Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

When people think of exotic pets, they think: tigers, bears, lions, and crazy dangerous animals that can kill you with a playful “give me paw”. Exotic pets are more than those large mammals; they are any animal that is not native to your living area or has never been classified as domestic. The logic behind considering non-native species exotic pets is because it doesn’t have any natural predators to keep their population healthy; making them a threat to other species because they become invasive and deplete the other populations of creatures; throwing off the entire ecosystem in that place, all because of their owners releasing them into “the wild”. Hundreds of wild animals have been released in the U.S., causing tremendous negative effects on the released and native species. These negative outcomes don’t only happen to the species surrounding the released creature, but the creature itself. Seeing that this happens frequently with irresponsible exotic pet owners, the United States should obtain a ban on any type of exotic pet ownership in all states.

Exotic creatures need space and large quantities of food to survive, and it hurts the wallet. People end up not affording their “pet” and releasing it in the wild where they, the owner, live, even if the animal doesn’t know how to survive in that environment; that causes the animal harm and torture as well as other creatures. In a short documentary, Joe Taft, an exotic feline rescue founder, and director states that: “…somebody who had a large collection of big cats for some reason this guy went out one night and let all his cats loose… and all of those cats ended up being killed…”. In this case, the felines ended up shot, but that’s still dreadful because those felines are endangered species. This all occurred because of the United Stated not placing a law against owning exotic pets in all states.

Exotic pets are animals who are wild, they don’t belong in captivity as people would like; they are dangerous creatures with primitive wild instincts who can’t be molded to behave like your typical house pet. However, people argue that they can become as lovable as a puppy, but even if that were true their natural wild nature peaks through and can cause a catastrophe. Joe Taft explains: “A lot of these animals are incredibly friendly, but that doesn’t mean they’re safe. These animals will kill you because they love you. ‘Hi, let’s play! Oh, you broke! ’”. Never trust an exotic pet because regardless of how tamed it may be, it can harm you when you least expect it.

Therefore, exotic pets should not be derived from their natural environments only for the human ego; they can be everything kind in the world but your safety, the safety of the people around you and of the animals, comes first. Yes, they are adorable, gorgeous, and exciting to own but most definitely dangerous and should have their freedom in the wild where they originate from. However, if the United States legislated a ban against people owning exotic pets, all of the innocent creatures could live in their natural environments with no one to disturb them, and no being would get hurt from those animals because of an impetuous person who impulsively purchased an elephantine responsibility that he or she will end up throwing back in “the wild” where they don’t belong.

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Essay on Wild Animals As Pets

Students are often asked to write an essay on Wild Animals As Pets in their schools and colleges. And if you’re also looking for the same, we have created 100-word, 250-word, and 500-word essays on the topic.

Let’s take a look…

100 Words Essay on Wild Animals As Pets

Wild animals: not suitable as pets.

Keeping wild animals as pets is a bad idea. Wild animals are not domesticated like dogs or cats. They have not been bred to live in close proximity to humans, and they may not be able to adapt to the same living conditions.

Wild Animals Can Be Dangerous

Wild animals need special care.

Wild animals need special care and attention. They may need a special diet, and they may need to be kept in a special enclosure. They may also need to be taken to the vet for regular checkups.

For all these reasons, it is not a good idea to keep wild animals as pets. Wild animals belong in the wild, and they should not be taken from their natural habitat.

250 Words Essay on Wild Animals As Pets

Wild animals as pets, arguments for keeping wild animals as pets.

There are a number of reasons why people might want to keep wild animals as pets. Some people find them fascinating and beautiful creatures. Others enjoy the challenge of caring for them. And still others believe that wild animals can make good companions.

Arguments against Keeping Wild Animals as Pets

There are also a number of arguments against keeping wild animals as pets. First, wild animals are not domesticated. This means that they have not been bred to live in captivity and they may not be able to adapt to living in a home environment. Second, wild animals can be dangerous. They may bite, scratch, or even kill their owners. Third, wild animals can carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.

After weighing the pros and cons, this essay stands by the fact that wild animals should not be kept as pets. While they may be beautiful and fascinating creatures, they are not suited for life in captivity. They can be dangerous, they can carry diseases, and they can be difficult to care for. If you are interested in having a pet, there are many domesticated animals that would make better companions, such as dogs, cats, and rabbits.

500 Words Essay on Wild Animals As Pets

Animals in their natural habitat.

Wild animals belong in the wild, where they are free to roam and express their natural instincts. They are adapted to survive in their natural environment and have evolved over time to thrive in specific ecosystems. Taking wild animals out of their natural habitat and keeping them as pets can disrupt their welfare and lead to various problems.

Animal Cruelty

Keeping wild animals as pets can be cruel and inhumane. Wild animals have unique needs that cannot always be met in a domestic setting. They may need specialized food, temperature-controlled environments, and opportunities to engage in natural behaviors. Keeping them in captivity can lead to physical and psychological distress, including anxiety, depression, and abnormal behaviors.

Public Safety Risk

Conservation concerns.

Removing wild animals from their natural populations for the pet trade can disrupt ecosystems and contribute to species decline. The demand for exotic pets drives the illegal wildlife trade, which involves the capture and transport of animals under inhumane conditions. This trade poses serious conservation concerns and threatens the survival of various species in the wild.

Promoting Responsible Pet Ownership

Instead of keeping wild animals as pets, people can promote responsible pet ownership by adopting domesticated animals from shelters or rescues. Domesticated animals, such as cats, dogs, and rabbits, are well-adapted to living in human households and make wonderful companions. They require proper care, training, and socialization to ensure their well-being, but they do not pose the same risks and challenges associated with wild animals.

In conclusion, keeping wild animals as pets is not only cruel and inhumane, but it also poses risks to public safety and conservation efforts. Promoting responsible pet ownership by adopting domesticated animals is a more ethical and responsible approach to enjoying the companionship of animals. By making informed choices, we can help protect wildlife, ensure the well-being of our pets, and create a harmonious coexistence between humans and animals.

