Britain is known as a nation of dog lovers, but new research suggests that we may have gone cold hearted, or at least cold blooded, in our love affair with dogs. According to research from the British Federation of Herpetologists (BFH), UK citizens prefer reptiles to dogs!
It’s enough to make you shudder, but the figures speak for themselves. The UK currently has a dog population of approximately 6.5 million, whereas there are nearly 8 million snakes, lizards and other cold blooded reptiles being kept as pets in this country.
The reptile explosion is predicted to eclipse the country’s most popular pet, the cat, within a few short years. There are currently 9 million cats in the UK.
Chris Newman, chairman of the BFH, stated:
There are now, without question, more pet reptiles than pet dogs in the UK. You only have to look at the way the market has grown. I have no doubt that there are now between seven and eight million reptiles living as pets in the UK.
Reptiles’ popularity as mainstream pets has grown immensely. There has been an explosion in numbers. They have moved from being niche to being mainstream.
They are far more suitable as pets than are animals which are perceived as more traditional pets, such as cats, dogs and small mammals. Reptiles fit today’s modern lifestyles as they are less time-consuming, and can also be easier to keep, than other traditional pet species.
One of the reasons for the success of the reptile in the UK is believed to be the low cost for keeping them. They require little in the way of care, and require no exercise. They are also very cheap to buy, certainly when compared to some top dog breeds.
Figures have been calculated based on the sales of reptile food, such as crickets, mice and other frozen rodents. There are currently 20 million crickets being sold in the UK every week, and almost 1 million locusts.
Of the most popular cold blooded pets are tortoises, snakes and geckos.
Basing the population of animals on the amount of food purchased for them isn’t a 100% accurate method. For example, a great many dog owners prefer to buy their dogs fresh chicken as opposed to canned dog food and the amount of dog food needed would surely depend on the size of the dog breed.
There may be a lot of lizards in the UK, but they’ve some way to go before they can replace the dog as the nation’s best loved pet.