Vets are concerned about the welfare of the increasing number of exotic animals kept as pets and also the trade in amphibians and reptiles taken from the wild.
This practice can cause a decline in the wild population, negative impacts on the ecosystem, stress caused by capture and a high number of animal deaths due to transportation.
Many exotic pets have demanding care requirements and future owners need to do a lot of research to learn how to provide the correct lighting, heating, humidity, diet etc in order to keep them healthy.
Some exotic species can grow very large and some live for 50 years or more.
It is recommended that owners need to research the costs involved such as electricity to constantly run equipment such as lights and heaters.
It is essential to seek advice from books and websites, local interest groups and your local veterinary practice who may also be able to recommend a suitable expert for additional advice.
Ensure that you know what facilities are necessary to provide a stable environment eg vivarium, temperature, humidity, light quality etc.
Ensure you buy from someone who specialises in the animal you are interested in.
Visit the animal you are intending to buy. Check that the animals accommodation is clean with the appropriate food and water. Ensure that all the relevant paperwork is available for inspection when you visit.
This could include any necessary permits such as CITIES registration documents, Dangerous Wild Animals licence or other documents.
If these are not available obtain a written commitment as to when further documentation will be sent on.
Exotic animals require specialist care from a vet and may require referral to a specialist which can be very expensive.
Pet insurance for vet fees for such an occurrence would be an excellent idea.
Further advice can be obtained from the RSPCA at www. RSPCA.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/other