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Reptile and Amphibian Study merit badge

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8. Do ONE of the following:

ï£ a. 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).

 

 

In my state, it is illegal to maintain such an animal for a month without it becoming a pet - such animals kept for 30 days or more cannot be released back into the wild.

 

That means that if you don't already have such a pet and don't desire to have reptile/amphibian pet, the only way to complete this MB is by:

 

 

ï£ b. Choose a reptile or amphibian that you can observe at a local zoo, aquarium, nature center, or other such exhibit

(such as your classroom or school). Study the specimen weekly for a period of three months. At each visit, sketch

the specimen in its captive habitat and note any changes in its coloration, shedding of skins, and general habits and

behavior. Find out, either from information you locate on your own or by talking to the caretaker, what this species

eats and what are its native habitat and home range, preferred climate, average life expectancy, and natural

predators. Also identify any human caused threats to its population and any laws that protect the species and its

habitat. After the observation period, share what you have learned with your counselor.

 

 

 

Which can be an exceptionally inconvenient and expensive option (visiting a local zoo weekly for three months?!?!) so our local DNR/MB counselor recommended one alternative was to view such via a zoo webcam. Unfortunately, every such webcam I looked for appears to be shut down.

If you are a MB counselor for this MB, how did you satisfy this requirement? Do you know of a webcam where scouts could visit weekly for three months to complete this task? We don't want scouts to have to commit to a long term pet arrangement (e.g. Dog MB  and Pet MB) simply to complete a "study" badge and we certainly don't want them to have to violate state law to complete it either.

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One could always catch a wild frog for the observation part of this requirement and then after 30 days, it becomes a "pet" and can't be released back into the wild according to state law.  Well then, they could always just feed it to their pet snake and everyone's happy.  Right?

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Are there any nature centers in your area that have animals on exhibit that do not have admission fees?  Or, could you ask a zoo or nature center for special permission for the Scout to visit for his badge? 

 

When my oldest did this badge this summer, we had an interesting time -- first, he had one of these little african frogs that we've had forever as a pet -- they live a long time.  They're tiny and cheap and easy to maintain.  That's what he did his log with. 

 

Then, I came across a painted turtle that was crossing the road, just as he was starting his badge work. We grabbed it, brought it home, and got a 55 gallon aquarium for it from Craigslist.  (this was somewhat expensive.  we got it sand and rocks and a heat lamp.)  We observed it for about two weeks and then one of the boys took it out to our front ditch for it to have an outing, and after a few minutes unattended, it had made a great escape.  It was very fun observing this turtle, but it was good that the turtle went back to the wild. 

 

You could also borrow a friend's pet if you know someone who would be agreeable. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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When I completed this MB, that's just what I did - I borrowed a pet frog that belonged to a family friend and took care of him for a month while making the requisite observations. I am not a "pet person," but I was absolutely in love with the little guy - it was a red-eyed tree frog, and it was ADORABLE. Reptile & Amphibian Study was one of my favorite MB's to earn, so much so that I still counsel the badge today.

 

I suggest either a "loan" of a pet somebody already owns, or regular visits to the same - if you know anybody with an iguana, turtle, frog, whatever, ask if you can make daily/every-other-day visits to check up on the creature, perhaps feed it now and then, or whatever is most convenient for you and the pet owner. It says "maintain" the animal - not necessarily own, nor even keep in your house. As long as you are allowed to feed it (which for larger reptiles isn't very often) and observe it over a month, you should be fine.

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One could always catch a wild frog for the observation part of this requirement and then after 30 days, it becomes a "pet" and can't be released back into the wild according to state law.  Well then, they could always just feed it to their pet snake and everyone's happy.  Right?

 

That assumes one has a pet snake. :)

 

If you don't want a reptile or an amphib for a pet, then this "study" becomes rather difficult.

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Are there any nature centers in your area that have animals on exhibit that do not have admission fees?  Or, could you ask a zoo or nature center for special permission for the Scout to visit for his badge? 

 

None that are local. I'd like to avoid adding more work for me, the parent, by having to drive them back and forth twelve times to such a facility. The zoo is about a 25 minute trip, one way. The nearest nature center is primarily an Ornithology center but I think they do have a few frogs and turtles. I will call them today and ask if there is a way to get a free pass for such a visit ($12 per car otherwise).

