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Herpetology Club brings reptiles to campus

The Battalion

Published: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Updated: Thursday, September 27, 2012 00:09

Courtesy Photo

Senior wildlife and fisheries major Kristen Norris teaches kids about snakes at the Texas Reds Festival.

The reptiles, normally housed in the College of Veterinary Medicine, are regular attendees of the Texas A&M Herpetology Club.

 A passionate reptile enthusiast, senior wildlife and fisheries sciences major Kristen Norris founded the Herpetology Club during the summer of 2010. After being frustrated with the lack of a Herpetology organization at Texas A&M, Norris decided to start her own.

 "When I got to A&M, the first thing I did was type in 'reptiles,'" Norris said. "I felt that A&M needed a herpetology club and we've had a lot of success in getting a big group together twice a month."

 The Texas A&M Herpetology Club does a wide range of activities, all involving live reptiles. These include taking weekend field trips to reptile conventions and attending seminars on how to bag and capture snakes, some of which are venomous.

The variety of reptile-related activities has managed to attract many people from different majors, all of whom share a common enthusiasm for reptiles.

"I saw it at open house." said senior horticulture major Daniel Haywood. "I like reptiles so I joined it."

The Herpetology Club brings in a large amount of reptiles to the College of Veterinary Medicine, ranging from the Monitor lizard to the even larger Burmese Pythons and Boa Constrictors. Smaller reptiles, like corn snakes, iguanas and an assortment of turtles are also present at meetings. The Herpetology Club even houses a maroon and white corn snake named "Aggie" and an orange and white king snake named "T-sip."

The Herpetology Club is active in animal rescue. Many club members work with the Reptile Hospice and Sanctuary of Texas. People working with the hospice have found reptiles in a variety of places such as abandoned homes and used washing machines. A Boa Constrictor, named “Lucky Stars" was rescued by the hospice when her head was nearly chopped off after her previous owner called 911, mistakenly thinking that the snake was trying to kill her when it wrapped around her arm.

"It's a little frustrating because people don't give the same credibility to reptiles as they do to cats or dogs," said Reptile Hospice director Teresa Shisk-Saling.

According to Norris, the Herpetology Club is a way for people who are afraid of reptiles to get overcome their fear. The Texas A&M Herpetology Club meets every other Thursday at 7:30 pm at the College of Veterinary Medicine.


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