This Merit Badge was formerly named REPTILE
The name was changed in 1993.
These were the REQUIREMENTS before the REVISIONS
with the release of a new edition of the merit badge pamphlet
To see the current requirements
- Describe the identifying characteristics of six species
of reptiles and four species of amphibians found in the United
States. For any four of these, make sketches from your own observations
or take photographs. Show markings, color patterns, or other
characteristics that are important in the identification of
each of the four species. Discuss the habits and habitats of
all ten species.
- Discuss with your merit badge counselor the approximate
number of species and general geographic distribution of reptiles
and amphibians in the United States. Prepare a list of the most
common species found in your local area or state.
- Describe the main differences between
- Amphibians and reptiles,
- Alligators and crocodiles,
- Toads and frogs,
- Salamanders and lizards, and
- Snakes and lizards.
- Explain how reptiles and amphibians are an important component
of the natural environment. List four species that are officially
protected by the federal government or by the state you live
in, and tell why each is protected. List three species of reptiles
and three species of amphibians found in your local area that
are not protected. Discuss the food habits of all ten species.
- Describe how reptiles and amphibians reproduce.
- From observation, describe how snakes move forward. Describe
the functions of the muscles, ribs, and belly plates.
- Describe in detail six venomous snakes and the one venomous
lizard found in the United States. Describe their habits and
geographic range. Tell what you should do in case of a bite
by a venomous species.
- Maintain one or more reptiles or amphibians for at least
a month. Record the food accepted, eating methods, changes in
coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits; OR keep the
eggs of a reptile from the time of laying until hatching; OR
keep the eggs of an amphibian from the time of laying until
their transformation into tadpoles (frogs) or larvae (salamanders).
- Do TWO of the following:
- Identify at night three kinds of toads or frogs by their
voices. Imitate the song of each for your counselor. Stalk
each with a flashlight and discover how each sings and from
- Find and identify (by sight) eight species of reptiles
- Give a brief talk to a small group on the subject of
reptiles and amphibians. Use at least three living specimens
you have collected.
- Give five superstitions about reptiles and amphibians and
a correct explanation for each. Give seven examples of unusual
behavior or other true facts about reptiles and amphibians.
NOTE: Scouts must use only nonvenomous reptiles in fulfilling
requirements 8 and 9. Species listed by federal or state law as
endangered, protected, or threatened must not be used as live specimens
in completing requirements 8 or 9c unless official permission had
been given. In most cases all specimens should be returned to the
wild at the location of original capture after the requirements
have been met. Check with your merit badge counselor for those instances
where the return of these specimens would not be appropriate.
Under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, some plants and animals
are, or may be, protected by federal law. The same ones and/or others
may be protected by state law. Be sure that you do not collect protected
Your state may require that you purchase and carry a license
to collect certain species. Check with the wildlife and fish and
game officials in your state regarding species regulations before
you begin to collect.
BSA Advancement ID#: 96
Pamphlet Revision Date: 1993
Requirements last revised in 1993