 

 

When my oldest did this badge this summer, we had an interesting time -- first, he had one of these little african frogs that we've had forever as a pet -- they live a long time.  They're tiny and cheap and easy to maintain.  That's what he did his log with. 

 

Then, I came across a painted turtle that was crossing the road, just as he was starting his badge work. We grabbed it, brought it home, and got a 55 gallon aquarium for it from Craigslist.  (this was somewhat expensive.  we got it sand and rocks and a heat lamp.)  We observed it for about two weeks and then one of the boys took it out to our front ditch for it to have an outing, and after a few minutes unattended, it had made a great escape.  It was very fun observing this turtle, but it was good that the turtle went back to the wild. 

 

You could also borrow a friend's pet if you know someone who would be agreeable. 

 

Also possible, but also as the parent, I would like to avoid having another pet in the house - and one for which I would likely end up being the one that feeds it and keeps it alive. :dry:

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Two solutions:

1. Maintain it for 15 days. "Release" it to your buddy's for a day. Maintain it for 15 more days.

2. Start the requirement on Feb 1. Complete it the day before March 1.

 

Or, just adopt the animal as a pet! That's the point of the requirement. Some boys will want to keep a pet, and this badge is a way for them to master that responsibility. Others would rather watch tadpoles die metamorphose.

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That assumes one has a pet snake. :)

 

If you don't want a reptile or an amphib for a pet, then this "study" becomes rather difficult.

 

Aww Com' on!  :)  If he already has a pet snake, why is he catching a frog for the study!?? 

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2. Start the requirement on Feb 1. Complete it the day before March 1.

 

 

Ha! Now that is a novel work-around!

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Last summer our Bearded Dragon went out on a 3 month vacation around the neighborhood. My son and his 3 friends started the MB in camp and finished by pet sitting for one month each. I was hoping someone would fall in love with the little guy and keep him.

 

Other Scouts went to the nature center and watched one of their reptiles.

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I borrowed a gecko my friend had. I bet if these guys ask their friends someone has a pet they’re willing to lend.

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In my state, it is illegal to maintain such an animal for a month without it becoming a pet - such animals kept for 30 days or more cannot be released back into the wild.

 

That means that if you don't already have such a pet and don't desire to have reptile/amphibian pet, the only way to complete this MB is by:

 

 

 

 

Which can be an exceptionally inconvenient and expensive option (visiting a local zoo weekly for three months?!?!) so our local DNR/MB counselor recommended one alternative was to view such via a zoo webcam. Unfortunately, every such webcam I looked for appears to be shut down.

If you are a MB counselor for this MB, how did you satisfy this requirement? Do you know of a webcam where scouts could visit weekly for three months to complete this task? We don't want scouts to have to commit to a long term pet arrangement (e.g. Dog MB  and Pet MB) simply to complete a "study" badge and we certainly don't want them to have to violate state law to complete it either.

Well, we had one boy who's family bought a lizard, and after watching it for the time period, they sold it (at a slight loss) to another scout. My son had this requirement to finish, and he lucked out, and we had frog eggs in our fish pond. He observed them weekly until they became frogs. 

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Here is another idea if you have a pet shop in your town.  Ask the pet shop if they would allow the Scout to volunteer at the store and help care for one or more of their animals.  A local small pet shop near us takes kids 12 and up as volunteer workers and they can help with the animals and get some light work experience. 

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Still working on this but I wanted to thank everyone for their ideas so far.

 

We struck out on the local nature center allowing free admission. Also struck out on any known friends with a pet. Latest attempt is to see if there are any amphs or reptiles in the school that are kept as pets. If that does not work, the pet store will likely be the next stop.

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Still working on this but I wanted to thank everyone for their ideas so far.

 

We struck out on the local nature center allowing free admission. Also struck out on any known friends with a pet. Latest attempt is to see if there are any amphs or reptiles in the school that are kept as pets. If that does not work, the pet store will likely be the next stop.

 

Our troop had a kid with a Leopard Gecko but we had too many guys to rotate through taking care of it. We set up a webcam for the troop to use and they monitored the gecko that way. In addition to that the guys doing remote monitoring for the requirement also took turns working at a local refuge that had reptiles and amphibians.

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