Meet Earyn McGee!By Anne Cissel
Meet Dr. Earyn McGee, lizard lassoer and herpetologist (her-puh-TOL-uh-jist). A herpetologist is a scientist who studies reptiles and amphibians such as snakes, lizards, and frogs. Earyn has spent a lot of time outside looking for lizards to study. She also goes online to teach the world about lizards and other wildlife. Let’s find out more about her!
What made you want to study animals?
I was always interested in animals, even from a young age. I wanted to learn how they survived in the wild, how I could help protect them, and how I could solve problems between them and humans.
What is the most fun thing about being a herpetologist?
I love working outside—being able to hike and catch lizards, then teaching other people to do the same. It’s one of the best combinations of feelings!
How do you catch lizards?
I use a lizard lasso. It’s a fishing pole that has a string attached to it. At the other end of the string is a loop, which I have to get over a lizard’s head.
Why is it important to study lizards?
There are many reasons. Here are a few:
1. They’re cool.
2. They’re important parts of the ecosystem. We want to know the roles all plants and animals play to make Earth the planet it is.
3. They help humans. For example, scientists made a diabetes medicine using a chemical that comes from Gila monster saliva (spit)!
Do you have a favorite lizard?
My favorite lizard is the Yarrow’s spiny lizard because it was the first one I ever got to study.
What is an amazing lizard fact?
My favorite fun fact about lizards is that not all of them lay eggs. Some give birth to live young.
What advice would you give kids who want to study wildlife when they grow up?
A phrase that always rings true to me is “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” Be courageous enough to tell the people in your life what your dreams and goals are. You never know who will help you make them a reality.