A remembrance of primordial times

No one is indifferent towards snakes, saurians, and tortoises. These primordial animals trigger fear, disgust or repulsion among some; whereas to others they are highly attractive and appealing. In any case, reptiles are special animals and also very difficult to care for. From an animal protection perspective, we would advise against keeping them as a hobby.


Biology and behavior

Reptiles are so-called hematocryal animals whose body temperature depends on the ambient temperature. Depending on their original habitat, they will hibernate or fall into a cold rigor. Another thing common to many (but not all!) reptiles is the laying of eggs. They do not, however, hatch them, but leave this task to the sunlight. Therefore, reptile eggs laid in a terrarium must be placed in an incubator.


Holding issues

Reptiles are wild animals and do not look for the proximity of humans. The housing requirements of the different species are as varied as their origins and habits. This is also reflected in the Animal Protection Ordinance that stipulates many pages of holding regulations and requests a keeping authorization from the Cantonal Veterinary Office. Holders of reptiles for which one requires an authorization must also acquire a corresponding certificate of competence.


Among private reptile holders, there are specialists who spend practically their entire lives dedicated to obtaining knowledge and know-how on the species-appropriate keeping of these animals. However, these persons are the exception to the rule. The general rule therefore being that it is wiser to not keep reptiles as pets.


Health issues

A species-appropriate holding of animals is usually rewarded with healthy pets. There are many and major risks and dangers to the health of reptiles: Many diseases are to be led back to holding mistakes (wrong temperature, humidity, insufficient UV light, soil composition, nutrition, etc.).


Not even all veterinaries know everything among reptile diseases – let alone laymen. The identification and interpretation of disease symptoms is often difficult. The course of a disease can be so slow that the disease will remain unidentified and thus treated too late. Please refer to lists of recommended institutes and veterinaries here and here.



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Useful information

  • Casa-Reptilica, mit Auffangstation in Höri (ZH) und Tierarztliste (rescue station in Höri, ZH) and list of veterinaries
  • SIGS, Swiss Interest Group of Tortoise Friends