RASCals - How to Participate | Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

Southern California’s diverse habitats provide an ideal breeding ground for all kinds of life, like this Southern Alligator Lizard (Elgaria multicarinata). Photo by Gary Nafis.
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RASCals Contact Information

General Inquiries
E-mail: rascals@nhm.org
telephone: 213.763.3535

Richard Smart
Manager, Community Science Program
Telephone: 213.763.3535

Greg Pauly
Assistant Curator, Herpetology

You can also follow Herpetology Section happenings on Facebook at facebook.com/LACMherps.

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How to Participate

It is easy to participate in RASCals. All you need to do is follow three easy steps.

Step 1: Find lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs, and salamanders

Go out and find species in your neighborhood or anywhere in Southern California.*  Hopefully these critters are alive and well when you find them, but even photos of roadkill or other deceased animals provide important observations.

*Here, Southern California is defined as the ten southernmoust counties in California (i.e., San Luis Obispo, Kern, and San Bernardino Counties and all counties to the south of these).

Step 2: Take Pictures or Audio Recordings

Once you find a reptile or amphibian, take at least one photo of it. Try to have one photo be close enough so that you or others can carefully examine it to confirm the species.

You can also upload audio recordings of frog calls. Most frog species produce a mating call. These calls vary by species so good recordings can be used to confirm the presence of a particular species.

Step 3: Upload Pictures or Audio Recordings

Option 1: E-mail. Best for submitting one or a few observations.
If you have one or a few photos to submit, you can submit these via e-mail to rascals@nhm.org.

You do not have to identify the reptile or amphibian you photographed. We can help you with that.

Please include date and location (these are really important). Please also include time and any other observations you think are relevant such as weather and general habitat features. The location should be as detailed as possible (a street address, for example). We will contact you if we need any additional information.

Option 2: Best for submitting many observations and participating for an extended period.
Upload your reptile and amphibian images and recordings to our RASCals Project on iNaturalist

Please include date and location (these are really important). Please also include time and any other observations you think are relevant such as weather and general habitat features.

Please note that to upload your images and/or recordings to RASCals you will need to create an account on iNaturalist or log in with your Facebook, Twitter, or one of your other social media accounts. There is an iNaturalist app available for iPhone and Android mobile devices. Download the free iNaturalist app from your app store.

iNaturalist is a fun online community in which others can share in your find, comment on your observation, and even help identify the animal you photographed. Museum scientists should confirm and/or comment on your observation within a few days of you posting it to iNaturalist. We strongly encourage everyone to participate in RASCals through iNaturalist.


NOTE: Remember that reptiles and amphibians are protected by law, so please do not attempt to kill, collect, or take any wild reptiles or amphibians.