Tigers and lemurs among dangerous animals kept as pets in UK

Forget dogs and rabbits, new figures show that big cats, alligators and even wolves are being kept at households all across the country. But exotic animals need special care, and the results are concerning for the RSPCA

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Thousands of dangerous wild animals are kept at UK addresses, councils have revealed.

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Big cats, venomous snakes, alligators, monkeys and even wolves are being held as pets in properties across the country.

The Press Association found that a number of big cats, including 13 tigers and nine pumas, are captive in private accommodation.

The statistics show that there are nearly forty alligators, crocodiles and caimans held throughout Britain.

They also revealed that numbers of poisonous snakes kept are in the hundreds, with more than 300 vipers, cobras and rattlesnakes alone.

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© Anadolu Agency/ Getty Images

One of the most popular dangerous animals to have as a pet is the lemur, as the findings estimate that there are 115 lemurs in UK households.

The findings came from freedom of information requests, sent to every UK council. 363 replied, with more than a hundred saying they had handed out licenses for people to keep exotic and dangerous animals as pets.

Dangerous wild animal (DWA) licenses are only granted if the person has the required standard of safety measures. For animals kept as pets, the licenses have to be issued for properties where species are kept for conservation or breeding.

Dr Ros Clubb, Senior Scientific Officer for the RSPCA, said the charity is “deeply concerned about the number of exotic animals being kept as pets”.

during the first round of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans at TPC Louisiana on April 28, 2016 in Avondale, Louisiana.
©Chris Graythen/ Getty Images

“The emphasis of this legislation is on making sure the owner takes reasonable steps to prevent the animal from being a threat to the public, rather than the welfare of the animals concerned,” she added.

“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.

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“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 realistic.”