Section I. Organizational

1.1 Purpose. The purpose of this organization shall be to:

  1.   Further the education of the membership and the general public in care and captive propagation of reptiles and amphibians.
  2.   Educate the membership and the general public in the ecological role of reptiles and amphibians.
  3.   Promote the study, conservation, and protection of reptiles and amphibians.

Revised bylaws approved 4-1-2016

1.2 Mission – The Minnesota Herpetological Society is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with a mission to: 

  1. provide educational programs that promote appreciation and proper care of reptiles and amphibians;
  2. support the study and conservation of reptiles and amphibians;
  3. facilitate the protection, and if necessary the rescue, of reptiles and amphibians.

Adopted by the 10/2015 Board

1.3 Vision – The Vision of The Minnesota Herpetological Society is to protect reptiles and amphibians, through conservation and education, and promote and support responsible herpetoculture.

Adopted by the 10/ 2015 Board

1.4 Aims and Goals:

1.4.1 To promote the conservation and preservation of reptiles and amphibians.
1.4.2 To educate the public to the value of reptiles and amphibians.
1.4.3 To educate its members as to the proper care of reptiles and amphibians.
1.4.4 To educate its members as to the importance of maintaining natural populations of reptiles and amphibians.
1.4.5 To promote an atmosphere for open discussion of reptiles and amphibians among its members.

1.5 Code of Ethics:

1.5.1 Members of MHS shall foster and promote an appreciation of reptiles and amphibians.
1.5.2 Members are expected to respect the aims and goals of MHS and shall not diminish these goals or discredit or embarrass MHS or its members.
1.5.3 Members are expected to discourage illegal or unethical conduct by the members or non-members of MHS.
1.5.4 Members are expected to treat reptiles and amphibians in a humane and ethical manner, whether the animals are in the wild or captivity.
1.5.5 Disregarding this code of ethics may result in the loss of membership.
1.5.5a A two-thirds (2/3)-majority vote of a quorum board of directors is necessary to revoke a membership.
1.5.5b Any individual whose membership has been previously revoked can be reinstated with a two-thirds (2/3)-majority vote of a quorum board of directors.

Amended August 2, 2008
Approved 3-4-2017

Section II. Financial

1.0 Dues

1.1 Active Members: Sustaining $60.00, Contributing $40.00, and Basic $20.00.
1.1.1 Sustaining, contributing or basic membership includes all individuals residing at the same address.
1.2 Corresponding Members: Non-Commercial (Exchanges, Museums) $0.00, Commercial $25.00.
1.3 Membership dues must be paid on an annual basis (minimum).
1.4 MHS will accept Paypal, cash or checks as payment for membership. Checks must have name, address, phone number, and date of birth or driver license number.

2.0 Budget

2.1 The Budget Committee will present a budget plan no later than the October Board Meeting.
2.2 The Annual Audit Committee will be selected no later than the March Board Meeting and will present their written report no later than the June Board Meeting.

3.0 Reimbursements

3.1 Reimbursements of expenses require pre-approval subject to the following schedule: Up to $50.00 each for the Treasurer and highest-ranking officer; over $100.00 requires Board approval.
3.2 Reimbursement will not be made without proof of purchase or board approval.
3.3 Mileage will be reimbursed at the rate of $.50 per mile.

4.0 Expenditures

4.1 Budgeted routine expenditures are deemed approved upon approval of the budget (newsletter printing and postage, etc.).
4.2 Budgeted non-routine expenditures may only be made by persons previously authorized by the board subject to the same limits as reimbursements.
4.3 All unbudgeted expenditures require prior board approval.
4.4 Expenditures shall be designated routine or non-routine within the annual budget.

