Banning "Exotic" Pets Is Senseless

Non-Domesticated Pet Vilification

It is often claimed by animal rights group that exotic pets are dangerous, that they spread disease, encourage poaching and the illegal wildlife trade, that they are unsuitable for living in captivity, and a slew of other bullet points of 'bad stuff'. All of these things are either half-truths, myths, or never apply to the majority of exotic animals kept as pets, but people are rather comfortable with accepting that any animal that doesn't fit the typical mold must be an unethical choice of pet.

A safer society?

Source
Wild and Dangerous? A captive fennec fox.
Wild and Dangerous? A captive fennec fox. | Source

If I could select one thing for a reader to take from this article, I would hope to irrefutably present that laws should never be enforced on the basis of public indifference combined with ignorance and false information.

The main people who are involved with delivering the majority of information out there about telling people what to think about captive exotic animals are legislators, public figures, celebrities, and several classes of activists with ideologies that are inherently against so-called human exploitation of beings.

They would like to control the mindsets of the uninvolved majority by deliberately skewing information as though there are no gray areas. Not untouched is a story that has resulted in a turning point in exotic animal legislation, and is repeatedly used as an excuse to attack every person with an atypical pet.

Terry Thompson, owner of a menagerie of several large exotic animals, freed them from his private facility in Zanesville, Ohio under a state of apparent mental distress. Whatever the reason, he maliciously cost the animals their lives and may have ended the lifestyles of countless people.

A few animals that are banned in some areas

  • Ferrets
  • Hedgehogs
  • Boa constrictors
  • Prairie dogs
  • Sugar gliders
  • Pot-bellied pigs

Discrimination

There doesn’t seem to be any defined standard for the development of legislation resulting from single catalytic incidents.

It is often the uniqueness of an incident that prompts people to consider bans, not the number of occurrences.

In other words, people often have knee-jerk reactions to things that are abnormal or things that they themselves do not consider necessary, and therefore in there minds it should be eliminated.

It is discrimination. Pit bull and other 'bully breed'-type dog owners receive similar criticism but there is also much resistance against this because so many people own them. As a general rule, exotic pet owners, aside from owners of fish, reptiles, and birds, are far and few between; a strong minority.

The more popular exotic pet trades have a larger following and therefore are harder for animal rights activists to take down. It is rare for someone who isn't invested with uncommon exotic mammal ownership to stand up for the rights of that group.

Examining the phrase: “exotic animals are not pets”

This is a typical statement that is often asserted without any assessment of its meaning, yet people just swallow it as fundamental truth. A pet is generally considered to be an animal, and it doesn't necessarily have to be a companion animal, that lives with its owner. The term “exotic animal” elicits different ideas for different people. Most people don’t have qualms with keeping ‘exotic’ pets such as parrots, which are actually more demanding to keep than conventionally perceived. Owners and friends of owners of such ‘exotic’ animals incorrectly believe that the bans do not possess the potential to trickle down and harm their lifestyles. They also falsely believe that many groups active in creating these bans are not against many more conventionally kept animals and even some domesticated animals.


Why are exotic animals not “pets”?

A statement I can agree with is that many exotic animals make bad pets, if bad is defined by what the majority of the public would expect out of a companion animal like a dog or a cat. Many exotic animals, or non-domesticated pets, lack the level of tameness, adaptability to the human lifestyle, and resulting simplistic care that many are used to from, say, golden retrievers, but the existence of such 'easier' pets do not mean other animals can't be kept at all (or that dog ownership is problem-free as well).

On the other hand, some domesticated pets can be just as, if not more, challenging to manage than some exotic pets. The key to the proper comprehension of this idea is that each animal varies on a species by species basis. Exotic animals have different degrees of care and do not fall under one class. Even domesticated animals such as different dog breeds can have more advanced care and will certainly have a poor quality of life in the hands of the wrong owner or living situation.


Source

Consider this article by the ASPCA. Exotic pets are according to the article, difficult to care for, taken from the wild, bred in what are similar to puppy mills, harm the environment, spread disease, ect. Many of these statements do not apply to all situations, or are inaccurate and misrepresented.

In fact, some dogs and cats ARE “difficult” to care for, bred in puppy mills, harm the environment, and spread disease. They simply can’t be taken from the wild because they aren’t from the wild, but what difference does that make? Most exotic pets, especially the most controversial exotic mammals are rarely, if ever, taken from the wild. Here is another Animal Planet-associated article that lumps exotic animals together and attributes problems to them that are easily found in domesticated animals.

People may have chosen a specific set of pets that are ‘acceptable’ to keep based on their usual temperaments, but a common illusion present is that this is somehow more ethical than choosing what is considered an alternative pet.

A Border Collie is a breed with special care requirements that, if not met, may result in mental distress.
A Border Collie is a breed with special care requirements that, if not met, may result in mental distress. | Source

The common logic exercised is that exotics require a very high level of care (or that the animal’s needs could never be met because it is “wild”), therefore an exotic animal is likely to end up in a bad situation. This is partially true, depending on the species. However, animals such as big cats, bears, large primates and other such “zoo” animals, are widely exaggerated by media figures as having high incidents of being kept as true pets with increasing demand.

Most people who own these animals privately are not keeping them simply as pets, or these owners have been involved with wild animals as an occupation. Permits for these animals in most states are issued for educational, sanctuary, and exhibition purposes. In other words, the bans would not apply to such owners. Permits are more likely to be issued to someone who is planning to make money off the captive animals than someone who is highly qualified and caring, simply wanting a 'pet'.

Leaving the controversial topic of privately keeping such large and potentially dangerous animals aside, there are far more owners of ‘exotics’, in which these animals are smaller and pose little or no threat to people, or at least are equal to or less than the risk of owning many domesticated pets. If you have access to the internet or television, the numbers of attacks by dogs are evident. In this case, owners of 'pitt bulls' can also identify with facing the stigmas that result in proposed bans despite the occurrences of attacks resulting in deaths with other dogs.

Source

A Crowded Reptile Show

Source

Why is the Exotic Pet Trade a "Billion Dollar Industry"?

“According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, second only to drugs and weapons on the black market". The thought of shady dealers profiting to such an extent over the selling of exotic animals such as tigers, servals, or even fennec foxes to the naïve public is enough to rattle the cage of any animal lover. How can sales of such animals be so prolific yet you've probably never even seen one?

