Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network
Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network
Rescue Locally. Educate Globally.

Introduction to Herpetology Blog

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Herpetoculture: Code of Conduct and Ethics

L.E.A.R.N. does not presume to instruct anyone on how they should live, but we will suggest some principles that we think are sound. 

You are invited to consider these statements regarding the keeping of reptiles or amphibians and commit to those that align with your own conscience.
Three-toed Box Turtle photo by Branuen Cary
Three-toed Box Turtle photo by Branuen Cary


• I understand that it is my personal responsibility to research the needs of all animals in my care thoroughly and to provide all needed items for them to thrive and not just survive.

• I will provide my animal with an appropriately-sized, well-constructed, secure enclosure that is free from hazards and inaccessible to other animals.

• I will provide accessories that allow my animal suitable opportunities for exercise and enrichment, as well as hiding places for its comfort.

• If the animal needs to be transported, I will do so in a manner that ensures the safety of the animal and my fellow drivers and that causes the least possible stress on the animal.

• I will maintain a high degree of sanitation and biosecurity in the animal’s enclosure to foster its health and prevent disease transmission (both to and from my animal, including zoonotic diseases).

• I will provide this animal with species-appropriate levels and gradients of temperature and humidity at all times.

• I will provide a nutritious variety of foods, as appropriate, in the appropriate amounts, and at a proper frequency. 

• I will commit to keeping the animal for the duration of its life, and will not discard or neglect it due to lack of interest.

• I will provide the animal with lighting which includes ultraviolet wavelengths, particularly for diurnal species.

• If minors are involved in the care of this animal, I as an adult assume full and final responsibility for this animal’s care.

• I will supervise the animal’s interaction with other people or animals to ensure its safety. I will at all times act in a manner that ensures the safety of myself and others and portrays responsible ownership to any observers.

• I will not recklessly allow my animals to breed and reproduce, which could potentially put further strain on the resources of the limited number of rescues that accept reptiles and amphibian pet surrenders.

• If I sell or transfer an animal, I will base my decision primarily on the suitability of the placement, rather than monetary incentives. 

• I will provide this animal with timely access to veterinary care as needed and will be solely responsible for the payment of same.

• If I become unable to provide for the needs of this animal, I will immediately seek out assistance or seek a placement or rescue facility that can provide suitable care. I will include the enclosure and accessories that my animal is accustomed to and make a donation, if possible, to defray the cost of the animal’s continuing care needs.

• I will ensure the security of the animal’s enclosure and under NO circumstances will I allow my captive animal to be released into the environment, for its own health and safety and to prevent harm to the environment from a non-native species. 

• I will commit to sharing accurate knowledge about the species in my care whenever possible, and will never intentionally contribute to the fears that others may have regarding these animals. 

• I will look for ways that I might contribute to the wild conservation of these and other reptiles and amphibian species. 
Northern Cat-eyed Snake photo by Ashley Tubbs
Northern Cat-eyed Snake photo by Ashley Tubbs
L.E.A.R.N. considers it essential to optimal husbandry that there is one person who takes individual responsibility for the administration of animal care. 

In our experience, scenarios where responsibility is shared or poorly defined often result in a reduced standard of care resulting from overlooked or postponed tasks.
Herpetoculture: Code of Conduct and Ethics
November 19, 2018
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Louisiana Exotic Animal Resource Network is a nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation and animal rescue that focuses heavily on global conservation and herpetological education. Content is © All rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.
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