iguanas, salamander and snakes are popular pets
million people own exotic pets but not everyone knows how to look after them. That is why pet rescue centres are busier than
Most of us
used to be happy with a cat or a dog as a pet. Not anymore. More and more
of us want something a bit different.
a million people in England now own an exotic reptile.
The problem is
that too many owners cannot look after them.
a large number of species that can be termed exotic pets, including mammals,
birds, reptiles, fish and invertebrates.
of many unusual species has led to more people considering keeping these
animals in their homes.
|EXOTIC PETS FACT
species are illegal in the UK, often due to the danger they
may pose to other people or because of the animal's conservation
status in the wild.
Find out about any laws pertaining to your chosen species,
and whether or not you will need a permit.
Find out everything there is to know about the species you
are thinking of.
Buy a good care guide, talk to your vet, surf the net and
contact other people who have the same pet to find out the pros
How much space will your pet require? or will it need the
run of your house? If it needs regular exercise, make sure you can
put aside enough time each day.
How long will your pet live? Some species of reptile may
outlive you, so are you prepared to spend the whole of your life
looking after it?
Can you handle your pet? Tarantulas may bite if they feel
threatened and release hairs that can irritate your skin and eyes.
It may be difficult to find a vet who has experience with
exotic pets. Find out if there is one local to you. Children and
exotic pets rarely mix.
Some species are potentially dangerous to people and other
animals. If you have other pets, be sure that they will get on with
an exotic species.
Exotic pets have specific dietary requirements, and may need
to be fed with foods that you feel uncomfortable handling, such
as frozen mice or live locusts.
The cost of accommodation, food and vet bills is likely to
exceed the initial price of the pet, so think carefully about whether
you are prepared for the expense.
Will your pet need company? Some species become stressed
if kept alone, whereas others will prefer to be solitary.
Tarantulas, iguanas, salamanders and snakes are all becoming more and
more popular as pets.
Proteus rescue sanctuary
Many do not follow those common-sense guidelines!
Which is why, hidden down a side street in Handsworth in Birmingham, there
is the biggest reptile rescue sanctuary in the UK.
Staff at Proteus are working round the clock dealing with unwanted exotic
a registered charity, whose aims are to take in and care for sick, injured
and unwanted reptiles from all over Britain.
It is staffed totally by
Since its founding, the rescue service has dealt with hundreds of turtles,
snakes, lizards and various species of invertebrates.
The rescue service is presently used by not only the general public but
also by zoos, various Police forces and the RSPCA.
This service is carried out with the use of a veterinary ambulance, the
first reptile ambulance in the U.K.
The ambulance covers the UK mainland and is on call 24 hours a day.
Succour to rescued pets
The majority of the animals which come into the rescue require a lot of
Many suffering from severe burns, missing limbs, malnutrition and general
Months can be spent trying to regain the animals confidence and
When the animal has recovered from its illness, it is then placed in the rehoming centre where it awaits a future caring home.
None of the animals which come into the care of Proteus are ever sold.
recent weeks, they have rescued, a corn snake, a leopard deco and a 14ft
|This week's stories
The Pilgrims' Way
Take a journey on one of the South East's most historic routes.
Inside Out goes behind the scenes at Cornwall's tea plantation.
Join the storm chasers in search of Yorkshire's worst weather..
|Free email updates
Keep in touch and receive your free and informative Inside Out updates.