Report plea on reptile cruelty!

'I was just born interested!' says Grace about her love of reptiles.
'I was just born interested!' says Grace about her love of reptiles.

Reptile experts are continuing to speak out to Dunstable citizens in order to raise awareness of cruelty to pets.

Grace Dickinson, 33, is consulting head of herpetology at a zoological collection, previously helping Wrigglies Exotic Pets of High Street, Dunstable, to rehome reptiles.

In last week’s Gazette, the businesswoman spoke of the importance of providing your pet with the correct diet and amount of UV lighting, and now, to encourage vigilance and education, she reveals some of the most shocking cruelty cases from her working years.

Grace said: “More often than not, people in the industry will get a tip off from someone saying ‘my mate’s got this pet...’ which their friend has got bored of, or in other cases, the danger is the owner’s lack of knowledge.

“There was once a case when a regular customer of a reptile shop was not looking after their animals properly, so the store owner discovered what was going on.

“Two Bredl’s pythons, which need a 45 degree hotspot to stay healthy, were living with no heating! They had severe respiratory problems, snot and mucus, mouth rot, gastrointestinal problems and neurological problems!”

The pythons, Joseph and Lacey, were taken away for intensive care, involving vapourisers, antibiotics, injections, removing parasites, tube feeding, lots of bathing, and wound and mouth cleaning.

Two years on and the pair were stable, but with lasting neurological effects. However, Lacey has since relapsed and had to be put down.

Sadly, Grace has heard of many other cruelty cases, including a skeletal Burmese python kept under the stairs, and a snake with open burn wounds due to a heat mat or heat rock with a thermostat that didn’t switch off.

Grace said: “It is essential they are fitted with thermostats to prevent this from happening! Not enough owners use them; they ensure your vivarium maintains the correct temperatures, prevent burns, and they can save lives!”

To report cruelty, or a pet in distress, you can call the RSPCA on: 0300 1234 999.

To read the RSPCA reporting cruelty checklist, visit:

For local care advice, Wrigglies Exotic Pets: 01582 699146