ATM: (acronym) About To Molt. The state a snake is in a few days before shedding its skin, when it is mostly blind, itchy, and especially cranky. Careful, she’s ATM and likely to bite.
Bag ‘n Tag: (v) To quickly and efficiently identify, capture, and store a herp in a labeled container for later release, either for scientific study or public safety. (NOTE: not to be confused with simply “Tag”, see below)
Barehand: (v) to capture a herp without any tools.
Corwin: (n) A semi-professional herper who often hams up Bag n’ Tag for attention, but has little academic background and is kind of a poser.
Dance, The: (n) The process of trying to safely capture an excited and dangerous snake, often in front of a crowd of horrified students. Well, I flubbed the hook, so now we start the dance.
DBD: (acronym) Dead by Daylight, a reference to the myth that dead snakes do not fully die until the next morning, but really does refer to the long-lasting death reflex that can still cause fatal bites. Don’t pick it up yet, bro. Remember DBD.
Dundee: (n) A herper with no academic background, but has plenty of practical background and skill. He Barehanded that python, he’s a real Dundee.
GIS: (acronym) General Impression and Shape. Used as a reason or excuse for a vague identification. Alternate meaning: Goddamit, I’m Sure. How do I know that was a Leaf Frog and not a Tree Frog? GIS.
Herp: 1. (n) short for “herpetofauna,” reptiles and amphibians, evolutionarily distinct but often included in the same study for functional or historical reasons. Often autocorrected as “Herpes,” with disastrous results.
2. (v) to search for, catch, study, or observe herps. See: Herper, herpist (obsolete). Conditions are good, so we’re going herping this weekend.
Horse Juice: (n) Antivenom, which is–seriously–made from horses. I got tagged, hit me with the Horse Juice.
Hook: 1. (n) The Snakehook, the herper’s trusty tool consisting of a long rod, usually stainless steel, with a short blunt hook at the end. Used for capturing snakes. Also doubles as improvised weapon, walking stick, staff of office, and back scratcher.
2. (v) to catch a snake using the hook with a simple scooping movement.
Irwin: (n) A professional herper who hams up Bag n’ Tag for attention, but has the academic background to back it up and is probably a really cool guy.
Kit, the: (n) Snakebite kit. Notorious among professional herpers as a generally ineffective placebo.
Phobe: (n) Short for Ophidiophobe: one who is afraid of snakes. Make it a quick Bag n’ Tag, there’s a phobe in the audience.
Pollywog: 1. (n) regional slang for tadpole, frog larvae
2. (n) regional slang for intern, graduate student larvae.
Tag: (v) to bite a human (if you are a snake). She tagged me, bro! Get the kit!
WWSID: (acronym) What Would Steve Irwin Do?