Pet management practices of frog and turtle owners in Victoria, Australia
journal contributionposted on 2023-08-30, 01:23 authored by Tiffani HowellTiffani Howell, C Warwick, Pauleen BennettPauleen Bennett
Background: Available empirical evidence suggests that pet animals do not always experience an optimal welfare state. However, most pet welfare research has focused on dogs and cats, with less research investigating amphibians and reptiles. The aim of this study was to characterise how owners of pet frogs and turtles in Victoria, Australia, attempted to meet their pets’ welfare needs. Methods: Pet frog owners (n = 128) and turtle owners (n = 60) completed an online survey, comprising questions about how they managed their pets’ environmental, behavioural, social, nutritional and physical health needs. Results: For both frogs and turtles, positive and negative welfare indicators were found. Owners described pet enclosures as waterproof and escape-proof. However, fewer than 20% of owners of either pet type had an enclosure size that met the minimum standards described in the relevant Code of Practice. Limitations: Because this study relied on self-reporting, future research should directly observe animals under household care to provide a more objective measure of welfare. Conclusion: Pet frogs and turtles in Victoria, Australia, may not always be experiencing an optimal welfare state, despite their owners’ stated desire to care for them as well as possible.