Monkey tree frog warning to pet owners

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The Independent Online
THE RSPCA has issued a warning over the latest pet craze in Britain - owning a chacoan monkey tree frog. The charity said there was a disturbing increase in the number of exotic animals being kept as pets - an estimated one million Britons now own pet reptiles.

"Our inspectors are now almost as likely to be called out to a case involving a python or iguana as they are to one involving a cat or dog," an RSPCA spokesman said. "The public must think more carefully before buying exotic pets. Some are just not suitable to be kept as pets and others need special heating, lighting or housing." He warned that they could also need expensive veterinary care.

The monkey frog comes from northern Argentina and Paraguay, and its natural habitat is desert. It must be fed live insects, such as three or four crickets two or three times a week, and have its accommodation kept at 30C to 35C.

Its movements are slow and deliberate, even when they are pursuing live insect prey. "They will stay in almost any position in which you care to place them. They simply look at you as you pick them up, rarely making any attempt to evade capture," said John Coote, of Nottingham, who bought two froglets last year for pounds 165 each from a breeder in southern California.