The RSPCA is appealing for information after a bearded dragon was abandoned inside a carrier bag outside a Birmingham hospital.

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A member of the public contacted the animal welfare charity after they found the lizard inside the Morrisons’ bag on a bench opposite the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Edgbaston on Saturday, July 2.

He was collected by an RSPCA inspector and checked over, where it was found that, although stressed and cold, he was healthy. He is now in private boarding with Proteus Reptile Trust, in Dudley.

RSPCA inspector Becky Cooper said:  “Many people buy exotic pets like reptiles without researching their needs or having any idea of the commitment involved. Ultimately it is the animal that suffers after the novelty wears off. Sadly, the RSPCA sees many exotic pets just being dumped and sometimes left for dead because their owners have got bored of them or don’t know how to care for them properly.

“Thankfully on this occasion the bearded dragon was not in bad health, but this is not always the case as reptiles are specialist animals with complex needs and they can suffer, becoming sick or even die, if not provided with the correct environment or diet. Regardless, it is not acceptable to abandon an animal in any way – it is completely irresponsible to dump a defenceless animal like this.”

Sarah Beales, from Proteus, said: “We have named him Arthur and he is doing very well. He is in a very good condition considering his ordeal and he is enjoying his daily portion of insects.”

Anyone who has any information about the bearded dragon and who abandoned him should contact the RSPCA in complete confidence on 0300 123 8018.

This week, the RSPCA released figures which showed that nationally the animal welfare charity sees a spike in animal abandonments in the summer months, particularly in July.

The RSPCA is also experiencing widespread neglect and abandonment of exotic animals across England and Wales and the number of calls about reptiles has been steadily rising each year.

In 2015 the RSPCA received 4,990 calls about reptiles. The charity is urging anyone considering taking on an exotic pet to thoroughly research what is required to care for the particular species first, to make sure they have the facilities, time, financial means and long-term commitment involved to keep the animal healthy.

The RSPCA is a charity and we rely on public donations to exist. To assist our inspectors in carrying out their vital work please text HELP to 78866 to give £3. (Texts cost £3 + one standard network rate message.)