I often see this statement alongside articles that cover the sporadic incidences of an escaped pet bobcat or discovery of a large boid in a bathtub. Many organizations hope that statements like these will enlist this depiction in your mind. Yet if one realized that the exotic pet trade applies to tropical fish, small harmless reptiles, budgies, ferrets and chinchillas as well, the statement is far less incriminating. It’s already well known information that millions of people keep these ‘exotic’ animals, and most pet supply providers respond to the demand to care for them. It is simply the opinion of the Humane Society and other similarly-minded organizations that all these people should not keep such animals because they are not domesticated.

What makes dogs and cats so appropriate and ethical to keep to the majority of the public? There are animal rights groups existing that also seek to eliminate this practice. We may have evolved alongside our trusty companions, but common sense shows that this does not make these animals immune to mistreatment. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Unlike many exotics, dogs and cats are killed in animal shelters. Dogs and cats that become victims of animal cruelty can be found almost daily. I am subscribed to many organizations always in need of donations to attempt to deal with this massive problem that humans are not taking enough responsibility for.

Some of these issues are so prevalent now, that they are largely ignored. Exotic animals may require advanced care, but they are currently, and most likely will always remain unpopular pet choices, aside from the unfortunate exotics that are victims of being sold by common chain stores, such as iguanas, hook bills, and ferrets. A real issue among all pets is their selling as merchandise in retail stores combined with cheap pricing. Many advanced exotic animals are not inexpensive or readily available to such a scale.

One example of a harmless, well-cared for exotic pet.
One example of a harmless, well-cared for exotic pet. | Source

Public Safety

Are you concerned about being harmed by an exotic pet?

  • Yes
  • No
See results without voting


This brings me back to the incident in Ohio that made national headlines, and the disbelief people experienced viewing the pictures of majestic wild animals deceased and sprawled across the farmland. The sheer emotional power from this incident is spawning several legislators to address this issue due to a sick man's actions. A situation of course which has never happened before.

I believe a change of perspective is needed to view the true severity of this conflict, or lack thereof. This situation, as rare as it was, did not result in any human fatalities. The animals paid the price for a cruel person’s selfishness. The mass deaths of 48 large species of carnivores that are frequently romanticized by people is upsetting, yet people do not take into account the dogs and cats that are being euthanized due to humans daily. I for one, do not value one mammal’s life over the other because one is more “beautiful” or “rare”. The captive animals also do not have any conservation value, and contrary to the media’s belief, they are not “rare” in captivity. Dogs and cats are also shot frequently in this country as menaces to societies, during police raids, or for being feral. We have many acts of horrible animal cruelty occurring in agriculture that would easily be resolved if the public was as adamant on banning factory farming as they are with exotics. How many critics of private exotic ownership have purchased dogs, or non-farm raised meats?

The Ohio incident was an incredibly exceptional case, one that should have been prevented by legislation barring a person convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals, even “only” a domestic cat. So why are people exploring bans and not regulations? Why are exotic owners being penalized for the state’s lack of any regulations for owning such a class of animal? The state is now conjuring up laws such as requiring owners of large exotics to register their animals and enacting confiscations of animals that are being abused. If there is a silver lining to this situation, I’m glad people are waking up on the lack of these minimum responsibilities.

Bans like this are routinely proposed

Escapes by large exotics that are potentially dangerous are always a possibility, even with professional zoos. Incidences of people getting killed who didn’t knowingly place themselves at risk by living with or visiting a dangerous exotic are not only rare, they may not have ever occurred. The same cannot be said for dog attacks. The mental depiction of walking down the street and succumbing to a full grown Siberian tiger has not happened in the USA. And if it did or does ever occur, the resulting statistics that indicate your chances of becoming such a victim are still pathetically low. I would imagine that if such ownership were restricted to responsible owners of inspected facilities, those chances would continue to decrease to invisibility.

Yet people continue to push for bans, and do so rapidly when any isolated incident occurs. It’s as though private rights are hanging by a thread simply because it is an unconventional lifestyle and it will unfairly be eliminated if negative incidents occur at all. This is not holding them to the same standard of other commonalities in our lives.

My pet genet, hiding in plain site, waiting to eat people's children.
My pet genet, hiding in plain site, waiting to eat people's children.

My Stance

Potentially dangerous exotic animals (that is, animals that actually have the capacity to kill) in the pet industry should be regulated, just like anything else that involves a direct or potential negative impact on people and animals. Captive exotics are living, feeling beings that depend on humans for a quality life, and their needs are no less significant than any captive dog, mouse, or fish. I fully support reasonable regulations that will decrease the chances that pets end up in bad situations, such as the highly televised Ohio tragedy. To me, this is more important than the alleged public safety issue, because incidents involving people who are not directly involved with the animal are rare.

Why do people even want to own exotics?

Is it due to rampant narcissism and to show off to people who “only” have conventional pets? When did it become convenient to castigate a group of people for being individuals? I don’t understand why people do extreme sports, intentionally get drunk, or enjoy roller coasters. I like keeping domesticated animals, but also enjoy the challenge of keeping an exotic and the rewards of being able to experience the unique behavior and attributes to said animal.

I feel a sense of accomplishment when my pets are content in their quarters. It is a unique opportunity to achieve any possible level of bonding with such an animal, and intellectually stimulating to understand their dietary and behavioral needs. I wonder why this is difficult to empathize with.

I will not hesitate to object to any animal being kept improperly. Some species of animals just simply make poor privately owned household pets, due to either sheer size or its requirements for an unreasonable home habitat, social structure, and enrichment schedule.

However, I still feel that if someone can exhibit the qualifications, the permit should be available as long as the populations of these animals are regulated just like dogs and cats should be.

Owning animals of this stature is not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. The proper owner will put the needs of the animals before their own conventional endeavors. The anti-exotic sentiment is largely the result of irrational stigma, and not much else.

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Comments 74 comments

anonimuzz profile image

anonimuzz 4 years ago from There

Oh, I like how passionate you sound when the subject is animals. I'm finally learning something about the other side of the picture. Whenever exotic pets are mentioned in the media, it is in a pretty bad light, and while I can imagine the number of irresponsible people that should never be allowed to get their hands on certain animals, I assume that there are indeed good examples hiding somewhere. It would be nice to mention them without making them look crazy (I myself tended to think that way about them. I'm learning to be more tolerant now). Interviewing someone as an example of a good animal owner and then throwing a bunch of negative statistics in the person's face (to which the interviewee just shrugs, usually)nand maintaning the negative tone for the rest of the show doesn't necessarily show impartiality.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

@anonimuzz I'm glad you have that perspective, thanks for commenting.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

This has got to be my favorite Hub on this whole darn website!


Deborah Flood 4 years ago

What can we do to see that only people who abuse animals or endanger others are punished and not all the people who love these animals and keep them as members of the family?

