Lemurs, ostriches, emus and ferocious felines are just some of the unusual animals being kept as pets across Lancashire.
The county may already have one zoo but some locals have taken to raising dangerous animals in their own homes, an investigation found.
Thirteen tigers, two lions and hundreds of poisonous snakes were found to be lurking behind the fences of addresses up and down the UK with animal welfare experts said to be “deeply concerned” by the findings.
Some homeowners even have alligators and crocodiles lurking in private pools and ponds but a spokesman from Blackpool Zoo said keeping dangerous animals should be no different to any house cat.
They said: “Anyone looking after any animal whether it be exotic, dangerous or tame should still be doing the same things.
“They need to have all the right information on the animal they’re looking after and make sure they have all the correct facilities for it before thinking of having it as a pet.
“Whatever the animal, owners must have its health and safety as a priority.”
In Lancashire, seven ring-tailed Lemurs are being kept at an address in Pendle, eight ostriches and 12 emus in West Lancashire and one fishing cat in Wyre.
Dangerous wild animals (DWA) licences are granted by councils to allow people to keep undomesticated animals as pets, providing they have the requisite safety measures at their home and pay a small fee.
The most popular dangerous pets include lemurs, a small monkey, as well as big cats. And for those who prefer canine company, wolves are allowed under DWA licences with 15 living in houses across the UK.
Veterinary nurse Vicky Pedder, owner of VP Exotics Pet Boarding Services LTD in Morecambe says she thinks owning rare pets is becoming more common for a number of reasons.
“For a lot of exotic pet enthusiasts it’s about the kudos of having something out of the ordinary,” she said. “For others it’s about the nature and personality of the animal appealing to them.
“I’ve had a python for 18 years and I love him just as much as my dogs. It can definitely become a bit of a collection with people wanting more and more as they go on.
“The good thing about dangerous animals is it’s regulated and I’d like to see that for all animals because any animal has the potential to harm you, it’s more about how you treat it and the information you know about the animal.
The data was found after a Freedom Of information request was sent to every council in the UK, with 363 replying.
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