5.0 Sales

5.1 Non-MHS Sales MHS General Policies
5.1.1 MHS accepts no responsibility for any private sales that may take place within the proximity of the monthly meeting place.
5.1.2 Selling shall take place outside of the monthly meeting room.
5.1.3 Selling shall not conflict with the official meeting or rules of the University of Minnesota.
5.1.4 The general announcement of private sales within the meeting room is prohibited except under special circumstances and with pre-approval of the highest ranking board member.
5.1.5 ‘Critter of the Month’ is the only time an animal may be advertised for sale during the meeting.
5.2 MHS Sales
5.2.1 MHS will accept MHS Bucks, cash or checks as payment. Checks must have name, address, phone number, and date of birth or driver license number and will only be accepted from members in good standing.
5.2.2 Only active members may purchase rodents. Dry good items or raffle tickets may be purchased by anyone attending the event.
5.2.3 Rules of special sale events may be determined by the person(s) in charge of the event subject to approval by the Board prior to the event.

6.0 Inventory

6.1 All marketable items are to be tracked monthly. Written tracking reports with monthly activity and balance will be recorded. Remaining balance must be physically counted at least quarterly. Notes are required on any discrepancies.
6.2 Inventory tracking report must be turned into the Treasurer each July and January for the prior six month period.

Amended August 2, 2008

Section III. Animals

1.0 Animals

1.1 MHS will not sell or auction live animals.

2.0 Venomous

2.1 MHS does not encourage, recommend, nor promote the keeping of any species of venomous reptiles by
private individuals.
2.2 MHS strongly encourages person(s) who feel a need to keep venomous reptiles to consider the following
suggestions prior to obtaining any venomous reptiles.
2.2.1 Learn about the care and husbandry techniques needed to provide a healthy and secure
environment for the animals.
2.2.2 Establish a protocol for feeding and cleaning the animals; so as to reduce risks of bites to the
keeper and others. Never work with venomous animals while you are alone.
2.2.3 Establish a protocol for first aid in case of a bite from the venomous reptile.
2.2.3 Never keep a reptile that does not have a local source of antivenin.
2.2.4 Never provide untrained persons or minors with venomous reptiles.
2.2.5 Never allow minors to keep venomous reptiles.
2.2.6 Always remember that there is a risk of serious injury or death from working with venomous

3.0 Critter of the Month

3.1 Clear all potentially dangerous animals with the vice-president before bringing them to the meeting.
3.2 Bring animals in appropriate carriers for the weather conditions.
3.3 Bring a proper container to display the animal.
3.4 Animals may be removed from their containers in the meeting room only during critter of the month,
during the break, if pre-approved by the board.

4.0 Adoption Committee

4.1 Adoption Policy – Please refer to the current Adoption Policy in the General Policies.
MHS General Policies
4.2 The adoption committee will present a written annual report by the February board meeting, including a
full accounting of all animals processed, whether they were adopted, placed outside the society, or
4.3 The Adoption Committee will include a MHS board member.
4.4 Euthanasia
4.4.1 Animals will be euthanized only in a humane veterinarian approved method for the species.
4.4.2 Unhealthy or difficult to place animals may be euthanized at the discretion of the Adoption
Committee Chair with the approval from the presiding or highest ranking officer available.
4.4.3 – The board will make euthanasia decisions for healthy animals.

Amended August 2, 2008
Amended October 4, 2014

Section IV. Publications

1.0 Printing

1.1 All MHS publications will be printed on recycled paper.
1.2 Whenever possible, MHS publications will be sent by bulk mail.
1.3 Special publications must have the approval of the board in advance before printing or mailing costs are incurred.

2.0 Editors

2.1 Editors are responsible for enforcing the general policies of MHS. Further policies or details regarding their special publications are at the discretion of that editor subject to the approval of the board.
2.2 The newsletter editor is responsible for editing and producing the newsletter. The deadlines, procedures and formats are at the discretion of the newsletter editor.
2.2.1 MHS business shall be reported in the newsletter as requested by the board.
2.2.2 The newsletter editor will follow the policies established by the MHS board.
2.2.3 Any donations made by the MHS shall be published in the newsletter.
2.3 The newsletter will include the following copyright

3.0 Library

3.1 Only MHS members may check out or renew library items.
3.2 Up to three items can be checked out per membership number.
3.3 The Librarian will make the decision on exchanging newsletters with other societies.
3.4 Exchanged newsletters will be held for one calendar year.
3.5 The overdue fine is $1.00 per item per month. Renewals made by telephone circumvent the fine. Items may only be renewed twice.
3.6 Overdue Library Items
3.6.1 The Librarian will call about the overdue item(s) after the first month.
3.6.2 The Librarian will send a postcard reminder regarding the overdue item(s) after the second month. The member may no longer check out new items.
3.6.3 After the third month the item(s) are overdue, the board will receive the member’s name. Further action will be at the board’s discretion and could include suspension of any or all member privileges.