I don't think I've ever seen an issue that is consistently presented in such a biased way!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hi, Deborah, your comment is worded strangely. Are you suggesting that people who keep these animals are committing an act of abuse? If so, where is your evidence? Explain to me how this causes animals to suffer or experience unacceptable levels of consistent distress. It's obvious that I stand for a stance in this article. It would be great if you could offer more detailed criticism other than your vague declaration. I'm interested in knowing which points that I've presented are invalid.

Or,

Are you concerned that some exotic pet keepers are keeping them in an inhumane way? These animals do not necessarily need to be treated as a 'member of the family'. Many exotics that ARE abused are sometimes thought to be treated this way. Each animal has its own requirements. Monkeys are often purchased as surrogate human children, but they are extremely demanding and need interaction with their own kind.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 4 years ago from Washington state

I think perhaps she is asking... "What other choice do we have?" regarding exotic bans. I think from her point of view some owners may keep their exotics in less-than-pleasant conditions, and if bans aren't put into place to prevent those people from owning, the mistreatment will continue - so just ban everyone from keeping exotics. An argument you have indeed already addressed and countered in this hub with your comparisons to dog/cat cruelty :)


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Good reading! I agree with your stance 100%. As a "victim" of laws proclaiming public safety, my exotics are no longer in my possession. The majority of exotic keepers are indeed responsible individuals that have the safety of their animals, as well as, safety of the public. When public forums were held, I volunteered to assist in inspections for reptile rooms and enclosures. The state, eliminating their liabilities, simply decided to ban all but indigenous species, thus, putting the burden of liability on the private keeper's illegal ownership factor. What the public has failed to understand is that exotics in the home are professionally caged to limit the chance of escape. I can't imagine a cobra or mamba loose in the house, thus, professional caging is a must. As I stated in my first hubpages hub, I used to sleep in the same room with rattlesnakes (not exotics, I know). My feelings were if I couldn't trust the cages enough to sleep in the same room, I had no business keeping them to begin with. You brought up the Ohio incident several times. Twas definitely a sad incident, but the negative results it caused (laws changing against private ownership) are a reminder to the need of responsibility in keeping exotics. Good Hub! Voted Up!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Wow, which animals did you have that you had to give up? Or were they all rattle snakes? I would find it harder to convince people that venomous snakes can be kept but I'd be OK with it if you would need some kind of permit. It seems that only a few animals have actually become problems as invasive species and most of this is occurring in places like Florida, and only certain parts of it. Thanks for commenting!


Christopher Mathieu 4 years ago

Why do people own exotic animals?Aren't they wild creatures who have no business living in a cage or are otherwise relatively confined?I live in Ct and the example that comes to mind is the monkey who literally ripped the lady's face off.Just another bad example of exotic animal ownership?Give me a break!These WILD animals do not belong with private owners.Hopefully the remaining holdout states will get a clue and LEGISLATE their own bans.PEACE......


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Christopher, that wasn't a "monkey". There examples of bad care for every animal species including human children. I fail to see why that story is relevant. You are certainly not interested in 'peace' if your are not willing to learn and accept other people's desires.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

I agree with you, Melissa. However, I find it difficult to be as kind as you were.

There are people that don't belong in society because they cannot tolerate that all individuals are different and have different interests. They don't wish to understand, they only want to control. These individuals feel all should be the same, wear the same uniforms, eat the same food, and believe only as they believe. They forget that the one thing that separates us from a herd of cows is a brain that allows us to make individual choices based on individual likes and dislikes. Huff Pages is filled with self centered and self absorbed individuals such as these, that have no desire to understand another's views, only to bash them for them.

There's also an organization that advertises their desire to save all animals. However, ask your local branch how much money or support they receive from this organization. Three management individuals I've personally asked weren't familiar with them at all. Others were just disgusted with them and the ads they showed, because they were competing for valuable donations and in reality, were taking them away from the local shelter. They were never being filtered down as the public is led to believe. If sensationalism is high, they'll have have a cause to preach against. As long as they're preaching, the cash keeps flowing in.

Many keepers of wild animals also breed them. This is one way to keep them in existence. It's hard to keep them alive when a parking lot or shopping center has taken their homes. Unfortunately, there are many either on, or nearing the endangered species lists of the world. That is what occurs when you leave their existence to those with only greed as a goal. Sorry for preaching.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

I believe you are referring to the Humane Society of the United States. They prey on dog and cat lovers so they can support their animal rights beliefs. You are defiantly right about these people on Hubpages. Someone once declared that they would flag my profile out of a disagreement on my support for bobcat ownership. It's extremely hard to deal with this, as this is my life, and I am already ignored and unpopular enough as it is. And then I am denied my remaining passion for living by the same people who tell me to stop being so cynical. I just beg for the right to be considered as a person with my own free will, and to not have my life be decided by some other person's emotional sentiment. Thank you for commenting.


Christopher Mathieu 4 years ago

Melissa and rcrumple,with all due respect,please spare me your nickel and dime psychology.Don't even pretend to know me because you know nothing about me.From reading your little rants you sound like the ones with a militant,intolerant perspective.Your HuffPo reference is comical.Melissa,i am perfectly willling to learn other peoples ideas but i sure don't have to accept them.It's a free country,remember?According to you,all these animal organizations have nothing good to offer and are just a scam.Wow!That sounds like extremism to me.I've seen firsthand some of the excellent work they do.Please educate me enlightened ones..Oh,and by the way,i hunt game animals for sport.I'm sure you both accept my passion for the hunt.PEACE.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Christopher, I can deduct a lot from your original post. The fact that you do not know the difference between a monkey and an ape tells me you are ignorant about zoology. That level of ignorance makes me sure that your opinion on this subject will be fueled from a lack of knowledge of animals and their care. Also, that you must bring up a highly publicized incident shows me that you have not invested much mental energy into this subject because anyone with minimal insight knows that single incidents publicized by the media are not logical arguments to make blanket statements about all exotic pet owners. Google 'summer of shark'. There is no 'psychology' involved for me to make my conclusions about you because I have all the evidence I need. I hear rants from people like you multiple times daily, you are not unique at all and none of you can logically support your conclusions. The groups that I mention also do not support your right to hunt game, but I certainly do.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Christopher -

Thank you for verifying much of what I stated concerning certain character types. It is much appreciated.

As far as, the hunting is concerned, legal population control is a necessity since many of the natural predators have been extinguished by our society. Oops, that kind of validates my shopping center comment, doesn't it? I have to thank you again for that!

Your "enlightened ones" insult indicates an anger created by someone not agreeing to your views. Does that mean that you cannot accept that others also have a right to their views? Is it truly necessary to resort to name calling and insults to get one's point across?

