RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information after a seriously neglected chameleon was found in Cardiff Bay.
The panther chameleon was found on Monday (5 September) by a dog walker at Marl Park in the wooded area at the far end of the park. He was in a collapsed state on his side and was black in colour, which can be a sign of stress.
The panther chameleon was then kindly taken to a vet and the RSPCA were notified.
RSPCA inspector Selina Chan said: “Following a veterinary examination and an X-ray it was sadly found that all his legs were broken and he also had a deformed spine.
“Unfortunately due to his severe condition an independent vet with knowledge of reptiles decided that the kindest thing for them to do was to put him to sleep to prevent further suffering.
“His condition was due to metabolic bone disease, which is caused by poor diet and husbandry. The fractures in his legs are not expected to have been caused from a fall and his injuries would have happened over some time.
“He will have been in a lot of pain and it is mostly likely that he suffered considerably due to owner neglect as a result of the wrong diet and lack of UV light in his enclosure.”
The RSPCA is appealing for information to try and find out how he came to be in the park and what had happened to him.
Inspector Chan said: “This is an extremely sad example of an abandoned and neglected exotic pet.
“It is a possibility that the owners took on this animal but were unable to provide the care he needs and decided to release him to the wild. We are urging potential owners of exotic animals to thoroughly research what is required in the care of the particular species before taking one on, as potential owners need to make sure they can give their animal the environment it needs and they have the facilities, time, financial means and long-term commitment to maintain a good standard of care, as required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”
The RSPCA is experiencing widespread neglect of exotic animals across the country. Reptiles in particular have specific needs, including the correct enclosure, humidity, temperature and nutrition. For many people, an exotic animal represents too much of a commitment. This is manifested in the growing number of exotic animals being abandoned to the wild. It is an offence to release a non-native animal into the wild under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.
Anyone who may have information or knows who owns this chameleon should contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are treated in confidence.
If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).