Welcome to the Cape Reptile Institute

Cape Reptile Institute is a non-profit and non-government organisation. The institute and its researchers are dedicated to long-term ecological research on snakes and other reptiles of Africa, in particular Southern Africa.

Reptile Conservation and Research

Southern Africa is famous for its diverse wildlife, usually exemplified by charismatic animals such as elephants, rhino and giraffe. However, biodiversity is the key to a healthy environment, and this includes animals which are less familiar, and sometimes even loathed and reviled.

Reptiles are not the most obvious creatures in the African landscape, but all have an important role to play, and have a positive and vital impact on the environment. However, this goes largely unseen; the grazing zebras are obvious, but what of the many tortoises munching away hidden from sight? One may be lucky enough to see lions at a kill, but who sees the puff adder eating a rat?

To discover how reptiles impact an environment, it is necessary to study their lifestyle and behaviour in the many and varied biomes, which will contribute to improve conservation management decisions to preserve Southern Africa’s rich herpetofauna biodiversity for the future.

In 2005 the Cape Reptile Institute was founded by a team of herpetological researchers headed by Dr Tony Phelps to improve and coordinate research and surveys on reptiles in Southern Africa.