Captive reptile mortality rates in the home and implications for the wildlife trade

Robinson, Janine E, St. John, Freya A.V., Griffiths, Richard A., Roberts, David L. (2015) Captive reptile mortality rates in the home and implications for the wildlife trade. PLoS ONE, 10 (11). e0141460. ISSN 1932-6203. (doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141460)

Abstract

The trade in wildlife and keeping of exotic pets is subject to varying levels of national and international regulation and is a topic often attracting controversy. Reptiles are popular exotic pets and comprise a substantial component of the live animal trade. High mortality of traded animals raises welfare concerns, and also has implications for conservation if collection from the wild is required to meet demand. Mortality of reptiles can occur at any stage of the trade chain from collector to consumer. However, there is limited information on mortality rates of reptiles across trade chains, particularly amongst final consumers in the home. We investigated mortality rates of reptiles amongst consumers using a specialised technique for asking sensitive questions, additive Randomised Response Technique (aRRT), as well as direct questioning (DQ). Overall, 3.6% of snakes, chelonians and lizards died within one year of acquisition. Boas and pythons had the lowest reported mortality rates of 1.9% and chameleons had the highest at 28.2%. More than 97% of snakes, 87% of lizards and 69% of chelonians acquired by respondents over five years were reported to be captive bred and results suggest that mortality rates may be lowest for captive bred individuals. Estimates of mortality from aRRT and DQ did not differ significantly which is in line with our findings that respondents did not find questions about reptile mortality to be sensitive. This research suggests that captive reptile mortality in the home is rather low, and identifies those taxa where further effort could be made to reduce mortality rates

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1371/journal.pone.0141460
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH75 Conservation (Biology)
Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Conservation Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Biodiversity Management Group
Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Depositing User: David Roberts
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2015 19:39 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/51634 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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