This article was written by Connor, one of our founding editors. Connor is a full-time travel and lifestyle photographer with extensive experience in the outdoors industry.
Herping, a slang term deriving from ‘herpetology’, refers to the act of looking for reptiles or amphibians. In this guide, we’re going to dive more specifically into herping for snakes, what it is, and how people go about doing so.
Although herping isn’t necessarily confined to looking for snakes, it is often referred to as that. Herping can happen anywhere and at any time, involving searching for any sort of reptile or amphibian. This is one of the reasons it has become hugely popular in recent years.
Herping, or hunting for snakes, can happen for many reasons. Some do it professionally and are looking to study certain snakes to gain a better understanding of them.
Others just do it for fun and are often looking to build a bank of photos of the different kinds of snakes they manage to find. The art of herping for photography can actually become fairly in-depth, requiring advanced equipment to be able to deal with different environments, like close-up or low-lit shots.
There are many different ways to herp, each with its own pros and cons. Primarily, there are three main ways people go about herping; cruising, on foot, or flipping.
‘On foot’ is just as it sounds and generally involves walking or hiking in a snake’s natural habitat such as a field, riverbank, or bush area.
‘Flipping’ is more dangerous but it can often be more fun and can be the most rewarding of the three methods. Since snakes (and other reptiles and amphibians) tend to like to hide under rocks, logs, and piles of leaves/debris, ‘flipping’ involves you taking a closer look under these places.
This is where it can be handy to invest in some snake hunting gear! It is not uncommon for a herper to leave an artificial cover to try to encourage a snake to hide underneath. The real treat, though, is to find one completely naturally.
The final main way to herp is by cruising, which is essentially driving around, looking for reptiles on the road. The key advantage to this is that you’re doing it from the comfort of your own vehicle and you can cover a larger area in much less time. Additionally, you run less risk of being bitten since you’re in a vehicle