We’re experiencing a rise in exotic pet ownership. This is because many animal lovers are looking to adopt pets beyond the usual cats, dogs, fish, birds, and hamsters. In fact, a National Geographic article on exotic pet ownership states, “It’s believed that more exotic animals live in American homes than are cared for in American zoos.”
Which Animals are Considered “Exotic?”
Although there is no firm definition of what constitutes an “exotic” animal, descriptions range from any animals that are not dogs, cats, fish, birds or horses. Also, pets sold outside of a regular pet store are considered exotic. Examples of “normal” pets are rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, and fish.
The most common understanding of what constitutes an exotic pet encompasses all animals living in homes as pets that are not a native species and/or animals generally considered as wild and not typically kept as pets.
The Allure of Exotic Pet Ownership
Humans are naturally drawn to animals. We long to share our lives with them, but some animals aren’t wired to be pets because they’re wild and can resort to their instinctive animal nature. Even the adorable baby animals are unpredictable. Big cats, like tigers and lions and pumas, can be as cute and cuddly as housecat babies but they can’t always be trained.
Some believe that raising a wild animal from a baby will create a bond that will override natural instinct. Others feel that adopting an unusual snake or spider will elevate them into “cool” or “edgy” status.
Whether you want to adopt a pet because it’s adorable or because you like the way it makes you look, you should have all the facts before taking ownership.
The Consequences of Exotic Pet Ownership
Before considering exotic pet ownership, think about this: many wild animals remain wild animals, even those raised by hand from a baby. Even some well-trained exotics can instinctively go back to more feral ways. Though many exotics live (successfully) in harmony with their human families, there’s a chance they might not become fully domesticated.
If you want to take on exotic pet ownership, it’s important to research the breed and understand the implications of such an adoption. It could be that you’re better off with a dog or cat.
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