Rise in exotic animals rescued by charity

Gonzo the Chinese soft-shelled turtle is just one of a number of exotic pets looking for homes.
Gonzo the Chinese soft-shelled turtle is just one of a number of exotic pets looking for homes.

The Scottish SPCA is seeking new homes for exotic pets in its care after reporting a 74% increase in the number rescued over the last five years.

Scotland's animal welfare charity took in 265 reptiles last year including snakes, terrapins and lizards, a huge leap from the 152 cared for in 2010.

Chief Superintendent Mike Flynn said: “We care for a range of exotic animals at our rescue centres throughout Scotland and we are hoping to raise awareness of this and encourage people to offer them permanent homes.

“Lots of people know we rescue and rehome cats, dogs and other more traditional pets but many might be surprised to learn about our more unusual creatures.

“Unfortunately we don't receive as many enquiries about our exotic residents. With our snakes especially, a lot of people are put off by their appearance but we know there are plenty of reptile enthusiasts out there who would appreciate them for the stunning creatures they are.

“Last year we took in over 100 snakes. They are good escape artists which are often found straying and in many cases their owners never come forward for them.

“The most common type we rescue is the corn snake but we also have other breeds of snakes looking for homes such as pythons, king snakes and milk snakes.

“Sadly we have seven snakes in the care of our centre in Edinburgh who have been with us for a combined total of over 7,000 days and it seems like they will never find the new homes they deserve.

“Our terrapins are amongst the most challenging of our rescued creatures to find homes for. We took in 95 last year and have many waiting to find suitable homes.

“We also regularly take in bearded dragons and other types of lizard and we currently have serval bearded dragons, an iguana and a leopard gecko all looking for new owners.

“Our rehoming teams would be so pleased to hear from anyone who is sure they have the time, knowledge and resources to offer one of our exotics a fresh start.”

Anyone who can offer an exotic creature a new home can visit the Scottish SPCA’s website at www.scottishspca.org or call 03000 999 999.