Our concerns with exotic pets

We have concerns about the trade and keeping of exotic pets. Trends are often linked to social media, film and TV, like the demand for terrapins following the film 'Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles'.

We're opposed to the trade in wild-caught animals for the exotic pet trade, as these animals are taken from the wild and often transported long distances.

The exotic pet-demic report

We've published a report, with the Born Free Foundation, calling for an urgent review of the current legislation on exotic pets - download our report "The Exotic Pet-demic: UK's ticking timebomb exposed" or read our summary briefing for policymakers.

Exotics have specialist needs

Caring for exotics can be challenging and expensive. They have the same needs as in the wild, which must be met in captivity by law under the Animal Welfare Act.

Impulse buying risks people not doing their homework. Animals may become aggressive, grow very large, live for a long time or require a licence or paperwork to be legally kept or sold.

Some exotic animals aren't suitable as pest

We believe that some wild animals, such as primates, shouldn't be kept in a household environment, because their needs are too difficult to meet in a home, or because they may become dangerous.

Escaped or unwanted?

Exotic pets often end up in our care after people realise they're not easy to care for (or once the novelty wears off). Others are rescued after they've escaped or been released on purpose. Some species can be difficult for us to rehome, due to lack of suitable homes or interest.

Non-native species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 may not survive in our countryside and are illegal to release or to allow to escape. These animals could also be an invasive species risk to our native wildlife.

Help and advice for exotics

Scientifically-based expert care information for exotics can be hard to find. Sellers may not give buyers accurate information and online sources can be unreliable. A vet with knowledge of exotics is vital but can be far away and expensive.

Our exotic pet page has information and species care sheets.

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