1. ITV Report

Exotic pets: RSPCA calls for new regulations as cruelty cases increase

  • The RSPCA received 2,700 calls about neglected, abandoned and stray exotic animals in the East and West Midlands last year.
This tarantula was thrown in a bin in Nottinghamshire Credit: ITV Central

The animal welfare charity received 15,790 calls about abandoned, sick, stray, suffering and neglected exotic pets in England and Wales last year.

2,700 of those were from the East and West Midlands.

Some of the cases in the region include a white-knee tarantula that was discovered by a dog walker, after being tossed into a bin in a Nottinghamshire park.

Two dead boa constrictors were found in a bag left in a Coventry park.

And a 6ft boa constrictor was discovered in a Sutton Coldfield park.

Credit: RSPCA

The charity says one reason behind the suffering of exotic pets is that owners don't research how to take care of them properly.

This results in them escaping, being abandoned or neglected.

Exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet. Some species require a licence 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.

These animals are commonly found for sale in pet shops and are advertised online. In the past, animals have often been handed over to buyers with little or no information about how to care for them properly, although new regulations in England should improve this. It’s essential that people research what is required in caring for their pet - including food, equipment, environment and vet care - before taking one on. We would also urge owners to ask for help if they’re struggling to meet their pets needs.

We believe that people may buy exotic pets with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep. Sometimes animals are 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 the right pet for them.

– Stephanie Jayson, RSPCA senior scientific officer in exotics and qualified exotics vet