In recent years an alarming and dangerous trend has made itself seen in homes across the nation- the harboring of exotic animals as household pets. In today’s market you can find these exotic animals for sale in nearly any pet shop throughout America; ranging from the small and seemingly innocuous, to the large and ferocious. While pet shop owners, breeders and distributors of these foreign animals will lead their potential customers to believe ownership of these creatures is completely safe, this is anything but the truth. You don't need a criminal justice degree or experience in zoology to understand the consequences of adopting an exotic animal as a pet.
Typically, exotic animals are captured in their homeland, transported to the market in which they are to be sold, and then distributed to various pet shop owners for resale to the public. This presents several problems, both for the final customer as well as for the animal itself.
When these exotic animals are captured, the hunters often use unethical capturing methods. For example, a common method for catching baby chimps is to kill the mother and then take the babies. Another example is how hunters will sometimes use cyanide, a dangerous chemical, to catch fish. These shaky methods can have disastrous results on the fragile ecosystems from which these animals are coming. Furthermore, being captured and having to deal with the multiple transfers into different environments provokes high, unhealthy stress levels for the animals.
Once in America, life only becomes more stressful for these animals. The United States is not their natural habitat, which makes it difficult for many them to thrive. Especially in a house. Often, people visit a pet store and make a rash decision to purchase an animal they found because it looks cute. What they don’t know is that in a year, that adorable, fluffy African cat won't be so little and will be a terror; destroying their home, property and eating it's owner into bankruptcy and possibly turning them into a meal themselves. What’s the family to do then? It’s not surprising that many people attempt to turn these animals loose in the wild. However introducing a non-native animal into a new ecosystem can have drastic results on the fragile life cycle of the immediate area. Worse yet, the results and consequences are not easily reversed.
Causing issues within the environment are not the only problems that can occur when owning exotic pets. There are numerous physical dangers when humans try to turn these animals into household pets. It might be apparent to most people that a tiger would be dangerous, but those who have raised one and become emotionally attached may think otherwise. As humans, we tend to place our human emotions on our pets. Unfortunately, these animals do not have the same feelings we do and, as natural instinct, can attack.
The risk of attack by these animals is only just part of the many dangers in owning an exotic animal as a pet. Another serious issue that exotic pet owners frequently don’t realize is the exotic diseases these animals can carry. Salmonella, Hepatitis B, and even Monkey Pox can be carried by various exotic animals and all are transmittable to humans. It's even possible to catch these diseases without direct contact.
The best choice a person can make when choosing a pet, is to simply avoid exotic species. One should also strive to make informed of the choices when selecting animals and stick with native animals that have been properly domesticated. No species of wildlife will be suitable for the home, and trying to make an exotic animal a pet never works.