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Public urged not to buy exotics online
“Sugar gliders look incredibly cute and people might be tempted to buy them as pets..."
Pair of sugar gliders found abandoned in London

The RSPCA is urging people not to buy exotic pets online, after a pair of terrified sugar gliders were found abandoned in an animal carrier in north-east London.

A member of the public took the pair to a veterinary clinic in Leyton last week (24 July), having found them in a little carrier inside a wooden nest box by some bins.

Vets believe there is one male and one female but were unable to check the creatures thoroughly, as they are so terrified they scream when humans approach.

The sugar gliders, which are about the same size as small hamsters, were taken to a specialist exotics facility for emergency care.

RSPCA inspector Kate Ford said: “Sugar gliders look incredibly cute and people might be tempted to buy them as pets but they need very specialist care to look after them properly.

“For this reason the RSPCA does not believe that sugar gliders are suitable to be kept as pets, as we do not believe it would be possible to adequately meet their needs in a typical household environment.”

Sugar gliders are nocturnal and arboreal, meaning they spend their lives in trees and can glide for 50m or more, which is very difficult to recreate in a typical household environment.

The case is the latest in a string of recent call-outs to the RSPCA involving exotic animals, including emus, raccoon dogs, primates and even caiman. The charity is urging people to resist the urge to buy exotics online, where they are readily available.

Image © RSPCA 

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Stephen Fry lends voice to frog conservation film

News Story 1
 Comedian and author Stephen Fry has lent his voice to a new animation that hopes to raise awareness of deadly ranavirus, which is threatening the UK’s frogs.

Research by ZSL, who created the short film, suggests that at least 20 per cent of ranavirus cases over the past three decades, could be attributed to human introductions. This includes pond owners introducing fish, frog spawn and plants from other environments.

Amphibian disease expert Dr Stephen Price said: “People can help stop the spread by avoiding moving potentially infected material such as spawn, tadpoles, pond water and plants into their own pond. Disinfecting footwear or pond nets before using them elsewhere will also help.” 

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Scotland to fund OV training

The Scottish Government has revealed it will fund training for new Official Veterinarians (OVs), covering the Essential Skills, Statutory Surveillance and TB Testing.

Funding will also be provided for the revalidation of Essential Skills, as well as TB Testing for existing OVs. This is the second round of financial support from the Scottish Government for OVs.

BVA president Simon Doherty said he is “delighted” with the announcement.

“Official Veterinarians’ work in safeguarding animal health and welfare and ensuring food safety is invaluable,” he added. “This announcement has come at a crucial time, with Brexit and an uncertain future ahead, the role of OVs will be more important than ever in enabling the UK’s trade in animal products.