Animal group claims it is ‘problematic’ to call lizard, tortoise and snake exotic

The animal group claims that calling lizards, tortoises and snakes exotic is ‘problematic’ because it means they are not native to an area.

  • Exotic pet owners should call them ‘non-traditional companion animals’, group says
  • British Small Animal Veterinary Association says the word ‘alien’ is ‘problematic’
  • Plain English campaign calls language change ‘odd’


Owners of lizards, turtles and snakes may think they have an exotic pet.

But the better term is ‘non-traditional companion animal,’ according to veterinarians.

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association states that the term pet ‘fails to provide an adequate description of the range of relationships that exist between humans and animals’.

Owners of lizards, turtles and snakes may think they have an exotic pet. But the better term is ‘non-traditional companion animal,’ according to veterinarians (stock image)

The organization says calling an animal exotic is ‘problematic’ because it means the animal is not native to an area.

The change of language, described by the Plain English Campaign as ‘odd’ and ‘protective’, comes after Ingrid Newkirk, president of animal rights group PETA, attacked the word pet last year for suggesting animals were just an ‘object’. or ‘decoration’. ,

In its statement, BSAVA said: ‘We prefer the term “non-traditional companion animal” because it believes it better describes both the species involved and the relationships involved.’

Lee Monks of the Plain English campaign said: ‘Exotic pets are just fine for us. The idea that the pet is abusive in any way is just protection.’

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association says the term pet 'fails to provide an adequate description of the range of relationships that exist between humans and animals' (stock image)

The British Small Animal Veterinary Association says the term pet ‘fails to provide an adequate description of the range of relationships that exist between humans and animals’ (stock image)

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