Eight rare salamanders and a natterjack toad seized in Ireland 3 weeks ago

Eight rare salamanders and a natterjack toad seized in Ireland

People are urged to think twice before choosing exotic pets.

The ISPCA is calling for tougher regulations in Ireland around the breeding, keeping and selling of exotic animals as pets after dealing with a number of incidents involving exotic animals in recent times.

The animals were intercepted by Customs officers in Dublin and were quarantined and cared for by staff at the ISPCA National Animal Centre for the past five months.

The salamanders will soon be transported to a purpose-built facility at the Galway Atlantaquaria. The natterjack toad, meanwhile, will be rehomed to the Wild Ireland Education Centre in the coming weeks as it cannot be released back to the wild.

The charity has also warned the public to think very carefully before considering getting exotic animals as pets.

Due to their complex social needs, specific and nutritional requirements, public health risks and risk of harming the environment if they escape or are released, they can be tricky to care for.

Earlier this year, eight fire salamanders and a natterjack toad were illegally imported into Ireland by post from Spain, for the pet trade market.

Just last week, two Horsefield tortoises were surrendered into the care of the ISPCA by an owner who felt that they were unable to care for them adequately.

A specialist veterinary surgeon subsequently diagnosed that both were suffering from metabolic bone disease caused by lack of calcium in the diet. This can prove fatal to the animals if left untreated.

A snake was also recently found abandoned in poor condition in the Wicklow mountains, and sadly passed away.

ISPCA Chief Inspector Conor Dowling said: "We are raising serious concerns about the poor standard of care provided to exotic animals that need specific environmental and nutritional requirements.

"These animals are frequently allowed to suffer, sometimes unwittingly, by owners who simply do not have the knowledge to care for them properly. In some cases they may have been poorly advised when purchasing the animals.

"What must also be taken into consideration is that there can be a huge disparity between the size of exotic animals when they are babies and when they are fully mature," he said.