Herping Etiquette and Opinions

#1

I feel like this is a topic many avoid as it’s mainly asked by young Herpers and over time, could get rather annoying. Questions like “Where did you find this?” and “Do you wanna trade spots?” come up all the time. I would like to see others opinions on the do’s and don’ts of things like sharing spots, finding Herping buddies, handling and collecting animals as iv’e seen many people say different things.

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#2

If I do not know the person well I would not give out locations.

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#3

For those of us not so familiar with it, can you describe what is encompassed by the term “herping”?

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#4

looking for amphibians and reptiles. ie ‘herpetology’… the equivalent of ‘botanizing’ or ‘birding’

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#5

Thanks for bringing this up. I think it really should be a priority for Inaturalist staff and users to protect these species as best we can at the risk of them getting ‘loved to death’, especially as Inaturalist becomes evermore popular. Establishing a universal etiquette would be difficult but I think also super important in this great endeavor.

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#6

I’ve added these terms to glossary https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/glossary-inatforum/1966

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#7

Exactly. Iv’e always been told never to give locations not because of who you bring, but who they bring. Over using a spot can definitely ruin it and the ecosystems within it. Considering i’m still quite young I still understand the newbies frustration when someone won’t reveal a tin site, but now i also see the bigger picture, yknow

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#8

i’ve got some skepticism as to some of the ‘privacy’ policies of some herpers as it sometimes seem to come down more to hoarding (and possibly i the worst case scenario keeping places to collect from) but there is also a very important time and a place for it, for instance rattlesnake dens.

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#9

All very good remarks. I am going to annotate my pond observations and ask our people to annotate ‘herp’ obs with a comment about herping rules. We follow https://www.earthwiseaware.org/etiquette/species-habitats-focused-etiquettes/the-herping-rules/ which we developed with herpetologists, and that we use as the ethics background in our ponding expeditions and vernal pool documentation events.

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#10

It’s a tough issue. For sensitive species or habitats, I wouldn’t give out detailed info to someone I hadn’t met in person and evaluated their methods/attitudes. For common or invasive species, I would be much freer with information.

One other reason I sometimes obscure info on iNat is when I am posting on observations from private property or a place with otherwise restricted access. I wouldn’t want to encourage folks to head there to find something and potentially damage the site or cause problems for the owners or administrators.

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#11

yeah, i definitely consider the private property issue a totally different one. I obscure on private land too unless i know the landowner wants otherwise or i am on a public road/trail.

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#12

Yeah, I think for herpers it kind of intersects. Sometimes people can think that you are “hoarding” or “holding out on them” when it really comes down to the property issue thing; as in, if this were publicly accessible, I would be happy to post the location info.

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#13

When it comes to sensitive communities or species, I will sometimes even obscure all the observations from that location or day. It only takes a little bit of deduction to locate obscured observations from those that come immediately before or after based on their timestamp or georeference.

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#14

yeah, i have done that before too. More often I just change the date of anything i am worried about, if it isn’t the whole community that is at risk. It isn’t 100% perfect but to me, that’s much, much better than losing all that spatial data. But that’s just me./

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#15

Welcome to the forum, and thanks for posting this link, great resource! Anyone feel like this doesn’t sufficiently address the topic?

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#16

despite my skepticism of getting overzealous, I DO think it should mention that locations of rare/poaching prone species should not be revealed publicly, and i didn’t see that

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#17

Although i have seen a few herpers admit to hoarding. This one guy made a video on his tin site, with a king snake, saying something along the lines of how he hates People coming to his site and his solution was to basically destroy all the tin. Which even if it was on private property, i don’t agree with the solution

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