Plymouth City Council has confirmed that two species listed under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 are currently living in a house in Plymouth.
A recent FOI (freedom of information request) sent to the council revealed a The Eurasian lynx and a serval cat currently live at an address in Kings Tamerton.
The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 is a law designed to ensure that when private individuals keep dangerous wild animals, they do so in circumstances which create no risk to the public and which safeguard the welfare of the animals.
Read: Lynx kept as a pet in Plymouth
If you wish to keep an animal registered under the Act, you must apply for a license do this. Animals listed under the law include feral cats. primates, wild dogs (wolves), certain pigs (boars) and marsupials.
Also listed under the law are dangerous snakes. Over the past ten years, six different species of snake have been kept in Plymouth as pets in the Beacon Park area.
The FOI said these species were bitis atheris, cratalus, acanthophis, rattlesnakes, pit vipers and pit vipers. A rattlesnake, for example, can kill a human in less than two to three days if not treated with anti-venom.
But for some reason, these reptiles no longer reside in Plymouth. Instead, the town’s two current dangerous residents are both fat cats.
A serval cat is the smaller of the two animals, measuring about 15 to 25 inches at the shoulder and typically weighing between 20 and 30 pounds, according to Mary Bates Science Writer.
They are known as the “giraffe cat” due to the size of their legs and also have the largest ears of all cats. Before you think about adopting one, you better know that they communicate by urinating.
In the wild, they are known to be highly specialized in capturing rodents, such as hares, hyraxes, birds (quail, flamingo, quelea, and teal), reptiles, insects, fish, and frogs.
The serval has been observed taking larger animals, such as small antelopes, however, over 90% of their prey weigh less than 200 grams.
The Eurasian lynx, on the other hand, is the third largest predator in Europe after the brown bear and the wolf, and the largest of the four lynx species. It weighs between 15 and 28 kilograms and is 60 cm (24 inches) tall.
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It has a short body, long legs and large feet. The ears have a characteristic black tuft at the tip while the legs have sharp retractable claws.
The lynx feeds on small ungulates (hoofed mammals) such as roe deer, and smaller prey such as hares where the former is rare.
Although two ‘dangerous wild animals’ might seem like enough, South Hams District Council currently has 19 animals deemed ‘dangerous’, according to born free. These are composed of four species; two serval cats, fourteen scorpions, a savannah cat and two tayras.
Things don’t look much safer across the border in Cornwall, with Cornwall Council reporting 20 ‘dangerous’ animals, according to born free. These are composed of five species; six clouded leopards, five fossas, two pumas and seven lynxes.
Tell us what you think about keeping ‘dangerous wild animals’ as pets – are you for or against? Let us know in the “Comments” section.