October 9, 2014
Aquarists at Hastings Blue Reef Aquarium have issued a stark warning over the growing problem of ‘exotic’ pet dumping.
Their plea comes after a total of four terrapins were dumped at the Rock-a-Nore Road aquarium in the last two weeks.
Aquariums across the country have seen a sharp rise in the numbers of so-called exotic fish, reptile and amphibian species being abandoned in recent months.
“Unfortunately the problem with unwanted exotic pets like terrapins and turtles is literally a growing one,” explained Blue Reef’s Adam Stockley.
“People buy these cute little creatures and either don’t realise or fail to take into account the fact that they will keep getting bigger.
“For example red-eared terrapins begin life as these incredibly miniature reptiles which are about the size of a box of matches.
“Within a few short years however they can reach 30cms or more and that’s when people start abandoning them,” he added.
Many of the country’s lakes have become dumping grounds for terrapins and that is posing a potential threat to native species of wildlife which simply can’t cope with sharing their habitat with such aggressive invaders
The aquarium is now unable to house any more terrapins and has issued a plea to would-be owners to think very carefully before buying them.
“Every week we receive phone calls and requests from the public to re-home fish and other exotic pets which have outgrown their tanks,” said Adam.
“We help where we can but we have limited resources and if the individual creatures cannot find a suitable new home then their options are very limited,” he added.
Anyone who spots terrapins or turtles in the wild should get in contact with their local animal rescue organisation.