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Reptile Ownership in Balkan Countries: Demographics and Reliance on Veterinary Advice

By Marijana Vučinić, Ivana Hajzler, Jelena Terzin, Katarina Nenadović, Ljiljana Janković, Eva Voslarova, Miloš Vučićević

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

The objective of the research was to determine the profile of reptile owners (n = 238) in terms of their socio-demographic characteristics and evaluations of veterinarians’ expertise. Reptile owners living in four non-EU Balkan countries (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) were randomly selected from two social networks. Statistically significant differences were found in snake, lizard, and turtle owners (p < 0.05) in terms of gender, employment status, and monthly earnings. Male owners of reptiles were slightly more numerous (52%) compared with female owners (48%). Sixty-four percent of reptile owners were over 20 years old. The unemployed reptile owners (16%) were about five times fewer in number compared with those who studied at university and those who were employed. Forty-one percent of reptile owners declared high monthly incomes. Forty percent of reptile owners never contacted and had no experience with veterinarians. Fifty-eight percent of reptile owners contacted or visited veterinarians due to the medical condition of their animals, 14% of them contacted veterinarians for advice on reptile keeping, and only 6% did so for a preventive veterinary examination. Forty-seven percent of reptile owners were satisfied with veterinary services. The importance of the results of this survey is that they can provide a basis for adopting legislation on the ownership of reptiles as pet animals, together with being a baseline for monitoring subsequent changes in interest in these animals as pets. The results also identify the need for more dedication from veterinarians in educating reptile owners, and for necessary adjustments in veterinary education.

Publication Title Anthrozoös
Volume 32
Issue 1
Pages 129-139
ISBN/ISSN 0892-7936
DOI 10.1080/08927936.2019.1550287
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Tags
  1. Animal welfare
  2. Demography
  3. Human-animal interactions
  4. Pets and companion animals
  5. Reptiles