What to consider before buying wild exotic pets

A lady holding an exotic pet.

Many have found a measure of companionship among animals. Particularly on farms, a child and his dog sometimes seem inseparable.

At night, the lonely shepherd finds enjoyment in the presence of his sheep dog.

Similar relationships develop between the cow herder and his cow, or the Arab and his camel.

But in these cases the creature usually serves some basic purpose other than just companionship.

That leaves another category of animal relationships: that of “exotic pets .”

Wild exotic animals as pets


Not just dogs and cats, but baby alligators, boa constrictors, panthers, otters, monkeys and just about any creature you might find in a zoo can also be found in some homes around the world.

However, as an article in Life magazine pointed out:

The experts agree [that] wild animals make poor house pets—and most homes make very poor zoos.”

One dealer in “exotic” animals states that “75% of all imported animals die within the first year.”

The noise, frequent damage to the home, as well as the smell, often leave the owners of wild animal pets disenchanted.

Frequently the “pet” winds up in a backyard cage, a roadside zoo, or is destroyed.

Large zoos generally do not want these animals, since they have been spoiled as far as living peaceably with other zoo animals is concerned.

A major problem is that the owner’s freedom is often greatly limited by having a so-called “exotic” pet.

Owners of large cats, such as leopards and lions, find they not only cannot afford to have good furniture or rugs, but they often are afraid to leave on a vacation, finding it extremely difficult to have the wild animal cared for in their absence.

Life magazine quotes a lady who owns a South American jungle cat as saying: 

For all the lack of freedom you have by owning them, and for all the lack of freedom they have by being owned by you, you might as well make them into fur coats.”

It seems evident that, in many cases at least, certain animal pets are simply “out of place” in homes.

Some are of such size and nature that they were obviously made to roam the wide open spaces or slink through the deep forest or jungle regions.

Others, like the alligator and otter, were designed to be around bodies of water. 

Others need trees (not living-room chandeliers or curtains) to climb about in.

Still others need food that is simply not native to the area of the owner’s residence. 

When they are brought into the residence of humans, something, as it were, ‘has to give.’

This is true to a lesser degree when the animal is kept in the family yard. 

The ‘giving’ is largely on the part of the owner and may involve remolding one’s way of living to accommodate the animal.

Owners sometimes go to amazing extremes to accommodate a pet.

One family with a pet otter had two bathrooms in their home. 

The humans all shared one and turned the other over to the private use of the otter.

As the Life article reports: Slowly, many owners find the pet has become the master.”

Perhaps you do not have a leopard, an otter or a boa constrictor in your home or backyard. 

Perhaps you have one of the more usual, small, domesticated type of animal—maybe even just a dog or cat. 

Though this maybe the case, there still may be a question as to whether or not the animal is “out of place,” either physically or in other ways.

Your own attitude and dealings with the pet could be the cause of such wrong relationship. 

In such a case, it would be wise to make the environment more conducive for your pet.

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