The Horrors of the Reptile Pet Trade

Posted by 9 months ago | Permalink | Comments (15)

PETA US eyewitnesses spent a combined 15 weeks at a reptile mill that breeds frogs, lizards, turtles and other animals and supplies them to pet stores across America. In addition, some of the animals are exported to Europe.

This is what they found:

The eyewitnesses documented systemic abuses and deprivation that is inherent in the pet trade. They recorded tens of thousands of reptiles and amphibians kept at the facility at any given time, and the animals were confined to barren, filthy, crowded plastic tubs and deprived of even the most basic necessities, such as heat and UV lamps, veterinary care, fresh food, and even water to drink and soak in.

Reptile pet mill dead geckos

The eyewitnesses documented the deaths of more than 675 animals – including these lizards – just in the parts of the facility that they worked in.

dead tortoise reptile pet mill

Dead and rotting animals were routinely found in enclosures with live animals. This dead Russian tortoise was found in a crowded tub with 14 live tortoises.

reptile pet mill filthy cage

Several weeks’ worth of faeces built up in this and other enclosures housing geckos. Employees admitted they had “not really had time” to clean them.

geckos glue trap pet reptile mill

Workers put down makeshift glue traps to catch escaped animals, such as these lizards. Staff did not check the traps for days and forgot where they were, leaving trapped animals to suffer and slowly die.

dead geckos glue trap reptile pet mill

This lizard, who was still alive, attempted to drop his or her tail multiple times in an effort to escape what an expert deemed the “torture” of being trapped.

overcrowded reptile box pet mill

Many water dragons rubbed their snouts against the sides of the enclosures, abrading the flesh and even leaving their teeth exposed. This behaviour was an indication of the stress that they were experiencing as a result of cramped conditions.

dirty cage inured reptile pet mill

Water tubs in enclosures housing water dragons were not replenished over weekends and, like this one, were empty or filthy by Monday. This water dragon had a raw, bleeding snout.

injured reptile pet mill

Bearded dragons had to compete for access to food in severely crowded tubs, leading to fights and bite wounds. No veterinary care was given to the lizards for their severely injured, bleeding limbs, which were left to rot off.

injured reptile pet mill

A manager left this emaciated bearded dragon, who was unable to open her mouth or her left eye, to suffer for more than 24 hours before putting her down.


Dozens of animals were packed up for shipment more than 24 hours before actually being shipped to PetSmart. Animals were denied water and food while they were in containers so small that some of them couldn’t even turn around.


Many species, including these turtles, were denied adequate lighting, a heat source and other basic necessities. Up to 50 turtles were kept in each of several kiddie pools situated directly on the concrete floor.


Hundreds of bearded dragons were kept in filthy, faeces-strewn tubs.

Read the full story from PETA US.

This case is not unusual. This is the sixth animal dealer with ties to large US pet-store chains that PETA US has exposed. Unsuspecting customers often have no idea about the horror from which these animals have come – or what kind of industry they’re unwittingly supporting.

The best way to end the cruelty is to avoid animal breeders and always adopt companion animals rather than buying them.

Please share this investigation to help more people learn the truth:


  • Orit commented on March 1, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    So so cruel !!!
    They all born to live and be free in the wild !!!!!
    Pls let’s stop this cruel people !!!!

    I’m with u!!!

  • Sandra wells commented on March 1, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    It’s disgusting. Animals are a constant full time job. You can’t just shut the door and leave. They need to be cleaned out daily fed daily watered daily . and loved all creatures need to be loved . this is appalling to see and the people involved should be locked up in a dirty hole without food and water. That’s all I have to say.

  • Kattie commented on March 1, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    This is disgusting, all animals feel feat, pain and distress. I own 2 bearded dragons and they are a lot smarter than people think, so suffering in these disgraceful conditions is deplorable!

