Friday, 24 August 2018

For exotic pets, the most popular are also most likely to be released in the wild

Date:  August 22, 2018
Source:  Rutgers University

Among pet snakes and lizards, the biggest-selling species are also the most likely to be released by their owners -- and to potentially become invasive species, according to a Rutgers study published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

The study by Rutgers University-New Brunswick ecologists provides new clarity on how and why the exotic pet trade has become the primary venue by which reptiles and amphibians arrive in non-native lands, the first step to becoming ecologically damaging invaders.

The researchers documented 1,722 reptile and amphibian species in the U.S. exotic pet trade from 1999 to 2016. They compared the list with previous research and data from a citizen science project that records sightings in the U.S. of non-native species. They found that the most popular pets -- those imported in high numbers and sold at low prices, usually when they're small and cute -- are the most likely to be dumped into the wild later on.



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