DANGEROUS animals being legally kept by private owners in Devon include wild boar, wild cats and venomous lizards.

Seven “Dangerous Wild Animals” licences’ covering 12 animals are in force between the county’s 10 local authorities.

The government says people need licences, which can cost hundreds of pounds, to keep some animals considered to be wild, dangerous or exotic, and applications have be made to local councils. 

Fees vary widely. 

In Devon, the lowest charge is in East Devon, where licences cost just £100. In Mid Devon the charge is £875, but that covers two years.

Under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 and 1984, every creature classed as a dangerous wild animal has to be licensed with the local authority.

However, the licence does not apply to animals in zoos, circuses, licensed pet shops or places of scientific research.

If a council thinks an animal is not being looked after properly, it can enter the property, remove the animal and even destroy it. 

Breaching the terms of the licence can cost the holder a fine of up to £5,000.

Torridge District Council currently has three licences in issue, while Torbay, South Hams, Plymouth and East Devon have one each.

Across Devon, people have licences for a wild boar, Eurasian lynx and serval cats, savannah cats, venomous lizards and an adder.

According to the government, the animals for which a Dangerous Wild Animals licence is required is as follows: 

Tasmanian devil; western and eastern grey kangaroo, the wallaroo and the red kangaroo; New World monkeys including capuchin, howler, saki, uacari, spider and woolly monkeys; Old World monkeys including baboons, the drill, colobus monkeys, the gelada, guenons, langurs, leaf monkeys, macaques, the mandrill, mangabeys, the patas and proboscis monkeys and the talapoi; anthropoid apes such as chimpanzees, bonobos, orang-utans and gorillas; gibbons and siamangs; leaping lemurs including the indri and sifakas; large lemurs; the giant armadillo; the giant anteater.

Wild dogs, wolves, jackals, the maned wolf, the bush dog and the dhole; the bobcat, caracal, cheetah, jaguar, leopard, lion, lynx, ocelot, puma, serval and tiger; hyenas; badgers (except the Eurasian badger), otters (except the European otter) and the tayra, wolverine, fisher and ratel (otherwise known as the honey badger); all bears including the giant panda and the red panda; the African, large-spotted, Malay and Indian civets and the fossa; the walrus; eared seals; true or earless seals; elephants; the aardvark; asses, horses and zebras (the donkey and domestic horse are excepted); rhinoceroses; tapirs.

The pronghorn; antelopes, bison, buffalo, gazelles, goats and sheep (domestic cattle, buffalo, goats and sheep are excepted); camels; moose or elk and the caribou or reindeer (domestic reindeer is excepted); the giraffe and the okapi; the hippopotamus and the pygmy hippopotamus; Old World pigs including the wild boar and the wart hog (the domestic pig is excepted): New World pigs.

Cassowaries; the ostrich; alligators and caimans; crocodiles and the false gharial; the gharial; burrowing asps, also known as mole or burrowing vipers and stiletto snakes; certain rear-fanged venomous snakes, Montpellier snakes and African vine snakes (otherwise known as African twig or bird snakes); the boomslang, the red-necked keelback, the yamakagashi (otherwise known as the Japanese tiger-snake), the Argentine black-headed snake, the South American green racer, the Peruvian racer and the Amazon false viper; certain front-fanged venomous snakes including cobras, coral snakes, kraits, mambas, whipsnakes and all Australian poisonous snakes (including the death adders); sea snakes; the gila monster and the Mexican beaded lizard; certain front-fanged venomous snakes including adders, the barba amarilla, the bushmaster, the fer-de-lance, moccasins, rattlesnakes and vipers.

Wandering spiders; the Sydney funnel-web spider and its close relatives; brown recluse spiders (otherwise known as violin spiders); the widow spiders and close relatives; Buthid scorpions; Middle-Eastern thin-tailed scorpion.

Guy Henderson