone
Schoolyard Habitat Program
Science NetLinks
Smithsonian Magazine Online
Sources for Wildlife Pictures (See also Researching Herp Info)
TRAFFIC Publications and Resources
Turtle Steve's U.S. Turtle Field Guide
USGS Biological Resources Division's Learning Room (Middle-School on up)
USGS Biological Resources Division's Kid's Corner
Virtual Tour of the Reptile & Amphibian Hall
Word! A Glossary of Medical Words - from
World Wildlife Fund's Kid Stuff


Bibliographical References in Herp Names
Biographical Appendix of the Translations of the Scientific Names of the Reptiles and Amphibians of North America


Enchanged Learning's Coloring Pages
First-School's Reptile Coloring Page
FreePrintableColoringPage's Reptiles's Reptile Coloring Book
Pelotes Island Nature Preserve's Reptile Coloring Pages's Reptile & Dinosaur Coloring Pages


Create a Backyard Habitat
Create a Schoolyard Habitat


The following is a list of some of my personal favorite books with reptile and/or environmental themes. The reptiles themselves are only characters in the greater story - the themes of are of change, of friendship, of life.

And Still the Turtle Watched
Sheila MacGill-Callahan. 1991. Dial Books.
A tale of the flowing of time, of seeing and believing, of carelessness and redemption.

Survival: Could You Be a Frog?
John Norris Wood. 1990. Ideals Children's Books.
Life is choices, good ones and bad ones. On lucky days, we make the right ones and live another day to try again.

The Lorax
Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel). 1971. Random House
From plenty to putrid, redemption and the chance to start anew lies in a single seed...and the example of the Lorax picking himself up by the seat of his pants. [I became interested in Theodore Geisel ("Dr. Seuss") and so researched him for an author paper I wrote for my Seminar in Child Literature class. If you would like to read it, it is available in HTML and PDF

Just A Dream
Chris Van Allsburg. 1990. Houghton Mifflin Company.
From plenty to putrid...but only in a dream. The future can be changed by what we choose to do, and not do, today.

Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back
Joseph Bruchac and Jonathon London. 1992. Philomel Books.
There are thirteen scutes on the turtle's back, and thirteen moons in the lunar year. For many Native American cultures, each moon had a tale to tell. In this book of poems, the cycles of the year, the sharing of myths and stories from generation to generation, are retold. Brouchac has collaborated on another book with some wonderful reptile and environmental and literature, Keepers of the Animals: Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children, Michael J. Caduto and Joseph Bruchac. 1991. Fulcrum Publishing.

The Turtle and the Moon
Charles Turner. 1991. Dutton Children's Books.
The turtle lives alone in his pond, day after day, with no one to play with. One night, he awakens to find someone else playing in his pond!

The Salamander Room
Ann Mazer. 1991. Alfred A. Knopf.
A boy, trying to convince his mother to let him keep a bright orange salamander he has found, describes to her how he will keep the salamander, transforming his room into a delightful habitat for both boy and sallie.

A few others that I have found to be quite good on some difficult topics:
Death is Natural Laurence Pringle. 1977. Morrow Junior Books.
Evolution Joanna Cole (and illustrated by Aliki). 1987. Thomas Y. Crowell.  

Need to update a veterinary or herp society/rescue listing?

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