Can we keep turtles with lizards?

Law - The keeping of reptiles

Legal and animal welfare-specific aspects of keeping reptiles

Since reptile keeping has enjoyed increasing popularity in recent years, legal and animal welfare-specific requirements and regulations for keeping these exotic species are becoming more and more important.

As traders, we support the sensible regulation of the trade in animals and point out again that the reptiles we sell are exclusively offspring. Offspring are not only the more grateful and lighter fosterlings, but this premise helps, even if only to a small extent, to put a stop to the ongoing exploitation of nature by intercepting wild specimens due to falling demand.

Unfortunately, we have to say again and again that very few reptile owners, zoo dealers and not all authorities see through the jungle of guidelines, and that is why there are always misunderstandings between keepers, dealers and the responsible authorities. At this point I would like to offer a comprehensive overview of the keeping of reptiles. I am referring specifically to the “Report on the minimum requirements for the keeping of reptiles of January 10, 1997, issued by the DGHT e.V. on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Forests.


Species protection regulations

Anyone who keeps, displays or wants to sell animals that fall under the Washington Convention on the Protection of Species (WA!), Or the Federal Species Protection Act, or any other state-specific species protection regulation, is obliged to have the necessary certificates such as confirmations of origin, registration certificates or housing permits available To show the request and, if the animal is sold, to pass it on to the new owner.



The well-known Cites certificate for all so-called WA-II / C2 animals was replaced in July 1997. It is now sufficient for the dealer to informally confirm the origin. The confirmation of origin must show whether the animal comes from an offspring or from an import, in this case with the import permit number and export country.

Furthermore, the former protective statutes WA I and WA II were changed to WA Appendix A and Appendix B.

An EU certificate (previously blue paper, now yellow!) Is required for all species that are strictly protected according to the WA, Annex I or the EC regulation Annex A and are only made for marked animals (microchip or photo! ). These include all European tortoises, as well as some giant snakes and lizards. A detailed list is available from each regional council.


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All vertebrates that are under protection status must be registered with the responsible regional council.

  1. In the case of offspring from Europe and animals that are not listed in Appendix A, a copy of the purchase receipt with the herd number contained on it is sufficient.
  2. If the animals are from outside the EU and are not listed in Appendix A, you need the EU import number, which you can also get from your dealer, in addition to the copy of the purchase receipt with the stock number.
  3. If animals are to be registered in Appendix A, regardless of whether they come from the EU or a non-EU country, a copy of the EU certificate (yellow cites!) Must be enclosed with the registration.

The additional requirements of the competent authorities must of course be obeyed, i.e. if they request a husbandry permit or a suitability test, these documents must be applied for and submitted later. Information on where to get these documents can be obtained from the District Office or the responsible district veterinary office.

The keeping of specially protected reptiles is only permitted if the minimum requirements for keeping reptiles are taken into account and the acquisition is properly registered.


Terrariums in the rented apartment

Another point regulated by law is the keeping of reptiles in rental apartments.

First of all, it should be made clear that as early as 1993 the Federal Court of Justice declared the clause "Keeping pets is not permitted", which is often found in rental contracts, as null and void. The landlord can only make the attitude dependent on verbal consent.

However, he cannot categorically refuse this, but only in connection with adverse effects to be feared such as allergies, noise and odor nuisance. Since none of these impairments are to be expected in normal reptile keeping, poisonous animals and very large giant snakes (over 3 m!) Are of course an exception, the landlord can usually not object to the terrarium in the rented apartment. Even in the case of condominiums, a majority decision by the owners' meeting cannot issue a general ban on keeping animals.


Animal welfare-specific regulations

Just as relevant as the above-mentioned legal regulations in reptile keeping are the minimum requirements related to keeping and tank size. These are there to guarantee that the animals are kept as species-appropriate as possible in accordance with Section 2 of the Animal Welfare Act. However, I would like to mention here that there is hardly an area in pet keeping where the animals are kept more species-appropriate than in terrariums.

I claim that a hamster or a guinea pig in the average German child's room ekes out a more miserable existence than any reptile in the hands of a terrarium. But this is only marginally.

In the previously mentioned "Expertise on the Minimum Requirements for Keeping" reptiles, the minimum tank dimensions required for all reptile species and important basic descriptions of the interior are described.

Of course, it is not possible to provide general information, as the size of the pool, the furnishings and the climate to be created vary from species to species.

The following are the average terrarium sizes and facilities for the most common reptiles available on the market:


Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 4 x 2.5 x 4 head-trunk, with 2 animals + 20%!

Setting up the terrarium: earthy substrate, lots of greenery as a privacy screen and a place to hide. When rearing young animals, keeping them very close is recommended

Lizards (climbing) large:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 4 x 2 x 5 head-trunk

Furnishing of the terrarium: earthy substrate, many climbing branches, large bathing pool, hiding places

Lizards (climbing) small:

Pelvis dimensions (L x W x H): up to 6 x 6 x 8 head-trunk, if kept in pairs

Furnishing of the terrarium: earthy soil, lots of planting, hiding caves

Lizards (ground) small:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 5 x 3 x 4 head-trunk

Furnishing the terrarium: sand or earth, stone structures, drinking vessel, hiding cave

Lizards (ground) large:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 5 x 2 x 2 head-torso

Furnishing of the terrarium: large bathing pools, stable structures, hiding caves


Pool dimensions (L x W x H): 1 x 0.5 x 0.75 body length for animals up to 150 cm, 0.75 x 0.5 x 0.75 body length for larger animals.

Equipment of the terrarium: Repti-Wood or similar, climbing branches, bathing pool, hiding places. With larger specimens, the joy of climbing decreases.


Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 1 x 0.5 x 0.75 body length up to 250 cm, 0.75 x 0.5 x 0.75 body length over 250 cm. Final size must be taken into account depending on the species.

Equipment of the terrarium: Repti-Wood or similar, climbing branches, bathing pool, hiding places. With larger specimens, the joy of climbing decreases.

Tree-dwelling boids:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 0.75 x 0.5 x 1.5 body length

Setting up the terrarium: dense planting, gluing in branches, high humidity. Not necessarily beginner animals!

Climbing snakes:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 1 x 0.5 x 1 body length

Equipment of the terrarium: Repti-Wood fine or similar, climbing branches, hiding cave and bathing pool

King Snakes:

Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 1 x 0.5 x 0.5 body length

Setting up the terrarium: see climbing snakes without climbing branches, but several hiding places. Individual keeping is recommended for certain species.


Basin dimensions (L x W x H): 8 x 4 shell length

Setting up the terrarium: sunbathing areas, hiding places, food bowls, water bowls, some species can be kept free-range and should also be aimed for.


Sufficient UV lighting is required for all lizards and sufficient heating for all animals. For a more detailed description of the housing conditions, please refer to the DGHT e. V., which you can get in any well-stocked pet shop, is highly recommended.

The information on the tank size is to be understood as a multiplication factor, so the tank size for a 150cm long boa is calculated as:

150 x 1 = 150cm for the length

150 x 0.5 = 75cm for the width

150 x 0.75 = 112.5cm for the height

As a result, the terrarium must have the dimensions 150 x 75 x 112.5 cm.

The calculated dimensions are usually valid for a paired stocking for life, each additional animal is considered on average with an enlargement of 15 to 20% of the tank.