Emotional Attachment Between Reptile Guardians and Their Companions
A Sentience Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM Faunalytics.org
August 2021

A growing number of reptiles are being kept as companion animals in private households. Research shows that guardian attachment is strong, while welfare outcomes may not be.

Bearded Dragon
Bearded Dragon

When most of us think of companion animals, we think of dogs, cats, and maybe parrots, rabbits, or guinea pigs. But the practice of keeping reptiles as companions is growing; almost 2% of U.K. households now report having a companion reptile, more than the number of households keeping hamsters. However, there are some welfare issues that have arisen with this popularity U.K. veterinarians report common nutritional and husbandry problems with captive reptiles.

One theory behind this lack of care is a difficulty empathizing with reptiles, especially compared to mammals like dogs and cats. Reptiles are less likely to be anthropomorphized than mammals, especially those which evolved with us as companions, and many people disbelieve the capacity of reptiles to even feel emotions or attachment.

In addition, some reptiles like snakes are somewhat inherently feared, even among our non-human relatives like chimpanzees. The authors of this study sought to find out whether poor care outcomes in companion reptiles are linked to a lack of attachment by their guardians. That is, do reptile guardians feel the same connection to their scaly companions that we generally see with cat and dog guardians?

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Please read the ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.


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