Pet reptiles dying soon

This video from the USA says about itself:

For seven months, PETA went undercover inside one of the top sellers of reptiles and mammals in the United States. Learn more about what happens to lizards exploited by the pet trade. Learn more:

From the Animal Protection Agency in Britain:

Three out of four pet reptiles die within a year

Shocking findings of a new (Aug 2012) scientific study of the exotic pet trade has found that at least 75% of pet reptiles die within one year in the home. It is thought that most of these newly purchased animals, whose natural longevities range from 8-120 years according to species, die from captivity stress-related causes.

APA Director, Elaine Toland, teamed up with two of the world’s leading authorities in reptile biology, Clifford Warwick FSB and Phillip Arena PhD, to undertake a scientific research project looking into the annual mortality rate among UK reptiles, as well as ecological and public health issues.

In an article in the latest issue of The Biologist, a prestigious journal published by the Society of Biology, as part of their research, the scientists compared the number of reptiles that enter the UK market each year to the numbers of reptile pets that reside, year on year, in private homes. Based on these figures, the indisputable observation was that at least three quarters of reptiles perish within their first year in the home.

The study also revealed the disturbing impacts of the exotic pet trade on species populations and whole ecosystems, and the havoc wreaked by the release of non-native species into the environment. The trade also takes its toll on human health with an estimated 5,600 cases of reptile-related salmonellosis (just one of many animal-to-human disease threats posed by exotic pets) occurring in the UK each year.

By joining with independent scientists, Clifford Warwick and Phillip Arena on this project, APA has ensured that the research is transparently independent. The Biologist is also an independent science publication, with wholly independent editors. In addition, at the request of the journal editors, other entirely independent scientific expert reviewers extensively vetted our article for its accuracy – as is the norm for all authoritative science journals.

Elaine Toland, Director of the Animal Protection Agency Says:“The fact that most reptiles die within a year is truly tragic, and is probably unresolvable because reptiles and captivity simply don’t mix. The trade in wild-caught and captive-bred lizards, snakes, tortoises and turtles is wasteful, destructive and inhumane, and even the most conscientious and well-intentioned keepers cannot realistically provide for all these animals’ biological needs. The public would never tolerate three out of four dogs dying annually in the home, and nor should we tolerate such premature mortality in reptiles. A ban on this high turnover trade in ‘disposable’ animals is long overdue.

Clifford Warwick, Biologist and Medical Scientist says: “The trading and keeping of exotic pets is responsible for decades of ecological, animal welfare and public health harm on a massive scale. Both formal regulation and enforcement, along with years of efforts at educating people about the major problems inherent to wildlife trading have fundamentally and grossly failed to control what has been a persistent and exacerbating environmental, animal welfare and human health mess. The more one looks into the exotic pet trade, the worse it gets. The only way forward is a ban on trade.”

Phillip Arena, Reptile Biologist, Murdoch University says: “Major threats such as habitat loss and climate change mean there is simply less wildlife out there, making human-wildlife impacts now greater than ever. The impacts of the exotic pet industry are additional burdens the world does not need.”

Mark Downs, Chief Executive of the Society of Biology, says: “Most people who purchase exotic pets have no idea of the potential consequences for the individual animal or the whole species, or even their own health. It is important to raise awareness of the issue: the pets we keep in our homes shouldn’t be a threat to biodiversity elsewhere in the world.”

Read the Society of Biology press release.

September 2012. The wildlife trade is driven chiefly by consumer demand, largely in developed nations (but increasingly in Asia), and more species are traded to meet international demand for pets than for any other purpose: here.

Virgin births discovered in wild snakes: here.

Researchers have finally succeeded in showing that the spongy tissue in reptile hearts is the forerunner of the complex hearts of both birds and mammals. The new knowledge provides a deeper understanding of the complex conductive tissue of the human heart, which is of key importance in many heart conditions: here.

Dec. 2, 2013 — The Burmese python’s ability to ramp up its metabolism and enlarge its organs to swallow and digest prey whole can be traced to unusually rapid evolution and specialized adaptations of its genes and the way they work, an international team of biologists says in a new paper: here.

8 thoughts on “Pet reptiles dying soon

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