Herpetology

Herpetology Services and Policies

As the Washington State Museum of Natural History and Culture, the Burke Museum offers the following services through the Herpetology Collection. If you don’t find a service or policy you’re looking for, please reach out to the herpetology collections manager on the People and Contact page.

Specimen Loans

Our loan policy makes any and all parts of the collection available to qualified investigators and their students in the U.S. and abroad. We lend, donate and exchange material freely. Each request, however, is reviewed to determine if the potential borrower is likely to take proper care of the material and if the material itself is in a condition to withstand shipment. We do not loan more than half of our holdings of a species at one time, so researchers may have to arrange sequential loans.

Loans are invoiced with catalog numbers, species names, data and period of the loan (one year with the option to then extend the loan period). The costs of processing and shipping specimens on loan are covered by the Herpetology Collection, with the expectation that loans will be returned at the borrower's expense. Individuals interested in obtaining specimens on loan should first search our databases in order to identify potentially interesting specimens, and should then contact the Collections Manager for additional information and/or to request a loan through the People and Contact page.

Resource: Herpetology Collections database. To search Burke specimens only, select “Amphibian and reptile specimens” under “Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture (UWBM)” in the drop-down menu for Collection.

Visiting and Touring the Collections

Researchers are welcome to visit the collection, and the Herpetology Collection offers a variety of tours to the public and university community. We can tailor the length and content of a tour to accommodate most interests and age groups. Arrangements should be made at least two weeks in advance. For researchers, we have bench space and dissecting microscopes available for use. For questions or to schedule a visit, please reach out to the collections manager or curator through the People and Contact page.

Specimen Identification

If you encounter an interesting or unusual amphibian or reptile that you wish to have identified, you may submit a photo of a specimen for identification. To submit a photo or arrange to bring in a specimen, please email the herpetology collections manager or curator through the People and Contact page.

Specimen Donation

Individuals who wish to donate specimens should contact the collections manager or curator. Under no circumstances will the Burke Museum accept specimens that were illegally collected or acquired by the donor. For more information, please email the collections manager or curator of herpetology through the People and Contact page.

Volunteer Opportunities

For information about current herpetology volunteer opportunities, visit the volunteering at the Burke page.

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