Exotic pets you are allowed to own in the UK

Posted on 22 August, 2016

Chameleon pet

A Sky news report in May highlighted that more people in Britain are keeping lions, tigers, snakes and even crocodiles as pets. According to the report, more than 100 councils have given people licences to keep deadly predators on their properties, including more than 300 killer cobras, vipers and rattlesnakes.

Whilst exotic animals are not everyone’s first choice of pet, the demand for them appears to be growing.

At the end of 2014 it was reported that reptiles in particular were becoming popular. In the UK, the number of people owning pet snakes, lizards, turtles and tortoises increased from an estimated 400,000 in 2008 to more than one million in 2014. It even appears that lizards are now more popular than horses and ponies.

Under the Dangerous Wild Animal Act which was introduced in 1976, people have to apply to the council for a licence to keep deadly predators or ‘wild animals’. To gain a licence they have to first prove they have the knowledge and facilities to look after the animals safely and appropriately.

The list of animals that can be kept in the UK under licence is extraordinarily long and can be viewed here: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2007/2465/schedule/made. It makes for interesting reading, although many people won’t be granted a licence simply because they are not in a position to care for such an animal.

For animals that are not deemed dangerous, the world really is your oyster when it comes to choosing a pet, however, people must adhere to the Animal Welfare Act of 2006. Under this law, they must care for the animals properly and in accordance with their specific welfare needs around their diet, their environment and protecting them from pain and suffering.

If a dog, cat or rabbit seems too tame a pet, then remember to do your research properly and ensure you have the ability and facilities to look after an exotic pet.

  1. http://news.sky.com/story/1700529/concerns-over-dangerous-animals-kept-as-pets
  2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-30053262
  3. http://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/changingthelaw/whatwechanged/animalwelfareact


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