The mission of MU’s Herpetological Society (UMHS), founded in 2007, is “to expand and deepen public and personal knowledge of reptile natural history and conservation through education, outreach, and hands-on experience.”
Over the past three years increased interest and involvement in the society has resulted in opportunities as well as challenges for the young group. According to Quentin Hall, president of UMHS, the society has experienced a significant increase in membership this year, with the addition of graduate students and professors as well as people not affiliated with the university.
Due to space limitations in their off-campus herpetarium, UMHS is excited to try a new program called “Herps at Home” that would allow members to keep the smaller, more manageable, reptiles at their own residences.
“In return for the member housing the reptile and the loaned equipment, they must be responsible for that animal’s care,” Hall said. “The member will also be responsible for bringing that animal to any outreach program where it is needed.”
The current herpetarium houses approximately three dozen animals, ranging from exotic species such as pythons and alligators to snakes native to Missouri.
“All the animals we have have been rescued,” Hall said. “By allowing members the opportunity to take care of the smaller animals at their own home we would have more space to hold larger rescued animals at the herpetarium.”
Recent UMHS elections have produced a tie in the vice presidency. Yet, Hall feels that this is a great advantage to the society.
“I feel that Lauren Richardson and Andy Mueller are going to be a good balance for each other as co-vice presidents and are going to be a good team,” Hall said.
UMHS will be participating in Centralia Elementary’s Field Day Friday, educating students on area snakes and answering their questions about reptiles.