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Fancy Publications, later BowTie Inc., launched the magazine in October 1993. After a year of publishing bimonthly, REPTILES went monthly in December 1994 due to the more widespread keeping of reptiles and amphibians as pets and the resulting increasing popularity of the magazine.
Tips and information on keeping and breeding different herps usually make up the bulk of an issue’s feature articles, but other article topics frequently include field herping, reptile and amphibian health, conservation, and current trends in the hobby. Many contests are held for readers, as well, sponsored by a variety of reptile product manufacturers who provide prizes.
Although popular pet animals, such as bearded dragons, corn snakes, red-eared sliders, leopard geckos, crested geckos, Pac Man frogs, ball pythons, red-footed tortoises and many other common species often appear in the magazine, REPTILES also publishes articles about less commonly kept animals, such as Asian box turtles, Aldabra giant tortoises, various types of chameleons, black headed pythons, and occasionally venomous snakes and crocodilians.
REPTILES' articles are written for a broad range of reptile enthusiasts, from the novice hobbyist to the veteran herpetoculturist. Highly respected reptile experts and breeders in the industry have written, and continue to write, for the magazine. Past authors include Bob Applegate, Brian Barczyk, Dave and Tracy Barker, R.D. (Dick) Bartlett, Bob Clark, Tom Crutchfield, Linda Davison, Philippe de Vosjoli, Dante Fenolio, Jerry and Richard Fife, Ken Foose, Russ Gurley, Bert Langerwerf, Jeff Lemm, Bill and Kathy Love (Bill Love's column, "Herpetocultural Queries," has been in the magazine since the first issue), Kimberly Kay Lucas, Dr. Douglas Mader (this well-known reptile veterinarian has been writing the magazine's vet column since the first issue), Bob Mailloux, Kevin McCurley, Sean McKeown, Gerold Merker, John Murphy, Patrick Nabors, Terry Phillip, Louis Porras, Peter Pritchard, Philip Purser, Allen Repashy, Don Soderberg, Robert Sprackland, Jeremy Stone, Ron Tremper, Ernie Wagner, Rico Walder, Trooper Walsh and Romulus Whitaker.
Usually a reptile or amphibian species is featured on the cover, though Slash (musician) (February 1995) and Mark O'Shea (February 2003) were both cover subjects due to interviews they provided. A two-part interview with Steve Irwin, the Crocodile Hunter, appeared in the October and November 1999 issues.
In March 2013, BowTie's magazine titles, including REPTILES, were purchased by I-5 Publishing, LLC. Other magazines previously published by BowTie that are now being published by I-5 include Cat Fancy, Dog Fancy and Horse Illustrated.
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