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daily from 8:00am to 5:00pm
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To conserve through education and
To locate, propagate and relocate rare and endangered
To establish viable captive populations of rare and
The Meaning of KHAMAI
"Khamai" is an old Greek word meaning Chameleon which essentially means little lion. These
completely harmless reptiles are feared by many inhabitants of Africa. This unreasonable fear also exists with snakes yet
most snakes are themselves also totally harmless. The Khamai Reptile Centre has a dedicated
team that works at saving reptiles by all means possible. We believe that education is a
powerful tool that should play a major role in conservation.
The Khamai Reptile Centre is situated in South Africa’s Limpopo
Province, 15km outside of the nearest town Hoedspruit See
Map and is situated in one of the most pristine parts of the country in
terms of natural heritage. This area has a particularly high concentration of snakes and therefore there is a high
frequency of interactions between snakes and people, making this a prime location for reptile-related research and
public education. We are open every day of the year, including all holidays from 8:00am to 5:00pm and are on call
24/7 for any reptile related emergencies.
We do not buy nor sell animals and therefore keep our breeding
of animals to a limit. Only animals that can be released or relocated into breeding and research programs are
encouraged to breed.
The Khamai Reptile Centre is situated in pristine "Big 5" country (See map on "Contact Us" page) with lodges and accommodation that suits all budgets
and comfort preferences. Hoedspruit is well known for its nature trails and adventure activities such as River
Rafting, Mountain Climbing, Hot Air Ballooning, Cycling, Camping and more. The lifestyle is clean and looked
after by the friendly people who welcome tourist with a smile.
Lodges, Farmers and local communities within the region often call upon the Khamai Reptile Centre
to help with reptile, amphibian and arachnid related problems. We will always come out to relocate animals back
into the wild.
Until 200 years ago the Galápagos islands were home to hundreds
of thousands of giant tortoises. During the 19th century visiting whaling
ships began to collect the tortoises to stock their holds with fresh meat. They left behind a number of
destructive, introduced mammals - rats, cats, pigs and goats - that preyed on the tortoises' eggs and young or
competed with them for food. By the mid 20th century three of the original 14 subspecies of giant tortoises were
extinct. Only four subspecies are considered to be safe from extinction. Six out of a total of seven marine turtle
species are classed as Endangered or Critically Endangered "International Union for
Conservation of Nature" IUCN as are seven of just 22
surviving species of crocodilian.
According to the IUCN 21 species of reptiles have become extinct in recent times.
Sixteen of them lived on islands. Island species are especially vulnerable because their environment is easily
affected by human impact and by the introduction of predatory animals. On Round Island in the Indian Ocean every
native reptile species is either extinct or on the brink of extinction, while Mauritius, a neighbouring island has
lost eight species.
Not all the news is bad, however. The surviving Galápagos
tortoises are being bred successfully in captivity, goats and rats have been eliminated on some islands and the
vegetation is beginning to recover. The Jamaican iguana, Cyclura collei, was believed extinct since
the 1940's but turned up in small numbers in 1990 on a remote hillside. Eggs have been collected and a captive
breeding program is underway. Captive bred young iguanas will be released into the wild once they are no longer
Cause for Concern
Despite all the conservation measures to save them hundreds of
reptile species are expected to become extinct over the next century. Habitat destruction through agricultural
development, urbanisation, mineral extraction, erosion and pollution are the main causes. On top of this thousands
of reptiles are killed by traffic on the roads every day and many populations have been lost through the flooding
of valleys through dam construction projects throughout the World. Reptiles are also hunted for food, their eggs,
or the pet trade. Sea turtles enjoy total protection throughout the World but poachers still take adults and eggs
in many of the poorer parts of the World and wild crocodilians are still hunted for their
Not only rare species are affected. Some species that were wide
spread a few decades ago are becoming scarce. Many people will grow up without ever seeing a wild lizard, snake or
turtle. The challenge for the future will be to find ways to reconcile the human race's need to expand and feed
itself with the preservation of the wild places needed by reptiles and other animals.
Worldwide Decline of
How big is the problem, what are
the causes and what can be done? These are the questions we should be asking ouselves. Amphibians belong to a
unique group of vertebrates containing over 6 300 known species and are threatened worldwide. A recent assessment
of the entire group found that nearly one third (32%) of the world's amphibian species are threatened, representing
1 856 species. Amphibians have existed on earth for over 300 million years, yet in just the last two decades there
have been an alarming number of extinctions, nearly 168 species believed to have gone extinct and at least 2 469
(43%) more have populations that are declining. This indicates that the number of extinct and threatened species
will probaly continue to rise unless we take serious action and do something about
Read the article:
Study Traces Frog Population Decline To Weed
Nature at it's Best
Our resident Alligator Snapping Turtle doing what he does best. This fish doesn't stand a chance
against the specialised fishing abilities of a Snapping Turtle. The tongue of this cunning reptile not only looks
exactly like a worm but also moves in an intricate worm like manner. Interestingly it takes a day or two for the
fish to learn that there is danger lurking and they soon stop trying to eat the tongue. We have to keep on changing
the fish in order for the Snapper to eat.
The Khamai Reptile Centre has a variety of turtles and tortoises on
display throughout the centre.
are many good reptile books available from throughout the World, one should be careful what book
to buy and make sure for what reasons you are buying the book. Some books can be very technical and are written by
scientists and biologists for the academic. While other books are best written for the reptile enthusiast that
would like to learn more on how to keep and look after reptiles in captivity. There are also a variety of books
that one can buy to help with identifying reptiles and to learn more about how and where they live. Once you have
identified your need, you should then make sure that you are getting a book written by an authority on the subject.
You need to be confident that the book you buy has the correct and most up to date information. The two books below
are well written in a manner easy to understand yet technical enough to be used as a text book by the serious
enthusiast. Both books are filled with clear photographs and distribution maps that makes it easy to identify the
species from specific regions.
"What's the deal" ..... we know to litter is wrong ..... yet we continue to do so.
Littering in South Africa is a serious problem and causes serious damage to
the environment and all that lives in it. Please don't litter it
affects us all.
We don't seem to be very successful in saving the gorillas of Central Africa so how are we
going to convince the World to save a little gecko or snakes and spiders?
CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFO Please take note that this link contains graphical material that may be
disturbing to some.