A quantitative review of the quality of online reptile guides available to new and potential owners

  • Elizabeth Hollies (Speaker)
  • Tedds, H. (Supervisor)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation at Conference


As the number of captive reptiles in the UK is increasing, it is important to understand the
quality of information that is available to new owners. With the internet being used ever
increasingly as a source of knowledge attribution, online care guides need to be scrutinised
to the same extent as point-of-sale care information in order to ensure welfare needs are

This study aimed to quantify the quality of online care guides for six commonly kept species
against the guides provided by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
(RSPCA), as well as their relation to the Five Animal Needs outlined in the Animal Welfare Act.
Additionally, any differences in quality between species and Need were analysed, and any
differences between care guides found under a generic or species-specific Google search
were identified.

Care guides found on the first page of Google were scored against the RSPCA guides, as well
as any additional guides found in species-specific searches. These scores were divided into
sections based on the Five Animal Welfare Needs, multiplied based on their importance to
welfare, and were then converted to an ordinal scale before using IBM SPSS to conduct Chi
Squared and Ordinal Regression tests.

There were significant differences in care guide quality in terms of species and needs, with no
significant difference between the generic and specific searches - although species-specific
care guides had marginally higher similarity with the RSPCA guides. The average agreement
with the RSPCA guides was 41.9%, with the lowest scoring species being leopard geckos (35%)
and the lowest scoring need being the need for, or absence of, company (13.3%).
Overall, it was determined that online care guides do not fully equip new owners to meet the
needs defined under the Animal Welfare Act. More research is required to provide
scientifically back husbandry recommendations as well as encompassing other species kept
in captivity that may have more specific requirements.
Period24 Apr 2024
Event title18th Student UFAW Conference
Event typeConference
LocationGloucester, United KingdomShow on map