A small crocodile is among the ‘dangerous wild animals’ being kept by residents in the town.
Licences for exotic animals classed as ‘dangerous wild animals’, such as cobras, ostriches and caiman, are granted by local authorities.
Warrington Borough Council confirmed two properties currently have licences, which is a requirement under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976.
One licence holder has one caiman – a smaller member of the crocodile family.
And the second has three felidae species, the term used to describe the family of cats including tigers, lions, jaguars and leopards.
It also includes ‘small to medium-sized cats’.
A council spokesman said: “These premises are regularly inspected by council officers and a veterinarian to ensure that the animals are being kept in accordance with the Act.”
But Dr Ros Clubb, senior scientific manager at the RSPCA, said the charity believes animals should only be kept in captivity if ‘good welfare can be assured’.
She added: “We have concerns about the trade and keeping of wild – or ‘exotic’ – animals as pets, including dangerous wild animals.
“We believe that animals should only be kept in captivity if good welfare can be assured and this can be very challenging.
“Some species – including crocodilians and wild species of cats – are unsuitable to be kept as pets because their needs are too complex to be met in a household environment.
“Welfare problems can be made even worse when an animal is dangerous and the owner is inexperienced.
“People may buy exotics with little idea of how difficult they can be to keep and the animals are sometimes neglected when the novelty wears off and the reality of the commitment hits home.
“This is why we would encourage anyone thinking of getting any type of exotic pet to find out as much as possible about the animal’s needs and whether they’re a realistic pet.”