I, also, deliberately made no mention of any organization's name. I did so because certain organizations are known to send trolls into discussion threads to "stir things up." I don't believe in providing food for those who are already properly fed.

I'm sorry you feel the need to insult those who examine their "attacker." I appreciate your right to express viewpoints. Perhaps, the manner in which you do so is where the problem lies. I return to you your offering: PEACE.


Biologist 4 years ago

Hi, I'm sorry but your story is shallow and partial.

You might know about zoology but it seems to me you haven't heard much about ecology or conservation biology.

The actual elephant in the room here is not if exotic pets should be banned on the basis of them being dangerous to humans or any of the aspects you comment on . The actual reason goes beyond that. Their demand increases the risk of them becoming extinct in the wild, you are just feeding into these species demise. CITES was established in 1975 because wild animals were going extinct as a result of people like you, who need to satisfy an apparent right to have a genet or whatever you think is cuddly after watching National Geographic. As simple as that. Even in the legal 'exotic' pet trade mortalities are as high as 80%, that means most animals die in the breeding facilities and on transit. So in order for you to get a nice iguana or a python 4 will die. Not only that, most of the ones that make it to their loving and proud owners will also die (mortalities at home, 75% in the UK for exotic pets). This has nothing to do with stigma. And moving on to your genet, was it bred at a captive bred facility or was it taken from the wild? Do you know where I'm from genets have a role to play in their ecosystem? And that because of people like you they actually need to be protected? Are you familiar with the concepts of habitat alteration, ecological damage, introduction of invasive species etc etc? Or the deleterious effects of captive breeding on the species gene pool? The demand for wild animals as pets is endangering not the animals themselves but unbalancing whole ecosytems.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

What makes you think I don't know anything about ecology? Probably little to no bans are taking place because of concerns about decimating their wild populations or even their die-off rates. This article serves to address the reaction to the tragedy in Ohio and public safety.

My first clue that you don't know what you're talking about is typical: you group all 'exotic pets' into the same category. Genets are of 'least concern' status in the wild and are NOT removed as pets at any relevant scale. All genet owners in the US get them captive bred from breeders. A 'wild' genet would make an unbearable 'pet'. At best, I could see a few being caught to enhance the gene pool of captive populations, and that is also not a threat.

Exotic parrots are another story. While threatened species are much more under considerable threat from habitat destruction, they can also be impacted from illegal collection for the pet trade. This is easily resolved by buying a captive bred bird. If we eliminated the responsible captive bird trade, do you honestly think the criminals who are illegally catching them and those buying them would care? But guess what? parrots are one of the few exotic pet species that AREN'T being threatened with bans. So that point is moot.

Fennec foxes, kinkajos, servals, caracals, ringtails, genets, to name a few, are not 'transmitted' from the wild solely to be pets, nor do they have die off rates like you describe. Reptiles and fish are another story. WHICH animals are you talking about? You can visit my hub "The Ohio Pet Ban: What Animals Are Now Illegal as Pets ?" and view the animals that are restricted now. You can tell me if any of the animals that appear on that list are known to be impacted by the pet trade. It's great how people can think about habitat destruction based on the animals I keep in my house while the practice of free-ranging cats is rarely ever questioned.


rcrumple profile image

rcrumple 4 years ago from Kentucky

Melissa-

Ignore these people and simply hit the deny button. They are not members of our community and they do nothing to contribute the the writing skills of this site. They are trolls that have been sent to stir things up.

This is a writing site, not Huff Post comments. It is not a site for trolls to create conflict. It is a site for individuals to write articles, and receive the comments of their peers of their writing skills, not personal beleifs. You have not made one mention of this fact in your post, not did the other troll, if indeed it is a different individual. For all we know, you took my last comment to you and cleaned up your presentation to return and for some reason, attempt to win an argument that has no place on this writing site to begin with. It only demonstrates your ignorance of this site and its goals.

If you want to contribute, become a member and post your thoughts. You will be judged on your writing skills, not what side of the fence, or cage, you belong.

Besides, when CITES was established, it basically provided the guidelines for illegal smuggling, and enforcement only stepped in when a species was on the endangered list. Many illegal pet traders paid off enforcement officers for years, both from the U.S. and overseas. The Van Nostrands were one family in Florida that did that, and Anson Wong controlled it overseas. Later, when the Van Nostrands were being investigated, Karl Hart did the same thing.

So yes, that comment goes by the wayside.

On this site, you simply cannot throw out an anonymous name and completely skewed numbers and come out ahead. The true facts are that captive breeding not only continues the species line, it provides a greater chance of survival than those have in most natuaral habitats. The reasoning is, as always, money. Animals that are captive bred are looked at as dollars that need protecting...an investment. These animals are generally taken care of exceptionally well. Why? No, it's not always love. But the same thing that these trolls hope for...money. A sickly animal will not be an attractive item for purchase. So, 1) no natural enemies to attack it, 2) controlled environment, and 3) a protection of an investment give it a much greater chance for survival.

And yes sir, I am very familiar with biological concepts. My question is, "Are you?" You've tossed out contradictions to your own argument here to try to make you seem more knowlegable. Unfortunately, you are not dealing with the ignorant. In fact, I, again, really don't understand why you are here at all. Obviously, there are a minimum of individuals to view your posting(s), and to be blunt, if this was my hub, I would simply refuse your postings in the future. They do not serve the purpose of the site! And that,sir, is the only fact that needs to be observed!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Thank you for your comments, but I disagree. I encourage respectable discourse about the topics that I write about here, as long as it doesn't get repetitive and lengthy. I like comments, I want to know what's out there, as I'm confident in my arguments and my ability to refute people on this subject.


Victoria 4 years ago

You guys are selfish. I am a vegan and I strongly believe in animal rights. Not once in this entire article did you mention the animals well being and what is best for them. All I read was about you and your "desires" to owning "exotics". These are wild animals who belong in their natural habitat. They have no business with selfish people like you. I hope all the states place bans in owning these non domesticated animals. Also, I couldn't care less if your "exotics" get taken away from you. You do not deserve to live with these beings anyway. They belong in their natural habitat not a cage!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 4 years ago from New York Author

Hello Victoria, while I have written extensively on the subject of the 'well-being' of exotic pets this particular hub is more about the grounds of banning exotic animals under the guise of public safety. It simply boils down to this: So you are a vegan, and you think exotic pet keeping is unethical. That's fine for you and I'm not forcing or encouraging you to do either. I'm not a vegan and I like keeping pets. Our Constitution honors my right to make my own choices. It does not state that humans rights should be dictated by "Victoria" based on what she thinks I "deserve". I also don't think your arrogant comment deserves to see the light of day on my hub, and aside from it being my right to delete it, I'll choose to keep it here as I do with all comments.


