Revealed: the London boroughs with the most dangerous pets

If you live near one of the capital’s many wonderful green spaces or work from home on the regular, London can be a great place to have a pet. But while most of us opt for houseshare cats or the teeny-tiny west London dogs, some Londoners choose much more, erm, extreme pets – and there are more than you’d expect. 

And now an organisation has just revealed the number of ‘dangerous animals’ which have found a home in the capital. International wildlife charity Born Free did some research and found that across the UK last year, more than 2,700 dangerous wild animals were being kept as pets in Britain. Lions, tigers, crocodilians and venomous reptiles are all permitted under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. Wild. 

So, what’s kicking, slithering and crawling around London? Well, according to the research, three homes across the city are home to savannah cats – one in Kensington and Chelsea, and two in Richmond-upon-ThamesSavannahs are a cross-breed between domestic cats and servals, which are native to Saharan countries in Africa. And speaking of servals, one of those lives in Redbridge. 

But the borough with the highest number of dangerous pets? That’d be Croydon, where a staggering 20 venomous snakes live. 

While those numbers aren’t crazy, the stats across the whole of the UK are a bit more worrying, and Born Free has been campaigning for the protection of these animals since 2005. Chris Lewis, the charity’s captivity research officer said: ‘Many members of the public will rightly be shocked to learn of so many animals being kept by private keepers.’

And concerns aren’t just about the animals’ welfare. Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s head of policy, told Your Local Guardian: ‘Trade in all kinds of wild animals as exotic pets puts owners and the wider public at risk of injury or disease. It also results in serious animal suffering, and the demand increases the pressure on many wild populations which are often already under threat.’

So, if you ever catch yourself wanting to adopt a reptile or a wild cat, maybe… don’t? 

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