Submitted by Steve on 16:54, 30th Oct, 2017 | 0

The growth in exotic pets has seen a rapid growth in many parts of the world and this is no exception here in Guernsey.

At the GSPCA we have seen a dramatic increase in reptiles in recent years.

Earlier this year saw the first ever Guernsey animal welfare prosecution with the 2012 legislation with an owner of a bearded dragon and 3 snakes who were found emaciated and dehydrated.

During 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015 we would see between 1 and 3 reptiles a year of lizards and snakes at the GSPCA.

Since the start of 2016 we have seen a total 23 of which 14 came in in 2016 and 9 in 2017 not to mention other reptile species like turtles which we have also seen an increase at the GSPCA in comparison to previous years.

We now help in total in excess of 50 reptiles a year from stray tortoise who are often claimed to the other species who are rarely reunited with their owners or reported lost. 

This year we have had more reptiles in need of homing than ever before with 5 corn snakes, 2 musk turtles and 3 bearded dragons in need of new owners.

Exotic pets such as reptiles need specialist homes with suitable setups and owners with the knowledge to care for them.

In recent months a number of organisations and vets have been highlighting concerns throughout the UK about the numbers of reptiles that die in the first year with new owners.

Steve Byrne GSPCA Manager said “We have seen a huge increase in the number of reptiles coming into the Shelter in the last two years.”

“In fact its 1300% increase when we compare the 1st January 2016 until now, in comparison to the previous two years of reptiles coming through the doors at the GSPCA.”

“Last year 3 snakes and one bearded dragon arrived at the GSPCA as part of a welfare case, 2 of which were so emaciated and thinner than I have seen any reptile in a condition that is still alive.”

“We currently have more reptiles in need of homes than we have ever had before and as well as highlighting the very specialist homes these exotic animals require, we would ask anyone looking for a snake, musk turtle or bearded dragon to think of those rescue animals in our care needing homes.”

Yvonne Chauvel Senior Animal Care Assistant said “We have more reptiles in our care at the GSPCA than ever before.”

“In the last two years we have seen more strays, unwanted and welfare reptiles and this means we have many in need of homes at the Shelter.”

“The bearded dragons, corn snakes and musk turtles needing homes at the GSPCA all need special set ups and diets and before adopting any exotic animal a new owner needs to ensure they are aware of their needs and prepared for them.”

"We also have tropical fish in need of homes, many birds, guinea pigs, degus, rats, ferrets not to mention cats and others in need of a loving new owner."

Steve continued “It is so important to care for exotic pets in the correct way, feed them appropriately and ensure their needs are met as coming from tropical to desert environments mean each species and their bodies require certain humidity levels, temperatures, lighting, feed and much more which can vary depending on the time of day or even season without which they can die.”

"Recently news has suggested that there could be as many as 7 million reptiles kept as pets in the UK and currently there are no specific numbers of how many there are here in Guernsey."

"With the numbers we have seen recently at the GSPCA we are concerned for the growing trend of these exotic pets that need specialist care, especially as experts and vets have suggested that as much as 75% of reptiles in new homes die in their first year."

"If anyone has welfare concerns for any animal you can call the GSPCA on 257261."

 “2017 has certainly been the busiest year we have seen at the GSPCA with not only reptiles but also pet birds and guinea pigs with over 200 needing our help in the last 12 months.”

“We have many animals in need of homes and while many people will be dressing as scary creatures we’d ask those thinking of a new pet to think of the black cats, snakes, lizards and other animals cute and otherwise in need of homes at the GSPCA.”

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Posted by GSPCA on Tuesday, 30 June 2015

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