Andrew 4 years ago

Sarcasm is a great tool.


Stephanie 3 years ago

I do not understand why you need to keep these exotic animals as pets. Im not pretending to be well versed in the subject, and sure I would love to have a fennec fox or a kinkajo they are adorable and interesting however I can't see how this could be good for the animal. Im not saying that you are bad pet owners or bad people but why do you have these exotic animals? Why are they better off in your home then in the wild? How can you ensure that they have been obtained in a legal and non abusive way? Help me understand.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

You answered your own question Stephanie. You yourself have said that you would enjoy having an exotic pet. We have them because we want them, and having them is not harming them. I honestly don't care what anyone thinks is 'best' for them, I just know how I treat my animals. Maybe releasing my dog to a farm life would be 'best' for her. Don't care, I'm keeping her.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

Exotic pet owners keep their exotics for the exact reason people keep dogs and cats. We enjoy them. Despite their irritating nuances, we enjoy them. In face of their expensive vet bills, we enjoy them. In light of the work we must do to keep their environments enriching, safe, and comfortable, we enjoy them. In fact, all of the above is part of what makes pet ownership in general such an enjoyment. Laboring over an animal's diet, housing, exercise, and personality "flaws" always sounds preposterous and looks ridiculous to outsiders. But once you fall in love with a pet, you understand. And to exotic owners, "pet" does not end at dog or cat.

I am very attached to my dog, but I have the same love for my reptiles and my bugs. To many of us it's not about the affection they can or cannot give back (many, like me, may even prefer animal pets who do not require extensive social interaction), it has more to do with the other pleasures of having a companion. Another living creature that you care for is a big responsibility, and some people are happy simply having that.

They enrich our lives. They give us purpose. Without them, we would feel hollow and directionless.

You also ask why these animals are better off in our homes rather than in the wild. I think it's very hard for the general public to grasp just how wild "the wild" really is. For those of us who have worked closely with wildlife and pets, it's very obvious to us what the better choice may be, but I think both Melissa and I would agree that capturing wild specimens to fuel the pet trade is contraindicated. Luckily in this day and age, it is relatively easy to find captive bred specimens; you need only do a little searching.

Breeders have little to gain by falsely advertising and selling wild caught specimens, which are often temperamental, difficult to acclimate, sick from stress and riddled with parasites. With most animals, it's relatively easy to tell whether they were raised in the appropriate breeding facility or if they were scooped up from the fields of Africa (for example, measure the personality of a hand-reared conure to a conure that was raised by its parents alone).


Stephanie 3 years ago

Thanks for your answers, it makes sense when you put it that way. I just hope/wish that all exotic pet owners are like you and understand what they are getting into. I guess its just like bad dog/cat owners it just seems worse for some reason when someone mistreats an exotic animal because we aren't accustomed to seeing it and depending on the animal, if they are endangered.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Haha, Shaddie provided a more elaborate great reply, I just get tired of answering the same question and I didn't know if you would even see it; I'm planning on writing a hub to answer these questions. I'm glad that you see that mistreating exotic pets seems worse "for some reason". It's really just a mindset, but it's not valid. People view exotics as 'special' but you are right, it's just not what we're accustomed to seeing and people accept the issues with dogs and cats more readily. I can also assure you that whether or not an animal is endangered is of little meaning. Most animals in captivity will never be used for species survival programs, therefore they are just as 'important' as dogs and cats.


MEATEATINGREDNECKHUNTER 3 years ago

Victoria, I had me a big azz juicy steak, it was GOOD. Oh and me and my PET TIGER went out and killed us some WILD BUFFALO in huntin season, you shoulda seen it, we had a lot of fun, oh and btw VEGANS maybe yall should go get some sun.


barklebee8 3 years ago

Where did you get the fact that exotic pets kill less people? I'm doing a report and a reliable statistic told me exotics kill more people. I do appriciate your input though.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hello barklebee, I believe the answer to your question can be found here: http://hubpages.com/politics/ohiomassacre

This may also be of interest: http://hubpages.com/animals/exotic-pet-attack-goog...

Yes some of my sources are from Rexano, and that doesn't make it any less true. It's pretty impossible to deny that non-exotics cause more fatalities. In fact, if you use Big Cat Rescue's statistics what I say still rings true.The other thing that you must consider is that most exotic pet deaths occur with people who have taken an occupational hazard and are involved with (or own) the animal. I would say that an exotic 'pet' kills an uninvolved member of the public about every few years, if that, compared to domesticated animals like dogs which is almost monthly.

Would you mind sharing with me your statistic?


bark 3 years ago

Where did you get the fact that exotic pets kill less people? I'm doing a report and a reliable statistic told me exotics kill more people. I do appriciate your input though.


barklebee8 3 years ago

My original source is www.petfinder.com/pet-adoption/exotic-pets/exotic-animals-pets

But some cool statistics are shown at live science.com type in owning exotic animals


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"bark", I answered your question already so please don't ask that again. Ah Petfinder. I adopted my dog via that website, and it's good to see that they too are spreading ignorant nonsense. There are no statistics to be seen on that page, just speculation. The only people who have really bothered to determine numbers are groups that care about their pet owning lifestyles while other people sit there and point fingers because they find it 'weird'. It is often the mission of people to create an environment for themselves where no weird people challenge the way they think or do something that baffles them.

This is not a 'very reliable source'. In fact you won't find much information on this subject from a non-biased party. As for Live Science, if you're referring to this: http://www.livescience.com/16815-exotic-pets-wildl...

No comparison to non-exotic animals is being made. No anti-exotic special interest group will EVER make this comparison because it makes their ranting look very silly. 75 deaths between 1990-2011 is a VERY small number and most of these people were involved with the animal (it also includes killer whales, these are obviously AZA-accredited ZOO animals not pets). They also write "could transmit" things like Herpes B, but they haven't, not in several years. Public safety-wise people need to keep their noses out of our business. I find keeping exotics more rewarding than smoking and drinking.


adh071185 profile image

adh071185 3 years ago from Southern United States

This all boils down to another effort to legislate common sense. What animals your allowed to own should be determined by the health of the animals involved and the level of danger they may represent to the public.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Unfortunately adh071185, many people and especially legislators are ignorant to what a potential danger really is, and castigate any animal they perceive as threatening.


dmvjane profile image

dmvjane 3 years ago from Philippines

It's okay to have exotic pets as long as it does not belong to the endangered species.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi dmvjane, thanks for commenting. This isn't entirely true...it depends on whether or not the species has a sustainable population in captivity. Some examples include tigers subspecies, ref-fronted macaw, axolotls, and some species of poison dart frog.


barklebee8 3 years ago

The live science one wasn't supposed to compare exotic pets to nonexotic pets. I just thought it was interesting. I've been looking around a lot. Maybe you could answer one question for me with out making me feel like crap. What do you consider to be an exotic pet?


adh071185 profile image

adh071185 3 years ago from Southern United States

Wouldn't the discrepancy between the number of fatalities associated with exotic vs. non-exotic pets be explained by the population density of the two.

