The British Herpetological Society

About us

Established in 1947, the British Herpetological Society is one of the most prestigious such societies of its kind in the world. The society's Herpetological Journal is ranked as one of the leading scientific publications devoted to herpetology.

Via publications, specialist committees and meetings, the society actively supports:

  • Conservation activities targeted at native British species
  • Field studies and conservation management work worldwide
  • Scientific research
  • Responsible captive breeding and maintenance of reptile and amphibian species
  • Exchange of knowledge and expertise between enthusiasts and herpetologists both in the UK and around the world.

The British Herpetological Society is a registered charity, No. 205666. The society is run and operated entirely on a voluntary basis - we do not employ staff. Council members and others give freely of their time and energy to support and manage the society, including editing and producing our quality publications. You can therefore be confident that any donations made to the society will be contributing directly to our work and activities.

You can support the society and subscribe to our publications by joining the BHS or you can make a donation.

You can find the BHS Constitution, Trade and Ethics policies and our website T&C's on Our Policies page.

Our History

The British Herpetological Society was established in 1947 with the help of Dr Malcolm Smith. Dr Smith was a physician who practised in the Royal Court of Siam and whilst there studied the native herpetofauna. After retiring, he returned to Britain and developed an interest in our native herptiles. This led him to become the founding president of the BHS as well as author of the book 'The British Amphibians and Reptiles'. Since then the BHS has continued to expand and today has over 600 members.

What is Herpetology?

Herpetology is the study of some of the planet's most fascinating creatures - reptiles and amphibians. Herpetology, both as a science and as a hobby, has important implications for conservation, research and education. For example captive breeding programmes can provide the lifeline some species need to come back from the brink; snake venom can greatly contribute to the medical world; and amphibians are excellent bio-indicators for environment quality and change. Keeping pet reptiles and amphibians in the UK is now as popular as keeping cats and dogs. The interest in herpetology has never been higher.