Why do so many people want to own exotic pets instead of viewing them in their natural habitat?
With so many species becoming extinct in the wild isn't it time to stop taking exotic out of it and keeping in cages and houses. Don't you think that they should be left as part of the ecosystem?
I keep exotic pets. My lizards are very well taken care of, and where born in captivity. Their parents where born in captivity, and their parents parents. You see where I'm going with this. Many, I'd say most, exotic species that are commonly kept as pets are able to be bred in captivity rather than taken from the wild. They wouldn't know what to do if set free outside and I'm sure would most likely die.
Why do people keep any type of pet? Dogs used to be wolves long ago - no animal starts out as domestic. If our early ancestors had had a problem with keeping exotic animals than we wouldn't have any of the domestic pets that millions of people today know and love.
Exotic pet owners get a bad reputation because of the stupidity of some. That doesn't make them all bad. Most exotic owners I've had the pleasure of meeting are very responsible for their animals, and give them good lives. Most exotic owners highly respect the natural ecosystem and get animals that where born in captivity and not taken from the wild - the same way that you can get a dog, cat, horse, etc from a breeder or rescue.
The immediate thoughts that spring to mind in this situation are the pythons that are being found closer and closer to human domiciles (encroachment of the Florida Everglades increases the shrinking habitat there). These pythons grow to very large sizes and begin to prey on pets and even small humans while they sleep.
The case of Terry Thompson who released 56 animals, (including mountain lions, black bears, and Bengal tigers) from his farm in eastern Ohio and then committed suicide, also jumps to the forefront of my memory.
Big Cat Rescue, a wonderful organization that I made a point of visiting when I was in Florida last year, do a wonderful job of educating the public about not keeping exotic animals. Here is their link: http://bigcatrescue.org/
Great question, clairemy.
Those cases are extreme. Not all exotic owners keep large and dangerous pets, and yet people still seem to lump them all together and give exotic owners a bad name. Many small harmless animals very very commonly kept as pets are considered exotic.
Suelynn, thankyou, and I can see you understand exactly what I am getting at. Thank goodness there are rescue organisations, and for people like you who see !
Because we are people. We want to be better than others. Our ego's will probably be our downfall. "John next door has a better car!" So we go and buy a car better than his. That is the way most of our society is. It improves our self-esteem which is not entirely good because we spend more money, learn no patience, and cause more illegal acts.
Because not everyone is satisfied with a dog or a cat. It's as simple as that. There are pets for every personality out there and not all "exotics" are big potential man-eaters. Look at ferrets. They're exotic enough that not all dog and cat vets will see them. They're a species of animal engineered by man a few hundred years ago that doesn't actually exist in the wild. The same goes for cat hybrids like Bengals. Exotic pets can include rodents too which in most cases are nowhere near extinction. Lets not forget that most exotic pets these days are born into captivity. They're not wild animals to begin with. As far as seeing something in the wild? Well I don't know what money you live off of but most of us can't schedule a trip to a foreign country to trek through the woods in search of something we may or may not see. That's not to mention that habitat loss, civil instability, and other things may make this impossible anyway. If you're talking lions, tigers, and bears fine... most people probably shouldn't own those but please don't lump all exotics together. Here birds are considered exotic enough to require their own specialized avian vet and yes, that includes things like finches and canaries which are hardly rare! Or dangerous! And there are many variations of canaries, finches, and pigeons who do not exist in the wild and never have. Chickens are much the same. And lets not forget that fully domestic animals like potbelly pigs can be considered exotic if they're brought into the house like a dog. You *really* don't want to introduce pigs to a different ecosystem. They're already doing a damn good job killing off native species in Hawaii.
Some people can't seem to get it into their thick skulls that owning big cats or bears will eventually end in someone getting hurt or killed! It's not like a bird escaping his cage or a hampster...when these guys escape they eat people! Sadly, more times than not, these animals get punished for someone's bad choice...they end up getting killed or put down because their instincts took over! What do you excpect?
I think these people who own these dangerous animals, at first, admire the animals so mufch that they think they can tame them...love them enough to keep their instincts at bay...which is not the case! You simply can't fight against nature!
I seen on the news once where this one guy had a full grown tiger in his apartment... he had raised it there from a cub... it was living there until he brought home a stray cat and the tiger attacked the cat and he stepped in to save the cat and the tiger mauled him! He lived but 911 had to be called and authorities found out about the big cat! He had lived there for many years and nobody, not even the people living next to him in the apartments knew there was that kind of danger that close! This cat was not put down.. he was taken to a refuge for big cats!
Exotic pets include reptiles, small animals, and even some basic farm animals. But I know what you mean in this article. I do think it's wrong if someone doesn't have the means to take care of an exotic animal to keep them in cages. But on the other hand, some have strong bonds with exotic animals like lions or monkeys, maybe because they saved them when they were young or rescued them from danger. Some of these people keep their "pets" in a contained environment that's suited for the animal and release them when the animal is recovered or ready.
I have two chinchillas and the chinchillas around today, commonly cared for as pets, come from the original 11 that were first brought into the United States. However, originally bred for their fur, people began to love these exotic animals and now they aren't bred for their fur. Chinchillas that are kept as pets today couldn't go back into their natural environment because now, for generations, they have been domesticated. But if someone hadn't chosen one as a pet, they'd still be bred for their fur.
So perhaps the more we see exotic animals being kept as "pets", the less they'll become endangered and hunted.
Today, most exotic pets in the North American trade are bred in captivity. Aquarium fish are the only ones still taken from the wild in large numbers.
I believe that as long as an individual can provide zoo-grade care for the species they wish to keep, they can.
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