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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on June 19, 2002 at 20:31:22:
EXPRESS & ECHO (Exeter, UK) 19 June 02 Pet Shop Boss Defends Snakes
An Exeter exotic pet shop is questioning an RSPCA campaign that is recommending children do not keep the likes of snakes, iguanas or spiders as pets.
South West Reptiles, on East Wonford Hill, Heavitree, believes if a child is deemed responsible enough to look after a hamster then they are also able to care for an exotic pet.
RSPCA officers are to attend South West schools next week to warn pupils about the difficulties of keeping unusual pets. As part of the Education Week, Kenton Primary School, on Mamhead Road, will be visited on Friday.
Steve Phillips, the manager of South West Reptiles, said: "The hard fact of the matter is that traditional domestic pets are far more frequently neglected than any boa constrictor or iguana.
"If a child is not deemed responsible to look after a snake they also shouldn't be able to look after a rabbit or hamster. They are all animals that can be abused.
"With exotic pets the chances of coming to harm is very minimal as long as you are prepared and pre-warned. This can apply to any domestic pet."
South West RSPCA regional education adviser Christine Poulsom said: "While we understand how attractive these animals might appear, the RSPCA does not believe they make suitable pets as it is so difficult to replicate the temperature, food and light of their natural habitat in the wild."
RSPCA chief veterinary officer Chris Laurence said: "Exotic animals do not make suitable pets."
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