Exo Terra Division Experts / Rik Van Tiggel
Rik Van Tiggel
Product Management & Sales Support
Rik Van Tiggel joined us from Zoo Med Europe, where he worked for over 11 years as their European Sales Manager and Customer Relations. Rik has been keeping reptiles for over 30 years and is mainly specialised in keeping and breeding Chameleons. Rik’s passion for reptiles started at a very young age, when he saw his first picture of a Jackson’s chameleon that his father kept while he was stationed in the Congo in 1960.
In the 70’s, Rik’s favorite uncle started keeping reptiles as well, so it was just a mere consequence that at the age of 12, Rik proudly owned his first pair of reptiles: 2 Gerrhosaurus flavigularis. Of course his interest started with the picture of a chameleon, so when he saw a pair of live-bearing Hoehnell’s chameleons for sale in a reptile store in Antwerp called Fantasia, he immediately bought them. The keeping and breeding of chameleons influenced his life completely. Because little was known about the environment that chameleons lived in, their ecological adaptations, their behavior, and their special needs, he decided to visit the countries where chameleons live and gather as much information as possible about these fascinating creatures. This information could then be used to improve the keeping and breeding of chameleons.
At the age of 18 he started his first quest to find Chamaeleo chamaeleon in Tunisia. Many reptile research expeditions followed, and chameleons were studied in various African countries; Morocco, Egypt, Senegal, Gambia, Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa. At the end of the 80’s, Rik founded the Belgian Chameleon Working Group with the purpose of gathering and sharing information amongst Chameleon enthusiasts. During that period, he also became a board member of the Belgian Herpetological Society. Keeping reptiles as a hobby wasn’t enough, so he started working as a manager in a reptile store called Orchideeënhuis. Later he opened a wholesale business selling reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates and associated dry-goods to aquatic and reptile stores.
Since accessories for the successful keeping and breeding of reptiles had become a side-kick of his reptile passion, he decided to start working at Exo Terra. Combining his product and commercial knowledge with his fascination for reptiles, Rik will be involved in product development and sales support.