I earned my Reptile and Amphibian Study Merit Badge in Louisiana. It was probably one of the hardest merit badges I have earned so far. There are so many different parts to it including caring for a reptile or amphibian. If you read my Florida tab, you probably realize that I brought a wild caught green anole home with me. She definitely qualifies as a reptile and a learned a lot about her during the badge, but she is not the one that I studied.
Most people have cats or dogs… I have a lizard and two frogs. I have had the African Dwarf frogs for three years – they were given to me by my teacher. I would suggest, before you receive ANY free pet, that you get some information first. I thought the frogs would like a few months to a year... I have had them three years now and I have learned they can live up to TWENTY years! The anole was free, but I have spent hundreds of dollars on habitat and supplies.
I earned this badge with HMJ (I don’t know his real name…) and he is a member of camp staff that lives in Louisiana and was willing to help be out getting it done. We went over all of the requirements and he asked some tough questions. He has some good ideas too. I am really glad he helped me.
My favorite part about the badge was we took a tour of the Louisiana bayou. It was at Honey Island Swamp Tours in Slidell, Louisiana. Our boat captain was hilarious. He was always making jokes (and they were funny not like dad’s). He was able to see even the smallest of snakes in the cover of the trees! It was amazing! He said we were lucky that the sun came out during our trip because more animals were out. We saw a few types of snakes, lots of turtles and birds, deer, feral hogs, a raccoon that was pretty special (see my pictures) and other animals. The hogs are an invasive species and cause a lot of damage. I couldn’t believe how big they were or how close they would get to the boat for marshmallows. The raccoon's mother was an albino so she has an amazing color. She doesn’t look like any other raccoon I have ever seen (and I have seen A LOT of them at camp!). The captain attracts the animals with marshmallows. He says that marshmallows dissolve so quickly in their stomachs it doesn’t affect their hunting instinct.
I am really glad that I did this badge in Louisiana even though I didn’t see a live gator this time outside of a tank. This is my second visit to Louisiana (the first was to New Orleans) and it is an awesome place to go!!