  • Rachel carter commented on March 1, 2016 at 5:09 pm

    I have a bearderd dragon and also a snake … i was so sad and shocked at the video i just saw … no regards at all for those poor poor helpless animals and this needs to be stopped

  • Janie commented on March 1, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    From what I have just seen here – pure madness ++ If the people (or otherwise human-trash) who are keeping these animals are neglecting/abusing them to this degree and are also so bloody-minded about the affair, then they simply have “no right” to keep them then ++ And also, do they not take into consideration that if most of these animals end up sick, badly injured or dead, then “who” will buy them anyway?!!! ++ There is no rational sense here ++ And in addition to this, they seem to be just shutting down over the weekends and enjoying themselves and having lots of fun, whilst these animals are just left totally neglected to suffer and die ++ Absolutely appalling and disgusting!!!!

  • Elizabeth McFadden commented on March 2, 2016 at 6:04 am

    This is appalling! No animal should suffer like that, just so people can see them in captivity! Id rather they were allowed to live in they’re natural environment

  • Ellie commented on March 2, 2016 at 11:13 am

    That’s vile. Why are these companies allowed to do this. Money is not everything but clearly for the low-lives it is. I’d like to see how they would react in those hateful conditions. If you’re willing to treat animals like that you’re clearly highly uneducated and just extremely dumb. And for putting them in freezers, that’s just ridiculous. Vets over here in the U.K make it extremely vital to check that animals like lizards and tortoises are already dead before they go into any freezer (after euthanasia) as they can feel every single tiny icicle form in their body and slowly freeze them, but clearly as I’ve said before, they’re too thick so understand that. To people like that sleazy man in the video, animals are the dumb ones and they don’t understand that they can feel panic and fear and excruciating pain. They also think just cause they’re and human and bigger, they’re superior. It’s actually shocking how cocky and pathetic some people can be. That company needs to be shut down. NOW. And those people need to go back 10 years and get some education. Also, why blur his face, he should be shamed. He deserves any nasty comments he gets, cause he clearly doesn’t care how others feel so why care about him.

  • Baruch Kastenbaum commented on March 19, 2016 at 9:09 am

    The worst creature on this planet is man!!! This world would be a far better place with him gone!

    All he does is take and give nothing back!

  • Margherita Pinto commented on March 22, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    E’ disgustoso.

  • Mark commented on March 22, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Boycotting Pet Smart will eventually drive them out of business.

  • Ruth ap Rhys commented on March 23, 2016 at 11:44 am

    A number of posters are commenting with indignance stating superiority for ‘owning’ one of these pets and being an appropriate owner/ not abusing the animal.

    By ‘owning’ these animals, you all opt-in, you are creating the suffering. The only way to ensure you are not abusing animals is to opt-out – to NOT ‘purchase’ an animal, to not support pet-shops and pet-trading, and to ensure an end to animals being extracted from their environments. Do something useful – put your energy into habitat conservation instead of keeping an animal inprisoned in your home.

    By ‘owning’ an exotic pet, you yourself contribute significantly to on-going abuse. If you have purchased a pet, you are indirectly an animal abuser.

    Sorry, but it’s the truth.

    • Janet Jewell commented on March 23, 2016 at 8:48 pm

      I agree but some people have actually rescued these animals from others who bought them as a novelty and then wanted to get rid of them once the novelty wore off. Although it is not the best scenario for these animals at least they are better off in the hands of someone who is committed to providing the best captive care possible than to be in the hands of someone who purchased them as a commodity and did not care. Having said that I believe the trade in exotic animals should most definitely be banned.

  • Vikash Jain commented on April 15, 2016 at 7:21 am

    (Save animals, save humanity, save earth, save creature of god.)

    Only one way to make a batter world is Save animal save humanity.

    We feel pain, these animals also feels the same.
    We human love our children,these animals also do the same.

    The difference is we human are selfish, money minded, cheap, but these animals do not have these qualities.

    We cheap minded human eat meat just for taste and feel proud to be human.

    As I know, the most testy meat is of human. So if really want something amazing, try it. Not eat some poor and week animals.

  • Eric Martin commented on May 21, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    It’s a disgrase what human beings will do for money. Soon or later the human race will come to the end of its rein & then we will pay the price for what we have done.

  • Gloria Hackwith commented on May 27, 2016 at 7:40 am

    This is not right, animals hurt like we do. How would these scumbags like it if this was done to them. Some of the human race is discusting. These animals need to be free.

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