According to a new study, popular exotic pets are more likely to be released into the wild than other types of pets.
The study, conducted by researchers at Rutgers University, used a combination of historic data and citizen science reporting of non-native species sightings to determine how frequently various types of exotic animals were released into the wild — potentially as invasive species.
The study’s findings suggest that popular exotic pets — often those imported in large numbers and sold at low prices — are at greater risk of being dumped into the wild later than are other types of exotic pets.
“The owners may underestimate the space and costs needed to keep such animals as they grow into adults. Boa constrictors and reticulated pythons grow over 8 feet long. African clawed frogs and Russian tortoises live 30 years or more. Not wanting to euthanize, owners may resort to releasing them instead.”
— Oliver Stringham, Lead Author
The findings point to a greater need to educate consumers on the ecological dangers of wild release as well as the availability of alternative solutions, such as rehoming programs and other human surrender options.
The results of this study can be found in the Journal of Applied Ecology.