All About Animals: The Issues (Ages 14-16): Exotic Animals

While it remains legal for ‘exotic’ animals to be sold to the general public, these creatures are often kept in inappropriate surroundings and fed improper diets. It’s estimated that all green lizards who are kept as ‘pets’ die during their first year. And while some lizards sleep or hide, others stand still as stone—all day long—which becomes boring for many of their human caretakers who abandon them for more ‘entertaining’ animals. Also, many reptiles carry salmonella, which can cause their human caretakers to become ill or even die.

Some snakes can live for more than 20 years and grow in excess of five feet. They need special and committed care like a large spic-and-span tank (at least 30-gallon capacity), fresh water and the right temperature. They are susceptible to a variety of parasites as well as blister disease, respiratory and digestive disorders, and mouth rot. The careful application of pesticides is necessary to guard against mite infestations.

Geckos are a popular choice in pet shops but few realise that they can live for up to 30 years and need to be kept in an absolutely constant temperature. They feed on insects and baby mice.

People who are committed to providing everything that is required to take care of these animals may be able to adopt a rescued reptile from a specialist sanctuary or rescue centre. Proteus Reptile Trust is a registered charity that rescues and re-homes reptiles. Their Web site is at There are also a number of re-homing services including: