reports that the thieves broke in through the shutters between 5:30 p.m. on Monday and 10 a.m. on Tuesday. They got to the animals by breaking into the cage areas and the tanks in which the animals were kept. The Police are now hunting for the thieves and have issued a warning to them that their loot consists of dangerous animals and predators that could harm them.
reports police have appealed to anyone with information about the animals to get in touch with the police. Detective Sergeant David Jordan, said:
"Should anyone come across these animals they should take care and inform the authorities immediately. We are appealing to anyone with information, and indeed to anyone who may know who is behind this very tenacious burglary. The offenders must have used implements to force their way in and the animals themselves have a very high monetary value."
The owners of the pet shop, Jon Bibby, 40, and Paul Williamson, 45, are concerned that the thieves may be unable to take proper care of the animals. Williamson said:
"There have been about 100 animals taken, the most dangerous being the crocodile, but also about 50 snakes, some of which are five to six foot."
The stolen animals also included exotic species of lizards, including geckos and bearded dragons that stick out their tongues to catch prey. Williamson completes the list of exotic animals missing:
"They also took two birds, a cockatoo and a parakeet, which we were caring for while customers were on holiday. They had taught the cockatoo to talk and that is not something that can be replaced. It will be devastating for them."
The thieves also stole a Cuvier's dwarf caiman, the smallest known species of crocodilian reptile which grows to 5.2 ft in males and 4ft in females. The dwarf crocodiles have powerful jaws and sharp teeth and are potentially dangerous to handlers. Bibby, who have been in the pet trade for 25 years, says the dwarf crocodile is a dangerous animal and should not be handled along with other animals.
Both Bibby and Williamson are worried that the animals may not survive long in winter if not properly cared for and fed. Men Media
reports Williamson said:
"It is winter and the reptiles need specialised care. Without this, they will not last very long."
The shop owners also fear that the animals may have been stolen on order.