A bearded dragon has died after being abandoned in a layby near Maesteg Golf Club.
The reptile was found by a member of the public just off the B4282 on Sunday evening (January 9). He was lethargic, dehydrated and in a very poor bodily condition.
The dragon was thin, cold and dehydrated but still alive when it was collected by RSPCA inspector Jackie Hickman, who rushed it to a specialist vet in Dudley.
The finder posted about the incident on a local social media group and an experienced reptile keeper got in touch with her to say he had an empty vivarium with the correct equipment.
He kindly collected the bearded dragon and placed him under a heat lamp, drip-feeding him hourly throughout the night with a syringe, but sadly the reptile was too weak to survive and died the following morning.
The RSPCA was alerted about the incident and inspector Keith Hogben has urged people to come forward with information.
Ms Hickman said: “Sadly this bearded dragon had been dumped in a soggy cardboard box and was not in a good way. He was very cold and dehydrated so I rushed him to a reptile rescue in Dudley for veterinary assistance.
“If you are struggling, there is never an excuse to abandon an animal like this as there are always other options open to you.
Keith said: “We’d like to thank the reptile keeper for his care and compassion in trying to save this bearded dragon and for ensuring his last hours were as warm and comfortable as possible.
“From the very poor condition he was found in, it’s clear that this reptile had not been receiving species-appropriate care for some time. He was very underweight with sections of skin hanging off and other parts missing, and he was extremely lethargic from being out in the cold.
“Very sadly, some people take on exotic pets without properly researching their needs or having a thorough understanding of how to care for them properly. These animals then end up suffering, becoming injured, sick or even dead.”
“Sadly, this bearded dragon was in such a bad state that he didn’t make it through the night.”
The RSPCA urges potential owners of exotic animals to thoroughly do their research, using expert sources so they know what is involved and how long the commitment is likely to be for. Bearded dragons, for example, can live for up to 15 years in captivity or even longer – which a lot of people don’t realise.