23 Years of Reptile Magazines

by Jeremiah Easter

It was almost 23 years ago when the very first reptile magazine dedicated to reptile and amphibian hobbyists saw the press. I still remember how thrilled I was every time I would receive a crisp new copy of that magazine, The Vivarium in the mailbox.  It was un-adulterated serious-hobbyist reptile-geek time in the recliner and worth every penny of the somewhat formidable cover price of seven dollars. The Vivarium was a milestone in reptile periodical publishing but it wasn’t the only reptile magazine that came or went during its era. The herp nation has been alive and well with individuals who had dreams of combining their love of publishing with their love of reptiles in an 8.5 x 11 tribute. Surprisingly, very little information is available on the web about most of these monumental efforts, especially the ones that came and went.

The following list of most of the major reptile magazines that came to our hobby in the last 23 years. Much thanks to Ryan Young for assisting me with compiling this list.

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The Vivarium
This was the pioneer of the glossy reptile magazine. Its first issue arrived in late 1988. It ran for 12 years completing 60 issues before it was eventually bought out and absorbed by the current Reptiles magazine.

 

 

 

 

 

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Scales & Tails
This magazine started in September of 2008 and continues to cover mostly Australian reptiles and amphibians at the time of this writing. They have produced 16 issues to date and are published bi-monthly.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptilian
This English magazine produced by Mantella Publishing started in 1992 and was run by Tom and Jan Burgess. Mantella Publishing printed 6 issues a year (though oddly they called 10 issues a complete volume)  until the magazine folded in 1998. Their last issue was Volume 6 #8 so unless my math is incorrect that would be 68 issues total.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptilia
Reptilia is one of the longest running magazines. It started as a Spanish magazine and was later published in German, English and Italian. The first english edition was produced in 1998 and is still being produced today The magazine is still in print and is in its 74th issue. Reptilia has not had good distribution in the United States which is surprising considering that it is a quality magazine that could potentially do well here. Today it remains difficult to obtain with prohibitive international Air Mail costs.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptile World
This English magazine was a short lived publication that produced only 6 issues. It started in Sept/Oct of 2003 and ended in 2004. There was another UK magazine called Reptile Care (not pictured here) that had a slightly longer run. Reptile Care started in Sept. of 2003 and ended with Volume 4 #4.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptiles Magazine
This is the longest running reptile magazine in the world. Reptiles magazine started in October of 1993 and quickly gathered a large following. Initially they were a bi-monthly publication but they quickly went monthly. They also print an annual edition which started in 1996 and is also still in print.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptiles Australia
This Australian magazine started in September of 2003 and focused mainly on Australian herps. It ran until late 2010 when it ended with volume 6 #3, possibly amidst competition with the Australian newcomer Scales and Tails.

 

 

 

 

 

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Ophidio File
This Canadian magazine was originally produced under the name Ophidiofile. It had the subtitle of: Canadian Journal of Reptiles and Amphibians. After issue 3 the name was changed to Reptile Life. The entire life of the publication was only 6 issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptile and Amphibian
This magazine was one of the few that tried a smaller “digest” format. It started in 1989 and ran until 1999 before being purchased by TFH and absorbed into the publication Reptile Hobbyist. The complete set has 56 issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Reptile and Amphibian Hobbyist
Originally this magazine started as Reptile Hobbyist but then changed its name after it bought and merged with Reptile and Amphibian magazine in 1999. Published by TFH, there were 38 issues before the merger and they went on to publish another 30 issues afterward. In all 68 issues where produced before TFH stopped printing the magazine in November of 2001.

 

 

 

 

 

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Practical Reptile Keeping
A fairly recent new-comer on the reptile magazine scene. This commercialized production is produced in the UK and it appears to cater to beginner reptile keepers. It is currently in print.

 

 

 

 

 

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Monitor
Monitor magazine, or rather Journal, was the Journal of the Victoria Herpetological Society before they went to an electronic only publication.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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IRCF
formerly Iguana magazine, it became IRCF in 2009. It is the quarterly journal of the International Reptile Conservation Foundation and is a high quality magazine primarily focused on Reptile and Amphibian Natural History and other Herpetological topics.

 

 

 

 

 

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Herpetological Review
While not really a magazine in the sense of most of the others on this list, Herpetological Review is the only serious herpetological journal mentioned here because it does carry some magazine like qualities such as high quality glossy cover.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gekko
This little magazine is the the Journal of the Global Gecko Association. It is produced in digest format only twice per year and as its name implies, it is exclusively a gecko magazine. It was still in print, as of 2010.

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Fauna Magazine
Fauna magazine came in three iterations, all separated by periods of time with no publication. Its initial few issues produced in 1997 seemed extremely promising but as it changed form and failed to fulfill subscriptions it lost traction and was no more.

 

 

 

 

 

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Captive Breeding
Produced out of the American midwest, this well done quarterly magazine started in October of 1992 and ran through December of 1995. It focused on captive breeding of herps and herp morphs. It changed hands once during its run and went out of print under the publisher Osage Copperhead Ventures. In all, 10 issues of Captive Breeding where produced.

 

 

 

 

 

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Dactylus
Dactylus was the journal of the International Gecko Society. This digest format magazine was produced out of Southern California from 1991 through 1998. Only 11 issues were produced.

 

 

 

 

 

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Herp Nation
Premiered in mid-2010, this magazine is produced by Scott Waters and Jeremiah Easter and was born out of the Field Herp Forum community. It focuses on natural history and captive breeding with an emphasis on recreational field herping. It is currently in print.

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