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essay keeping wild animals as pets


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Otter on exotic pet owner's head in water - Wildlife. Not pets - World Animal Protection

Why is it cruel to keep wild animals as pets?

By World Animal Protection

Hundreds of millions of birds, mammals, fish and reptiles are kept as exotic pets around the world. Most owners buy them because they love animals – but sadly a wild animal’s needs and natural behaviours cannot be met in our homes

Wild animals belong in the wild

An exotic pet is a pet that’s wild and not domesticated. Domestication is a selective breeding process that takes place over thousands of years. Snakes, parrots, iguanas, tortoises, and even otters – these are just some of the species suffering as pets around the world. Domesticated species include dogs, cats, and farm animals like horses, pigs and chickens. 

There are legal and illegal sides to the exotic pet trade. But legality doesn’t matter; captive-bred or wild caught – it’s all cruel. And this trade is growing fast.

Indian star tortoises being bagged and prepared for export - Wildlife. Not pets - World Animal Protection

Indian star tortoises being prepared for export

The journey for an animal in the exotic pet trade is cruel – and often deadly. Either poached from the wild or bred in captivity on a farm, exotic pets are often shipped huge distances before reaching their final destination. Sadly, as many as four out of five animals caught in the illegal wildlife trade will die in transit, or within a year in captivity.    

Suffering is inevitable in a life of captivity.

It limits the natural behaviour of an animal and places both their mental and physical wellbeing at risk. They often lack adequate shelter, food, room to roam, and environment control to keep their body at the temperature it needs to be.  

We believe that wild animals belong in the wild, not as pets. The reality is that a life in captivity is a world away from a life in the wild. 

I have an exotic pet. Does that make me wrong? 

We know that most people buy exotic pets because they love animals. Animals bring joy to our lives, so why wouldn't we want them to be a part of our lives every day at home? Sadly, the truth is any wild animal that finds itself caught in the exotic pet trade experiences suffering.

Pet otter chewing a toy in Japan - Wildlife. Not pets - World Animal Protection

A pet otter in Japan

Despite our best efforts we are just not equipped to provide wild animals with the care necessary to fulfil all their intrinsic needs. While keeping some exotic pets may be less cruel than others, no wild animal can have its needs met entirely in captivity.  

Only domesticated animals like cats and dogs should be kept in our homes, as all their needs are met.   

Seek help from experts

If you already own an exotic animal, it’s important to seek expert advice from a veterinarian who specialises in the care of your animal to ensure you’re meeting as many of its welfare needs as possible.  

What we uncovered in our research is that when breeders or pet stores sell exotics to the public, in most cases very little, if any at all, information about the best way to care for the animal is given out.  

This leaves new pet owners in the dark about whether they are meeting all their pets’ needs.  

We encourage you to continue to give your pet the best life possible, for as long as you can. We also ask you to commit to not purchasing another exotic pet in the future or breeding the one you own. 

Do not release your exotic pet 

If you are no longer able to care for your exotic pet, we encourage you to surrender the animal to a local rescue group or humane society.  

Make sure you thoroughly investigate it and find out if the rescue centre is managed responsibly and in a transparent manner. This is to ensure none of the wild animals under their care are re-entering the commercial exotic pet or entertainment trade. 

It’s very important that whatever happens, you do not release your pet into the wild under any circumstance.  

Many of these animals are not native to our ecosystems and will become invasive, resulting in a disruption in the biodiversity, and most likely the death of many other animals. 

Ball pythons for sale at a pet expo - Wildlife. Not pets - World Animal Protection

Ball pythons for sale at a pet expo

Social media is part of the problem 

The glamorisation of exotic pets through pop culture and social media masks cruelty, and falsely legitimises the trade.  

Even with a quick glance through Instagram, YouTube Weibo or Facebook you’ll find hundreds of photos and videos showcasing everything from tigers and sugar gliders, to ball pythons and turtles, with thousands of likes on each post.  

We think these animals look cute, but they’ve actually been sentenced to a lifetime of suffering. 

Our research shows that the ‘cute’ videos prospective purchasers see shared across social media influences their decision to buy a wild animal: a full 15% of surveyed exotic pet owners found inspiration for their purchase via YouTube videos.

A pet African grey parrot who has plucked out its feathers due to stress - Wildlife. Not pets - World Animal Protection

A pet African grey parrot who has plucked out his feathers due to stress

We know that social media is a largely unregulated marketplace. Many platforms lack policies against the live trade and, in some countries, openly sell wild-caught animals.  

By allowing the trade legally, they have opened the door to unregulated illegal trade in wildlife. Searching online, we found lovebirds for sale as low as USD $3 each, green iguanas for $12, macaws for $19,000 and even a giraffe for $50,000.   

Global problems require global solutions 

Governments across the globe must act and ban the global trade of wildlife now.  

Wildlife trade is increasing the risks to human and animal health, compromising animal welfare, and placing biodiversity under immense and unsustainable pressure.  

You can stand up for wildlife by making a promise to keep wild animals in the wild and not buy them as pets. 

It’s very important that whatever happens, you do not release your pet into the wild under any circumstance.
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Animal Kooky

The Pros and Cons Of Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

You’ve seen the stories in the news just like I have. A four-foot long alligator found in a nearby creek, a bobcat kept on a leash, or a wolf going for walks in the local neighborhood are all stories you may have heard.

These are stories about ordinary people keeping wild animals as pets. Likewise, the local news often covers stories of people who tried to keep a wild animal as a pet and just couldn’t handle their needs. But is keeping a wild animal as a pet all bad?

