Exotics Health Information
Wondering About Exotic Pets?
For health articles and answers to questions about a variety of exotic pets, visit the Healthy Pet website.
Should Wild Animals Be Kept as Pets?
Taken in abbreviated form from the website of The Humane Society of the United States. The Humane Society of the United States strongly opposes keeping wild animals as pets. This principle applies to both native and non-native species, whether caught in the wild or bred in captivity. The overwhelming majority of people who obtain these animals are unable to provide the care they require.
Caring for wild animals is difficult or impossible
Despite what animal sellers may say, appropriate care for wild animals requires considerable expertise, specialized facilities, and lifelong dedication to the animals. Their nutritional and social needs are demanding to meet and, in many cases, are unknown. They often grow to be larger, stronger, and more dangerous than owners expect or can manage. Wild animals also pose a danger to human health and safety through disease and parasites.
Baby animals grow up
Baby animals can be irresistibly adorable—until the cuddly baby becomes bigger and stronger than the owner ever imagined. The instinctive behavior of the adult animal replaces the dependent behavior of the juvenile, resulting in biting, scratching, or displaying destructive behaviors without provocation or warning. Such animals typically become too difficult to manage.
Wild animals spread disease
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discourages direct contact with wild animals for a simple reason: They can carry diseases that are dangerous to people, such as rabies, herpes B virus, and Salmonella. The herpes B virus commonly found among macaque monkeys can be fatal to humans.
Domestication takes centuries
Wild animals are not domesticated simply by being captive born or hand-raised. It’s a different story with dogs and cats, who have been domesticated by selective breeding for desired traits over thousands of years. The instinctive behavior of wild animals makes them unsuitable as pets.
Capturing wild animals threatens their survival
The global wildlife trade threatens the very existence of some species in their native habitats. Animals meant to live in the wild may languish in a cramped backyard cage or circle endlessly in a cat carrier or aquarium. Often, they become sick or die because their owners are unable to care for them properly.
Having any animal as a pet means being responsible for providing appropriate and humane care. Where wild animals are concerned, meeting this responsibility is usually impossible. People, animals, and the environment suffer the consequences. Read more from the Humane Society of the United States.