Documentary on Newstalk: Man's New Best Friend

Simon Tierney explores the world of exotic pets in Ireland...

In Man’s New Best Friend, producer Simon Tierney explores the often misunderstood world of exotic pets in Ireland and explores the legislation governing their presence in the country.

Click on the above link to listen to the programme

Ireland is awash with snakes, lizards and other non-native species. Each year thousands are traded yet it is impossible to know exactly how many there are, or indeed the variety of species, as there is no licensing system in place, unlike the situation with dogs. Most of these animals are kept as pets in people’s homes, in a thriving subculture that perplexes many and is a serious hobby to others.

The documentary looks at all aspects of exotic pet keeping, from people who keep venomous rattlesnakes or poisonous funnel web spiders to those who enjoy the company of bearded dragons, racoons or giant African land snails. The community aspect of exotic pet keeping, the ‘collecting mentality’ and an exploration of the joy that these animals give all help to demonstrate the often vibrant colour of exotic pet keeping in Ireland.

The programme also asks an important question: Is the government doing enough to monitor and control the non-native animal population in Ireland? Through detailed investigation, the documentary reveals the complex and often inadequate organisation of the exotic animal population in Ireland.


Man’s New Best Friend is produced, presented and edited by Simon Tierney. Man’s New Best Friend was funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, with the Television License Fee.