In this article, we’re going to take a good hard look at the pros and cons of keeping wild animals as pets. We’ll tell you what’s good – and what’s not – when it comes to owning wild animals. So don’t be ashamed if you’ve ever dreamed of keeping a wild animal for your very own – just be sure to know when it’s a good idea and when it isn’t.

The Pros of Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

No one else has a pet like you..

If you like to stand out in a crowd, then having a wild animal as a pet is sure to do the trick. Most folks just don’t keep wild animals in their homes, so if you do, you’re extra special, for sure.

Your friends might be so excited by your special pet that they even prefer to visit your pet rather than just come to see you.

You get a new animal experience.

You may get to experience animals in ways that other people might not. It is one thing to sit in the woods and watch deer in their natural habitat, but it is quite another thing to keep deer as pets and get to interact with them up close and personal.

Check out this video of Dillie the Deer , a sweet pet deer. You might be surprised to find out just how loving a deer can be.

There are a lot more wild animals to choose from .

There are far more wild animals than there are typical domesticated animals that people keep as pets. You may find that wild animals are a lot more interesting and different than your standard cat, dog, hamster, or goldfish.

According to the National Wildlife Federation , there are 1.7 million identified species, and about 13,000 more are identified and added to the list each year. That’s a lot of potential pets!

Some wild animals are exceptionally friendly.

There are very friendly wild animals, like the capybara , a sort of oversized, water-loving guinea pig. These are legal to own in Texas and Pennsylvania, although they do require extra special care. But they are friendly and chill when it comes to interacting with humans.

And people are known to ‘tame’ squirrels and pigeons, too, which means these animals just aren’t afraid to be around their humans.

You can help replenish their population.

Some animals could use a little help with repopulation. In Pennsylvania, quail habitats have been destroyed, and quail have been overhunted.

The Pa Game Commission has created a plan to help repopulate quail. In some instances, you can raise quail to be released to increase the natural wild quail population.

Wild animals are beautiful.

Imagine keeping an exotic fish in a fish tank where you can see it every day! Or you can gaze upon a beautiful bird or a fascinating snake.

Wild animals often have colorings and markings that our domestic friends just don’t display and they are amazing to watch! Keeping one as a pet means you can see it all of the time and not just when you’re out in the wild.

Pest control.

How about using wild animals for pest control? Some areas are domesticating foxes, which can keep small rodents under control.

Or perhaps you want to have a pet frog to eat bugs. You might even be able to have a pet anteater to take care of the termite population, but we suspect a venus flytrap would be just as effective.

You can save animals.

Perhaps you didn’t set out to have a pet squirrel, but in many places, even if it isn’t legal to purchase a squirrel as a pet, it is ok to rehab one.

Rescuing baby birds and baby squirrels is sometimes legal, and it can be very rewarding when you set them free. Check out this overview of how to rehab a baby squirrel

The Cons of Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

It’s dangerous..

You may be putting yourself – or your family and friends – in physical danger. Let’s face it, even if you CAN keep a tiger as a pet that doesn’t mean you should.

Some wild animals, like tigers, are simply too dangerous to have around. Even with the best cages, accidents happen and your tiger could still get loose.

And no matter how much you’ve trained it, you never know when it could lash out. With the powerful jaws and massive teeth and claws, you are physically no match for an angry tiger. So while it might seem cool to have a giant striped pet, you’ll be risking your life and the lives of your loved ones if you keep a wild animal, such as a big cat, as a pet.

Your new pet might eat your old one.

If you try welcoming a gator, snake, or some other wild predator into your home, you may be putting your domesticated pets at risk of being eaten or even swallowed whole! A boa or a python might seem like a fun idea until it sees your Bichon Frise as his next snack.

You could get sick.

Wild animals carry different diseases than domesticated animals can. You could catch anything from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever to the Bubonic Plague, rabies, and even distemper. If you have a weakened immune system, the risks are even greater.

You have to hide your pet.

If your friends and family don’t think you should be keeping a wild animal as a pet, they might quietly let animal control or the police know about your contraband. So you’ll end up hiding your precious pet from the police, your landlord, or even friends and family that may tattle on you.

You could endanger the species.

According to, the pet parrot trade has put such pressure on wild flocks that it is hurting their chances of survival. Illegal capturing of parrots – and other wild animals- means they can’t survive and reproduce in the wild, and they may become extinct.

It’s just plain cruel.

Sometimes, you think you’re doing a good thing by buying a wild animal as a pet, but it’s actually cruel. Perhaps the animal hasn’t been treated well, it’s hurt or suffering, or it just isn’t going to be happy when kept in a home.

Some animals need to roam or be with their own kind to be happy, and keeping it as a pet just isn’t good enough. Some animals are just better off in the wild, no matter what we think. Read more from World Animal Protection.

You’re breaking the law.

It is illegal to own a lot of wild animals, and if you get caught, you could be fined or, worse, go to jail. Is keeping a wild animal really worth jail time?

What will happen to your pet when you are put away? How will you care for your family if you go to jail for owning a wild pet?

Wild animals can be hard to rehome.

Think about this – if something should happen that you can no longer care for your wild-at-heart pet, who will take care of it? How will you rehome an exotic animal or a wild animal? They are much harder to care for and, therefore, much harder to rehome.

They stink!

Some people think that skunks make great pets if you can get past the smell! Of course, you can have their scent glands removed, but then you’re subjecting an animal to painful, unnecessary surgery.

It is legal to have a skunk as a pet in some areas, but why would you want to? Find out more about keeping skunks as pets, here.

Keep in mind that many wild animals have very distinct odors that might not be welcome in your home.

You don’t have the room for a wild animal.

Ok, you might be able to fit a wild frog in your aquarium, but you certainly don’t have room for an elephant. How would a giraffe curl up next to you on a comfy couch?

Where will the hippopotamus get his bath? The kitchen sink? All joking aside, many wild animals are just too large to take up residence where you live.

