More unusual animals kept as pets are known as non-domestics or exotics. Examples include snakes, terrapins, lizards, scorpions, frogs and sugar gliders.
The RSPCA has concerns about the welfare of these animals when kept as pets, due to how difficult it can be to meet their needs. Exotic pet species, as wild animals in captivity, have the same needs as they do in the wild and it can be challenging to look after them properly and comply with the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
In particular the RSPCA is opposed to the trade in wild-caught animals and we believe that some exotic species, such as primates should never be kept as pets as they have complex needs that cannot be met in a home environment. Although there is a statutory Code of Practice on the welfare of primates we do not believe it has been effective in protecting their welfare. We believe there should be a ban on the trade and keeping of primates as pets.
The RSPCA is concerned that the private keeping of exotic wild animals poses significant risks to animal welfare, species conservation, as well as animal and human health, and the environment. Along with the Born Free Foundation, we have published a joint report "The Exotic Pet-demic: UK¿s ticking timebomb exposed", calling for an urgent review of the current exotic pet legislation. We have produced a briefing for policymakers to summarise the report, which can be downloaded below.