I would like to keep
an exotic pet - is this a good idea?
In general terms, no - exotic animals do not make suitable pets,
and some animals and reptiles can grow very large and be aggressive. All
too often, people obtain exotic animals without knowing anything about
them or their needs, and only realise too late the implications of their
long term care.
These animals, with vulnerable species of reptiles being particularly
affected, then suffer the consequences of poor diet, inadequate accommodation,
lack of proper arrangements to enable natural behavioural development,
and unsuitable facilities for heating, ventilation, temperature control,
etc. Many are then abandoned and need to be rescued by animal welfare
organisations such as the RSPCA (external site)
Exotic pets, especially vulnerable reptiles such as some species of
snakes and lizards, chameleons, etc, need highly specialised diets and
specific climatic conditions if they are to thrive, and some have very
complex accommodation requirements. They also need specialist veterinary
care and attention, which may not always be available locally.
Unless you are prepared to devote a lot of time and money to providing
the proper conditions for an exotic pet, you will most likely cause
it suffering and harm.
Some exotic pets may also be listed in the Dangerous Wild Animals Act,
and a licence issued by the local authority is required before you are
legally entitled to keep such an animal.
Only keep an exotic pet if you are very knowledgeable about the animal
and all its needs over its normal life span, to ensure it receives the
proper care and attention it deserves.
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