Little critters in danger

So far this year we have seen a number of small animals coming into rescue one way or another, including pet rats, hamsters, rabbits and even terrapins.

So far this year we have seen a number of small animals coming into rescue one way or another, including pet rats, hamsters, rabbits and even terrapins.

Small pets are often sold so cheaply, and the expense comes when buying the cages and everything else that goes with owning one of these cute creatures. Therefore, they are often bought without much thought going into owning one and got on the spur of the moment.

Take, for example, terrapins. They can be bought cheaply and are often not much bigger than a €2 coin when first purchased, making them look easy and cheap to take care of. But this is not the case. They can and do grow bigger than a dinner plate. They need a large tank, a water heater, an overhead light, a filter and specialised food, all which doesn’t come cheap.

They need all of these so they can live long, happy and healthy lives but most terrapins never get to live that dream.

We have recently seen terrapins living in awful conditions, with none of the essentials that I have just mentioned.

We had been called in to assist another welfare group who were dealing with a couple who were neglecting their pets. When we arrived at the property, we found six large terrapins in a small, cold and dirty tank in their sitting room, a tank that would only be enough room for one medium-sized terrapin, never mind six large ones. The Gardaí at the scene granted us promisson to remove the animals from the horrible conditions that they were forced to live in. As we removed them, we could clearly see the sores on all of their heads and legs due to the cramped conditions.

Once back at the shelter, they were started on a week’s course of antibiotics and given the room and heat that they needed. They also tucked into a nice healthy meal as if it had been their first in weeks.

Small pets are often forgotten about and go through more suffering than a dog or cat would as they can be locked away quietly without anyone ever knowing they are there.

We really would urge people to do their research before bringing a small animal into their home as they can be just as time consuming and expensive to keep than a large pet and most are not suitable for children or first time pet owner.

Where possible adopt and don’t buy. Rescue Centres give you full back up and advice for any animals they rehome to you.

- Kildare Animal Foundation