LONDON: Keeping reptiles and amphibians such as turtles, snakes and lizards as pets may be fatal for them, warns a study which found that 75 per cent of these animals die during their first year in the home.
Researchers from Ghent University in Belgium reviewed issues such as disease transmission to humans, welfare problems associated with poor care, and the ecological implications of trading wild animals.
The study, published in the journal Veterinary Record, found that 75 per cent of reptiles die during their first year in the home.
Researchers also found that inappropriate management and nutrition by inexperienced keepers remains a concern.
"Keeping reptiles and amphibians presents a disproportionate burden on public health or animal welfare compared to that posed by the keeping of other companion animals," said Frank Pasmans and Tom Hellebuyck from Ghent University.
"We therefore do not see any valid reasons to selectively restrict the keeping of reptiles and amphibians for these reasons," they said.
The team outlined several measures to mitigate health, welfare and conservation risks, such as introducing minimal care requirements, improving pet keeper education, enforcing quarantine and entry controls, closing legal loopholes to prevent trade in wild animals, and increasing access to specialist veterinary care.