These are the exotic and 'dangerous' animals being kept as pets in Lancashire

All wild animals have to be kept under licence.
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Shocking new research has revealed the exotic animals being kept as pets in Lancashire.

According to charity Born Free, who contacted all local authorities in the UK, there are 106 'dangerous' wild animals registered as living in Lancashire. They include a serval cat in Chorley, 100 wild boar and three ostriches in the Ribble Valley, and two ostiches in West Lancashire. No specific locations have been given.

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Nationally, the research, which was carried out in 2023, reveals more than 2,700 dangerous wild animals being kept privately in Great Britain under licences permitted by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976. This number includes more than 200 wild cats, 250 primates and 400 venomous snakes at a total of 187 private addresses.

Now Born Free is calling for urgent action to tighten legislation to minimise risk to the public and safeguard the welfare of wild animals. Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy, said: “It is unbelievable that, in this day and age, so many dangerous animals, including big cats, large primates, crocodiles and venomous snakes, continue to be legally kept in people’s homes in the UK. Increasing demand for and 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.”

Serval catServal cat
Serval cat

The charity also claims that their research also discovered that some councils are unaware of the exact species of animal being kept, despite a requirement to identify this within the legislation, which they say raises further serious animal welfare, and health and safety, concerns.

What is a serval?

The serval is a wild cat native to Africa. It is a slender, medium-sized cat that stands 54–62 cm at the shoulder and weighs 9–18 kg. It is characterised by a small head, large ears, a golden-yellow to buff coat spotted and striped with black, and a short, black-tipped tail. They live up to 20 years.

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According to The Spruce Pets, servals typically aren't friendly. They say: "They're aloof and don't like being stroked or cuddled. Because of that, their large size (up to 40 pounds), and naturally wild temperament, this cat is not recommended for homes with kids or other pets. However, a serval can bond well with one person and become emotionally attached to an extent that re-homing the animal would cause it deep distress."