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Herp Terms and Definitions for Reptiles and Amphibians

* This is not a complete list of herp and reptile terms and more will be added as time goes on.
* However if you would like to add one, Email Me.


Terms and Definitions used with Reptiles and Amphibians

Term Definition
Acclimation To Acclimate. To adjust to new conditions or an environment. An example of acclimation is the adjustment of your reptile to get used to its new conditions and environment.
Aquarium This is an enclosure that is filled with water and inhabits aquatics such as fish or frogs in.
Aquatic If your reptile or amphibian is aquatic, this means that it lives its life in water.
Bowels Bowels are the interior of your reptiles body...in other words the reptiles intestine or intestines.
Brumation Brumate. This is a semi-hibernation state in which a reptile sleeps a majority of the time, and eats very little.
Carnivorous Carnivore. If your reptile or amphibian is carnivorous, then they eat live or dead animals or insects. They are predators.
CHE Ceramic Heat Emitter. These heaters screw into a light bulb socket, but give off no light. Good source of heat for your reptile at night when the lights are off.
Cloaca The hole which is also known as the vent. Contiains genitals, urinary and intestines.
Clutch A clutch is an amount of eggs laid at one time.
Clutch Size The number of eggs laid in a clutch.
Coccidia A single cell organism that can infest your reptiles (or other pets) intestines. Its a microscopic parasite that may cause watery stools, bloody stools, or extremely smelly stools. This is very common in Bearded Dragons. The usual treatment for reptiles is by using Albon that is prescribed by your veterinarian.
Coccidiosis A parasitic disease. Possible signs of coccidiosis infection (or other parasitic infections) may include smelly stools, the infected reptile being lethargic, diarrhea, mucus or blood in your reptiles feces, decrease or loss of appetite, loss in weight. If you experience any of the above get a stool sample to the vet to be on the safe side. Coccidosis can also be brought on due to stress and overcrowding, which can in turn reduce the immune system.
Cold-Blooded Ectotherm. Means that your reptile regulates its body heat by its surroundings. It can not regulate its body heat themselves. An example of this would be a reptile laying under a heat lamp absorbing the heat.
Crest A crest is a formation on the top of a reptiles head. An example of a reptile with a crest is a mountain horned dragon or a basilisk.
Dewlap A loose fold of skin located underneath your reptiles neck. An example of a reptile with a dewlap is an iguana.
Diurnal If your reptile or amphibian is diurnal, this means that they are active during the day.
Dorsal When referring to dorsal on a reptile, it means anything that is pertaining to your reptiles back. An example would be the dorsal crest or fin of a basilisk. Meaning that it has a crest or fin on its back.
Ectotherm Means that your reptile regulates its body heat by its surroundings. An example of this would be a reptile laying under a heat lamp absorbing the heat.
Endotherm This would mean your reptile would regulate its own heat and is not so dependent on it surroundings.
Feces Feces is waste matter(poop/crap/excrement) that is released from the bowels.
Femoral Pores Plugs on the inside thigh of a reptile. Males plugs are generally larger then females plugs. Females plugs are small to non-existant.
Gestation Gestation Period. The period of time between actual mating and the birth of the reptiles babies.
Gravid Gravid means your reptile or amphibian is carrying young or eggs. Basically put your reptile or amphibian is pregnant.
Habitat The naturatl environment in which your reptile or amphibian would naturally live in.
Hemipenes The hemipenes is the male reptiles reproduction organ.
Herbivorous Herbivore. If your reptile or amphibian is herbivorous, then it eats only plants and vegetation.
Herpetology Herpetoloty is the study of reptiles and amphibians.
Insectivorous Insectivore. If your reptile or amphibian is insectivorous, then it eats mainly insects.
Keel A ridge shaped part of a reptile.
Necrotic Necrosis is why the cells or tissues die.
Nocturnal If your reptile or amphibian is nocturnal, this means they are active during the night.
Omnivorous Omnivore. If your reptile or amphibian is omnivorous, then it eats both plant and animal foods.
Oocyst An egg-like structure found in feces that is used to transport a parasite to a new host. Ultimately these parasites invade the cell linings of the intestines.
Oviparous This means your reptile or amphibian lays eggs that will hatch. An example of this would be a bearded dragon or leopard gecko.
Ovoviviparous This means your reptile or amphibian produces eggs that hatch inside its body. An example of this would be monkey-tail skinks.
Oxalates When Oxalic Acid combines with calcium, iron, sodium, magnesium, or potassium it forms salt crystals called Oxalates. Oxalates naturally in plants.
Oxalic Acid Oxalic Acid is a toxic organic acid that are found in plants. Oxalate Acid binds with nutrients which prevents your reptile from getting important nutrients. In turn Oxalic Acid binding with the nutrients form Oxalates.
Parasite An animal that lives inside another plant or animal living off that plant or animals nutrients. Examples of parasites are pinworms, tapeworms, coccidia, etc.
Parietal Eye "A third eye", although not a real eye. It is supposedly a photo sensitive eye telling your reptile if it is day or night and controls their internal clock. There is still alot of research being done on this, but that is basically what I have gotten out of what a parietal eye is.
Predator If your reptile or amphibian is a predator, that means if feeds off other animals and organisms.
Scales Protective plates that cover a reptiles body.
Semi-Aquatic If your reptile is semi-aquatic, this means your reptile lives on land and in the water.
Sexual Dimorphism This means that there are feature differences between male and female reptiles or amphibians.
STL Snout to Tail Length. This means you are measuring from the tip of your reptiles nose to the tip of it's tail.
Stool A stool is fecal matter from a bowel movemnt of your reptile.
Stool Sample A stool sample is a piece of fecal matter that you bring to the vet to have checked for parasites etc. Also note that you should bring as fresh of a stool sample as you can, or atleast refrigerate it if you can't get it to the vet within a couple of hours.
SVL Snout to Vent Length. This means you are measuring from the tip of your reptiles nose to its vent located on the underside at the base of a lizards tail.
Tadpole The larva of a frog or toad. They have no limbs but do have gills and a tail.
Terrarium This is an enclosure in which you would keep your repitles or amphibians in.
UVA visible range. Used for promoting regular habits in reptiles such as eating, breeding, etc.
UVB The non-visible range. Helps synthesis of vitamin D3 and processes calcium.
UVC The non-visible range. Used to kill bacteria.
Vent The vent is a slit on the underside of a reptile at the base of it's tail. This is from where feces and sexual organs come out from.
Ventral Ventral is referring to the stomach area.
Veterinarian A Vet. A person that is skilled in diseases and care of animals. Some veterinarians are skilled in caring for reptiles also.
Vivarium An enclosure for raising animals that replicate their natural environment.
Viviparous To give birth to a live reptile or amphibian.
Voracious If your reptile or amphibian has a voracious appetite, that means that it readily consumes its food in a greedy fashion.
Warm-Blooded Endotherm. This would mean your reptile would regulate its own heat and is not so dependent on it surroundings.

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