Its owner had moved on and left it behind.

RSPCA inspectors were called in to a home in York after the resident had moved out abandoning his pet terrapin.


And that was just one of 240 calls received by the North Yorkshire RSPCA about exotic animals last year.

County inspectors also rescued 78 exotic pets and four exotic fish.

Neglected and dumped

The RSPCA believes the reason behind some of the suffering of these exotics pets is that owners do not do their research and don’t understand the type and amount of care that they need, resulting in them being neglected, dumped or escaping.

Inspector Lucy Green, specialist exotics officer for the area, said:

  • Although their numbers are small compared to more common pets, we have real concerns about the welfare of reptiles and other exotic animals kept as pets or entertainment in this country.

    Reptiles and other exotic pets are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs including requiring the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet.

    Many of the animals we’re called to help are found stray outside, where they can very quickly suffer in the cold.


She said people may buy the pets “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.

“This is why 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 the right pet for them.”

Last year, the RSPCA received 11,040 calls reporting cruelty, neglect, injury and suffering of all animals last year in North Yorkshire last year, including 1,935 about cats, 3,103 about dogs and 931 about horses.