Ostriches, wild boar, a serval and a broad-snouted caiman are among the dangerous animals being kept as pets in Sussex.

This is based on data released by the international wildlife charity Born Free exposing the number of dangerous wild animals being kept legally as ‘pets’ in the UK.

The charity has been campaigning to protect the welfare of exotic wild animals kept as ‘pets’ since 2005 and has regularly monitored the scale of dangerous wild animal ownership since 2017.

Research undertaken by Born Free found that in 2023 more than 2,700 dangerous wild animals were being kept privately in Great Britain under licences permitted by the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.

A map of the dangerous animals being kept around the UK can be found on the Born Free website here.

What dangerous animals are being kept in Sussex?


  • Broad-Snouted Caiman: 1


  • Wild Boar: 120
  • Brazilian Tapir: 1
  • Red Panda: 1
  • Ring-Tailed Lemur: 2
  • Crowned Lemur: 3
  • Red Ruffed Lemur: 1
  • Collared Lemur: 2
  • White Collared Brown Lemur: 1
  • Red Bellied Lemur: 2
  • Mongoose Lemur: 1
  • Red Fronted Brown Lemur: 1
  • Black & White Ruff Lemur: 2
  • Black Lemur: 3


  • Ostrich: 3


  • Serval: 1

The Argus: Servals are wild cats native to AfricaServals are wild cats native to Africa (Image: Canva)

  • Ring-Tailed Lemur: 2
  • Black Lemur: 2

In total, there are 149 exotic animals being kept in Sussex with the majority of those being wild boar.

Other examples include a serval which is a wild cat native to Africa, many different types of lemurs and three ostriches. 

Dr Mark Jones, Born Free’s Head of Policy, said: “It is unbelievable that, in this day and age, so many dangerous animals, including big cats, large primates, crocodiles and venomous snakes, continue to be legally kept in people’s homes in the UK.

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“Increasing demand for and trade in all kinds of wild animals as exotic pets puts owners and the wider public at risk of injury or disease. It also results in serious animal suffering, and the demand increases the pressure on many wild populations which are often already under threat.

“The UK likes to claim to be at the forefront of efforts to protect nature and improve the welfare of animals, yet our legislation governing the keeping of and trade in exotic pets is woefully outdated.

“The Dangerous Wild Animals Act should be overhauled as a matter of urgency, in order to phase out the private keeping of those species that clearly don’t belong in people’s homes.”