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Reptile found in Chelmsford home
11:00am Friday 20th September 2013 in News
A SNAPPY discovery was made at a Chelmsford home in the form of a reptile related to alligators.
On Thursday officers from Essex Police, the RSPCA and Chelmsford Council seized a caiman from the bedroom of the property in Waterhouse Lane where it was being kept as a pet.
Following a search the reptile measuring between 4ft to 5ft and a native of Central or South America was discovered in a tank which was just 4ft long.
The reptile was confiscated and taken to a rehoming facility as the owner did not have the right licence to keep it.
Pc Andy Long, Essex Police’s wildlife crime officer, said these kinds of exotic animals require a lot of specialist care.
He said: “When we seized the animal it was fortunately still in reasonable health but it was being kept in a tank that was too small and was unable to submerge properly so I have not doubt that its health would have suffered if its current living conditions had continued.
“Animals like this need a high level of expert care which is why a licence for their ownership is needed.
“If this animal had escaped into a public place then it was more than capable of causing harm to members of the public.”
This view was shared by RSPCA chiefs who urged anyone interested in keeping an animal of this nature to think before buying.
A spokeswoman said: “It is really difficult to keep any exotic animals, including reptiles.
“They often need very large enclosures kept at a certain temperature and require specialist food.
“We would like to say to people considering taking animals like caimen home as pets to think about everything ahead of purchase and to check whether any special licenses are needed to keep them.”
It has been confirmed by Ian Grundy, city councillor responsible for safer communities, no legal action will be taken against the owner.
“As the animal was not in a position of danger to people and has now been safely confiscated, it is not considered in the public interest to prosecute the owner further,” Mr Grundy said.