They can also get upset if their enclosure is too small, as is the case with raccoons .

You need to invest in extra special cages and pens.

Some wild animals have special cage requirements. For example, pet wallabies may be becoming more popular in new Zealand, but they need very large backyards with extremely secure fencing to keep them safe and at home. Other animals may need large aquariums, heavy fencing, or expensive cages to keep them – and you -safe.

You need to learn a lot about animal care.

Wild animals have different routines, extra needs, and special diets. You’ll need to learn how to interact with them safely, provide for their specific nutritional needs, and give them a comfortable living space.

It’s a lot of work and a big commitment to keep a wild animal as a pet.

And if that isn’t something you’re into, you might just wanna stick to a hermit crab.

One word, venom.

Some wild animals are dangerous because of their venom. Snakes, spiders, stonefish, slow loris, jellyfish, gila monsters, shrews, and even the adorable duck-billed platypus can all give you a nasty dose of venom if they bite or sting you, according to Discover Wildlife . You’re probably best to leave the venomous animals and the scorpions in the wild, where they belong.

Wild animals are expensive .

A tiger cub could easily cost you $2500, and a wolf-dog puppy can cost up to $3000.

A baby skunk can easily set you back up to $500, and a fox can cost anywhere from $500 to $6000 dollars! Just paying for one of these animals isn’t cheap, and some need to be kept in packs. These kinds of prices sure make stray cat adoption fees very attractive!

You may not be able to find vet care.

When I had a pet hedgehog, I had a terrible time finding a vet that could care for his health needs. But keeping a wild animal as a pet can be even harder.

You need to make sure you have a vet that can treat that specific animal, whether it’s a skunk, a squirrel, a tarantula, or something altogether harder.

They can outlive you.

Cats and dogs have a relatively short lifespan, but wild animals like tortoises, flamingos, and parrots can easily outlive humans.

If you do have a pet giant tortoise, who will take care of it when you die? Check out these animals that can easily outlive humans.

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Almost no one, except perhaps the richest people, can provide a wild animal with all its necessary conditions. Exotic animals have unique needs. For example, wild tigers need a large territory to roam around in. A venomous Monocled cobra, which can be legally bought in a number of states for a puny $100, will repeatedly strike when feeling in danger. A bobcat can hunt a prey eight times bigger than itself. Chimpanzees and other primates require a lot of space for climbing, and sea mammals need vast water basins to swim freely. The examples are numerous. These needs require specific living conditions—or at least housing structures. Can an average American citizen afford keeping an exotic pet? Not just for a year or two, but for 25 or 50 years? Just for an example, the annual cost of keeping a tiger (in a cage) approaches $6,000. Clearly, being a keeper of a wild animal is beyond the capabilities of an average citizen ( National Geographic ).

If the previous paragraph did not persuade you, consider the danger of biological contamination. According to different estimates, at least one in three reptiles (which are among the most popular exotic pets—iguanas, for example) is a host for salmonella and shigella bacteria; the overall percentage with salmonella is probably up to 90 percent. According to data provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 90 percent of imported green iguanas carry unfamiliar strains of intestinal bacteria. Other species are not safer. About 25 percent of both imported and domestically-bred macaques are reported to have had the herpes B virus. Among other diseases carried and transported by wild animals, one should mention such infections as chlamydia, yaba virus, giardia, tuberculosis, measles, marburg virus, hepatitis A, campylobacteriosis, rabies, streptothricosis, and a lot of other malicious microorganisms, including worms ( ASPCA ).

In addition, wild animals can pose a direct physical threat to their owners. During the last 10 years, there have been dozens of attacks committed by captive big cats, such as lions and tigers; in one of the saddest incidents, a tiger killed a three-year-old boy, who was its guardian’s grandson. In another case, a Bengal tiger has bitten off an arm of a four-year-old boy. Since the beginning of the century, four people were hunted down (and killed) by wolf hybrids. This is not to mention the cases when wild animals attacked other domesticated pets—cats, dogs, and so on ( PETA ).

Along with well-known ecological problems—such as the extinction of species, or the destruction of rainforests, there is also another significant issue: people tend to keep exotic wild animals as pets. This is a bad practice, since wild animals require unique conditions that an average American cannot afford; exotic animals carry and transmit exotic diseases, which can pose a threat to owners; and there were numerous incidents when a captivated wild animal attacked its owner, or members of their families. All this is solid proof in favor of the claim that wild exotic animals should not be kept as pets.

There are many examples of persuasive essays like this on the Internet. However, according to the best website for assignment help , the best samples can be found on the specific platforms with academic works. So, don’t limit yourself from checking those out.

“Wild at Home: Exotic Animals as Pets.” Nat Geo WILD. N.p., 03 Oct. 2012. Web. 11 Aug. 2015. <>

“Exotic Animals as Pets.” ASPCA. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2015. <>

“Exotic Animals as ‘Pets'” PETA. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Aug. 2015. <>

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Animal Sake

Animal Sake

Pros and Cons of Keeping Wild Animals as Pets

Our desire to own unusual animals as pets often leads us to bring wild animals home. However, instances of a pet chimp attacking its owner or a big cat mauling its keeper are not rare. These incidents have often raised questions about the practice of having wild animals as pets. Let us weigh the pros and cons of this trend, which seems to be on the rise.

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Pros and Cons of Keeping Wild Animals as Pets

Every organism has evolved according to the environmental conditions that it was subjected to. This process of evolution took thousands of years, in which animals lost those features that were redundant for them and developed new ones that would help them adapt to the existing environmental conditions. Subsequently, wild animals developed the instincts and physical features that are suited for the tough and aggressive life in the wild.

