please note that grace's rest is changing and this section will be updated in due course.  We are now unable to take in rescue animals due to the ill-health of the owner.

ABout US

Grace's Rest was founded by Clare in 2013 back in her native Lincolnshire with assistance from The Prince's Trust in response to the exotic pet crisis sweeping the UK.  Since then this strictly non-profit enterprise has evolved into a purely rescue-oriented organisation with strong campaign goals for positive change within the exotic pet sector.


Almost 20 years of experience along with academic achievement, training and enthusiasm goes into the care of our animals and the provision of our services. Clare, the owner, holds multiple qualifications including BSc. (Hons.) Conservation Biology (with Animal Behaviour), specialising in reptile/amphibian genetics along with professional memberships to specialist organisations. In February 2017 Clare accepted an unconditional offer from the University of Lincoln and was admitted onto the PhD Programme in the Life Sciences Department where she will study wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.


UPDATE: As of February 9th 2017 Clare is now a PhD candidate and researcher at the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations at the University of Lincoln Life Sciences Department!  She will be studying the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.

WHat we do

We offer advice to prospective, new and existing pet owners on the care and welfare of exotic pets.  Advice is freely given via telephone and email communication.  A consultation service is available for complex cases which is chargeable on an individually quoted basis.


Our educational outreach services run alongside our fundraising activities.  Inspirational speaking and guest lecturing provide vital income for the rescue which is strictly non-profit.  Please see our Guest Speaking page for further details.


The main bulk of our work is offering rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming to exotic pets in crisis.  With the interest in exotic pet keeping some animals will inevitably become homeless for a variety of reasons.  Admissions are based on individual need and the availability of suitable accommodation on-site with all animals having access to a specialist exotics vet.  Our growing network of fellow professionals include specialists in multiple disciplines who can be consulted for rare, unusual and licensable species.  As already mentioned the rescue service is strictly non-profit and relies on public donations and fundraising to survive and receives no government funding.

WHat MAKES us unique

  • We are STRICTLY non-profit
    • All of our fundraising efforts go towards the rescue service and our campaign efforts.  Grace’s Rest is run on a fully voluntary basis with not paid or salaried staff.
  • We DO NOT use our animals as living fundraising props
    • Unlike some other establishments we do not use our animals to solicit donations at public events.  This is something that we were encouraged to do in our early days but which was soon rejected and no live animals have been part of any public or private bookings with Grace’s Rest since 2014 for animal welfare and human health and safety reasons.
  • We DO NOT provide “pet party” or “animal encounter” services
    • See above!  We think that there are far better ways to entertain, inspire and educate without exploiting animals!
  • We are the ONLY exotic animal rescue in the UK to be actively speaking out against the cruelty of the exotic pet trade.
    • To our knowledge we are the only establishment in the country to operate on the principals we have set out here.  We are active in campaigning for positive changes in favour of improved exotic animal welfare and regularly attend Parliament for discussions on such matters.

Our Aims and Objectives

As well as rescuing and rehabilitating as many exotic pets in crisis as possible Grace's Rest has a number of campaign goals to help combat the root of the exotic pet crisis:

  • Reduce the number of individuals and diversity of exotic species kept as pets
    • New species are constantly appearing in the pet trade, the majority of which are completely unsuited to captivity and life in pet homes.  Their care needs are incredibly complex making them extremely difficult to care for correctly.  Wild caught animals can also pose a danger to the health of people, other pets and our environment due to the pathogens and parasites they can carry.  The harvest of wild animals as well as "industrial scale" captive breeding  of some species around the world has led to diminished wild populations, illegal trafficking of endangered species for traditional medicines and a pet market saturated with excess animals.
  • Protect those animals already in the trade by improving welfare standards from acquisition, to store, to pet home
    • Recent academic studies have shown that welfare as an intrinsic value is rarely considered in the journey of an exotic pet from capture/breeding to sale into a pet home.  We think this is very worrying and warrants immediate change.  An animal kept in low welfare circumstances is highly likely to suffer stress and a poor mental state and therefore be more likely to become ill, exhibit undesirable behaviours and even suffer premature death.  "Designer" animals, those bred for specific skin or coal colours, can be heavily inbred to achieve the desired look and as such can host a myraid of genetic defects.  Infant mortality from attempts to produce these animals is inherently high.  Poor standards of care and the expression of stereotypic behaviours are often seen as "normal" and "acceptable" in some species - lizards are often presented with missing toes and tails for instance, an indication of poor husbandry and/or management.  We believe that education at all levels and positive change in animal protection legislation is necessary to correct these issues.
  • Protect wildlife from entering the exotic pet trade and to protect the wild environment
    • It is very important to remember that the exotic species seen in the pet trade barring rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, fancy rats and so on but including ALL reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, skunks, raccoons, tanuki/raccoon dogs, primates, hedgehogs, tenrecs, coatis, meerkats and a whole host of other mammals, birds and fish are all WILD ANIMALS!  Claims that these creatures are domesticated are rife but wholly incorrect as are claims that keeping such species in pet homes aids conservation.  It is up to us to protect these amazing, fascinating and unique wild animals in their natural environment, not whilst trapped in a glass tank in a living room!  Again, education at all levels and the introduction of new legislation alongside improvements to our current laws will help protect these animals and their wild habitat for generations to come.

Our environmental policy

Grace's Rest is committed to protecting the environment and to the end makes the following promises:

  • We will recycle as much as possible
    • We aim to send as little rubbish to landfill as possible by recycling and composting everything possible.
  • We will support local wildlife
    • We shall feed the birds, grow pollinator-friendly plants and provide shelter to all the little critters living in our self-sufficient garden.
  • We shall use our resources and utilities responsibly
    • For instance we will not waste paper through unnecessary printing nor waste water or energy.
  • We shall always attempt to purchase from environmentally and aminal welfare minded suppliers and stockists
    • We always try to purchase necessities from companies that share our core values!

zero tolerance

Grace's Rest staff and volunteers have the right to work without fear of intimidation or violence from clients, their associates and members of the public.


Such undesirable behaviour is deemed to be any personal, abusive and/or aggressive comments, swearing, unwanted physical contact and/or aggressive gestures.


Any of the above behaviours directed to our staff, volunteers, associates or supporters is not acceptible in any circumstance.


Grace's Rest operates a zero tolerance policy towards such incidents and will report them to the police.


Working in animal rescue can be very emotive for all concerned but Grace's Rest staff and volunteers will always conduct themselves politely, with respect and in a professional manner.  We expect no less from our clients, their associates and members of the public at all times.  This policy also applies to telephone, email and online/social media communications.

Want to donate?

Supported by Ladbrook Insurance, a specialist animal charity insurance provider.


How to contact us:



Or use our contact form.


opening hours

Mon - Fri:

Office hours: 10am - 5pm


Emergency calls accepted 24/7


Open every day


Meet the Owner-Operator, Clare Barnard BSc.(Hons)


Clare is a research scientist and PhD candidate at the University of Lincoln where she is studying wildlife conservation and the direct impact of the exotic pet trade on wild animal populations.  She will be working from the Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology of Adaptations.  Clare has also been honoured to become part of the Global Amphibian Biodiversity research team.


Clare has almost 20 years professional experience in the husbandry of exotic animals a specialism in the genetics of British herpetofauna.  She has worked with wild Adders (Vipera berus) and endangered Natterjack Toads (Epidalea calamita) under Natural England license conditions.  Clare has worked as a zookeeper and within private collections including her own.  She lives in rural North Warwickshire, on-site at Grace's Rest, with a whole host of animals!

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© Clare Barnard and Grace's Rest - Midlands Exotic Animal Advice, Education & Rescue Service, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this website's author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Clare Barnard and Grace's Rest with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. //