The RSPCA is appealing for information about a bearded dragon found dumped in a vivarium in St Albans on Wednesday (August 8).
The reptile was left in a very public area in the car park of Greenwood Park on Carisbrooke Road.
Fortunately the member of the public who called the RSPCA was able to take the bearded dragon to a reptile specialist.
The local specialists have taken him on and have assessed that he is healthy, although the vivarium was in poor condition.
RSPCA Animal Collection Officer Kate Wright said: “This is a very public area so we hope someone might have seen something or might know where this bearded dragon has come from.
“Sadly the vivarium the bearded dragon was in poor condition, the RSPCA do see many instances of dumped exotic pets and we think the reason behind this is often that owners cannot cope with the amount of care that they need.
“He has now been taken to a specialist boarding establishment where he is recovering before he can be rehomed.
“I am now appealing for anyone with information about how the bearded dragon came to be abandoned to contact the inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
Bearded dragons are one of the top five species of reptiles that are being collected by RSPCA inspectors or handed in to our centres. Other reptiles the animal welfare charity receives the most calls about include corn snakes, terrapins, tortoises, leopard geckos, boa constrictors and royal pythons.
RSPCA exotics senior scientific officer, Nicola White, said: “The number of calls the RSPCA received about reptiles rose 20% over the past five years and sadly we are regularly being called to collect reptiles, like this poor bearded dragon, that have been abandoned, or neglected, presumably because owners no longer want them or cannot care for them properly.
“Reptiles are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs, which include the need to be provided with the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet for the particular species.
“They are commonly found for sale in pet shops and online, however it is sadly often the case that they are handed over to buyers with very little or no information about how to care for them properly or the commitment that is involved in keeping them healthy.
“It is for this reason that we are urging potential owners to research and look into what is required in the care of their pet first before taking one on so they know what is involved and how long it is likely to be for. There are books by experts on how to care for the more commonly-kept species and specialist vets and expert reptile groups can be an excellent source of support and advice.
“If you do find yourself in a situation where you can no longer look after your pet, there are options available. You could contact the original seller or a local reptile rescue centre for help rehoming your reptile if you feel you are no longer able to care for them.”
Anyone who would like further information on how to care for exotic animals should visit www.rspca.org.uk/exotics
The RSPCA urges anyone thinking of owning a reptile to consider adopting one of the many rescued reptiles that are currently being cared for by the animal welfare charity.
Please visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/findapet