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Keeping exotic pets
  1. Martin Whitehead1 and
  2. Neil Forbes2
  1. 1Chipping Norton Veterinary Hospital, Albion Street, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire OX7 5BN
  2. 2Great Western Exotic Vets,
    Vets Now Referral Hospital, 10 Berkshire House, County Park Estate, Shrivenham Road, Swindon, Wiltshire SN1 2NR
  1. e-mail: martin{at} e-mail: neil.forbes{at}

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THE ownership of ‘exotic’ pets has grown dramatically in recent years and that growth continues. Exotic pets in this context refers to non-indigenous amphibian, reptile, bird and small mammal species, including small primates (and is usually taken to exclude fish and some or all of the common small aviary birds such as canaries and budgerigars, falconry birds, the common ‘small furries’ such as guinea pigs, hamsters and gerbils, and larger mammals including South-American camelids). Veterinary surgeons dealing with exotic species are not only seeing greater numbers of the common exotic pets such as Mediterranean tortoises, bearded dragons, leopard gekkos, corn snakes, pythons and psittacine birds, but a much greater diversity of species, many of which only a few years ago were rarely or never kept as pets in the UK.

Some keepers of these species are knowledgeable and responsible, and provide suitable husbandry; many others are not knowledgeable and do not provide suitable husbandry, resulting in illness and suffering, …

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