Herpetologists study reptiles and amphibians of all types, including frogs, crocodiles, turtles, tortoises, newts and salamanders. The natures and intentions of these studies are varied, and every herpetologist has different goals and methods, as well as special areas of interest among the varied species of reptiles and amphibians.
Field herpetologists study reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats. This can be a placid discipline involving watching turtles sunning themselves or an extremely dangerous undertaking involving watching Komodo dragons and other large, aggressive reptiles from blinds and other secure structures to ascertain their behaviors and traits to further scientific knowledge.
Laboratory or academic herpetologists work not in the field but in controlled conditions in laboratories. They may experiment on reptiles and amphibians to gain knowledge about their anatomical structure, lifespans, habits and limits. They may also teach aspiring herpetologists and help to further their field by disseminating information throughout it.
A separate field of study, batrachology, deals solely with the study of amphibians. Its practitioners may also be considered herpetologists who simply do not deal with reptilian studies. The two fields are heavily interconnected and deal with a great deal of the same territory, and many species integral to the programs and studies of the former are integral to the latter.