View Full Version : Is keeping reptiles cruel/unfair/bad

04-15-2006, 09:13 AM
What do you think

As long as the reptiles is kept comfortable and humanly

Keeping reptiles raises awareness for looking after the evniroment. If some one sees your cute little gecko its unlikely they are going to go outside and throw there rubbish on the floor

In australia records are sent to the government about breeding etc. Using this information government orginisations can help conserve reptiles in the evnvironment

i am abit short for time but will post back with more points later

everyone, please give a response and reasons why or whynot

05-04-2006, 03:15 PM
i think keeping reptiles is ok as long as you care for them.

in some cases its better to have a reptile captive because in the wild they could be killed by predators

though in another thought that would be the equivilent of an unresponsible owner that kills its reptile by not caring for it

05-04-2006, 03:50 PM
This is one of those arguments, where there are equally valid points on both sides, it's just a matter of which side you find yourself on.

For instance, we can say that yes the possiblity exists that this specific reptile may be killed by predators in the wild. So keeping them captive would keep them safe. On the other hand, these guys seem to breed just fine in the wild, so the more left in the wild, the more there are to reproduce. Survival of the fittest right? Well then we have to take into account the fact that human infringement on the habitat of these reptiles leads to less area, and fewer animals to reproduce. So...now it would seem that we are responsible for keeping their species going since we are causing their extinction.

Basically since there's always another side to the argument, I feel that it's okay to have captive reptiles as long as:

1. The animals are kept humanely, including naturalistic enclosures, adequate food, water, etc.

2. By keeping the animal, you are in no way keeping the species from continuation in the wild.

That's my take on it.


05-04-2006, 05:40 PM
Here's the thing: reptiles don't care, they simply aren't wired for it. They don't differentiate between "in the wild" and "in captivity", the only thing they differentiate between is "needs are being met" and "needs are not being met". In the wild, a geck will live in a tree stump or a rusty cofee can. Same for snakes. Whatever is available is "natural" to them, they are highly adaptive and aren't concerned with detailes like whether the thing they are using for a home grew there naturally or if it's something plastic that was put there.

In the wild, most reptiles will live in the smallest space possible that fits all of their needs. Simply due to the fact that they are endothermic, they naturally want to conserve energy whenever possible, and will stay within a small area if they aren't required to leave to fill their basic needs. In a 4'x2'x2' cage, a snake has a temperature gradient so he can thermoregulate, a place to hide, a water source, a food source, perches (if he's arboreal), and, if he's lucky, a mate during mating season. If they could find all of that in 16 cubic feet in the wild, they would never leave that space.

So, the question of whether it is cruel comes down to whether the animal is comfortable; if his needs are met. If so, then how can it be cruel? He has exactly the same stuff as in the wild (as far as the snake is concerned), only without the danger of predators, parasites, disease, getting mauled by a prey animal, fires, droughts, floods, etc. They don't even need "natural" enclosures, they just need their needs met (which may include certain types of bark or leaves to hide on, etc, or it might not, it varies by species).

I think keeping mammals is very often more cruel, because they need much larger spaces in order to live healthy lives, and they are often not given enough space. It all comes down to how responsible the keeper is, though. An irresponsible keeper can easily be cruel, by not meeting the needs of their animals. But if you are a responsible keeper then it's not only not cruel, it's giving the animal a better life than they would have in the wild.

Questions of conservation aside, of course.


05-04-2006, 05:53 PM
They get free food, free water, free protection, free heating, and other stuff. The only thing they dont get that they may want is space, and as ryanm said, they always dont need lots of space.

05-05-2006, 10:33 AM
I guess thats true

05-05-2006, 11:30 AM
its no more cruel to keep reptiles in captivity as it is to keep dogs, cats, etc. The only diference is that the dogs and cats have been kept for far loger and are now perceived as natural, while our reptile friends arent.

does this mean we should also stop keeping mice and rats as pets??? obviously their natural habitat is outside in our rubish bins. :wink:

i think this whole discussion is very once sided. people think were mistreating the animals but if it wasnt for a lot of the private collectors we wouldnt know a lot about these magnificient animals. If you are caring for the animal in the best possible way then great, if ur not then u shouldnt have pets... cats, dogs, mice, budgies or geckos.

06-25-2006, 04:12 PM
No more cruel than keeping a dog or cat.

06-05-2007, 01:31 AM
i think the cruel side is always seen through the news.. i feel its perfectly fine keeping reptiles, however another non-reptile person might think its bad for the environment, for example: Burmese pythons in Florida. it only takes a few irresponsible keepers to ruin the reptile keeping image.

unfortunately, a lot of pet stores may be irresponsible keepers. in the attempt to save space, reptiles may be kept in very small cages. often reptiles are kept in cages which are not set up properly (i work at petsmart and deal with this all the time with the chameleons, frilled lizards, sand fish..).

i think the organizations should try improving captive situations for these pets rather than trying to eliminate it.

well, sorry if this doesn't reflect the actual message of the thread, but i hope i came close. as long as the needs are met, keeping reptiles is perfectly humane.

Chad V.

09-02-2007, 08:34 PM
This is one of those arguments, where there are equally valid points on both sides, it's just a matter of which side you find yourself on.

I agree that it is just a matter of what side you are on. This is one of those arguments that rate up there with "keeping your reptiles on newspaper or sand", its just not worth it.