A dragon is not just for Christmas, urges Sheffield vet

Photo shows Jonathan Down with a Bearded Dragon lizard, which is native to Australia and grows 16 to 24 inches long. Bearded Dragons make a great pet reptile because they don't get too large, eat a wide variety of foods, are active during the day and are gentle.
Photo shows Jonathan Down with a Bearded Dragon lizard, which is native to Australia and grows 16 to 24 inches long. Bearded Dragons make a great pet reptile because they don't get too large, eat a wide variety of foods, are active during the day and are gentle.
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EXOTIC pets are not just for Christmas, a Sheffield vet is reminding animal lovers.

Jonathan Dow, of Park Vets in Millhouses, said there had been a surge in the popularity of pets like stick insects, African snails and bearded dragons in recent years.

But he fears that – just like the more traditional cats and dogs – many are forgotten about after people receive them as presents for Christmas.

He has made a call for people to make sure they are buying the right gift this year.

Jonathan, a certified exotic animal practitioner, said: “Important things to consider are is the present for an adult or child, do they really want a pet, can they afford to look after it properly, is it an impulse or well researched present and is the pet likely to be captive bred rather than from the wild?

“Pet insurance should be taken out to cover any medical or surgical emergencies, plus an exotic pet should always be registered with a qualified vet.

“And if you are buying this pet as a gift for a family member or friend make sure they really want to care for it even in up to fifty years time – as many species can live for a long time.”

Exotic animals make up half of all pets and are thought to be both cheaper and less time-consuming to look after.

Specialist clinics for new exotic pet owners, as well as fact sheets on various species, have been put together by Jonathan.

* The advice sheets are free to use on Park Vets Sheffield and a free email newsletter is also available.

Do you have a very unusual pet animal? mail: news@thestar.co.uk