Snakes abandoned on doorstep in winter among 130 exotic pets rescued in Norfolk in 2018
PUBLISHED: 08:44 25 April 2019 | UPDATED: 09:47 25 April 2019
Ten abandoned snakes were among 130 exotic pets rescued by the RSPCA in Norfolk in 2018.
A woman called the charity to report the snakes' abandonment on a doorstep in Shipfield, off Sprowston Road in Norwich, on November 25.
It was one of 289 calls made to the charity about an exotic animal in Norfolk last year. Nationally, around 15,790 calls were made about exotic creatures – more than one an hour.
Insp Emily Astillberry, who was called to attend to the Shipfield snakes, said the snakes were all lethargic and curled up together in three tanks with food.
She took the five young and four adult boa constrictors and a royal python to a specialist centre, where they were nursed back to health and have since been successfully rehomed.
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The RSPCA believes a lack of research into expert sources by owners into the care exotic animals need is one reason why they escape or are abandoned or neglected.
Stephanie Jayson, RSPCA's senior scientific officer in exotics and qualified exotics vet, said: “Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.
“Some species can grow very large, live for a long time or 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.
“We believe that people may buy them with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes 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.”
The RSPCA, which has a team of specially trained exotics officers, rescued more than 4,000 exotic animals in 2018, including more than 500 snakes, more than 300 turtles, 145 bearded dragons, five raccoon dogs and even four marmosets and one wallaby.