The cost of living crisis in England is forcing exotic pet owners to abandon their animals as they cannot afford the expensive equipment the animals need. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says it is bracing for an influx in the abandonment of animals like snakes, bearded dragons, and other animals that require higher electricity bills.
The ultraviolet (UV) light and heat lamps that animals like these require can make utility bills spike, which many now cannot afford. Newsweek reported that a reptile shop owner, Charles Thompson, has already seen a spike in dumped reptiles. Thompson owns Snakes ‘n Adders in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, in northern England, and since energy prices have gone soaring, he has taken in double the number of bearded dragons. He told Newsweek that people will show up at his shop with animals that they have found in the wild.
“A lady was driving up the A57 [highway], when somebody said to her ‘I’m sure there was a bearded dragon just there on the side of the road.’ She turned around … They retrieved it, didn’t know what to do with it and brought it straight to us.”
“We kept it for three weeks, made sure it was feeding fine and announced it was available for rehoming.”
Thompson told a story of one woman that went into her garden to find two reusable shopping bags that had been thrown over the garden. When she opened them, she found a bearded dragon and a baby horn frog.
In a statement, the RSPCA said that they are concerned with the exotic pets that are affected during the housing crisis.
“Unfortunately many people are unaware of how much of a commitment exotic pets are when they take them on.”
“Our officers are often called out to deal with hundreds of animals every year which have sadly been abandoned when their owners can no longer meet their needs.”
“And with prices rising, this problem is likely to get worse.”
“At the RSPCA, we are only too aware of the costs of keeping exotic pets.”
“With up to 200 exotic animals being looked after at any one time at the RSPCA Brighton’s Reptile Rescue; alone, there can be more than 100 vivariums plugged in for 24 hours a day, using huge amounts of power for UV and heat sources.”
Bearded dragons are one of the most expensive reptiles to have as a pet because of their ultraviolet lights, thermostats, and heaters. Please, if you cannot take care of your animals, do the right thing and take them to a shelter or shop rather than dump them.
Taking these animals from the wild for our own enjoyment is driving them toward extinction, which not only eliminates a species but puts others in danger by disrupting delicate ecosystems. Exotic animals belong in the wild, there’s no way an animal can be happy living in our pocket or stuck alone in a cage for endless hours.
If the demand for exotic pets did not exist, the exotic pet trade would not exist. So, if you agree that keeping exotic animals as pets is cruel, don’t support it either. Do not buy from pet shops or dealers. Leave the wild in the wild.
Animal shelters are filled with cats and dogs who need loving families and homes. You can also support the legislation to ban ownership of exotic animals in your area.
These animals need us to speak for them, so if you see an exotic animal living in terrible conditions as a pet (or one that is illegally owned) say something!
You can report suspected abuse to local police who can take necessary action. This small action might not make a difference for every animal suffering in the exotic pet trade, but it will make all the difference for that one creature!
You can also share this post to spread the word about exotic pets and show the world why this “fad” has got to go.
Lead Image Source : Shinedawn/Shutterstock. This article by Hailey Kanowski was first published by OneGreenPlanet on 19 August 2022.
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