4.0 Multimedia Releases

4.1 Multimedia or other new forms of communications are subject to the same policies as special publications and need the approval of the board before exposure to the general public.

5.0 Ads Policy

5.1 The newsletter editor reserves the right to edit all submissions, and MHS reserves the right to refuse any ads.
5.2 No ads will be run for venomous species.
5.3 Published Ad Policy: MHS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animals, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Newsletter Editor. Due to space limitations, unpaid and complimentary advertising is subject to occasional omission.
Classified Ads: All active members are allowed a classified ad, run free of charge as space permits. Ads may be run 3 consecutive months, after which time they may be resubmitted.
Newsletter Ad Rates: Ad Size per Month per Year

Bus Card $5.00 $55.00
1/4 page $10.00 $110.00
1/2 page $20.00 $220.00
Full page $40.00 $440.00

6.0 White Pages

6.1 The white pages shall be published annually within 3 months of the general election.
6.2 A letter requesting address corrections should be sent out in a timely manner to ensure the information in the directory is as accurate as possible.
6.3 Members receiving the white pages need to respect the privacy of those listed and not provide the list to non-members.
6.4 The Membership list in electronic or mailing label form will not be made available to any commercial request without board approval.

7.0 New Member Packet

7.1 New members (or renewing members whose membership lapsed more than 3 years ago) will receive a new member packet within 3 months of paying dues.
7.2 New member packets include MHS Bylaws, general policies, descriptions of activities, descriptions of board and chair duties, and other available information regarding MHS.

8.0 Internet

8.1 The Listserv moderator reserves the right to edit all submissions, and MHS reserves the right to refuse any ads or postings.
8.2 No ads will be run for venomous species.
8.3 Listserv Ad Policy: MHS assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY regarding the health or legality of any animals, or the quality or legality of any product or service advertised in the MHS Newsletter. Any ad may be rejected at the discretion of the Listserv moderator.
Classified Ads: All active members are allowed to post classified ads to the designated section on the Listserv.
Ads will be deleted after 6 months.

Adopted March 8, 1998
Amended April 6, 2003
Amended August 2, 2008

MHS Hands-On Policy

MHS provides a public service by exposing the public to various reptiles and amphibians for the purpose of educating them about the natural history, the characteristics, and the biological value of reptiles and amphibians. This should be an enjoyable experience for the animal handler as well as the public. The following policy will ensure safety for the public, the handler, and the animal(s). For purposes of definition, a Hands-On Event is any event in which MHS members participate in the public eye with live animals that is sanctioned by the MHS Education Chair (otherwise known as Public Education Coordinator).

1.0 General

1.1 The Public Education Coordinator will oversee Hands-On Events. The Public Education Coordinator reports to the MHS Board of Directors.
1.2 A copy of the current MHS insurance policy shall be at all Hands-On Events.
1.3 All events shall be supervised by the Public Education Coordinator or an experienced MHS member approved by the Public Education Coordinator and/or the MHS President.
1.4 A copy of this policy will be signed and dated by every participating MHS member for each year. Participants under 18 years of age will also have this policy signed by their parent or legal guardian.

2.0 Participants of MHS Hands-On Events

2.1 All participants must be current members of MHS in good standing.
2.2 All participants will be in compliance with 1.4
2.3 Participants 15 years of age and under will be under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian.
2.4 Participants 16 to 18 years of age may participate as individuals under the direct supervision of designated adult MHS member and must have a written permission slip on file signed by a parent or guardian.