Keeping wild animals might sound appealing to many. However, we must not forget the fact that handling one requires a good understanding of the animal’s nature and habitat. Many people who own wild animals as pets are trained in handling them. Even they would agree about the unpredictable nature of wild animals. There have been incidents of mahouts being trampled by their elephants or trained zoo keepers being attacked by the animals in zoos. Hence, keeping wild animals as pets has always been a controversial issue. Listed below are the pros and cons.

Snake In Hand

Some of us might not have enough space to bring home popular pets like cats and dogs. In such a case, certain wild animals (like geckos or hedgehogs) which are small in size, can be kept as pets.

Certain wild animals, like the hedgehog, can be useful in controlling insects and pests in the house.

Buying small wild animals may sometimes cost lesser than purchasing a popular pet of a good breed from a pet store.

Sometimes, a species may have difficulty surviving in the wild. In such a case, adopting the animal as a pet may seem viable. Such adoption helped a certain species of Dart Frog survive, when its habitat was destroyed by a natural disaster.

Ethical Issues

Pet Alligator

The first and foremost issue about having a wild animal as a pet, is about the welfare of the animal itself. With a lot of study and training, one might be able to provide proper diet and exercise to the animals. However, the fact remains that wild animals are genetically and instinctively tuned to living in the wild. Can one absolutely ensure that the wild animal will have proper social interactions and development in captivity?

Australian Coastal Carpet Python

While some animals are solitary, some animals live in large social groups. For proper development of the latter in captivity, it is essential that the owner of such an animal have a group of the same species. Ensuring proper pet care for a wild animal requires a lot of research, preparation, investment in building ideal housing, and proper medical facility. Despite all these preparations, one can hardly be sure if the arrangements are adequate for the animal.

Baby Animals Grow Up

People Care For Wild Animal

Every baby animal, whether wild or domestic, is adorable. That might lure a lot of us to go for wild animals as pets. However, these sweet little animals grow up and depending upon the species (for example a bear, a big cat, or a chimpanzee) some of them become too big and strong for the owner to handle. With adulthood comes the wild instincts, and the animal that would generally react playfully to you when it was a baby, may just react aggressively.

Wild Animals spread Disease and Pests

Baby Chimp and Handler

Many wild animals carry diseases that are fatal for human beings. For example, thousands of people contract Salmonella infections every year due to contact with reptiles or amphibians. There was an outbreak of monkey pox in the United States, in 2003, which was supposed to have been carried by Gambian rats from Africa that were imported for pet trade.

Decline in Population of Wild Animals

Tiger Cub Suck Milk From Bottle

It isn’t that every wild animal that is caught to be sold as pets makes it to the warmth and care of a human family. When they are transported from the jungles to the market, they are often subjected to brutal conditions like cramped cages and insufficient food and water. Even after they are adopted as pets, very often they fall sick or die as their owners are not well equipped to take care of them. Such abuse and cruelty has led to a decline in the population of a number of wild animals.

It is true that the animals that we have as pets were wild at some point of time. However, we must remember that these animals have been domesticated after having been bred in captivity for generations. They have lost their wild instincts and have adapted to live with human beings. We must consider our decision of adopting wild animals as pets carefully, as there is a great price attached, not only to the animals, but also to our lives and the environment.

Nerdy Rich Man Pets His Bear

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Keeping Wild Animals – Unsafe, Illegal and Inhumane

It’s not safe.

It’s undeniable-baby wild animals are adorable. It’s understandable why you might think that raising a wild animal as a pet is a tempting and exciting idea. However, when wild animals grow up they can become dangerous and very unpredictable. Stories about wild animals who have been kept as pets attacking and injuring people, often fatally, are frequently in the news. Even small animals such as squirrels can deliver a nasty bite or scratch when their natural instincts kick in.

Physical injury is just one of the risks of keeping a wild animal. Many wild animals carry zoonotic diseases (illnesses that can be transferred from animals to humans), such as Brucellosis, Salmonella and Ringworm. They often carry parasites, as well, that can be transmitted to humans or other pets. Any way you look at it, keeping a wild animal as a pet is a dangerous proposition.

It’s Against the Law

In Washington State:

  • It is illegal to possess any wild animal who naturally lives in the state (ie., squirrels, crows, deer) unless you are transporting the animal to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator for care. It is illegal to provide rehabilitation to a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal without proper permits and licenses.
  • It is illegal to possess potentially dangerous wild exotic animals , such as monkeys, bears, tigers and venomous snakes. Read more about exotic animals . (If you do not live in Washington State, check with the agency responsible for managing wildlife in your state to learn about current laws.)

It’s Bad for the Animals

Wild animals have evolved over the course of millions of years as independent, free-living beings. They have needs, instincts and behaviors that are inseparably tied both to their appropriate habitat, and to a free-living state. It is inappropriate and inhumane to force a wild animal to live the captive life of a pet.

No matter how well designed a captive habitat may be, it can never replicate the freedom that wild animals require to be complete beings. A permanently captive wild animal is doomed to a life of confusion and stress as he attempts to reconcile instinctual urges with foreign surroundings. Wild animals belong in the wild.


Habituation is a process by which animals gradually get used to situations they would normally avoid. Many animals are easily habituated if they are not handled and managed properly during rehabilitation. Coupled with the unpredictable nature of wild animals, habituation is dangerous for humans and wild animals. Habituated animals cannot be returned to the wild, because they are likely to become nuisances or an outright danger to humans, which in turn jeopardizes the animals.

If they are strongly habituated to humans, wild animals may not be able to survive on their own. PAWS and other wildlife rehabilitators go to great lengths to avoid habituating the animals in their care. If you try to rehabilitate a sick, injured or orphaned wild animal without the proper training, skills, permits and knowledge of how to avoid habituating that animal, you may ruin the animal’s chance for being released back to the wild.

What if I have been caring for a wild animal and now I need to bring the animal to PAWS for rehabilitation?

