An eclectus parrot. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The number of exotic pets in Dubai has risen fourfold in the past 12 months to over 600 unusual animals, according to one of the leading veterinary hospitals.

And no, lions and tigers are not on the list.

The British Veterinary Hospital, which works with Dubai Municipality at the Birds and Pet Market in Al Warsan 3, revealed the figures on Tuesday, indicating that the majority of exotic animals consist of birds and reptiles.    

Dr Marie Monchaux Azmanis explained there are many species of birds and reptiles and every species is different with varying needs, behaviours and physiology, making it a more challenging sector of vet work.

“Exotic birds and reptiles are not uncommon across the UAE, they are available in a multitude of pet stores without any papers, rings nor history," she said.

"There is a growing concern amongst vets that pet shops are often not educated on the special needs (breeding, diet, company) of exotic pets and are therefore unable to educate the pet owner, in turn resulting in improper care and more visits to the vet,” she said.

“Most of these species are new pets in comparison to dogs and cats, they are not yet properly domesticated, which is why they can have unexpected health issues and unexpected wild reactions, which can be dangerous for the animal and uninformed owners,” said Dr Monchaux Azmanis.

She added: “Most of the exotic patients we have are here because of health issues due to wrong husbandry, diet or origin, often bought in overcrowded places with low hygiene. This is so sad as this is something that can be easily changed with a little willing and knowledge.”

Top 10 exotic pets in the UAE

1. Parrots

2. Cockatoo

3. Tortoise

4. Turtle

5. Iguana

6. Sugar Glider

7. Ferret

8. Snakes

9. Bearded Dragon

10. Chameleon