Bearded dragon abandoned in cardboard box

The RSPCA is appealing for information after a bearded dragon was abandoned in a cardboard box on wasteland in the West Midlands.

The bearded dragon was found in a soggy cardboard box on wasteland in Hughes Road, Wednesbury, on Sunday 26 January.

A member of the public contact the RSPCA after spotting the plain box with the poor reptile inside. Inspector Jackie Hickman collected the lizard who was very thin, cold and dehydrated.

Jackie said: “Sadly this bearded dragon had been dumped in a soggy cardboard box and was not in a good way. He was very cold and dehydrated so I rushed him to a reptile rescue in Dudley for veterinary assistance.

“Exotic pets like bearded dragons aren’t always easy to care for and sadly this does mean we often see them abandoned when their owners struggle to cope with their care which is why we would urge people to thoroughly do their research before taking on an exotic pet. If you’re struggling, there is never an excuse to abandon an animal like this as there are always other options open to you. Sadly, this bearded dragon was in such a bad state that he didn’t make it through the night.”

If you have any information about how this bearded dragon came to be abandoned, please contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.

In 2018, the RSPCA collected over 1,400 reptiles, including bearded dragons.

Evie Button, the RSPCA’s Scientific Officer for exotics, said: “The RSPCA rescued over 1,000 reptiles in 2018 and sadly we are regularly being called to collect reptiles, like this poor bearded dragon, that have been abandoned, or neglected, presumably because owners no longer want them or cannot care for them properly.

“Reptiles are completely reliant on their owners to meet their welfare needs, which include the need to be provided with the correct levels of heat, light and humidity, plus an appropriate diet for the particular species. Many of the animals we’re called to help are found abandoned outside, where they can very quickly suffer in the cold.

“Unfortunately, many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on. Impulse buying and lack of research into individual species needs means there is serious risk of people not understanding fully what they need to provide for the animal, which can result in poor animal welfare and animal suffering.

“It is for this reason that we are urging potential owners to research and look into what is required in the care of their pet first before taking one on, so they know what is involved and whether they’re the right pet for them. There are books by experts on how to care for the more commonly kept species and specialist vets and expert reptile groups can be an excellent source of support and advice.

“If you do find yourself in a situation where you can no longer look after your pet, there are options available. You could contact the original seller or a local reptile rescue centre for help rehoming your reptile if you feel you are no longer able to care for them.”

Anyone who would like further information on how to care for bearded dragons you can visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/other/beardeddragon.