The initial herpetological collections were already made by Alexander Koenig himself. However, herpetology played only a minor role at the ZFMK, until a curatorship for herpetology was installed in 1951. The first curator Karl F. Buchholz and his successor Ulrich F. Gruber expanded the collection to about 9,500 specimens. In 1971, Wolfgang Böhme became curator and has largely promoted the herpetological collection to its present-day importance. The transfer of several university-based herpetological collections from Kiel, Göttingen, Heidelberg, and Saarbrücken and Trier to the ZFMK further augmented the collection and also brought historically important material into the relatively young collection at Bonn. The oldest specimens are from the early 19th century.