This Disturbing Trend In The UK Raises Serious Animal Welfare Concerns


What irresponsible individual purchases an exotic animal, takes on the responsibility of caring for, feeding, and treating to the needs of pet outside of its natural habitat, only to abandon it in the wild? Sadly, numerous exotic reptile owners in the United Kingdom have bucked on their responsibility as pet owners in recent weeks.

What could possibly lead an individual to act with such disregard for the life of an animal? Animal rights advocacy groups and authorities in the UK are currently attempting to answer that question.

The number of exotic snakes that have turned up dead will make you raise an eyebrow. Could all the deaths be linked to one person?

10. A Sad Trend

Over the past several weeks in the United Kingdom, a number of exotic snakes have been abandoned by their once owners. The reasoning behind the snakes being left in several locations is unknown. Authorities believe the rationale for the snakes being left in the wild could be related to the cost of taking care of the exotic animals.
9. Authorities Aren’t Pleased

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSCPA) has been open with its criticism towards those who are willfully “dumping” exotic snakes without regard to their welfare. The RSCPA has publicly commented on reptiles being left in the wild, saying they do not stand much of a chance to survive.


How many snakes have died recently?

8. Four Lifeless Snakes Found Recently

Someone walking their dog found four lifeless royal pythons several weeks ago. Their bodies were partly submerged in a stream below the footbridge near Denbigh Police Station, North Wales. A number of pictures were taken of the scene to document the dumping of these snakes.


Why does this keep occurring?

7. Other Royal Pythons Abandoned

While other snakes have been abandoned in the United Kingdom, this was the second incident of royal pythons being discarded in recent weeks by their owners. Around Christmas, other royal pythons died after being left outside a veterinary hospital in Plymouth.

While the incidents are not thought to be connected, the RSPCA remains worried.

6. Expert Shares His Concerns

RSPCA Animal Collection Officer and Exotics Specialist Peter Ferris recently expressed sadness over the mounting trend. “It is so sad to see any pets dumped, but particularly exotic pets which really need specialist care.”

It is a disturbing trend that has disturbed animal rights advocates around the world. The frequency of these events is also of serious concern.

5. Ferris Makes A Plea

“We would urge people who can’t cope with their exotic pets to please contact the RSPCA or their local vets for help and support. To abandon an animal can compromise his or her welfare, especially for snakes, who cannot produce their own body heat.”

What if exotic snake owners ignore Ferris’ request?

4. The Law Is With The RSPCA

Thanks to the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, individuals releasing exotic reptiles into the wild within the United Kingdom will face prosecution if found.


This law should make reptile owners think twice before abandoning their pets, yet the law has not been a deterrent to some over the past few weeks.

Does other legislation exist which will protect reptiles?

3. Animal Welfare Act Of 2006

The RSPCA has been on a vigilant campaign to remind reptile owners of their legal responsibilities. They released the following statement:


“We are urging potential owners to thoroughly research what is required in the care of the exotic animal before taking one on, as potential owners need to make sure they can give their animal the environment it needs and they have the facilities, time, financial means and long-term commitment to maintain a good standard of care, as required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”

2. Other Reptiles Have Been Found Alive

Fortunately, other reptiles that were abandoned in recent weeks within the United Kingdom were found alive. Several of these incidents were reported in London. Local charities have been helping to treat these snakes back to health.

Are there any other possible measures the UK can take in order to protect exotic pets?

1. Perhaps Further Legislation Is Needed

There seems to be either egregious malicious intent of the owners or utter incompetence. Either way, this type of behavior should not be tolerated within the United Kingdom.

Perhaps their legislative branches could consider regulating who can purchase exotic animals within the kingdom. Clearly, background checks and other measures could be put into law to prevent these events from occurring.

The United Kingdom is currently dealing with the unique problem of pet abandonment. If exotic snakes and other reptiles continue to be dumped maliciously in the wild, the UK will have to consider legislative manners in order to prevent this form of animal cruelty. Over the past several months, dozens of royal pythons have been found dead in the wild.

Thankfully, numerous other abandoned reptiles were found alive and their lives were saved thanks to animal rights advocacy groups and volunteers. Hopefully, the recent trend of these animals being left to fend for themselves will come to an end soon.