RSPCA raids expose trade in deadly wild animals

Concern over dangerous reptiles kept in unsuitable conditions

source: Severin Carrell
Independent November 17 2000 p11

There is concern about dangerous species being kept as pets in Britain, either illegally, or in inadequate conditions. RSPCA raids have uncovered puff adders and other dangerous snakes kept in Sheffield, and an alligator housed in a bedroom in Chesterfield. The alligator, five foot long and called Louis, had come from the US to be sold to a zoo, and was then bought by a pet shop, which sold it on. Meanwhile, a man who bought what he thought was a lizard, in a pub in Essex, England, found he had bought a caiman, which grows to seven feet. A hatchling anaconda was purchased by a Basingstoke teenager. The RSPCA wants anacondas and other constricting snakes to be included among wild animals legally defined as dangerous in Britain, and wants stricter controls of licence holders who keep such animals.