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2014-01-02

Learn Texas herps while helping science track 'em

Courtesy TPSD

Spot a lizard, frog, snake or turtle? Share what you see through the Herps of Texas (HOT) Project on iNaturalist, a nature-focused crowd sourcing program that helps scientists and citizens learn more about local amphibians and reptiles. iNaturalist hosts a growing number of citizen science projects around the globe.
How to participate: Submit a photo of a critter you see along with information on when and where you saw it, and three fun things will happen. You will:
• Learn more about what you saw
• See what other people are observing
• Help scientists understand more about local species and their habitat.
Download the free app now and report sightings even when you are far from a computer or a cellphone tower.
Every observation is validated by at least one of three professional herpetologists: Toby Hibbitts from Texas A&M University, Travis La-Duc from the University of Texas at Austin, or Andy Gluesenkamp from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. In addition, anyone can log in and help identify each other's observations, so if you are unsure of the species you can just start with a common name like "frog" or "snake."
When there is a consensus on the ID, your observation will get a green badge signifying that it is "Research Grade." All observations are valuable, and no species is "too common" to report.
Read more about the project in "Log a Frog, Share a Snake" in Texas Parks & Wildlife magazine.
Since the program's inception 14 months ago, participants have documented more than 200 species, more than 90 percent of the reptiles and amphibian species found in Texas.