Effective conservation action relies on access to the best-available species data. Reptiles have often been overlooked in conservation prioritization, especially because of a paucity of population data. Using data for 549 reptile populations representing 194 species from the Living Planet database, we provide the first detailed analysis of this database for a specific taxonomic group. We estimated an average global decline in reptile populations of 54–55% between 1970 and 2012. Disaggregated indices at taxonomic, system, and biogeographical levels showed trends of decline, often with wide confidence intervals because of a prevalence of short time series. We assessed gaps in our reptile time-series data and examined what types of publication they primarily originated from to provide an overview of the range of data sources captured in the Living Planet database. Data were biased toward crocodilians and chelonians, with only 1% and 2% of known lizard and snake species represented, respectively. Population time-series data stemmed primarily from published ecological research (squamates) and data collected for conservation management (chelonians and crocodilians). We recommend exploration of novel survey and analytical techniques to increase monitoring of reptiles, especially squamates, over time. Open access publication and sharing of data sets are vital to improve knowledge of reptile status and trends, aided by the provision of properly curated databases and data-sharing agreements. Such collaborative efforts are vital to effectively address global reptile declines.
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