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Should I get a Wild Caught or Captive Bred Reptile?

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Ball Python

Ball Python

Lianne McLeod
Question: Should I get a Wild Caught or Captive Bred Reptile?
Answer: In short, captive bred is best, so if at all possible get a captive bred reptile as a pet. It is true that some species of reptile do not readily reproduce in captivity so for these you may need to get a wild caught reptile. However, for many commonly kept species, captive bred animals are quite readily available. If you can find a captive bred reptile this is the best option for a number of reasons:
  • Captive bred reptiles are generally healthier than wild caught. The stress of capture and transport and adjustment to captive conditions is extremely stressful and leaves reptiles susceptible to illness. Wild caught reptiles also tend to carry very heavy parasite loads.
  • Captive bred reptiles are generally less skittish and easier to handle than wild caught.
  • Captive bred snakes accept pre killed prey more readily than wild caught snakes (especially true for ball pythons).
  • Buying a captive bred reptile helps to maintain wild populations. For every wild caught reptile that makes it to a pet store and into a home, many more die from stress, injury, and/or illness related to capture, transport, overcrowding, etc.

Unfortunately it is often less expensive to buy a wild caught reptile over a captive bred one. However, when you consider the rates of illness and parasitism in wild caught reptiles as well as the rates of mortality, it is often much less expensive over the long run to purchase captive bred than to treat or replace a sick wild caught reptile.

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