What is Herpetoculture?

Herpetoculture is the keeping of live reptiles and amphibians in captivity, whether as a hobby or as a commercial breeding operation, or for scientific or research purposes. “Herps” is an informal term that refers to both reptiles and amphibians (short for herpetofauna). People of all ages and from all walks of life, including, but not limited to career herpetologists, professional reptile or amphibian breeders, and casual hobbyists engage in herpetoculture, for conservation reasons, for educational purposes, as a business enterprise, for research or scientific reasons, or purely for the love of the animals.

1-allis4There is a conservation concern with eliminating private reptile breeders. With many species, the private sector breeders are ten years ahead of zoos in terms of the species reproduced and overall success rate. Many of these animals are threatened in their natural environments due to extreme habitat loss and loss of species diversity and density. Without the private breeders, these animals may be forever lost. A University of Georgia study has shown that dozens of species of frogs are being decimated due to a widespread fungus. Not only are the frogs being decimated, but the extinction of the frogs has had a tremendous adverse effect on the ecosystems in which they lived. However, the infected frogs can be treated and bred in captivity. Their one speck of hope is that these captive breeding programs will continue so that one day the frogs can be returned to the wild. (See http://wp.me/p39E9h-3F)

With herpetoculture, there are few species that cannot be successfully maintained in perpetuity in captivity. Captive breeding can prevent extinction and preventing extinction is part of animal welfare.


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