1. ITV Report

Lions, tigers, wolves, and crocodiles: Thousands of dangerous animals kept at homes across the UK

Iain Newby and his serval cat Squeaks at home in Great Wakering, Essex Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Lions, tigers, wolves, and deadly snakes are just some of the dangerous animals kept on private properties across the UK.

Among the thousands of undomesticated animals prowling behind fences up and down the country are:

  • 13 tigers
  • Two lions
  • Eight leopards
  • Seven cheetahs
  • Nine cheetahs
  • 15 wolves
  • 300 poisonous snakes - including cobras, vipers and rattlesnakes
  • 10 alligators
  • Nine crocodiles
  • 17 caimans
Iain Newby and his serval cat Squeaks at home Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

More than 100 councils across the UK have granted dangerous wild animals (DWA) licences. The licences are required if people wish to keep undomesticated animals as pets, and they must be able to show they have safety measures in place as well as paying a small fee.

DWA licences have been granted in some of the UK's biggest cities, including London, Swansea, Stoke, Sheffield, Hull, and Portsmouth.

Serval cat Squeaks at his home Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

DWA licences are also issued to properties where animals are receiving care, or on farms.

As a result, grazing in fields across the UK are;

  • 412 bison
  • 2,000 wild boar
  • Scores of zebra
Serval cat Squeaks (right) and Imogen, a Savannah, at their home in Great Wakering, Essex Credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The RSPCA said it was concerned that licences too often focus on protecting the public from harm, rather than on the well-being of the animals themselves.

"We are deeply concerned about the number of exotic animals, including dangerous wild animals, now being kept as pets. People may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the commitment hits home. This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting an exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal's needs and whether they're a realistic pet."

– RSPCA spokeswoman