LIVING ART publishing was established in 1996 by herpetoculturist Russ Gurley to produce unique titles associated with the keeping and breeding of reptiles and to promote the work of reptile enthusiasts, researchers, and conservationists. We appreciate your business and wish you and your family and friends health and happiness.



The Life and Adventures of Bert Langerwerf


The Articles (1971-2008)

Russ Gurley and Bert Langerwerf

A two-volume set of books taking a look back
at the life of a pioneer in the world of herpetoculture.

$75 shipped in the USA for softcover two-volume set

$135 shipped internationally for softcover two-volume set 

$200 shipped internationally for two (2) softcover two-volume sets

 “Herpetoculture was founded by eccentrics, misfits really, who for mysterious reasons (our parents are still puzzled, wondering what they did wrong) were neurologically wired to be captivated by nature in the form of beings with scales and gold irises. All herpers experience an initial moment of revelation, that instant of exposure to reptiles that triggers a surge of neurotransmitters that, like a drug, addicts us. At that moment, life suddenly becomes infused with existential meaning. We enter a doorway, a connection, into the mind of nature. Like biting from the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, once that Pandora’s box is opened, there is no turning back, one can no longer live an ordinary human life isolated from that experience. For the few of us chosen by invisible cosmic forces (very likely relic and archaic hunter-gatherer genes) to carry the herper banner, one’s path, insane as it may seem, is to feed the passion and spread the message. We are going to bring the golden-irised beings in captivity and we are going to breed them to assure that that experience becomes readily available to oneself and to others. We will maintain that connection to the mind of nature at all costs. We will addict others.

Bert Langerwerf was one of the foundation pioneers of the hobby and his life reflected this pattern of the herp-altered existence. Here was a man with an intelligence that qualified as genius, with advanced degrees in physics, and able to speak at least eight languages, who chose to stray off the beaten path, and eventually leave his native Europe to live a difficult life in the United States to pursue his passion.”

– Philippe de Vosjoli


During the COVID-19 outbreak, I was meandering through Facebook and noticed that Bart Spanoghe, a veterinarian from Belgium, had posted a photo of the cover of LIZARD MAN: The Life and Adventures of Bert Langerwerf , my 2009 book about one of the most influential men in the world of keeping and breeding reptiles. Within a few minutes, Bart was joined by a number of other lizard keepers searching for a copy of this book.

In 2009, a few months after Bert’s death, I printed the original version of this book to honor my friend’s life using print-on-demand. In these days, I was only able to afford to print a few copies and in black and white.

Now, a decade later, I was pleasantly surprised that so many people were still eager to learn about the amazing life of my friend. I decided to update my book and offer it to interested readers in a full-color format with many additional photos from Bert’s collection and also from reptile keepers around the planet that knew Bert and wanted to add their images and memories to my new project.

Bert Langerwerf traveled the world in search of his precious lizards. This book chronicles his travels from his home in the Netherlands to South America, South Africa, New Zealand, and other wild places. He was an adventurer like few others and his projects knew no roadblocks… He created the world’s first lizard-only zoo on the side of a volcanic mountain in Gran Canaria on the Canary Islands and eventually settled in a small town in Alabama and created the world’s first and largest lizard breeding facility, Agama International. 

In this new version of LIZARD MAN, I have (with great effort and determination) tracked down, translated, and included, through the generosity of many others, a second volume which features Bert’s journal and magazine articles as well as his Agama International care sheets and other interesting notes and writings from 1971 to 2008, chronicling his long history with lizards. Early notes of the needs of captive reptiles for UVB light and his early work showing that incubation temperatures can affect the sexes of incubating lizards (TDSD) is historic and has been exciting to capture in Bert’s many articles. Also included are memorials from friends and colleague around the world who mourned his early and tragic passing.

So, these two books are for those who knew Bert well, those who met and spoke with him at reptile shows and expos, and for those many new herpetoculturists who did not get the opportunity to know him. As you will see in this book, he was eccentric and his sense of humor was wonderful… and a bit dark. His knowledge of lizards and their husbandry and behaviors was inspirational. I hope you all enjoy getting to know my friend and I hope his knowledge shared here will inspire your husbandry and appreciation for the reptiles and amphibians that he loved so much.


