Skip to content
Wild-caught (or wild-collected) animals have been taken directly out of the wild. Reptiles that are referred to as “imported” can almost always be assumed to be wild-caught reptiles. Captive-bred animals have been born and raised in captivity. There is an on-going debate as to whether one source of reptiles is better than the other.
Captive-bred reptiles are usually preferred over wild-caught reptiles for several reasons. First of all, many people raise the ethical question of whether or not reptiles should be taken from the wild. Wild-caught reptiles are often collected in large numbers, which can potentially be harmful to the stability of the wild populations. Also, captive-bred reptiles tend to come with less health problems, particularly internal parasites. This issue is rather complex, however, because there would be no pet reptiles without wild-caught reptiles: all captive reptiles are descended (no matter how distantly) from reptiles that were collected from the wild.
There are some benefits to acquiring wild-caught reptiles. They are normally adults when they are caught and an owner who wants to breed his reptile will not have to wait for it to mature and can begin the breeding process almost immediately. Also, you can be almost positive that wild-caught reptiles are not related to one another, which helps with genetic diversity in breeding. Finally, wild-caught reptiles are usually lower in price, but they also often come with internal parasites or other diseases that can be expensive to treat.
In the end, there is no clear-cut answer to this controversial issue. Biologists, hobbyists, and policymakers have not yet united to provide a legal decision, so the choice is up to you.