FEATURE: Case studies of exotic pets rescued by Ark Wildlife Park

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park.

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park.

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These are just three of the animals bought as gifts for Christmas which have been taken in by Ark

THOR

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park.

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park.

This bearded dragon, called Thor at the time, was a prime example of a Christmas present - a gift in December.

He was rehomed by May the following year.

James explained that, once the novelty wears off, or the summer holidays come around and the owners find it difficult or expensive to board their pets whilst they are away, is the time when owners often make the decision to rehome an animal.

LILLY

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park. shN46mEy3dix_z3ExSPr

The exotic pets taken on by Jamie Mintram and the team at Ark Wildlife Park. shN46mEy3dix_z3ExSPr

Lilly the corn snake was at her home for longer, she was a Christmas gift for an 11-year-old boy.

Seven years later, when he went away to university at the age of 18, his parents did not want to take care of the snake and so asked Jamie to take her on. Jamie said: “Again people often overlook the potential life span of reptiles, with corn snakes on average living into there 20s and bearded dragons 10-12 years.

RUDOLPH

This one is a rare example. Rudolph the Spectacled Caiman was bought as a Christmas gift for a teenager.

To keep such animals in the UK you have to be licensed, inspected and insured and the Caiman was removed from the family by authorities a year later.

Jamie said: “We gave him a permanent home with us on Boxing Day and we felt it only right to give him a festive name, hence Rudolph. In the two years he’s been with us, he’s gone from a skinny 12 inch croc to a healthy and very feisty 4ft and growing caiman.”