Every October 21 is National Reptile Awareness Day. Godzilla. Reptar. Yoshi. The Geico Gecko. Those two lizards that always hang out around your back porch. These are just a few of the famous reptiles we love. But on October 21, we celebrate all of our cold-blooded friends. This day is observed to educate and raise awareness of threats to the natural habitats that our reptilian companions rely on to survive.
History of National Reptile Awareness Day
While the history of reptiles may go hundreds of millions of years back, National Reptile Awareness Day has an unfortunately short history in comparison. Additionally, it wasn’t really until 1966 when the first Endangered Species Act was passed that awareness of the needs and threats facing reptiles (or any animal, for that matter) started to make its way into our cultural mainstream.
With the passing of that act, a mid-century push toward conservation started taking the forefront. Updates were passed in 1967 and 1969. Additionally, in 1967, the Environmental Defense Fund created their historical efforts to ban DDT from usage in the United States. Much of this was movement was sparked by Rachel Carson’s seminal book, Silent Spring, which documented the adverse effects pesticides and other chemicals have on the environment.
National Reptile Awareness Day wouldn’t exist without the efforts of that movement. In fact, many reptiles wouldn’t be around today without the help of the Endangered Species Act. While National Reptile Awareness Day may have a small history compared to its subjects, its still part of a historically important movement to help protect and conserve all species of animals.