Make Reptile & Amphibian Tracks
In this science activity, kids will explore reptile and amphibian tracks like a herpetologist!
When kids think of animal tracks, they usually think of animals like bears, dogs or rabbits. But reptiles and amphibians? Yes, they leave tracks too! And scientists study them to learn more about the animals that made them. Tracks can reveal where the reptile or amphibian lives, where it hunts for food -- even how big it is!
Herpetology is the study of reptiles and amphibians. The word herpetology comes from the Greek word “herpeton” which means “crawling.” This refers to how most reptiles and amphibians get around.
A herpetologist is a scientist who studies reptiles and amphibians. Herpetologists work in a variety of places. Some work out in the field, collecting, tracking and even tagging reptiles and amphibians. These herpetologists study where certain reptiles or amphibians live, what they eat and how many there are in the wild. There are also herpetologists who work in museums and take care of the reptiles and amphibians on display. Some herpetologists do presentations to schools and the public using the animals that they take care of. Herpetologists are also often active in conservation, which means they work to protect the reptiles and amphibians that live in the wild.
- Printouts of reptile & amphibian tracks
- Sheet of sandpaper - 1 per student
- Scissors - 1 per student
- Cardstock - 2 per student
- Glue sticks - 1 per class
- White paper - 1 per student
- Crayons - 1 per student
Trace the outline of several different reptile prints onto the back of the pieces of sandpaper and cut these out. (We found several printable examples online by searching for specific animals, such as geckos, lizards, frogs and snakes.)
Glue the sandpaper cutouts onto cardstock and cut a large square around the tracks. This will ensure that the tracks last through several uses.
(If you are working with a large group of kids, consider doing the above steps ahead of time.)
Place the sandpaper tracks under a white sheet of paper and rub over the tracks with a crayon to make a rubbing. Turn this into a work of art, or make several to see how the prints differ.
Explore pictures of real tracks online.
Create a matching game by matching the tracks to the animal that made them.
On a different day, place rubbings of the tracks around the room. Pretend to be a herpetologist and follow the tracks to find the hidden toy animal that made them!