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Future of keeping pet reptiles and amphibians: towards integrating animal welfare, human health and environmental sustainability
  1. Frank Pasmans1,
  2. Serge Bogaerts2,
  3. Johan Braeckman3,
  4. Andrew A Cunningham4,
  5. Tom Hellebuyck1,
  6. Richard A Griffiths5,
  7. Max Sparreboom6,
  8. Benedikt R Schmidt7,8 and
  9. An Martel1
  1. 1 Department of Pathology, Bacteriology and Avian Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium
  2. 2 Lupinelaan 25, Waalre, Netherlands
  3. 3 Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium
  4. 4 Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London, London, UK
  5. 5 School of Anthropology and Conservation, Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology, University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, UK
  6. 6 Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Leiden, The Netherlands
  7. 7 Info Fauna KARCH, Passage Maximilien-de-Meuron, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
  8. 8 Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich, Zürich, Switzerland
  1. E-mail for correspondence; Tom.Hellebuyck{at}


The keeping of exotic pets is currently under debate and governments of several countries are increasingly exploring the regulation, or even the banning, of exotic pet keeping. Major concerns are issues of public health and safety, animal welfare and biodiversity conservation. The keeping of reptiles and amphibians in captivity encompasses all the potential issues identified with keeping exotic pets, and many of those relating to traditional domestic pets. Within the context of risks posed by pets in general, the authors argue for the responsible and sustainable keeping of reptile and amphibian pets by private persons, based on scientific evidence and on the authors' own expertise (veterinary medicine, captive husbandry, conservation biology).

  • reptile
  • amphibian
  • pet
  • welfare
  • health
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  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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