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Wild animals as pets

Many people are captivated by the unique beauty and allure of wild and exotic animals, and some are tempted to take their admiration to the next level and acquire a wild or exotic pet. Wild animals may seem more exciting and interesting, baby animals appear to be tameable, and reptiles and rodents are sometimes seen as an ideal pet for those who have limited time to care for an animal. However, there are many problems with keeping a wild or exotic animal as a pet.

Wild and exotic animals have specific health, behavioural, and psychological needs that are extremely difficult to meet in captivity. Only the most exceptional zoos and wildlife centres provide a living area that somewhat resembles the natural habitat of these animals, but it is virtually impossible to provide sufficient space for larger species.

Wild cats are too big and powerful to be pets; bears cannot be kept in backyards. Wild animals do not lose their wild instincts when in captivity and if provoked can become very dangerous and may kill or harm their owners, or escape and harm or kill others. Reptiles , hedgehogs and some other species often carry salmonella bacteria that is easily transmitted to humans, particularly young children and seniors.

Many wild and exotic animals are social species that need a companion of the same species; these animals will suffer psychologically if kept isolated. Many owners who have tried to house wild animals may enjoy the novelty of their new pet for a short time but quickly realize they are unable to meet all the animal’s needs and often try to sell or give away the animal. Some abandon it or try to put it back in the wild where it either disrupts an environment inhabited by other wild animals or is unable to re-adjust after living in captivity.

Baby wild and exotic animals often look tame, manageable, and exciting. People sometimes think that if they purchase a young animal, they will be able to train and manage it as it grows up. However, these animals do not lose their wild instincts as they grow older, and many of them become big and strong, and have the potential to seriously harm people. Their needs become more complex, and more difficult to meet.

Many cases have been documented where an exotic animal was abandoned when its owner moved or found it difficult to manage. It is difficult to find a facility that can take in these abandoned animals and many of them must be euthanized, or end up suffering and dying as they undergo the stress of moving from one place to another in the effort to find it a new home. The CFHS maintains that the needs and welfare of animals are of primary importance – more important than entertaining and amusing individuals. These needs can not be met when individuals attempt to house wild or exotic animals as pets.

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