The RSPCA is calling for
tighter controls on the trade an ownership of exotic pets after
a crocodile was found in a shed in Rugby and househunters found
an abandoned snake in Nuneaton.
four-foot caiman crocodile was discovered living in a shed
measuring just 12ft by 6ft in New Bilton.
It was found in December
1999 by police during a raid on the house for unconnected
The crocodile, which was
badly ill, had been smuggled into the UK from Germany by a
builder who bought it from a colleague.
It was suffering from
osteoporosis of the jaw because of a calcium deficiency and its
growth was stunted.
The shed has no
ultra-violet light which was necessary for the crocodile to get
vital vitamins. The tiny pool of water left for it was
inadequate and full of blood and it had been fed on dead chicks
when it should have been eating fish and red meat.
Its owner, who did not
have a Dangerous Wild Animals licence, said he bought the
crocodile for 120 as his colleague was going to put it to sleep.
He did not declare at
customs or seek a licence for it.
The crocodile was
rescued by the RSPCA, but later died during a routine operation.
RSPCA inspectors have
revealed that incident was just one of over 600 in the Midlands
People looking round an
empty house in Wheat Street, Nuneaton in May found a three-foot
corn snake which had been left behind by the previous occupants.
The estate agents and
viewers thought it was a toy until it moved when it was poked
with a broom.
RSPCA inspector Neville
Reilly said the snake had been fending for itself for a month
before it was discovered.
“It was in good
condition, although hungry, and had probably been able to
survive on small mice and crickets.
“This is yet another
example of unwanted exotic pets being left for the RSPCA to
Regional Manager Stephen
Mulholland called for the laws covering these animals to be
tightened, including new rules to force pet shops to carry a DWA
He said that there
should be regular checks on the pets by the local authority and
“We are deeply
concerned about the number of exotic animals, including
dangerous wild animals, now being kept as pets and the amount
of suffering involved.
“Many people buy
them with little idea of how difficult they are to keep and
the animals are neglected when the novelty wears off and the
commitment hits home.”