Exo Terra Division Experts / Emmanuel Van Heygen

Emmanuel Van Heygen

Emmanuel Van Heygen
Brand & Product Management
evanheygen@exo-terra.com

Emmanuel holds a business and marketing degree from the European University in Antwerp (Belgium), but managed to combine his passion for reptiles and amphibians with his business background. He has been an avid herper and reptile enthusiast since the early 80’s. Ever since Emmanuel purchased his first pair of Day Geckos (Phelsuma cepediana) from Herman Oostveen’s store in Holland in 1984 he was hooked. His bedroom at his parent's house was soon filled with over 100 terrariums boasting one of the premier collections of day geckos in Europe. He has bred over 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, but his main specialty is still geckos and chameleons.

In later years Emmanuel’s passion for herps took him into their native habitats. Emmanuel was a true pioneer and ventured as one of the first to places like the Comoro Islands, Mayotte, Madagascar, Seychelles, Kenya, Réunion Island and Mauritius in search of day geckos. In recent years he also did research in Uganda, Gabon, Tanzania, Cameroon and Sri Lanka, but it are the yearly Madagascar expeditions that he enjoys most. This because there is still so much to discover! His numerous reptile expeditions truly gave him an understanding of reptiles and how they live and thrive in their native environments.

During these expeditions Emmanuel discovered 4 new species of reptiles, previously unknown to science. Two of these are named after him; the Day Gecko species Phelsuma vanheygeni and the chameleon species Kinyongia vanheygeni. Emmanuel also published many articles in various scientific journals reporting on his discoveries and experiences. These field studies are much of the basis for his philosophy on reptile keeping and inspired him in his developments within Exo Terra.

 
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3rd discovery of a new species during Exo Terra expedition