- ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports
An investigation by ITV News has shown dangerous and wild animals kept as pets in neighbourhoods across Great Britain.
Through Freedom Of Information requests to local authorities our new data reveals the exotic species that may be in your neighbourhood.
It is known as the urban jungle, but few realise how many exotic creatures are living in our towns and cities.
Legislation requires people wishing to keep animals categorised as dangerous to obtain a license.
These are issued by local councils, which can make checks on how they will be housed.
Our findings reveal more than 200 examples where such animals are kept in residential accommodation.
However, this may be only a small proportion of the country’s true population of exotic pets, as its thought many animals are being kept without licenses.
This new research shows whether you have wild and dangerous neighbours living in homes near you:
- Winchester: Eurasian Lynx – one of Europe’s largest predators and Gila Monsters – a poisonous lizard
- Winterbourne: a Mississippi Alligator
- Denbighshire: Cotton Top Tamarin and Spider monkeys
- Long Eaton: rattlesnakes, vipers and cobras
- Perth and Kinross: Savannah Cats and Serval Cats
- Basildon: two Capuchin Monkeys and one Savannah Cat
- Bolsover: 21 snakes (including Rattlesnakes and Cobras)
- Bristol: 16 snakes (Vipers)
- Bromsgrove: 18 snakes (including Rattlesnakes, Cobras, Adders and Vipers)
- Calderdale: 16 snakes (including Rattlesnakes and Cobras)
- Canterbury: one Capuchin monkey and two Savannah Cats and Caimans
- Castle Point Borough (Essex): two Capuchin monkeys and Beaded Lizards + 19 snakes (including Rattlesnakes, Vipers and Cobras)
- Cheshire West and Chester: Ring-tailed Lemurs and Lechwe (antelope)
- Denbighshire: Cotton Top Tamarin and Spider Monkey
- Durham: Bengal Cat and Bison
- Elmbridge: Serval Cat and Hybrid Savannah Cat
- Long Eaton (Erewash): 24 snakes (including Rattlesnakes, Cobras + Vipers)
- Great Yarmouth: Ring-tailed Lemurs
- A six foot crocodile, named Caesar, is one of the exotic animals kept as a pet inside a conservatory in a home in Kent:
When asked what his neighbours think about his pet crocodile Caesar living nearby, Chris Weller told ITV News “they all know he’s here”, and added “no neighbours have gone missing since he’s been here anyway!”
Stephanie Jayson, RSPCA senior scientific officer RSPCA told ITV News it is important people do their research before taking on a wild or dangerous animal.
"Exotic pets are essentially wild animals, non-domesticated animals kept in captivity, so their needs are no different to how they would be in the wild," she said.
"So it's really important that anyone who does keep these animals, thoroughly does their research using expert sources before taking one on. "
The charity wants the current legislation changed, so there is a central database on the number of exotic of animals being kept and how they are being cared for.
RSPCA also wants to introduce zoo-type inspections, to ensure the welfare of the animals are being met in the enclosures they are kept as pets.
"The legislation is focused primarily on the public and public safety, and we would like to see animal welfare incorporated into this legislation," Ms Jayson added.