Herpetology is the branch of zoology concerned with the study of amphibians (including the frogs, toads, salamanders, newts, and gymnophionae) and of reptiles (including snakes, lizards, amphisbaenids, turtles, terrapins, tortoises, crocodilians, and the tuataras).
Herpetology is concerned with poikilothermic, ectothermic tetrapods. "Herps" (or sometimes "herptiles" or "herpetofauna") include reptiles and amphibians, but exclude fish. However, it is not uncommon for herpetological and ichthyological scientific societies to "team up", publishing joint journals and holding conferences in order to foster the exchange of ideas between the fields. One of the most prestigious organizations, the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, is an example of this. Many herpetological societies exist today having been formed to promote interest in reptiles and amphibians both captive and wild.
Herpetology offers benefits to humanity in the study of the role of amphibians and reptiles in global ecology, especially because amphibians are often very sensitive to environmental changes, offering a visible warning to humans that significant changes are taking place. Some toxins and venoms produced by reptiles and amphibians are useful in human medicine. Currently, some snake venom has been used to create anti-coagulants that work to treat stroke victims and heart attack cases.
The word "herpetology" is from Greek: ?ρπετ?ν, herpeton, "creeping animal" and -λογ?α, -logia. People with an avid interest in herpetology and who keep different reptiles or amphibians, often refer to themselves as "herpers