Sometimes well-meaning people bring wild animals to PAWS after they have illegally kept the animals for a period of time. This occurs when someone is not aware of wildlife rehabilitation or the law, and is just trying to help a wild animal in distress. Regardless of how long you have been caring for the animal, it is best to take him to a licensed wildlife rehabilitator right away. The sooner the animal can be evaluated and given the proper care by experienced, professional personnel, the greater the chance the animal may be returned to the wild.

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Keeping Exotic Pets and Negative Consequences Essay

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Works cited.

Specific Purpose: To convince conscious pet-owners that keeping exotic pets harms the latter, the solution is to advocate for better regulations because I do not want to play God and would rather start being responsible for protecting the environment.

Central Idea: To be convinced not to keep exotic pets.

  • Many exotic pets die even before being sold, and the rest suffer in an unsuitable environment.
  • Not making inquiries before buying such an animal results in insufficient resources and a pet’s death.
  • Everyone in the audience probably has a pet and can feel empathy towards a non-human being.
  • After researching the topic properly, I hope to convince you that keeping exotic pets is harmful to them, so the solution is to advocate for better regulations because I do not want to play God and would rather start being responsible for protecting the environment.

(Transition: Before I tell about advocating for better regulations, allow me to explain the issue with exotic pets).

Keeping exotic pets can be harmful to them due to inadequate care (problem). According to PETA, most of them die during capture and transportation, and those who survive the ordeal suffer the same fate at people’s homes, barely living for more than a year. Such pets require specialized diets and facilities, which are not easily available or affordable (Henn). Some impatient owners may leave them outdoors to solve the issue, but it is equally lethal for the animal (PETA). It may also become too distressed and try to escape, leading to a similar outcome (Henn). Meanwhile, several stakeholders, including smugglers, sellers, and other indifferent owners, appear to benefit from the situation.

(Transition: Now that the issue with exotic pets is clear, I would like to offer a solid solution).

The problem is rampant due to inadequate legal regulation regarding exotic pets, so the best solution would be to advocate for its improvement (solution). Better laws can remove the loopholes used by traders and make it mandatory to monitor animal lives to prevent abuse by smugglers or owners (Nuwer). The advocacy can be done through starting petitions or signing the existing ones, appealing to the local government, or joining forces with the Wildlife Conservation Society or another organization (Nuwer). As a result, exotic pets will not be openly sold, and their lives will be spared; moreover, a potential owner may avoid being incriminated for illegally possessing one and will opt for a safer option.

(Transition: As you have the understanding of the issue and its potential solution by advocating for better regulations in the field, I will share why it resonates with me).

I do not want to play God and would rather start being responsible for protecting the environment (emotional appeal). People buy exotic pets simply because they are unique or beautiful without caring for their survival, which is a consumerist approach to nature, and I cannot accept it. I believe that those animals are living beings deserving of freedom, and by leaving them alone, we will eventually learn how to save the planet, too.

I am out of time, but I am certain that now you see why it could be very beneficial to advocate for better regulations concerning exotic pets instead of keeping them.

Henn, Corrine. “Here’s Why Exotic Animals Belong in the Wild, Not as ‘Pets’ in Our Backyards.” One Green Planet , 2021, Web.

Nuwer, Rachel. “Many Exotic Pets Suffer or Die in Transit, and Beyond—and the U.S. Government is Failing to Act.” National Geographic , 2021, Web.

PETA. “Exotic Animals as ‘Pets.’” PETA , Web.

  • Exotic Species Threat to Native Species
  • Value of Anti-Consumerist Movements
  • Retributivism and Fallible Systems of Punishment
  • The Evolution of Communication Structures in Animals
  • Compulsory Microchipping of Dogs
  • Dogs: What Can't They Do?
  • Instinctive Behavior in Animals
  • Cats Make Better Pets Than Dogs
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IvyPanda. (2022, October 5). Keeping Exotic Pets and Negative Consequences.

"Keeping Exotic Pets and Negative Consequences." IvyPanda , 5 Oct. 2022,

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IvyPanda . 2022. "Keeping Exotic Pets and Negative Consequences." October 5, 2022.

1. IvyPanda . "Keeping Exotic Pets and Negative Consequences." October 5, 2022.


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Ethics guide

Animals as pets

This article looks into the ethical issues surrounding keeping animals as pets.

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Keeping pets gives many people companionship and great happiness. And it provides many animals with a loving home and an apparently happy life.

Many breeds of certain animal species - dogs and cats, for example - have a long history of being human companions, and keeping these as pets is morally good, since this is the natural way for these animals to live. Indeed, forcing such animals to live in a wild environment that they are unfitted for would be morally wrong.

Adopting an animal that has no home and might otherwise be destroyed is clearly a morally good thing to do.

But there are ethical problems involved in keeping animals as pets - these become obvious if the animal is not well looked after or if it is an inappropriate animal to keep as a pet.

It's also unethical to keep an animal that is a danger to other people or animals.

Ethical problems of pet-keeping

Looking at a pair of goldfish in a bowl that is too small and not an ideal shape

It is only ethical to keep an animal as a pet if both the animal's biological and psychological needs are properly catered for.

Here are some examples of moral wrongs associated with pet-keeping:

Inappropriate environment

  • birds in small cages
  • fish in bowls or small tanks
  • large dogs in small flats
  • animals that are chained up for long periods

Inappropriate treatment

  • too little, too much or wrong food
  • insufficient exercise
  • insufficient space
  • lack of veterinary care
  • lack of training - good training will give a dog a happier and more fulfilling life
  • insufficient companionship - some animals need members of their own breed around them
  • failure to spend enough time with the animal
  • unnatural veterinary practices like tail-docking, except where these benefit the animal (tail docking is illegal in the UK under the 2007 Animal Welfare Act , except for working dogs)
  • Cruelty, neglect and abandonment

Inappropriate animals

  • respect for wild animals means leaving them in the wild
  • private owners can rarely provide the proper conditions for keeping some exotic animals
  • domesticated animals bred for high activity or agricultural work should not be kept idle or in small flats
  • domesticated animals bred for fighting should not be kept


  • some domestic animals have been bred to over-emphasise particular characteristics to the extent that they suffer pain or discomfort
  • some domestic animals are so over-bred that they are at greater risk of genetic defects or disease

In January 2009 the UK Kennel Club introduced new breed standards for the pedigree dogs in Britain to protect them from ill health caused by in-breeding.

