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Snake researcher features in ‘Women in Herpetology’

- Wits University

50 stories from around the world celebrate the grit and passion of women in amphibian and reptile science.

The Global Women in Herpetology project recently unveiled book titled Women in Herpetology: 50 Stories from Around the World. This collection showcases the inspiring journeys of 50 women from various countries and regions who have dedicated their lives to studying amphibians and reptiles, with a special focus on one of its featured scientists, Hiral Naik, a PhD candidate in the School of Animal, Plant, and Environmental Sciences at Wits University.

PhD candidate Haril Naik features in the new book Women in HerpetologyIn reflecting on her path to inclusion in the book, Naik shares her journey, highlighting the significant role that connections and mentorship play.

"Having attended the World Congress of Herpetology in 2016, my first international conference, and I was a MSc student at the time in the Alexander Herpetology Lab at Wits University, I met some incredible herpetologists, including one of the three ladies that started the Global Women in Herpetology project. We stayed connected over the years, and they invited me to write my story for the book," she says.

This encounter marked the beginning of her story's contribution to this collection.

Naik emphasises the importance of inspiring future generations of women in herpetology, particularly in the realm of snake research.

"I feel excited to be a part of such an incredible network of women, and being featured in the book allows us to inspire many generations of girls and women to pursue careers in herpetology, especially snakes. I also feel inspired to be featured among women herpetologists that are changing the world in their own capacity and positively influencing the world."

Women in Herpetology is a compilation of captivating stories from herpetologists working in diverse fields such as conservation, biodiversity, ecotoxicology, and education. These stories shed light on the unique challenges women in this field face, including limited resources and mentorship opportunities. The book also highlights the joys and rewards they have found through their work, and it features stunning illustrations by 17 talented artists from around the world.

Book launch for a new book named: Women in Herpetology

The book is a product of The Global Women in Herpetology project, founded by Dr Sinlan Poo from Taiwan, Dr Itzue Caviedes-Solis from Mexico, and Dr Umilaela Arifin from Indonesia. Their vision is to empower students from underrepresented regions to attend international herpetological conferences and present their research. "We aim to give our first scholarships to students to attend the World Congress of Herpetology in 2024," says Arifin, highlighting the project's mission to support budding scientists and promote diversity in the field.

Caviedes-Solis emphasises the importance of sharing these stories. "We strongly believe that every voice counts and every story matters. The road has been bumpy, and our careers and lives have moments of pain and challenges. But in the midst of it all, we have also found joy."

Poo adds: "We came together thanks to our love for amphibians and reptiles. We hope that people can flip through the pages and immerse themselves in the rich and diverse landscapes the authors are describing and the remarkable illustrations these artists have created."

For more information about Women in Herpetology: 50 Stories from Around the World and the Global Women in Herpetology Project, please visit or contact