Your data on MRCVSonline
The nature of the services provided by Vision Media means that we might obtain certain information about you.
Please read our Data Protection and Privacy Policy for details.

In addition, (with your consent) some parts of our website may store a 'cookie' in your browser for the purposes of
functionality or performance monitoring.
Click here to manage your settings.
If you would like to forward this story on to a friend, simply fill in the form below and click send.

Your friend's email:
Your email:
Your name:
 
 
Send Cancel

Snakes need to stretch out fully, study finds
Around 42 per cent of private snake owners house their animals in enclosures that are too small.

Animal welfare campaigners call for new legislation on enclosure size.

The minimum enclosure size for snakes should enable them to stretch out fully in all directions, leading experts say.

A scientific review of snake enclosure recommendations, published in Animals, also found that current information on enclosure size is based on 'decades-old ‘rule of thumb’ practices' that are 'unsupported by scientific evidence'.

“Snakes are sentient, intelligent, and physically delicate wild animals that all too often spend almost their entire lives imprisoned in a glass tank the size of a hat box while being gawped at like living curios,” commented study author Dr Clifford Warwick of the Emergent Disease Foundation.

“Our article exposes the nonsense that has led to decades of snake abuse, and that the UK now lags behind even the American pet trade where snake welfare is concerned.”

According to the Animal Protection Agency (APA), around 42 per cent of private snake owners house their animals in enclosures that are too small. Furthermore, snake breeders often keep their animals in ‘racks’, which are essentially plastic drawers designed to simplify maintenance.
 
‘Such restrictive confinement can lead to serious infections, injuries and disease as well as mental and behavioural problems,’ the APA writes. ‘Small enclosures also make it impossible to regulate temperature, lighting and humidity or to provide enrichment in the form of hides, branches or pools.’

Under current government guidelines, snakes in pet shops must be housed in enclosures sized at two-thirds of the snake’s body length. The study authors found that the original evidence for these recommendations can be traced back to two books based on common practices and personal opinion. 

APA director Elaine Toland said the review puts to bed any argument that snake welfare is not compromised by small enclosures. 

“A legal requirement for enclosure sizes that allow snakes to adopt straight-line postures in all directions, as an absolute minimum, would at least allow snakes to perform some of their normal behaviours,” she said. “This is still far from ideal, but animal welfare legislation needs to be urgently updated in order to reflect the complex needs of reptiles.”

Become a member or log in to add this story to your CPD history

Prestigious veterinary awards open for nominations

News Story 1
 Nominations for the prestigious PetPlan Veterinary Awards 2022 are now open, with five accolades up for grabs including: Practice of the Year; Vet of the Year, Vet Nurse of the Year, Practice Manager of the Year and Practice Support Staff.

Anyone can nominate an outstanding veterinary professional or practice for an award, from colleagues to pet owners, friends and family. Nominations remain anonymous, and Petplan will send everyone who receives a nomination a certificate to display in their practice.

Nominations can be made at petplanvet.co.uk and remain open until Monday 10 January. 

Click here for more...
News Shorts
New online CPD otitis podcast created

A new 15 minute podcast on treating animals with otitis has been created by Dechra Veterinary Products. Featuring general practice vet Carolyn Kyte and veterinary dermatology specialist Natalie Barnard, the two vets will discuss their experiences treating otitis, and why owners are significant in successful treatment.

Dechra Brand Manager Carol Morgan commented: "What Carolyn and Natalie bring to the table with their new podcast for the Dechra Academy is a light and insightful discussion about communication and education being the keystone for better otitis outcomes and how vets can improve on their consultation skills to handle cases better."`

The podcast, called 'Think Differently about Otitis', is available to access for free on the Dechra Academy on-demand learning platform here.