This followed concerns about genetic disease raised in a BBC documentary, Pedigree Dogs Exposed , that claimed many pedigree dogs suffer ill-health caused by years of inbreeding.


  • using an animal to earn money or beg may exploit the animal and violate its rights
  • buying an animal from a 'puppy farm' encourages others to exploit animals
  • using an animal for crime is exploitation
  • Animal welfare law in the UK

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Should Exotic Animals Be Kept As Pets Argumentative Essay Example

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📌Words: 457
📌Pages: 2
📌Published: 26 September 2022

Many exotic pets, such as big cats, are one of the many animals close to extinction. Lately, there has been a debate on whether people should be able to have ownership of exotic pets or be banned from owning them. Many people who have owned exotic pets have struggled with keeping proper care of them. The simple answer is that the United States should ban people from being able to take ownership of such exotic animals because the animals are too expensive and hazardous to maintain for an individual; the common home does not offer the proper habitat or nutrition for the animals; and many conflicts would arouse from trying to license people rather than banning it all together. 

To begin with, exotic animals are too expensive and hazardous to maintain for an individual. In the past, there have been multiple times where exotic pets have killed or injured their owner. A big cat in the wild only knows how to protect themselves so if you spook the animal, their automatic instinct is to protect themselves no matter what or who it is. Mike Tyson, a famous fighter, took ownership of some cats and was unable to acquire proper licensing for them (“Ban Ownership of Exotic Pets”). Therefore if a rich man cannot pay the expenses, an individual with less money would not be able to support an exotic animal either. 

Secondly, a common home does not have the space to house an exotic animal or provide the proper nutrition for one. Imagine being kept in a backyard and not being able to go anywhere a person would want to go and being fed food that does not meet a human's needs. The habitat an exotic animal needs is not available in a suburb. They belong in the wild where they have room to wander and get the daily exercise they need. Not to mention, the nutrition an animal requires is very expensive and hard to come by. The article “Ban Ownership of Exotic Pets” states, “Unable to satisfy the animal’s needs for space and nutrition, which often happens, the owner becomes, in effect, an abuser.” (“Ban Ownership of Exotic Pets”). Lastly, many conflicts could arise from trying to license owners instead of just banning it all together. 

In conclusion, these are a few of the many reasons exotic pets should not be owned by individuals. According to the article “License the Cats,” some people can afford to maintain exotic animals and give them a proper place to live and proper nutrition. However, it is not fair to the animals to be in a place where they do not belong. Animals deserve to be in the wild where they have their own freedom to wander, hunt, and have a happy and suitable life. The United States should take away the opportunity to have the right to own such beautiful, wild animals. Put the exotic animals in their natural habitat and let them roam freely.

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ExNOTic: Should We Be Keeping Exotic Pets?

Rachel a. grant.

1 Animal Behavior and Welfare Research Group, Department of Animal and Agriculture, University Centre, Hartpury, Gloucestershire GL19 3BE, UK; [email protected]

V. Tamara Montrose

Alison p. wills.

2 Animal Health Research Group, Department of Animal and Agriculture, University Centre, Hartpury, Gloucestershire GL19 3BE, UK; [email protected]

There has been a recent trend towards keeping non-traditional companion animals, also known as exotic pets. These pets include parrots, reptiles, amphibians and rabbits, as well as small species of rodent such as degus and guinea pigs. Many of these exotic pet species are not domesticated, and often have special requirements in captivity, which many owners do not have the facilities or knowledge to provide. Keeping animals in settings to which they are poorly adapted is a threat to their welfare. Additionally, owner satisfaction with the animal may be poor due to a misalignment of expectations, which further impacts on welfare, as it may lead to repeated rehoming or neglect. We investigate a range of commonly kept exotic species in terms of their suitability as companion animals from the point of view of animal welfare and owner satisfaction, and make recommendations on the suitability of various species as pets.

1. Introduction

A pet can be defined as an animal kept for companionship or pleasure. There has been a trend in recent years towards keeping pets other than traditional domesticated species such as dogs and cats [ 1 ]. Dogs have been associated with humans for thousands of years, and through artificial selection have become well adapted to life as a human companion or worker [ 2 ]. Cats are commensal and retain more natural behavior, but again, there has been a long and mutually beneficial relationship with human beings [ 3 ]. Dogs and cats are not generally confined to small enclosures, information about their care and welfare is plentiful, and there are numerous veterinary practices that have the expertise and facilities to treat them [ 4 ]. In the past two decades, non-domesticated species of pets such as reptiles, exotic mammals (e.g., degus), amphibians and exotic birds (usually parrot species) have become popular as pets [ 5 ]. These pets are not always easy to care for as they may retain more wild behavior than, for example, dogs and cats, which are adapted to live with humans. While dogs and cats do exhibit behavioral problems and are not always treated in ways conducive to optimum welfare, they are not fundamentally unsuitable as pets, and large amounts of information is available on their proper care. In contrast, many exotic pets have specialized requirements in captivity that are beyond the scope of many pet keepers to provide [ 6 , 7 , 8 , 9 ]. Even some pets that have traditionally been seen as good children’s pets, such as rabbits and small rodents, may actually provide poor owner satisfaction in the long term due to innate behaviors that may be misaligned with owner expectations [ 7 ]. The welfare of these exotic pets is often at risk through a combination of factors, including a lack of accurate information available on their care, incorrect husbandry, and the unrealistic expectations of owners. This is often compounded by a lack of specialist veterinary care [ 4 ] and a lower propensity for owners to avail themselves of such care [ 10 ]. In this commentary, we review the suitability of a range of exotic species, from the point of view of animal welfare and owner satisfaction, and make recommendations on which taxa can make suitable companion animals.

