Imagine you're standing in the reptile and amphibian house at the zoo, surrounded by exhibits containing snakes, frogs, crocodiles, and other herps (the collective name given to reptiles and amphibians). Which of the following sounds like a reaction you'd have?
a) You're disgusted. Everywhere you look, there's something slimy or slithery.
b) You're fascinated. Some of those snakes are huge!
c) You admire the beauty, power, and strength of many of the animals.
d) You're . . . well, you're a little bit nervous even though you know the animals can't possibly escape (right?!).
Chances are, more than one of these reactions applies to you. Maybe even all of them. When it comes to herps, people often have mixed emotions.
In fact, that's the way it's always been. Throughout history, people have viewed reptiles and amphibians with a combination of fear, fascination, admiration, revulsion, and respect. In these lessons we'll look at this "love/hate relationship" a long, colorful relationship that has elevated some herps to the status of gods and doomed others to near extinction. But first we'll review some general information about the animals themselves.
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