the new craze for exotic pets

Eva Bertoni, sales assistant - caretaker at La Ferme Tropical, in Paris, at home with a false coral snake from Honduras, April 24, 2022.

It is not impossible that your neighbor hosts a boa or a python in his living room, that he makes a cockatoo fly in his kitchen or that he organizes a friendly tarantula on Friday evening. Don’t worry, most of these animals aren’t that dangerous, at least not deadly. If you cross them, you risk a slight bite, a scratch or, perhaps more annoying, angioedema. If it is difficult to establish the exact number of new exotic pets (NAC) on the territory, Karim Daoues, the founder of the pet store La Ferme tropical, in Paris, estimates at 3% the French homes sheltering reptiles. . “These passionate amateurs enjoy the pleasure of naturalist observationhe adds. This is why they often have several. »

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This is the case of Patrick Molherat, president of the aquarium and terrarium club of Vichy (Allier). This 50-year-old cook, off work for a long illness, remains active thanks to his forty reptiles whose terrariums he has slipped into every corner of his house. Eight around the TV set, better than any wildlife documentary. Able to name each species by its scientific name, Crotaphytus collaris (collared lizard), Basiliscus plumifrons… – the same way you might call your Labrador Canis lupus familiaris –, this tortoiseshell scholar also has his little favourites. Among them, his boa, Choupinette, 6 years old, 2 meters and 12 kilos, but also Léon the chameleon, Huey, Dewey and Louie, his three collared lizards, and Maurice, his savannah monitor lizard, who has just come out of the bath. “As he is shedding, I soaked him in lukewarm water to help his skin peel off…” As a regular, Momo fell asleep to the sound of lapping.

Cold-blooded beasts

“Just watching them makes me travel”, says the Auvergnat under the sunlight of his tropics, he who has only left France once. His menagerie has a cost that in the long run can easily come close to a one-way ticket to Borneo: count every month 80 euros in insects, 40 euros in mice and a few tens of euros in strawberries and melons to which are added 80 euros of electricity to heat these cold-blooded beasts, not to mention the veterinary costs. “My leopard gecko had a descent of organs, it was necessary to go up everything with a cotton swab at the doctor. Afterwards, I had intestinal occlusions on pogonas and then a tumor in the stomach of a boa. Following the operation, I gave him Betadine on his scar. »

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