Reptiles make perfect pets in Hong Kong

Reptiles make perfect pets in Hong Kong

Three-inch-long pygmy chameleons are among many scaly creatures on sale in a pet store in Hong Kong. Hundreds of lizards, turtles, frogs and snakes occupy tanks stacked on the cramped shop floor.

Space is a luxury in this compact city, and exotic reptiles are becoming a very popular choice of pet.

“In a 300-square foot apartment it’s near impossible to house ten dogs, but 100 or even 200 snakes, that’s possible.”, says Oscar Shiu, shop owner, Urban Jungle Reptile.

David and his family of five live in a small apartment in a high-rise block.  There’s not much space and no garden, but he manages to keep several pets.  They include a dog, a lizard and a collection of frogs and geckos. Having reptiles helps him save precious space and time.

“High-schoolers like me need time to study. I usually leave home at seven in the morning and I only get back in the evening. For me the best part of keeping reptiles is they don’t need as much care as my dog, they’re easier to feed and keep clean”, says David Lai, a reptile pet keeper.

As their popularity grows, many buyers are searching for new pets on the Internet.

Here they often find the rarest breeds — and sometimes even banned, endangered species — at the cheapest prices.

Like many reptile fans, one of Toni’s favourite snakes is an unusual ‘Killer Bee’ ball python — a genetically-modified breed. Toni Ip, founder, Hong Kong Reptile and Amphibian Society, says: “It’s skin is known to be thinner, it indicates its lack of protection from predators.  And also the Killer Bee’s known to be more fragile and they tend to have a sense problem, so they might take their owner as prey.”

In the right hands, these cold-blooded creatures are usually docile.

They may not be everyone’s perfect companion: like all pets they require great responsibility, but also the courage to feed them.

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