An animal charity is warning about the problems of keeping exotic pets, after a large monitor lizard in Newcastle was made homeless.
3.5ft long Rex, the Asian Water Monitor, had to be rehomed at a specialist facility by the RSPCA after his owner could no longer provide the care the reptile needed.
RSPCA Exotics Officer, Inspector Lucy Green said: “This large Asian Water Monitor had nowhere to go after his owner had to move away.
“The owner had no choice but to regretfully sign Rex over to us. Given the complex requirements of exotic pets such as this, we were lucky to be able to find Rex a space at a specialist facility where he will live out his natural life.”
The charity has said that caring for exotic pets can be "challenging" as they have the same needs as animals of the same species in the wild - which means their wild habitat needs to be recreated as closely as possible.
Potential keepers are advised to be aware of the adult size, how long it will live or whether it requires paperwork to be legally kept or sold before getting one.
Inspector Green added: “We encourage people who are thinking about taking on an exotic pet to research the needs of the particular species thoroughly and ensure they can meet them at all times for the lifetime of the animal."
The charity is encouraging people to talk to experts before getting an exotic pet, as well as joining member societies where there are experienced keepers who can help if they are struggling.