Herp is the vernacular term for Herpetology, the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and caecilians [gymnophiona]) and reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras); in short, the study of ectothermic (cold-blooded) tetrapods.
- Herp is derived from the old term herpetile, with roots back to Carl Linnaeus' classification of animals, in which he grouped reptiles and amphibians together in the same class. In spite of its modern taxonomic irrelevance, the term has persisted, particularly in the names of herpetology.
- Herpetology, from the Greek "ἑρπετόν" (herpetón'), meaning "reptile" or "creeping animal", and "-λογία", (-logy|-logia), meaning "knowledge". People (non or furry), with an avid interest in herpetology, often refer to themselves as herpers. Those who also keep different captive reptiles or amphibians, as pets, for rehab, of breeding, practice herpetoculture.
Herps in mainstream culture
- Fastback - A turtle character on DC Comics' Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew!
- Leonardo, Michelangelo, Donatello, and Raphael - The four turtle characters in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles American media franchise
Herp and furry
In the furry fandom, the term is both used to describe the above-described animals and species (and by extension, any variant of those, such as some dragon and reptilian characters), and Herps, those people on the fandom who have a (non-sexual) interest on this zoology, its anthropomorphic characters and related lore (herp sexual fans are better known as herpetophiles [or herpy/herpys]).
Herps are often confused with scalies, which almost have similar interests, with scalies having a more dedicated affection to dragons and similar creatures.
Occasionally, the question comes up whether using the word "furry" is the ideal term to describe herp characters due to the fact that most of them are not fur-bearing. However, it is generally accepted that they are indeed furry, in the broader sense, because of beings anthropomorphic animals in the first place.
- Herp search results in DeviantArt
- Herp search results in Fur Affinity
- Herpetology on Britanica
- Department of Herpetology on the American Museum of Natural History
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