Reptile Humane Society Board of Directors (CoRHS) would like to formally state
our position on commercial and hobbyist breeding of reptiles and amphibians.
Here at CoRHS we receive animals every week from a
combination of owner surrenders, stray surrenders, and transfers from private
and municipal animal welfare organizations. The majority of the animals that we
receive are not ready for immediate adoption. Sadly, many of our incoming
animals are underfed, dehydrated, unhealthy, injured or some combination
thereof. Most find themselves in this state due to a lack of education and/or
foresight on the part of their owners.
Humane Society does not support the captive breeding of reptiles and amphibians
for the purpose of pet ownership. However, we acknowledge the necessity of
captive breeding by conservation biologists with the goal of release. Pet trade
reptiles and amphibians are genetically wild animals living in captivity. Their
captivity is the consequence of a breeding 'project' or the actions of an
individual who removed them from the wild.
Only a small percentage of
our incoming animals are wild-caught. Most of our surrendered animals are the
result of intentional breeding for the pet trade. Our position is if you
personally breed animals, then you have an obligation to ensure the care of
those animals for the duration of their lives. Most breeders do not acknowledge
their responsibility, even if unintentional, for creating unwanted and/or
We at CoRHS do not wish to condemn
herpetoculture enthusiasts who have found a love for these oft-maligned
creatures and we can appreciate the passion that people who breed an animal can
have for that species. Reptiles and amphibians are wonderful, interesting
animals. However, it is not uncommon for breeders to send their animals off to
unknown fates. A good breeder will take responsibility for their animals.
We implore all herpetoculturists to think carefully about
breeding decisions and the plight of captive reptiles and amphibians.
Irresponsible breeding further exacerbates the overabundance of reptiles and
amphibians in captivity. Before breeding any animal, a prospective breeder
should be able to affirmatively answer every point below. This is ultimately
what is best for the animals, which should be everyone’s highest concern.
Responsible breeders ensure the following:
- Assume a lifetime responsibility for the animals that they have bred. Insist
that a buyer return the animal to them if they can no longer care for it.
- Educate potential buyers about an animal’s specific needs, such as UVB
lighting, diet, and ideal temperatures. Ensure that they will provide for an
animal’s adult housing requirements.
- Screen potential buyers before
selling to them. Follow up with your buyers to ensure that the animal is healthy
and the buyer is happy.
- Encourage potential buyers to visit our
website and meet adult animals of the species that you have bred.
This can allow the buyer to appreciate the housing and care requirements of an
- Does not keep more animals than they can provide with
the highest level of care, including: space, heat, lighting and
handling/socialization. CoRHS does not believe that a rack system provides
adequate housing for any animal for any length of time.
- Be familiar
with the breeding animals’ genetics in order to avoid inbreeding.
- Ensure that your animals are feeding and defecating normally before selling.
- Provide a purchase contract that outlines the breeder’s
responsibilities, the buyer’s responsibilities, health guarantees, and return
- Never sell animals to an animal wholesaler or pet store.
- Accept the return of any animal of your breeding at any time for any
What You Can Do To Help
Think adoption first – be a part of the solution.
There are homeless reptile pets available in every major city in the country,
and CoRHS regularly ships animals via same-day flights to approved adopters
nationwide. The shelter typically has hundreds of common and not-so-common
species. Visit our adoptable animal pages
to view available animals and submit an
adoption application online. All available animals are healthy, happy, and ready
for their forever homes.
Until each one has a home,
Colorado Reptile Humane Society