Improving the lives of captive reptiles — ASN Events

Improving the lives of captive reptiles (#297)

Gordon M Burghardt 1
  1. University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, United States

Reptiles are commonly exhibited in zoos but their behavioral and psychological needs rarely addressed beyond what is needed to keep them physically healthy or capable of reproducing. This attitude is changing rapidly, as least in some quarters, as evidence of problem solving, social learning, playfulness, and other signs of cognitive, social, and emotional complexity are accumulating. This talk will present evidence documenting this evidence and how zoos can and are responding. Monitor lizards were one of the first groups to be formally "enriched" in zoos, but all species must now be considered as benefiting from applying our growing understanding of the dynamics of reptile behavior.

  1. Burghardt, G. M. Environmental enrichment and cognitive complexity in reptiles and amphibians: Concepts, review and implications for captive populations. Applied Animal Behaviour Science, 2013, 147, 286-298.