Florida reptiles and amphibians deserve respect

A frog skeleton and carapace on the Herpetology Club's display in this year's Sustainability Fair | Kaysea Suzana, PantherNOW

 Kailey Krantz | Staff Writer

Reptiles and amphibians can be slimy creatures to some students, but they hold too much importance to Florida wildlife to be left in the mud.

I was pleased to read about FIU’s Herpetology Club recently, a good club to go to if students want to learn more about the reptiles and amphibians living in Florida’s ecosystems.

The goal for this club is to create a community for students with a passion for amphibians and reptiles and conservation of the environment, while also putting these animals in a more favorable light.

This is great for students who may be uncomfortable with reptiles and amphibians at first.

I’ll admit, I’m not the greatest with snakes. It’s one of my biggest fears because of some species that are known to be highly dangerous because they’re either venomous or poisonous. 

There’s a reason why the phrase “red and black is a friend to Jack /  red and yellow kills a fellow” is a popular way of telling the difference between a coral snake and a king snake.

But not all snakes are as dangerous as the media portrays them to be. Ball pythons and Burmese pythons are pretty popular as reptilian pets and sometimes they could be cute.

Snakes also serve as both predator and prey, thus keeping food sources balanced within an ecosystem.

While snakes can be a hit or miss for me, I do find turtles at MMC’s Turtle Pond to be pretty cool.

I grew up watching Finding Nemo and one of the most impressive scenes in the film was the East Australian Current (EAC), where there were multiple sea turtles traveling across this giant ‘underwater highway’.

I know that sea turtles are different from land turtles, but that still doesn’t take away the appeal they have. Turtles are adorable and have been around for 200 million years, before and after the dinosaurs.

However, these creatures get a bad rap sometimes, even in the way we speak to each other. 

On social media, we sometimes leave a snake emoji in the comments, calling them a ‘snake’ for lying or betraying someone.

These conversations give these creatures a negative reputation, which could prove to be dangerous as populations are decreasing by the minute.

Another thing that I love about the Herpetology Club is it was a club that was created out of passion. 

The club president, Jordan Grey, has spoken to PantherNOW, saying the reason he started this club was due to his love for reptiles and the natural world.

Creating a club from the ground up is no easy feat. 

You have to worry about what the club is about, what audience you’re catering it to, and how you’re going to advertise it and get members, but part of the reason why students do this is so they can have a platform to express some of their favorite things and share it with their friends and peers.

It’s a labor of love that also educates the public on creatures people don’t recognize have an important role in Florida’s ecosystems.

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