The term of “herpetoculture” was one associated with someone who we (the writers) had never had the pleasure of meeting until much later in our careers. He is, to say the least, a very well-known and respected man who has been responsible for many of the introductions of new reptile pet species to the United States and abroad. Philippe de Vosjoli has been involved in one way or another with the reptile industry, from what I can ascertain, for more than four decades. In that time, he has written and published too many books and articles to count.
I can’t specify when I had first read the word “herpetoculture,” but I remember it distinctly enough because throughout my personal daily life, people sometimes ask if I am a Herpetologist and I would and do answer
I am not.
Herpetology Vs Herpetoculture
This is because in order to be classified as a herpetologist in the traditional sense means spending large amounts of money and time in college. I had time for it neither then, nor now. It was one day while reading a magazine article on one species or the other that I came across the word herpetoculture and thought to myself how interested I became. Maybe that’s what I was? After a couple tries at researching the term online, I discovered a site that defined “herpetoculture” as the “art” of keeping reptiles and amphibians in enclosures designed to replicate their natural environment in the wild. That of course is not the exact definition of what I had read, but I think you get the gist of what I am trying to get across. Almost three years later, I adopted a Red Tailed Boa Boa constrictor sp. I immediately went to the store before picking the animal up to refresh my knowledge of the species, where I of course found The Boa Constrictor Manual (Advanced Vivarium Systems) by Philippe de Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg DVM, and Jeff Ronne. It was published by Advanced Vivarium Systems, which was Philippe’s’ publishing venture, and I read (devoured) the book in one sitting.
Once again, as it always seems to be with Mr. de Vosjoli, he reminds us that observation and recreating a naturalistic environment for our chosen reptiles is not required but does reveal much more than just the typical “sterile” environment used by many reptile breeders today. He also reminds us that the first reason for owning a reptile is because we enjoy them and they “enrich your life”.
We couldn’t agree more with this philosophy of reptile keeping or pet keeping in general.
It’s since this original article went live that I have been informed by my colleagues that Tom Huff originally coined the term Herpetoculture.