The Mayborn Museum has over 22,500 specimens in its Reptile Collection, including snakes, turtles, lizards and crocodiles. Over 70% of the specimens were collected in Texas.
The Bryce C. Brown Herpetological Collection is a very significant part of the Reptile Collection. Bryce C. Brown was born on May 7, 1920. He showed an early interest in biology, even keeping a small “zoo" on the family farm in Harlingen, Texas. In college at the University of Texas, he majored in biology. After graduating in 1942, he joined the Army and was sent to India where he developed his fascination with exotic snakes. Returning to the United States, Bryce married Lillian Seeliger, who shared his interest in biology and nature. In 1947, Bryce completed his Master of Science degree in biology at Texas A&M University after which he obtained the position of Curator at the Strecker Museum on the Baylor University campus. In 1953, he began teaching in the Baylor University Biology Department, while working on his doctorate through the University of Michigan, which he completed in 1955. In 1966, Dr. Brown was named the director of the Strecker Museum, a position he held until his retirement in 1983. Dr. Bryce C. Brown passed away in 2008 at the age of 88.
Dr. Brown donated the Bryce C. Brown Herpetological Collection to the museum in 1997. The collection consists of over 19,000 specimens of snakes, turtles, lizards, frogs, toads and salamanders. Most of the specimens were collected in Texas and Mexico, with the rest coming primarily from Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Puerto Rico.