We had the amazing opportunity to tour the Amphibian and Reptile Collection with Dr. Jack Sites. This collection contains about 45,000 specimen that were collected from places inside the United States, Latin America, Africa, Madagascar, South America, and other places. Dr. Sites explained that when these specimens are collected you have to have a special permit given by the government that says you know how to handle these creates and it is for educational purposes. This permit also restricts what specimens you can capture. Usually the animals that are found are road kill that have died very recently. They are then taken back to a laboratory where the animal in injected with one chemical that stiffens it up so it looks like it is alive and then it is preserved in another chemical. Dr. Sites also talked about Amphibian species that are threatened in Utah. When an ecosystem is being threatened by pollution the Amphibians are the first to go because their skin is very thin. Since their skin is so thin toxins, and other hazardous particles are absorbed right into the animal and cause it to die. He then talked about some ecosystems in Utah that are being restored and Amphibians are actually coming back to them, this is happening by Deer Creek Reservoir.
Sterling, museum educator