Check out Eric McCluskey’s portfolio on reptiles and amphibians of Ohio. (Click the link on the title to go to the blog.)
In 1758, the famed taxonomist, Carl Linnaeus gave this description of reptiles and amphibians in Systema Naturae,
“These foul and loathsome animals are abhorrent because of their cold body, pale color, cartilaginous skeleton, filthy skin, fierce aspect, calculating eye, offensive smell, harsh voice, squalid habitation, and terrible venom; and so their Creator has not exerted his powers to make many of them.”
For many people, this negative perception has not changed dramatically from Linneaus’ time. The fear and distaste people have for these organisms often stems from early negative exposures that are continually reinforced by like-minded individuals who label them as something to be afraid of or disgusted by. I consider myself fortunate that my first interactions with reptiles and amphibians occurred in an educational setting at the local library where a wildlife biologist would bring live animals to give children a hands-on learning experience. Reptiles and amphibians do not receive as much affection or compassion as mammals from the general public because they are viewed as so different from us that they are difficult to relate to. However, it is these differences that make them so fascinating to people like myself and why, with a little patience, bravery and curiosity even an ardent ophidiophobe (a person with a fear of snakes) can become an ophidiophile (a snake enthusiast)! This blog post features photographs of Ohio reptile and amphibian species, and some natural history information describing what makes them so interesting.