This UK Animal Charity Rescues Over 4,000 Exotic Pets Each Year

The RSPCA, the largest U.K. animal welfare charity, is calling for new regulations and more responsible pet ownership for exotic pets after a spike in the number of calls reporting abuse.

Across England and Wales in 2018 alone, the RSPCA received a horrifying 15,790 calls from those concerned about exotic pets, according to The Guardian. That’s more than 40 calls per day on average, reporting cases of abuse, neglect or abandonment.

2018 saw the RSPCA rescuing more than 4,000 exotic pets — including snakes, turtles, bearded dragons, raccoon dogs, marmosets and even a wallaby, The Guardian reports. From snakes found dead and beaten in Wales to a bearded dragon abandoned in a shoebox in Kent, this nation of supposed animal lovers is clearly not so caring after all.

The case of a boa constrictor found in Bristol in January 2018 is perhaps one of the most heartbreaking. This beautiful 10-foot snake was abandoned in a car without any heat source or protection. RSPCA officers found him in very poor health, with severe respiratory problems that unfortunately meant he had to be put to sleep.

Exotic pets include (but are not limited to) snakes, lizards, birds, rodents and even primates and big cats. Often people purchase some of these animals with the assumption that they will be easier to care for than a more typical cat or dog. But when the animals do not live up to their expectations, owners become frustrated, which can lead to abuse and neglect.

“Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet,” RSPCA scientific officer Stephanie Jayson said, according to the Dorset Echo. “Some species can grow very large, live for a long time or require a license or paperwork to be legally kept or sold. Many of the animals we’re called to help are found stray outside, where they can very quickly suffer in the cold.”

But change might be in sight. In October 2018, the government introduced new animal welfare regulations that aim to change the way pets are sold. Pet shops are now subject to a five-star rating system that allows buyers to evaluate them on animal welfare standards and other details. The hope is that pet shops will become more responsible in educating would-be pet owners about the delicate requirements of snakes, lizards and other exotic animals.

In turn, the RSPCA hopes pet owners will do more research into the animals they are buying to give them adequate habitats and diets. “We urge anyone considering taking them on to fully research their needs using expert sources, only consider keeping one if they can ensure they are fully able to provide for these needs and consider rescuing rather than buying,” Jayson said.

James MacColl, the World Animal Protection’s U.K. head of campaigns, agreed. “We urge potential buyers to do their research and take our pledge to never buy a wild animal to keep as a pet,” MacColl said.

There are thousands of animals waiting in shelters desperate to be adopted, who will make far better additions to our homes than wild animals we think of as exotic. If your heart truly is set on an exotic pet, please do your research first. These beautiful animals need love, care and attention just like any other pet.

Photo credit: David Clode

106 comments

Jennifer H
Jennifer H3 days ago

People are compulsive. They see something, think it's cool, want it, buy it. They don't research anything on the animal or they think they know everything. From what I have seen, the tv show Tanked has been a boon for aquarium sales bad news for fish. People get an animal and expect it to be maintenance free and all funsies. Well they are work. And more animals are dumped or worse because the people don't research the care or energy level. This is any animal: dog, cat, fish, bird, reptile.

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Alice L
Alice L5 days ago

Thanks

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R7 days ago

joan silaco i agree...

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joan silaco
joan silaco8 days ago

Wild animals should be kept in the wild! Save the wild habitat!

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O10 days ago

Nobody needs these as pets

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Clare O'Beara
Clare O10 days ago

th

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Chad Anderson
Chad Anderson10 days ago

Thank you.

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R10 days ago

Care 2 People Please sign 💕Save Maui and Hector's dolphins now!💕
THANK YOU!!

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ANA MARIJA R
ANA MARIJA R10 days ago

Wild animals should be FREE!
💕Bravo & Thank You, RSPCA !!💕

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Toni W
Toni W12 days ago

TYFS

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