Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Suitability of species kept as pets.

Abstract

This article reports on the response of veterinarians who attended the British Veterinary Zoological Society conference held last November 7 and 8, 2015. The delegates answered a 4-sheet survey on their opinion regarding pets, with this wording: 'Listed below are 14 pet species. Please take a minute or two to give your opinion on how well-suited each species is to the conditions they experience when kept as pets in the UK. Obviously, this is an important determinant of their welfare. The 14 species in order of mean score from highest to lowest include six common pet species regarded as domesticated for the purposes of the Zoo Licensing Act 1981 (dog, chicken, rabbit, guinea pig, hamster, budgerigar), seven common exotic/non-traditional pet species, and the marmoset. The results showed that dogs received by far the highest scores, being regarded as very suited to their conditions as pets in the UK (mean 6.1, median 6). The lowest score any delegate gave the dog was 5. Five domesticated/traditional pet species received the highest mean scores, all higher than 4, suggesting that they are regarded, to varying degrees, as being, on average, suited to their conditions as pets in the UK. All the exotic/non-traditional pet species had mean scores less than 4. Even the corn snake and royal python, often stated by reptile enthusiasts to be the easiest-to-keep reptiles, were regarded, on average, as not well-suited to their conditions as pets in the UK. The African grey parrot and veiled chameleon were regarded as particularly poorly suited to their conditions as pets, but the marmoset received by far the lowest scores, being regarded as very poorly suited to their conditions as pets, with a mean score of 1.5 and median of 1 (the lowest possible). The highest score any delegate gave the marmoset was 4, lower than the lowest score for the dog.