“Sometimes there are rumors about some rare or strange animal, sometimes some vague photos or drawings and sometimes I’m just guessing that the area is so unexplored that there must be a species that nobody has ever seen.”

Fueled by his strong childhood passion, Matthijs has been photographing amphibians for the last 27 years. Despite a good number of dangerous encounters, Matthijs pushes on, he is relentless when it comes to photographing these creatures in their habitats. Through his lens, he pursues a life long quest of capturing the astounding diversity of the animal kingdom.

The incredible diversity of the unknown

Did you know that about 86% of species on Earth are still waiting to be found? Most of those creatures could become extinct before we get a chance to spot them. Every year, approximately 18,000 new species are discovered and classified. We currently believe that about 20,000 species go extinct annually.

These species might look scary at first, however, they are much more vulnerable than they appear. Their survival is challenged daily by threats such as climate change, pollution and poaching, to name a few. Habitat loss is the greatest threat to amphibians and reptiles in Europe. Some of them have adapted cleverly to the threatening conditions, but they are in constant need of protection. Our hope is to create awareness of just how much these little guys need our attention. We believe the best way to start… is by learning more about them.


About Matthijs

Matthijs owns a vast collection of reptile and amphibian photographs. He has photographed more than 1500 species over his career. During this photographic project, he also has a mission: he wants to counteract common stereotypes about snakes and reptiles: he wants us to abandon the fear and negative thoughts we associate with these slithery friends. Matthijs builds a close relationship with his subjects when photographing them - we aim for you to do the same and be astonished rather than fearful.

The selection process

In COLD INSTINCT, Matthijs has selected his greatest shots and the most extraordinary species he came across, to showcase a comprehensive selection of his work. His aim is to capture the pure essence of the animals, he does that by completely removing the environment and habitat. He wants to leave us with simplicity, what’s left is the bizarre beauty of the animals.


“This collection is a time capsule of
the coldblooded species on Earth.”

Matthijs Kuijpers