Venomous snakes and mini crocodiles are among some of the ‘dangerous’ animals being kept by Dacorum residents.
A Freedom of Information request from the Gazette asked Dacorum Borough Council how many licenses had been granted to keep pets under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act since 2013.
Just four licenses have been granted in that time, all of which were renewals, but the creatures calling Dacorum home are certainly interesting.
The licenses covered 20 serval and savannah cats, wild cats which originate from Africa. It also covered 13 Viperidae and eight Elapidae, which are multiple species of front-fanged venomous snakes.
Also included were five Buthidae scorpions, and three Crocodylidae – which includes dwarf crocodiles and caiman.
The Dangerous Wild Animals (DWA) Act was introduced in 1976 to deal with a growing trend of people keeping exotic pets.
DWA licenses are issued for two years, and are therefore renewable biennially.
All applications must include full details of the applicant’s experience with exotic animals and proposed accommodation for the pet.
In a statement included in the Gazette’s request, Dacorum Borough Council said: “The council will commission an inspection of the premises at which animals are proposed to be kept by an independent veterinary surgeon with specialist experience and qualifications in the field of exotic animals.
“They will assess the suitability of the proposed accommodation for animals and the knowledge, experience and ability of the proposed keeper; and on renewal applications, the health of the animals being kept.
“We will typically expect specialist, purpose-built accommodation to be provided. A licence will only be granted if the authority has no other concerns.”