top of page
Image by Imat Bagja Gumilar

Fact & Fiction

Animal Rights Groups Claims:



  • Zoonotic Disease

    • According to World Animal Protection: “Introducing wild caught species into the trade chain can be highly problematic. Snakes and other reptiles can be carriers of zoonotic diseases. Examples of zoonotic viruses that have been isolated from reptiles include the West Nile Virus in crocodiles and Western Equine Encephalitis and Japanese Encephalitis virus in snakes.”

    • Technically the above statement is minorly possible, however, it is a clear over exaggeration. The following line comes from the same source that W.A.P. has cited: “The risk of transfer of viruses between reptiles and humans is negligible due to the thermoregulatory differences between reptilian and mammalian hosts which would limit the suite of pathogens able to grow in both temperature regimes. However, some zoonotic potential exists when certain reptiles act as reservoirs for arboviruses that are pathogenic to humans such as West Nile fever virus.” At this time, no definitive zoonotic diseases have passed from reptile to keeper. *Other than Salmonella potential.

    • Captive reptiles are kept on a small scale, (even in farm-bred situations) when compared to mammals, fish and birds. That coupled with the negligible risk of virus transfer between reptiles and humans means the chances of a zoonotic outbreak from a reptile source is extremely low. Diseases have plagued humanity and animals for as long as life has been on earth. The medieval times did not keep uncommon pets and had far worse problems and ailments than today. (The bubonic plague - dubbed the Black Death was caused by the yersinia pestis bacteria, which lived in rodent populations and was spread by fleas that had bitten infected animals. Malaria, tuberculosis, brucellosis etc). This is solid proof on it’s own that uncommon pets have absolutely zero correlation with today's pandemics

  • Species Conservation and Ecological Alterations

    • The pet trade is to blame about species loss. Most of this is actually untrue. (refer to links of habitat loss). AR are concerned with invasive species, and decimation of wild populations of animals.

    • Both are valid concerns. We need to prove and promote that herpetoculture is a net                             positive on conservation. This is done through A) Captive breeding. B) Through financial support to conservations.


  • Animal Welfare

    • Many of the welfare claims made by AR groups are in line with our ethos. Reptiles should be kept in adequately sized enclosures, with access to environmental enrichment, natural replication, and proper heating/lighting.

    • AR concerns of wildlife trafficking are also valid to some extent. Mass WC imports to support the basic/beginner pet market is unacceptable. We believe a reasonable way to curb this without complete dismissal is to offer WC imports to people who are willing to establish said species in captivity.  We cannot completely  drop the wild caught concept, only because habitat destruction is a huge problem and part of species loss. We believe there should be a "noahs ark" or assurance colony in responsible peoples hands.

  • Reptile shows

    • Animal Rights claims reptiles have no access to food during expositions and that this is cruel. Fact is, reptiles should not be fed daily, even most adult lizards. snakes should be fed every 5-20 days depending on the species. lizards, every other day tends to be the average otherwise there is high risk or morbid obesity and regurgitation. anyone vending at a reptile show feed their animals either the day before or a few days before depending on species. this way, they are kept clean (no/minimal fecal matter passed ) at the show for optimal cleanliness.

  • Mortality

    • PETA claims 90% of reptiles die in the first year. this is absolutely false. they previously states 75% (which is also wrong) and pulled these numbers from thin air to make it seem horrible. we will not deny mortality happens, as does in anything with life. however, it is far below 30%.  The 90% statistic is a new one, There was an unpublished 'study' (and we use the term extremely loosely) by the Animal Protection Agency that suggested 75% mortality in all reptiles within the first year, which they have continuously quoted:
      Toland, E., Warwick, C., Arena, P. C., Steedman, C. (unpublished manuscript in preparation) Premature Mortality Rates in Exotic Pet Fishes, Amphibians and Reptiles in the UK. n.d.
      We are as yet at a loss on how this statistic was arrived at.
      The statistics was then subsequently quoted by Lush in store adverts in the UK, along with a series of other incorrect random assertions, and the brand were forced to remove these adverts from their shops after a court case here in the UK found them incorrect with no evidence.
      There was another study on captive mortality rates in pet reptiles that found on average a 3.6% mortality rate in most taxa, as low as 1.9% for boas and pythons, with chameleons having the highest mortality rate at 28%:
      Robinson, Janine E., et al. "Captive reptile mortality rates in the home and implications for the wildlife trade." PloS one 10.11 (2015): e014146

  • Banning

    • W.A.P states: " A permanent ban on all wildlife trade is the only proper solution – protecting wild animals in the wild, eliminating animal suffering in captivity will also help to prevent major health epidemics. The outbreak of coronavirus, and regular outbreaks of Salmonella infections highlight how proximity between stressed and injured wildlife and humans can be a dangerous cocktail. Action is needed to end the exotic pet trade, not only for animal welfare and biodiversity, but also to protect human health."

    • This all goes back to what was previously stated. with banning wildlife trade (this also includes captive born and bred to them) the assurance of a future due to habitat loss is all but diminished and dooming many species to extinction. reptiles cannot pass any severe diseases over to humans. coronavirus being used as a scare tactic is absurdly wrong. salmonella is overexaggerated as it is a minor worry with reptiles, and you are more likely to get it from your food. i'm sure the risk of salmonella with food will not ban food.

Got more Fact and Fiction (with evidence to back up)? Email us!

Some links to check out to prove how mass majority of the time it is not the pet industry that needs to be worried about for wild herps, and we as responsible keepers can help:

Zoos and Aquariums can Save One Million Species

Fort Worth Zoo Video

Belligner River Turtle Virus

P.metallica Habitat Loss

Conserving Panamanian Golden/Harlequin Frogs

Noteworthy article about World Animal Protection here. There is no hard proof either about them Actively using donated funds for much needed conservation efforts. instead, give employees 120,00gbp+ or spending it on "charitable Activities" (advertising for their organization, etc). Take a read.

 Noteworthy: Ball pythons are the poster child of many Animal Rights campaigns. They are often depicted in small display cases at expos or industrial style rack breeding systems to demonstrate animal abuse. It must be made clear, that reptile expos do not relate to the quality of captive care given by the keeper. Animals are brought to expos for short periods of time to find their new forever home. NASAHERP does advocate for large, enriched ball python enclosures designed to mimic their native range in Africa. While industrialized style rack care is still utilized, it is being phased out for and replaced with naturalistic habitats. We do want to stress however, that bins and racks are not -always- wrong. In the end, they are still an enclosure that can be used properly for the animal in question, as long as space and stimulation is kept in mind. Animal Rights groups choose to ignore the thousands of examples of ball pythons being kept naturalistically or even spaciously in a rack system with ample space and enrichment. As long as space, stimulation and welfare provisions are met, there is no issue. It's easy to expose the few bad apples, in comparison to the high standards of care most people to give when someone is trying to push for bans.


Here is a photo off a W.A.P. pdf from an apparent data projection based on extrapolating their nationally representative survey data of 21,382 Canadians.
There is so much wrong with this and is extremely exaggerated. There is absolutely no way there is, or ever will be 9,739 crocodilians within Canada, let alone that high quantity of Iguanas or Burmese Pythons. Another red flag within this context are the native species they are claiming as pets. Within Canada, this simply does not happen. People do not keep Northern Leopard Frogs as pets due to native status. if this survey was to be replicated by actual known herpetoculturists, numbers would be vastly different.

Click Image to Enlarge

bottom of page