Electricity prices are slowly increasing and the overall cost of living around the world is slowly going up. However, in England, there has been an increase of 54 percent since April due to the rise in global gas prices. This increase seems to be forcing exotic pet owners to abandon their scaly companions, as the electricity needed to power their heating and lighting setups are racking up.
The National Centre for Reptile Welfare (NRCW), is a reptile rehoming center based in Kent, UK and they have said some reptile keepers have seen their monthly energy bills increase by £200-400. However, they did not specify how this compared to people without reptiles.
Cases of reptile abandonment are expected to rise, and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is currently bracing itself for a surge of animals being abandoned as higher electricity bills start to hit people’s wallets. The RSPCA has also released a statement, reported by Zenger News as saying:
“The RSPCA is concerned about exotic pets whose owners are affected by the rise in the cost of living. We are braced for a surge in abandonments once higher electricity bills start landing on people’s doormats. Unfortunately many people are unaware of how much of a commitment exotic pets are when they take them on."
“Our officers are often called out to deal with hundreds of animals every year which have sadly been abandoned when their owners can no longer meet their needs. And with prices rising, this problem is likely to get worse. At the RSPCA, we are only too aware of the costs of keeping exotic pets.”
Bearded dragons often need heaters, UV lights, and thermostats. As such, they are often one of the more expensive reptiles to look after. However, it is always better for owners to give the animal to a rescue center or reptile shop than abandon them in the wild.
The owner of Snakes ‘n Adders in Sheffield, Charles Thompson, has seen double the number of bearded dragons brought into his shop since the energy prices started to soar. Also, he has seen many people turn up at the shop with animals that have been abandoned in the wild.
"A lady was driving up the A57 [highway], when somebody said to her 'I'm sure there was a bearded dragon just there on the side of the road.' She turned around then sat there was a bearded dragon. They retrieved it, didn't know what to do with it and brought it straight to us.” Thompson told Zenger.news "We kept it for three weeks, made sure it was feeding fine and announced it was available for rehoming."
Thompson has also had a woman come in who found a reusable shopping bag that had been thrown over the wall into her garden. Inside were a bearded dragon and a baby horn frog.
But how much do these reptiles cost? In a Facebook post from April, when the cost per kWh was 28p [34 cents] in the UK, Snakes 'N' Adders decided to work that out.
When they looked at the cost of a 60w bulb plugged in, it was calculated to be 40.32p [~48 cents] per day or £146.76 [$177.02] per year – which is a little bit more than if you had 6 cups of teas a day (the ultimate British measurement).
This post also calculated that the more expensive bearded dragon costs 79p [95 cents] per week more a week to run than it did last year, while the cheaper Leopard Gecko costs 23p [28 cents] per week more to run than it did last year.