Over 100 exotic pets missing from a home in Ipswich

Posted on 29 March 2019 by

Daniela Valla

in the Animals in the wild blog

Exotic pets are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with over a million wild animals being kept in homes. However, a life in captivity is no life for them.

One of the many threats exotic pets face is traumatic rehoming, where they are passed between many owners during their lifetime, as caring for wild animals is a huge responsibility that is often underestimated. There are many factors that can lead to an exotic pet needing rehoming: they can be destructive and noisy, some have long life expectancies and owners’ lifestyles can change, or in some cases, they can become victims of disputes within the household.

This is exactly what happened to the 113 pets belonging to a man in Ipswich, who was the subject of a widely reported story in the national press recently. He came home one day to find his beloved animals gone after falling out with his fiancé.

The missing animals include: 

  • 15 zebra finches
  • 12 reticulated python snakes
  • 11 monitor lizards
  • 12 boa constrictors
  • 6 silver foxes
  • 4 cockatiels
  • 5 Burmese python snakes
  • 5 lovebirds
  • 3 carpet pythons
  • 3 meerkats
  • 3 sungazer lizards
  • 3 silkie chickens
  • 2 tanukis (racoon dogs from Japan)
  • 2 baby boas
  • 2 golden-mantled rosellas
  • 1 skunk
  • 1 Vietnamese beauty rat snake
  • 1 rat snake
  • 1 Baron's racer snake
  • 1 false water cobra
  • 1 bullsnake
  • 1 Colombian rainbow boa snake
  • 1 Brazilian rainbow boa snake
  • 1 yellow anaconda
  • 1 albino corn snake
  • 1 kingsnake
  • 1 dot-dash kingsnake
  • 1 yellow rat snake
  • 1 Japanese rat snake
  • 1 African rock python
  • 1 European eyed lizard
  • 1 Chinese water dragon
  • 1 golden gecko
  • 1 giant tortoise
  • 1 blue iguana
  • 1 Bourke parakeet
  • 1 miniature quail

We hope that the welfare of the animals has not been unduly put at risk and they have not experienced unnecessary suffering caused by their transport and rehoming. However, many of these animals are highly territorial and have complex social systems, meaning they need a very large amount of space, and shouldn't be kept together in a home.

We believe wild animals should never be kept as pets, and should be left to live in the wild.

There, they are free to exhibit their natural behaviours, such as roaming for large distances, being part of a social group, foraging, migrating and much more that owners, despite their love for the pets, aren't able to provide in a domestic setting. 

None of these animals come under the Dangerous Wild Animals Licensing laws, however, some species have recently been found in the UK having escaped or been released. Racoon dogs have recently been found in Wales, and as an invasive species, they can negatively impact local wildlife. It is unfortunate that the reporting of this story in the UK media only considered the emotional impact of the owner who had lost his pets, and not the welfare of the animals involved.

How you can help exotic animals stay wild

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