It would seem that the trend would naturally be in the exotic pets favor seeing as they are such a small percentage of the overall pet population.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Totally correct adh071185. Think of it this way, if exotic pet keepers are so few in between that not only do their animals rarely cause deaths, but it is even -far- more uncommon for their animals to kill or injure members of the uninvolved public, why do people (notably the uninvolved public) consider exotics to be a threat? Even when exotics were highly and disturbingly unregulated in the pre-2000 era, incidents like these were not so numerous. With the proper regulations, the incidents are so rare or non-existent that the only way to 'justify' bans is due to the personal prejudices of certain groups of people. Dogs have always and will continue to kill and maim people who are minding their own business. I myself fear dog attacks.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Many of my hubs define what I consider to be an exotic animals, mostly animals with little or no domesticated characteristics (some of which cannot occur in some species), even if they've been somewhat modified by human-driven selection. Some examples include elephants, bison, discus, tigers, servals, Savannah cats, cockroaches, hedgehogs, wolfdogs, tamarins, tarantulas, garter snakes, sugar gliders, bears, clownfish, squirrels, mambas, peacocks, macaws, frogs, cockatiels, snails. Sometimes pot-bellied pigs and ferrets are considered as such but both are fully domesticated.


barklebee8 3 years ago

So another question : Where do you get your exotic pets? And do you prefer semi-domestic or domestic pets and why?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

'Barklebee8' who are you? Are you from Youtube? I'm glad you're interested in the topic but I think you should message me privately. I don't really see the point of having a prolonged conversation if it's not going to be of much substance. And I don't understand your question, I keep all types of animals. This hub is about exotic pets.


Aaron Barnett 3 years ago

I believe that you have some valid points, however "exotic pets" are still very unsafe whoever the owner. The one case in Ohio isn't the only case of exotic animals running the streets. In Florida anacondas and Pythons are being found everyday. People buy them and then decide that they don't have the time or resources to take care of them anymore and release them into the swamps and marshes of our southern States. In October of 2012 a 16 FOOT LONG PYTHON was found resting after devouring a deer. As you say "Some people shouldn't be allowed to own exotic animals" but what if say a hurricane comes in and wipes out a few towns and cities and in those towns and cities lived say 50 people who owned exotic pets, and 3 pet stores that sold them. How many exotic pets are running free in Florida then? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eydK_N60FU


adh071185 profile image

adh071185 3 years ago from Southern United States

Some people shouldn't have exotic pets? Valid point. Then again some people shouldn't breed either...or be allowed to drive...own guns...smoke in public. Common sense rules are what is required here not the wholesale removal of rights and liberties. That is a slippery slope.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Aaron, as you have said sometimes hurricanes do cause some exotic animal escapes. That is exactly why there are Burmese pythons in Florida in which most have escaped from one pet warehouse location, it is not likely that releases account for the status of the population. There has not been one fatality from these invasive animals, so I doubt they are any more dangerous than Florida's other native fauna (alligators). The recent 'python hunt' has probably put a damper on their populations, the 'massive' count of snakes captured totaling 68. There are quite a few species of exotic pets living in Florida as well as domesticated animals and pet birds, many intentionally released species, some escape through the agricultural industry, hundreds of exotic plants; the region is heavily infested at this point. Only small parts of Texas and Louisiana have the climate to make this a severe problem. Domesticated cats are the main pet animal that's doing the most ecological damage in the U.S. as a whole.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for commenting adh071185. I agree that common sense is needed. Most exotic pets are banned because the majority is afraid of them. They have no problem being open-minded about activities that they themselves find important, like their drugs, pet cats and recreational transportation. Every year a new ban or impossible to deal with regulations are proposed. Sometimes little pets that are completely harmless become banned at the will of any legislator, because the rights of pet owners simply aren't as important as others or perhaps a group of people's emotions are allowed to run other people's lives. The life of an exotic pet owner is that of stress.


Nick 3 years ago

I just don't get why anybody would want a snake that is able to eat your beloved pet dog or crawl into your kids room and do the same. This country did just fine without all these animals here. I can't go to the river anymore unless I have a cage around me because of the Asian carp. I don't mind seeing exotic animals up close at the zoo but why in anybody's right mind would you want a cobra or python? It's not like there going to fetch a ball or play with the curtain strings. There locked up in a cage ( or should be ) and just lay there. Those animals have just a couple of things on there mind, eat and make little babies. There is no sense in having them.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Allow me to share some insight Nick. Keeping animals like these is a completely awesome, one of a kind experience. Snakes don't really require much care, but you can view such an interesting animal at any time of the day. Why do people go to zoos? Simply to get a glimpse of animals like these. Well, owning one is like that on steroids. The ultimate experience. A little responsibility can insure that it won't harm your children. Those are indeed rare incidents. What does Asian carp, a species of fish imported to clean ponds, have to do with people who keep large snakes? You sound like someone who doesn't like snakes so why play naïve and ask why other people do like them? They're not your clones.


BruiserT profile image

BruiserT 3 years ago from London, UK

Keeping exotic animals is not right no matter how you try to justify it to yourself. Just because you want to do something (and can) doesn't always mean you should. I just have to look at people posting photos of cute exotic animals and then see the 'Oooh..how cute I want one, where did you get it' comments to know that it's wrong and some of these animals are going to be neglected and abused. I agree with your point that it should be regulated but I would be happy to see a complete ban. I can't imagine what could be missing in your life that you would specifically need to have an exotic pet. It just seems selfish to me.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

You sound pretty confident about that position BruiserT. Your arguments are pretty generic, just because I can do something, doesn't mean I should? Why shouldn't I? Is everything you do with your life in the best possible interest for animals, people, and the environment? Even buying a dog or cat certainly isn't, and these animals also end up abused in many circumstances. And why does you get to determine which 'selfishness' is immoral? I think that us modernized humans live a very excessive life and that is not different from deciding to add a pet of ANY species. If we do it because something is 'missing' from our lives, I think that alone validates the need. If my pets improve my quality of life, I'm already less selfish than people who buy a bunch of junk with no real need.