Second Edition (2020)

Philippe de Vosjoli, Allen Repashy, and Frank Fast

The much-anticipated second edition of this classic of gecko herpetoculture. The authors have expanded this edition to 172 pages in full color and have included updated information on the natural history, social behaviors, captive husbandry, and breeding of one of the most amazing geckos in the world.

($45 shipped in the USA; $65 shipped internationally)


SOLD OUT: Boelen's Pythons: Serpents in the Clouds (In Search of the New Guinea Boelen's Python) (2018)

Ari Flagle and Danny Gunalen

Serpents in the Clouds is a collection of stories with a large snake, Simalia boeleni, the Boelen’s Python at its heart. This three meter long black and yellow jewel of the reptile world makes its home high on the mountaintops of Papua, New Guinea, one of the last truly unexplored and inexplicable places on Earth. This book presents the travels of a snake biologist, Ari Flagle, and his friend, colleague, and wildlife expert, Danny Gunalen. These two explorers trek over the raging rivers on rickety bridges, through clouds of stinging insects and spine-covered vines, and up cloud-cloaked mountaintops in search of this elusive snake. Their ultimate goal is to discover information that will unlock its mysteries for the world’s herpetologists, conservationists, and others hoping to solve the baffling mysteries surrounding its life in nature and in captivity.

($55 shipped in the USA; $75 shipped internationally)

LEAF TURTLES: Natural History, Captive Care, and Breeding of Geoemyda spengleri and G. japonica (With Notes on Vijayachelys silvatica) (2016)

Anthony Pierlioni

Turtle expert, Anthony Pierlioni, takes readers into the lives of Leaf Turtles, both in the colorful fallen leaves of thier habitats in nature and in the creative and inspiring enclosures around the world. This book features the most information ever published in one book on Vietnamese Leaf Turtles (G. spengleri), Ryukyu Black-breasted Leaf Turtles (G. japonica) and a bit about their cousin, Vijayachelys silvatica, one of the rarest turtles in the world.

($20 shipped in the USA; $28 shipped internationally)

Turtles, Tortoises, and People (2017)

Marvin Bennett, Jr.

Turtle enthusiast and author Marvin Bennett, Jr. has had an exciting life as an
artist, working for Disney World for 20 years as an illustrator and cartoonist. However,
Bennett’s passion for most of his life has been his devotion to turtles and tortoises. He has championed their care in captivity and has worked tirelessly to make their lives in nature better. Sadly, as the world’s turtles disappear around the world, the work of
Bennett and many other turtle enthusiasts around the world becomes more important for the future of these ancient reptiles. As a member and past president of the Turtle and Tortoise Club of Florida Inc. for the past twenty-one years, Bennett has been deeply inspired by chelonian species and their behavior. He has stockpiled an intimate knowledge pertaining to their husbandry, their lives in nature, their struggle for survival, and other information about their lives.

In TURTLES, TORTOISES, and PEOPLE, Marvin Bennett, Jr. shares with readers his passion, his knowledge, his beautiful watercolor paintings, and some of the fun and informative cartoons that he has created over his career.

($20 shipped in the USA; $28 shipped internationally)

RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction

The Story of the Giant Softshell Turtle of the Yangtze and Red Rivers (2012)

Peter C. H. Pritchard

In this, Dr. Peter Pritchard’s eleventh book, he tells the incredible story of the world’s rarest turtle, Rafetus swinhoei, a true giant of the chelonian world. This freshwater Loch Ness Monster, is represented by a single mystical giant living in Lake Hoan Kiem in downtown Hanoi, a juvenile in Dong Mo, perhaps a few specimens living in the shadows of deep lakes in nature, and a large adult pair who lived alone as zoo specimens for more than fifty years, separated by thousands of miles. By a miraculous feat of politics, ingenuity, and human labor, these two individuals were brought together for the purpose of saving the species. In RAFETUS: The Curve of Extinction, Dr. Pritchard presents a story of looming loss, but also of hope.

($55 shipped in the USA; $75 shipped internationall)

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