A herpetologist is a scientist who specializes in studying reptiles and amphibians, including snakes, lizards, turtles, tortoises, alligators, crocodiles, salamanders, and frogs. The field of study they engage in is called herpetology.
Herpetologists may study these animals in a variety of ways and for a range of purposes. They might conduct research into the behavior, physiology, genetics, ecology, or conservation of these species. This can involve field research where they observe these creatures in their natural habitats, or lab work where they might dissect specimens to better understand their anatomy or conduct genetic studies.
Many herpetologists work in roles that involve research, teaching, or a combination of the two, often at universities or research institutions. Some herpetologists work for zoos, aquariums, or wildlife reserves, where they may be involved in education, conservation, or the care of animals in captivity. Others might work in roles that involve policy-making or conservation planning, helping to protect vulnerable species and their habitats.