Written by Ellia Cobb, Transforming Lives Trainee.
It’s that time of year again, Christmas is getting closer, and everyone is out Christmas shopping.
Has someone you know asked for a pet as a Christmas gift this year, maybe an amphibian or reptile? If so, please take into consideration the responsibility and dedication you will need for the animal. Especially if it is for a younger child as that means you are then responsible for that animal.
Did you know many of the invasive non-native amphibian and reptile species we have here in the UK are the result of pets that had been released? Sometimes people can impulsively buy an animal they are not prepared to care for and end up thinking it is better to release it “back into the wild”. This could be a death sentence for the animal themselves or for our native wildlife as they either aren’t fit to survive in the wild, or the animal may be quite well suited to the environment here and end up pushing our native wildlife out of their habitats, eating their food and putting them at risk.
If the animals released start to breed it becomes a real problem, they become invasive very fast and can also destroy habitats, kill and eat native species of animals and insects, spread disease and can also kill native amphibians and reptiles.
Not all nonnative species are harmful to the environment, though this still doesn’t mean it is a good idea to release them! It is very important we do all we can to protect native amphibians and reptiles as they are very vulnerable.
If you are planning on gifting someone a pet this year, please make sure you do plenty of research and make sure you and the pet owner can be responsible to give the animal the proper care it needs.