Rise in number of exotic pets rescued by charity

Gonzo is being cared for at the Scottish SPCA's Drumoak centre.
Gonzo is being cared for at the Scottish SPCA's Drumoak centre.

The Scottish SPCA is seeking new homes in Aberdeenshire for exotic pets after reporting a 74 per cent rise in the number rescued in last five years.

Across the country, Scotland’s animal welfare charity took in 265 reptiles last year including snakes, terrapins and lizards, a huge leap from the 152 cared for in 2010.

Among those currently being looked after at the Scottish SPCA’s Drumoak centre is Gonzo, a Chinese soft shelled turtle.

Gonzo, who has been at the centre for over 1000 days, would be a rewarding and interesting pet for someone with the experience and resources to give her a proper and caring home.

Soft shelled turtles have some very specific requirements so charity staff are hoping to find an owner who has some experience with this species or a similar species.

Mike Flynn, Scottish SPCA chief superintendent, said: “We care for a range of exotic animals at our rescue centres and we are hoping to raise awareness of this and encourage people to offer them permanent homes.

“Lots of people know we rescue and rehome cats, dogs and other more traditional pets, but many might be surprised to learn about our more unusual creatures.

“Unfortunately we don’t receive as many enquiries about our exotic residents.

“With our snakes especially, a lot of people are put off by their appearance, but we know there are plenty of reptile enthusiasts out there who would appreciate them for the stunning creatures they are.

“Last year we took in over 100 snakes. They are good escape artists which are often found straying and in many cases their owners never come forward for them.

“The most common type we rescue is the corn snake but we also have other breeds of snakes looking for homes such as pythons, king snakes and milk snakes.

“Our terrapins are among the most challenging of our rescued creatures to find homes for. We took in 95 last year and have many waiting to find suitable homes. We also have several bearded dragons, an iguana and a leopard gecko all looking for new owners.

“Our rehoming teams would be so pleased to hear from anyone who is sure they have the time, knowledge and resources to offer one of our exotics a fresh start.”

Anyone interested in rehoming Gonzo, or any of the other exotic pets in the charity’s care, should contact the Scottish SPCA’s Aberdeenshire centre on 03000 999 999.