BruiserT profile image

BruiserT 3 years ago from London, UK

I don't own any pets. I don't agree with the pet industry at all. The point is not everyone looks after their animals. I used to work with the SSPCA (Scottish Society for prevention of cruelty to animals) and I have seen some horrendous things done to animals by people who are supposed to be caring for them. My brother-in-law works at a reptile sanctury which takes in crocodiles, alligators, snakes, tortoises... some of these animals are huge. The space they have to live in is tiny. It's not a registered charity so they rely on donations to run the place. Not everyone is going to treat their animals in the proper way which is why they end up in the sanctury. It's such a waste.

Why shouldn't you? Why should you? Why do you HAVE to own an exotic animal?

"If my pets improve my quality of life, I'm already less selfish than people who buy a bunch of junk with no real need". I'm sorry but I don't understand that at all. You might be improving YOUR quality of life but what about the quality of life of your pets?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

" The point is not everyone looks after their animals."

NO not everyone will. Do you give this lecture to every dog and cat owner? Or how about everyone with a human child? I suppose if any of us were non-existent we would never suffer or have a chance to as well. That's pretty obvious, and that's just life. Blaming everyone who is not the perpetrator of the cruelty is inane. I'm not going to entertain the question "why do you HAVE to do this". The only thing I 'have' to do is eat and live in shelter, and well maybe technically I don't even 'have' to do that.

Still don't get it? Well I'm sure you're not trying very hard.


BruiserT profile image

BruiserT 3 years ago from London, UK

I'm not sure there is anything to get. It's a discussion on an emotive topic and I'm sure as the author you have written it expecting some people are not going to agree with your points.

Cats and dogs aren't a good comparision to most exotic pets as they don't require specialist care to the extent that wild/exotic animals do. They don't always need a specialist diet, a specific environment to live in.

Cats for the most part are pretty independent and unless they are house cats can come and go as they please. Dogs also have more freedom compared to exotic animals. But you missed the part about me working with the SSPCA. Yes I would lecture people who have all kinds of pets, especially dogs. I think the regultion of the pet industry (ALL kinds of pets) is important for the animals and humans. Not only do we see animals being abused but we see people attacked, injured and killed by animals.

I'm looking at the bigger picture. I'm not looking at 'your' particular feelings for the most part as I think it's important to look at the industry as a whole. The way I see it is these are living creatures. We have no way of knowing their feelings or if we are taking their welfare into consideration. We may think we are treating them well by our standards but we can't know for sure. They are wild animals and that's how it should be.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"They don't always need a specialist diet, a specific environment to live in."

Sure they do. Like you say, 'we have no way of knowing their feelings'. What causes you to assume that dogs and cats enjoy their limited freedoms? There is a huge debate about letting cats roam free. To put things simply, I'd rather see a cat euthanized than released outside to kill at its leisure. The idea of keeping pets is absurd if we aren't going to keep them out of the wild. To intentionally produce destructive outdoor roaming species is unethical, and I'd rather suffer with no pets at all. All animals require 'special care'. The reason that so many people in your neck of the woods believe that cats 'go crazy' indoors is because they are failing to realize that not all cats are 'hands free' ignore pets. So-called 'behavioral problems' are animal characteristics that can be curbed with the proper energy outlet. What happens to poorly understood indoor cats undoubtedly happens to exotic pets and zoo animals.

Perhaps pet owners of any animal can learn from responsible exotic pet owners and the hurdles they must go through to keep their animal at a level of sufficient well-being. Owners of exotic cats for instance know they will need outdoor runs for their pets. They need exercise, which most people have no issue giving dogs but fail at doing so with cats. 'Misunderstood' dogs also sometimes attack and kill, and at higher rates than even captive lions and tigers. Why? Because one would have to be a special kind of stupid to see a house cat in a tiger, but most people grab dogs and cats thinking they are 'easy' care pets, like you've just insinuated. Therefore I argue that mass produced dogs and cats are at a similar or higher risk for inadequate care.


BruiserT profile image

BruiserT 3 years ago from London, UK

Your going down the straw man route again. The issue isn't cats (and I have already made my feelings clear on any kind of pet ownership), it's about banning exotic pets.

I'm not totally sure if you know how to keep to a discussion without going off topic.

It's nice that you love to keep animals. I'm sure you get a lot of enjoyment out of it but look at the bigger picture which must be the welfare of the animals. The point I keep making is not everyone is a good owner. Not everyone cares as much. I only have to look at the reptile sanctury that my brother in law helps to run to see this.

I don't see much point in continuing this though. I don't mean to insult you but it seems that you are very stuck in your own mindset. Perhaps it's more that you don't understand. Regardless I wish you well and I hope you look into the suffering that these animals who are not so lucky have to endure because someone wants to make some money in the exotic animal trade.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I directly addressed your statement "cats and dogs aren't a good comparision" and said 'yes they are'. This is extremely relevant because you appeared to be giving them a pass for the SAME issues that you are accusing the exotic pet trade of. This is not a "strawman". If your position is that NO pets should be kept, then you are against all pet ownership, exotic or otherwise, and have no business singling exotics out, which suffer from the same issues that domesticated animals do, as you agreed with.

Unwillingness to agree with you is not 'stuck in one's own mindset', you failed to make me hate pet ownership which is your reason for hating pet keeping of the exotic variety. To suggest that not 'everyone will be a good owner' seems to imply that only a fantasy-like world would appease you. Even in your fantasy world where all pets and life are banned, people will probably still break the law and do it anyway, such as those 'bad owners'.

So not only did you not cure the world of suffering and evil, you also have a lot of sad people that endured having their rights maliciously ripped from them for nonsensical reasons, forcing them to return home to a residence with no animals, and potentially give them fuel to direct their frustrations into negative means. You've also destroyed many honest businesses, forcing more competition for generic, rat race jobs. You've removed a potential source of inspiration for the next conservationist, animal welfare scientist, or wildlife rehabber all because "not everyone is a good owner".


anewman1969 profile image

anewman1969 3 years ago

I have several pet snakes and when people say "I just don't understand why anyone would want to keep a snake for a pet" I ask them why. I always get the same generic answers like "Their dangerous", "Snakes are not normal pets" or "They are wild animals and have a much better life in the wild instead of your house". Then I ask them how much if any research have they done on snakes and 99.9% of the time the person knows nothing about wild or captive snakes.

