Why I’m probably not your best source for herp location data

Every year, the amount of e-mails from people that ask me for reptile and amphibian location data increases. While some of these requests are specific, and written with a certain goal in mind (seeing a single species that has been on the persons wish list forever, research purposes, etc.), the vast majority of e-mails are haphazardly formatted around a ‘gimme the money’ type message. Usually, I don’t fulfill these requests because of one of the following reasons;

• I can’t tell if you want to illegally collect the species in question or not;
• When I observed the species in the wild, it was made possible by other people and I’m therefore not at liberty to share locality information (this is often the case);
• You expect me to cough up data covering an entire region or country, and basically plan the trip for you;
• You can easily obtain detailed information by yourself.

It may be clear from the last example that I am a firm believer in the notion of doing your own homework. This has practical advantages too; for instance, distribution knowledge on reptiles and amphibians in the Mediterranean is rapidly increasing, due to which much more scenic, easier, or simply better spots for species might now be known compared to the ones I visited. Simple map-searching tools on websites like inaturalist.orgobservado.org and even flickr.com can give you your first results in a matter of minutes. Moreover, searching for information yourself might lead to the discovery that there is a specific herp guide in the area that can help you out – which is great, because by joining them your chances of finding reptile and amphibian desiderata increase, while you’re sure you are not breaking any local laws while herping. If after this, you still feel that just asking is the way to go… give it your best shot.