3.0 Animal Handling and Personal contact at MHS Hands-On Events

3.1 No venomous animal will be used at a Hands-On Event. These include venomoid and de-fanged animal(s). Exceptions will be made only with approval of the Public Education Coordinator and the MHS President.
3.2 No sick or injured animals, animals in shed or animals with parasites should be brought to a Hands-On event. The event coordinator has the right to remove any animal that exhibits any of these traits. Animals under one year of age should not be in contact with the public.
3.3 Any animal known to secrete toxic skin substances must be displayed such manner that the public does not come in contact with it.
3.4 Public safety is of utmost importance. Animals used at events where public contact is involved must be under full control at all times. Animals exhibiting aggressive behavior shall not come in contact with the public.
3.5 Participants will never allow the public to touch or come into contact with the head of a display animal(s).
3.6 Participants will never allow the public to take control of a display animal.
3.7 Participants will always demonstrate safe handling practices when in public even if these practices do not necessarily apply to this particular animal(s). For example, handler shall not allow a snake to complete a full loop around the handler’s neck.
3.8 All lizards capable of fast movement will be harnessed while in public so as to eliminate the possibility of escape into a crowd.
3.9 Participants will always handle animals with respect and dignity.
3.10 The public will be treated respectfully at all times.
3.11 Participants must recognize that some people are extremely afraid of reptiles and/or amphibians. At no time will a participant attempt to force their animal on a member of the public.
3.12 Animals will be on display only at the display site of the event. Participants are not to enter or leave the area without first concealing their animal(s). Preferred methods would be by bagging and/or boxing.
3.13 Display cages, if used, must be of sturdy design and capable of being securely locked if not attended.

4.0 Failure to Comply

4.1 Failure to comply with MHS Hands-On policy may result in suspension of participation privileges at MHS Hands-On Events.
4.2 Repeated violations of the policy may result in permanent loss of participation privileges at MHS Hands-On Events.
4.3 Suspension for failure to comply with this policy will be enforced by the event supervisor of the Public Education Coordinator.
4.4 Participation suspension may be appealed to the MHS Board of Directors.

Adopted October 5, 1996
Amended April 4, 1998
Amended August 2, 2008


The purpose of the MHS Adoption Committee is to find adequate housing and care for animals surrendered to the MHS.

1.0 Receipt of Animals

1.1 A statement of surrender must be completed by everyone placing an animal with MHS for adoption. Exceptions are Humane Societies, Animal Control and similar placement agencies.
1.2 All individuals placing an animal are to be notified of possible euthanasia.
1.3 Animals should not be brought to a meeting for adoption without prior permission of the adoption chair.
1.4 Venomous animals
1.4.1 – Venomous animals received will not be placed at the general meeting.
1.4.2 – The placement of venomous animals will be outsourced to qualified individuals or organizations.

2.0 Placement of Animals

2.1 Guidelines for the adoption of animals
2.1.1 To have and provide adequate food and housing for the animal.
2.1.2 To have experience with the species up for adoption or a related species.
2.2 Policies of Adoption
2.2.1 Consider the best interest of the animal.
2.2.2 All adoptions are at the sole discretion of the adoption committee.
2.2.3 – Only current MHS members are eligible to adopt animals. Exceptions may be made in the case of animals deemed difficult to place.
2.3 Adoption Procedures
2.3.1 Adoption request forms should be filled out as completely as possible, including name and membership number. A parent must sign for a member under 18 years of age.
2.3.2 – Adoption committee members must abstain from the decision regarding an animal for which they or a family member has applied.
2.3.3 – Animals available for adoption should not be removed from their cages by the general membership.
2.3.4 – The board will make the decision about euthanasia for healthy animals.

3.0 Unhealthy Animals

3.1 Any unhealthy animals received for adoption may be dealt with at the discretion of the adoption committee chair and the intake vet.

Adopted January 4, 1997
Amended September 6, 1997
Amended August 2, 2008
Amended May 5, 2012
Amended May 3, 2014
Amended October 4, 2014

The policies printed on this website are “best effort” at this time, and may not reflect our exact policies at any given moment, as they are continually under review and being updated. They should be assumed to be accurate up to the latest amended dates listed. If there has been amendment since, we will post updates in a reasonable amount of time.