Lets use Biologist and what he considers to be a real argument for not keeping exotic pets and breeding them in captivity with all of his facts and stats on the mortality rates. Biologist concerning the few animals that you mentioned I know several people who breed these animals with about a 95% success rate. The mortality rate percentages that you speak of is the mortality rates of these animals breeding in the wild.

To the people who say these animals would live a better life in the wild rather than at my house really need to do some research on the lives these animals actually live in the wild.

Everyone needs to really understand this- YOU ARE PART OF THE GROUP TRYING TO TAKE MY RIGHTS AWAY ON SOMETHING THAT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS OR YOUR RIGHT TO DO BASED ON FEAR AND IGNORANCE SO WHAT RIGHT WILL BE TAKEN FROM YOU BECAUSE SOMEONE WANTS TO COME IN YOUR HOUSE AND TELL YOU WHAT YOU CAN AND CAN NOT DO. Oh that's right my bad you should be able to take away my right as long as nobody tries to take yours.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Agreed. I also have a spider ball btw.


Jazzy 3 years ago

There is one huge issue you didn't even mention. Exotic/wild animals should not be kept as pets because they should not be taken out of their environment. These animals should not be kept as pets - it's animal cruelty. Even if you are the most caring owner, that animal will always be better off in the wild. To do otherwise is a selfish act akin to having a beloved pet reach the end of their lifespan, begin to deteriorate, and yet choosing not to put them down because you don't want to see them go. It's wrong.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

What makes you think I've never been asked about this issue "Jazzy"? This article is about exotic pet legislation, and no state bans exotic pets because 'wah wah we think they should remain in the wild'. Completely false, malicious claims by people like you of exotic pets being "dangerous" is the reason why they are often regulated. Your post reveals the black and white, shallow thinking that you possess. An animal "will always be better off"--what a stupid thing to say. Who made you the authority on all animal's livelihoods?


Jazzy 3 years ago

I never made any claims about exotic animals being dangerous, although in certain circumstances they certainly can be, because that wasn't the point I was trying to make. I was mentioning how your article only seemed to address the danger of owning an exotic animal as a pet. I agree that making a law based on ignorance and fear should never be done, but I do believe that, if you are addressing the issue of owning exotic animals, the quality of life that animal would experience should be addressed. To do otherwise is to present a biased article that only gives one side of the story.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Read my reply again Jazzy. This article is just about laws and not about other controversies. This is why I've written more than one article. I think you're the last person who should be accusing anyone of biases, since you stated firmly that all exotic animals in captivity suffer.


starry 3 years ago

Somehow I got to this article from searching on the internet. Your article is very unique as it is a pro-exotics argument and they are incredibly hard to find on the net. I have done a lot of research into the issue and would have to disagree with your stance. You mention a lot of facts but also omit (or perhaps don't know about) information on the issues of exotic pets. I wrote an extremely LONG reply to this hub but have decided to instead join the site (as someone suggested in this thread) and will probably make a "hub" for my opinion. This is pretty cool because I didn't know you could make money off writing an opinion. cool beans


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Ok Starry, thanks for an insubstantial reply. I'm really interested in knowing what I've omitted if you don't mind.


Dalia 3 years ago

My opinion is that if an animal, whatever it is, lives peacefully with its owner and this latter provides it all substantial things for its wellbeing and takes all due precautions I don't see why it should be unfair all the same. Why don't you apply this reasoning to dogs and cats, too? They once belonged to the wild, but afterwards we tamed them. And I'm pretty sure that many of them live as good a life as many 'exotic pets' do. It's rather superficial to assert that a pet, whatever the species, is being abused just because it lives ALSO indoors. It all depends on the OWNER, his economic means, the time he's disposed to spend with his animal and the affection that binds both of them. Stop bitching about.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree Dalia. I'm sure many exotic pets have more happiness and well being than I do.


janeanonymous 3 years ago

“The Ohio incident was an incredibly exceptional case, one that should have been prevented by legislation barring a person convicted of animal cruelty from owning animals, even “only” a domestic cat.” Cruelty laws and penalties are usually weak and where are the confiscated animals supposed to go? To another facility that has no regulations except animal cruelty?

Animal cruelty laws don’t protect the public (cases in point - the escaped python that killed 2 children in Canada or the chimp in Connecticut that attacked a woman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Travis_%28chimpanzee%... ) or the local fauna (the Florida python problem) from an escaped or intentionally released animal from an owner who has not been cruel to its animals. In the chimp case, the attacked woman tried to sue the state for not removing the dangerous animal. Now Connecticut has enacted legislation to protect the public once again from an escaped animal whose owner did abide by the animal cruelty laws but was unable to control the animal and ignored signs that the chimp was dangerous.

Any domestic or exotic pet owner should voluntarily have liability coverage, but if it takes a state law to make that happen, so be it. If a major problem happens, liability insurance protects the injured person from footing the bill for possible major medical costs &/or to hire a lawyer to recover those medical costs from the owner; and protects the owner from possible financial ruin. Sure it may be expensive, but if pet owners continue to be irresponsible, more laws will have to be passed . It’s not the responsible owners that are the problem nor is it the animals.


janeanonymous 3 years ago

You state, about the Burmese pythons in Florida "There has not been one fatality from these invasive animals, so I doubt they are any more dangerous than Florida's other native fauna (alligators)." I think you were referring to human fatalities but I'm not sure. There was a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled "Severe mammal declines coincide with proliferation of invasive Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park" (http://www.pnas.org/search?fulltext=florida+python... Are they on your list of biased organizations too?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

My responses are on the other hub janeanonymous. Yes, I was referring to human fatalities. It is obvious that these carnivorous snakes prey on wildlife.


2 years ago

I agree with keeping exotic pets. I have a zebra my self and the zebras wouldn't live very long if we did not keep them in "cages". they probly live twice as long in "cages".


Unknown 2 years ago

That was a great hub. I do agree with the keeping of exotic animals. Over here in ontario, though, we're going through this exotic pet crisis. You see, ever since the "python incident", there's been talk of some people making major changes to our system. Something like a permit for potentially dangerous animals would be good, but I don't want them them to outright ban anything


Breck123 20 months ago

I have a question: if the local laws of one place only mentioned dogs and cats, and didn't mention exotics at all, would that make them legal? I mean, if they aren't explicitly stated to be illegal, then wouldn't that make them OK?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

Maybe, but you're supposed to call. My city doesn't mention exotics, and I was given the run-around when I called up. I ended up talking to animal control that sounded as though they were giving me their OPINION of whether or not I should have the animal (a fennec fox, I ended up with a genet though). It was annoying and stupid. They finally just told me (after thinking I was talking about a ferret) oh it's small right? I guess.

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