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Reptile Classroom

24 January @ 8:00 am - 31 May @ 5:00 pm

| 15000INR

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Reptiles are a poorly understood group of vertebrates with many misconceptions leading to an aversion towards them. This ‘disgust’, which is mostly rooted through a lack of awareness, has broadly undermined their biological value too. India has a rich diversity of reptiles, many of which are endemic and some that are known only from a small geographical range.

As a part of general and scientific awareness, we are conducting a five-month distant learning course. The course covers the following modules using reptiles as models of study: systematics (taxonomy and phylogeny), biogeography, evolution, field techniques and photography.

The first session on taxonomy using preserved specimens will be organized at a reputed research collection facility at BNHS. There will be four field outings, on the last weekend of every month. These field visits are to help learn field techniques and photography. As part of regular online sessions, participants will be provided with reading material in the form of articles, presentations and scientific publications.

Duration: Five months (January to May, 2019)

Course structure:

This course consists of one classroom session and five field visits that also involve lectures on the above listed subjects. The classroom session is mainly to lend hands on training on taxonomy. This will be a one-day session aiming at basic training on taxonomy and morphological and meristic data collection. For this session preserved specimens from the herpetological collection of BNHS will be utilized.

Five field outings will be conducted on the last weekend (from last Friday to Sunday) of every month at various places in India. During field outings, sessions will be conducted on field techniques, systematics and biogeography, data generation, paper writing and photography. In these field outings, there will be expert/s in respective field as a resource persons. Apart from this, regular online sessions will be conducted providing information about reptiles.

Participants have to submit their reports of all their visits and any small projects they wish to conduct during the period of this course. During this course, we will encourage participants to write popular/scientific articles based on their experience and observations. We will also encourage participants to upload their observations on citizen science websites.

    A certificate will be given on successful completion of this course.

Limited seats: A maximum of 20/25 participants.

Qualification: Strong urge and willingness to know more about reptiles.

Age limit: 15 years and above (will be bit heavy for kids below this age!)

Tentative Plan:

Hands of training:24 January2019 – Full day program with specimens at BNHS.

Field outing 1 (Amboli): January, 25-27, 2019(Taxonomy)

Field outing 2 (Sirsi): February, 22-24, 2019 (Phylogeny and Biogeography)

Field outing 3 (Rajasthan / Gujarat): March, 29-31, 2019(Scientific / popular writing)

Field outing 4 (Wayanad / Coorg): April, 26-28, 2019(Field techniques)

Field outing 5 (Andaman): May, 20-26, 2019 (All the above)

We encourage ethical photography on all the field trips.

 Although, we do not teach snake handling, if needed a few specimens will be caught for observations with due permissions from the respective authorities.   

Fee:  Rs. 15,000/- (Rupees fifteen thousand only) per participant.

(This is towards hands of training workshop at BNHS, course material and various online activities including regular online sessions)

Please note that charges for field outings will be separate and will be borne by participants who wish to attend these sessions. The field outing charges are mostly based on locality, duration and number of resource persons. These outings will be organized by participants and the total expenditure will be divided among the participants. Participants have to pay the travel and accommodation charges for the coordinator (that’s me!!!). If a resource person is accompanying us during these sessions, then their travel, accommodation and remuneration will be added to the final costing.

The team:

Knowledge ‘multiplies’ when shared!

We ‘theteam’ strongly believe in this philosophy and every member gladly makes an effort to share knowledge. We at ‘the team’ believe that science becomes popular when you make it ‘non-scientific’ and for this, we go to the basics when it comes to sharing knowledge.

We do not teach, we make you learn!     


Course coordinator:

Dr. Varad B. GiriActively involved in the research of amphibians and reptiles of India over the last two decades. He has a number of publications to his credit, including various new species descriptions, taxonomic revisions and natural history notes. For more details visit

Resource persons:

Dr. Ishan Agarwal A dynamic herpetologist who has glamorized Indian geckos through his immense contributions. With a profound understanding of phylogeny and biogeography gained from his intensive fieldwork across India and his training in some of the best labs, he is not only taking Indian herpetology to the next level but assuring its future is secure by training budding researchers.

R. Chaitanya A software professional turned herpetologist who dared to come out of a cozy atmosphere to lead the strenuous and unpredictable journey of researching herps. A rare example indeed. His dedication and analytical approach already resulted in many discoveries leading to quality publications with many more awaited.

Ashok CaptainA distinguished and inspirational snake taxonomist with a comprehensive understanding of Indian snakes. He is ‘catalyst’, who brought snake taxonomy from books to the common people, making it contagious. A ‘nutty professor’, when it comes to teaching snake taxonomy!! If you wish to learn snake taxonomy in India, Ashok is the man!

Dr. Hari Krishnan One of the finest ecologists studying amphibians and reptiles in India who spent years in Andaman and Nicobar Islands. His dedication, sound understanding of the subject and intricate field knowledge resonates through his publications and interactions. An amazing teacher and a terrific fieldworker.

Dr. Aniruddha Datta-Roy The guy who’s putting Indian skinks on the global stage through his tremendous work on this least studied group. Dedicated fieldworker with a deep understanding of molecular phylogeny and biogeography. He’s a scholarly, yet humble Indian herpetologist and an alluring teacher.

Dr. Praveen Karanth Teaches evolutionary biology, phylogenetic and biogeography, which are his areas of expertise. Through his lab at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, he has changed the face of Indian Herpetology through a series of great publications and by providing opportunities and a conducive atmosphere to many budding herpetologists in India.

Dr. Raju Vyas Exemplary herpetologist who has done extraordinary work on amphibians and reptiles with limited resources and under adverse conditions. Our present-day understanding of the herpetofauna of Gujarat would be ‘incomplete’ without his contributions. A soft-spoken gentleman to the core, whose actions speaks louder than words.

Ajay Kartik A self-motivated expert with in-depth understanding of crocodiles, turtles and tortoises. With a non-scientific background, a degree in mass communication, the things he knows shows his dedication towards the subject. A hidden gem with multifaceted talent, one of them is the way he teaches.

Payment Details:

A/C Holder Name:       Varad Bhagwan Giri

Account Number:        520101257023263

Name of the bank:       Corporation Bank

Branch Name:             Fort (Mumbai)

Branch Address:          Veena Chambers, 21 Dalal Street, Fort, Mumbai 400023

Branch MICR Code:     400017008

Branch IFSC Code:      CORP0000024


On successful transaction, kindly email or send the details of your transactions.

Mobile:+91 8880204141


24 January @ 8:00 am
31 May @ 5:00 pm


Varad Giri

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