Exotic pets are becoming an increasingly popular trend, if not for the novelty then as a status symbol (such as this Persian man who flaunts his illegal pet lions on Instagram). However, exotic pets are not as good an idea as many may believe.
For example, the trend of hedgehog ownership has spiked in recent years. However, many hedgehogs are becoming homeless because individuals did not do their research before purchasing them. In reality, they require a lot of attention and maintenance, and many people do not consider this before buying a pet (especially one that they know little about). Therefore, it is important that before adopting any animal, one first does a lot of research on what is required to be a pet an owner of that animal.
In fact, most exotic pets are illegal to own for reasons such as these. The number one reason that most exotic pets are banned in the United States is for the safety of their owners and those around them. Since most exotic pets have not been bred in captivity, they are less comfortable around humans and are therefore more dangerous. Animals that are not domesticated risk harming their own, or escaping their owner’s home and harming others. Many exotic animals carry strains of diseases, so not only could their bite injure you, but also transmit harmful diseases and viruses.
Most people do not have the necessary animal knowledge to care for exotic pets. Veterinarians and zookeepers require years of training before they are able to care for exotic animals, so reading one book on the subject will not suffice.
Unfortunately, a lot of people will take in an exotic pet because it is small and adorable, but when it becomes and adult, it has in their eyes become too big for their living situation. It is of great importance that a pet owner consider the size of an animal when it reaches adulthood before choosing to adopt one. For example, a pet lion cub may be harmless as an infant, but when it grows to be an adult it poses a huge threat to any human that it comes in contact with, whether or not it has been seemingly domesticated.
What happens to pets once they are no longer wanted? For common animals such as dogs and cats, they can be brought to a shelter to find a new home. However, few shelters have the facilities and knowledge to care for exotic animals. Unwanted exotic pets either end up being released “back into nature” (which poses a dangerous threat for both the animal and anyone living in the area) or they are put down. This is unfair treatment of these innocent animals.
Consider this–if a pet owner is not equipped with the necessary knowledge to care for the animal, not only does it become a threat to the person, but also the animal. Owning exotic pets can be detrimental to the health of these pets because they do not receive the proper care.
If you are considering an exotic pet, be sure to first check that that type of pet is legal in your state. Then, ensure that you are fully equipped to care for this animal for the rest of its life. Better yet, adopt an animal from your local shelter, as there are always domesticated animals in need of loving homes.
We at Southwick’s Zoo hope you will take these words into consideration before making the choice to own an exotic pet. If you love exotic animals, consider visiting us instead! You can view a number of animals species from all over the world, and we’ll do all of the caretaking.
Please note that we are unable to adopt exotic pets from our patrons.