By Lauren Malmberg
More and more, people seem to be intent on acquiring unusual and exotic animals as pets. While it may seem cool or eccentric to be the first in your group to get a sugar glider or kinkajou or python, please know that these exotic animals don’t make good pets.
If you’re thinking of getting an unusual wild animal for a companion, consider this:
These are wild animals – no matter if they’re captive bred or hand-raised. Domestication takes scores of years of selective breeding. Wild animals will retain many of their natural instincts and behaviors, and they’re significantly stronger – pound for pound – than humans.
Wild animals have special dietary, environmental, and behavioral needs that no individual can meet. Although you may love the species, keeping it as a pet is cruel and inhumane. You can better demonstrate your appreciation by letting the animal live a normal life in its natural habitat – don’t bring it into your home.
Wild animals can be dangerous and a threat to human health. Even the cutest monkey may grow into an aggressive, feces flinging animal – dangerous and messy. It’s estimated that over 90% of reptiles shed the salmonella virus – extremely contagious to humans and a threat to small children.
Once the novelty of the odd pet wears off, people often struggle with how to get rid of them. Most zoos will not accept these animals; if they’re sold on the internet, they often end up in the pet trade. Animal shelters become receptacles for the cast off pets and have few resources to find them placement or sanctuary.
Please consider these issues BEFORE you acquire an unusual animal as a pet. Check out the state and local laws – many wild animals cannot be legally kept as companions. For more information, call PCAPS at 672-2440.