Herpetology

Herpetology

A general summary of herpetology features and characteristics which can be found in the Rooi Cederberg Karoo Park region.

Herpetofauna of the Rooi Cederberg Karoo Park

Photo 1: Defensive posture of the Armadillo lizard (Ouroborus cataphractus) Herpetology is the branch of Zoology concerned with the study of amphibians and reptiles. In a South African context it refers to the study of frogs (including toads), lizards, amphisbaenids, snakes, chelonians (tortoises, terrapins and turtles), and crocodiles. These tetrapod groups are all ectothermic, meaning all use external heat sources in regulating their body temperatures. The other two extant tetrapod groups, birds and mammals, are endothermic and produce heat through their own metabolism. The word "herpetology" comes from the Greek word herpeton meaning "creeping animal" and -logia meaning knowledge. "Herp" is a vernacular term for reptiles and amphibians. There are over 6700 species of amphibians and over 9000 species of reptiles in the World. South Africa is home to 118 frog species and more than 350 reptile species. In addition, at least two sea turtle species visit the country's shores…
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