Chris Koeppel’s Story

As a child I was always interested in animals. I would always be out fishing or catching turtles and salamanders during the summer months. When I was about ten, my father bought my family a fish tank. We kept the usual stuff for a few years, but eventually everyone lost interest. The tank was torn down and stuck in storage. As a teenager, I came across the tank and excitedly set it up in my bedroom. I started raising African Cichlids and eventually by college I had acquired many aquariums. My freshman year I began working at a local pet store and that is where my love for reptiles began. I strived to learn everything I could about reptiles, but had a special interest in chameleons. Within a year my house converted from fish to reptiles and my first breeding success came with veiled chameleons. Since then I have bred many species of chameleons, lizards, and snakes.

After college I started working for The Omaha Zoo in the herpetology department where I soon realized just how much I still needed to learn. There I began working with venomous reptiles for the first time and also was able to experiment with different breeding projects and husbandry techniques on a zoo budget with more experienced herpetologists there to answer questions I had and to push me to my full potential. I learned a great deal about managing a large and dangerous collection while maintaining high quality public exhibits at the same time. I recently moved back to Iowa where my wife and I use this knowledge to care for our collection at home which consists mostly of Morelia species and a few chameleons. Our collection was built of the highest quality animals available and are cared for with pride.

– Chris Koeppel