The discovery of two dead exotic pets dumped in an alleyway has triggered an appeal for information by the RSPCA.

The lifeless red bearded dragon and Yemen chameleon were found by a passerby near Chestnut Avenue in Hornchurch in boxes wrapped in a black bin liner on Thursday 6 February.

He contacted the RSPCA to report the distressing discovery.

RSPCA Inspector Jack Taylor said: “The two dead animals were in two small vivariums which had been wrapped in a black rubbish bag.

“These poor animals had not been dead long, and we fear that they died because their welfare needs were not being met.

"Exotic pets are completely dependent on their owners for the correct accommodation, heating, lighting and feed, all of which must replicate their wild habitat as closely as possible to keep them healthy and allow them to express their normal behaviour.

“But the small vivariums they were found in were totally inappropriate for animals who require space and, in the case of chameleons, their natural behaviour includes climbing trees.

"The substrate provided for the bottom of each ‘viv’ was also inadequate, and they have specific heating, lighting and environmental requirements to keep them healthy.”

Thurrock Gazette:

Special equipment such as UV lights and heaters and provision of appropriate humidity levels are needed for reptiles such as these. Without proper care they can suffer from serious diseases, dehydration, injuries, parasites, and in severe cases or if left untreated, they can eventually die.

Jack continued: “Sadly, this incident isn’t unusual. We find that many people are unaware of how much of a commitment these animals are when they take them on, which we believe may be why we are rescuing hundreds of exotic pets every year. We would urge anyone who is struggling to cope with their pets to contact their local vet or rescue centre and ask for help.

“If anyone has any information about these poor animals we would encourage them to contact our Appeals line on 0300 123 8018”.

The RSPCA urges people thinking of keeping a reptile to thoroughly research the needs of the particular species and what is required in the care of the animal, using expert sources, and only consider keeping one if they can ensure they are fully able to provide for these needs. They also recommend that owners ask for help and advice from experienced keepers and specialist exotics vets, who are an excellent source of support for owners if they are struggling.

For details about caring for exotic pets, please visit the RSPCA’s webpage.