2. Parrots and Cockatoos

Parrot species (Aves: psittaciformes) differ in their suitability as pets. Large parrots (e.g., Amazona spp.), macaws and cockatoos are highly intelligent, have a long lifespan and often exhibit neurosis-like personality traits and a predisposition to stereotypy and abnormal behavior indicative of poor welfare states [ 8 , 9 , 11 , 12 , 13 , 14 ]. This means that it would be difficult to provide for their needs in captivity, and as companion animals they are likely to suffer reduced welfare to some extent [ 8 , 9 , 14 ]. African Grey parrots ( Psittacus erithacus ) have been the subject of several studies on intelligence, cognition and referential communication, [ 15 , 16 , 17 , 18 ] and providing for their advanced cognitive and social needs can only be achieved by the most dedicated of pet keepers. Amazon parrots ( Amazona spp.) have also been shown to suffer poor welfare when caged without appropriate enrichment [ 19 , 20 ]. Unsurprisingly, the aforementioned large parrot species are also the most prone to stereotypic feather mutilation, an indication of psychological distress and poor welfare [ 8 , 9 , 21 , 22 ]. The larger parrots and cockatoos also have a long lifespan (up to 80 years), meaning they may need to be rehomed several times during their lives [ 9 ].

Pet parrots vary in the extent of their domestication, with most being either wild caught or first or second generation [ 9 , 23 ]. There is an illegal trade in wild parrots that continues to cause significant welfare issues during capture, transport and at the eventual destination [ 24 , 25 ]; therefore, keeping wild-caught parrots is unethical and is not recommended for any reason. First or second generation captive bred parrots cannot be considered domesticated and are genetically identical to wild parrots; as such, their ethological needs coincide with those of wild birds [ 9 ]. Wild parrots spend most of their time flying, foraging and interacting with conspecifics [ 26 ], and although there are species-specific differences in behavior, their needs in captivity are broadly similar. In the authors’ opinion (based on many years of keeping parrots and research into their behavior), the major welfare concerns in pet parrots are social isolation, flight restriction, poor diet (including lack of foraging enrichment) and hand rearing (which is effectively social, parental and filial deprivation).

Most wild parrots are highly social and these prey species are protected from predation by flocking (through predator dilution and vigilance) [ 9 , 26 ]; therefore social isolation is likely to cause severe psychological distress. The flock is important not just for protection from predation but also for mate choice, communal foraging, allogrooming, and offspring socialization. Several studies have found solo housing to be linked to stereotypic behavior and poor welfare, and there is evidence that parrots suffer less when kept in pairs or groups [ 27 , 28 ].

Flight restriction occurs when birds are confined to a cage and/or when wings are clipped. Over-caged birds (i.e., those kept for 10 or more hours per day in the cage) are likely to suffer and exhibit abnormal behavior such as repetitive locomotion and bar biting, which has been directly linked to barren cage environments [ 20 ]. It has been estimated that 50% of pet parrots are kept in enclosures that are too small to promote adequate welfare [ 9 ]. Based on their natural history, parrots have ethological requirements for space to fly and social interaction, and the authors recommend that psittacines need a minimum of 4–6 hours of daily flight time out of the cage, preferably socializing with other parrots. Owners may want to consider housing psittacines in indoor or outdoor aviary-style accommodation instead of a cage. Wing clipping, as well as being a threat to welfare, is also unnecessary as birds can easily be trained to obey most requests from their owners [ 29 , 30 ]. Although safety is cited as the main justification for wing clipping [ 31 ], wing-clipped birds may be less safe, as they are unable to escape from danger. Wing clipping also deprives parrots of a source of exercise and the ability to carry out natural and highly motivated behavior [ 30 ]. Removing an animal’s main method of escape from danger could cause them to suffer negative mental states, such as fear [ 30 ]. Expression of normal behavior (such as flight) is a criterion for adequate welfare; therefore, we believe that wing clipping is generally undesirable, but must be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Parrots also have specialized dietary needs, which many owners are not aware of. Captive diets consisting of all-seed traditional parrot mix are nutritionally inadequate [ 32 ]. Furthermore, appropriate levels of enrichment, in particular foraging enrichment, are not always provided for pet parrots, which can cause abnormal behavior and impaired welfare [ 9 , 20 ].

Hand rearing is the practice of deliberately raising and feeding the parrot chick away from its parents and other conspecifics and is mainly done to increase the tameness of the parrot, and make it imprinted onto humans and more dependent on human companionship [ 33 ]. Parrots are flock animals that learn social skills through extensive interaction with conspecifics and these “cuddly tame” hand-raised parrots that have not had this early experience are in demand by pet owners. However, on reaching sexual maturity they do not behave normally [ 34 ], and may be more interested in human companionship than that of other psittacines [ 35 ]. Williams et al. [ 28 ] found that hand-reared parrots in a zoo setting showed more stereotypy and less interaction with enrichment than parent-reared birds, and hand rearing is also reported to cause abnormal fear and phobic reactions to develop [ 35 ]. Indeed, although hand-reared birds are preferred by owners initially, later there can be reduced owner satisfaction due to behavioral problems such as aggression, fear and unwanted sexual behavior directed towards owners [ 36 ]. The purchase of hand-reared “cuddly tame” parrots from breeders only perpetuates the welfare problems that these human-imprinted birds face in captivity. The best parrot pets, both from the point of view of the birds’ welfare and the long-term satisfaction of owners, are in the authors’ opinion likely to be parent-reared birds that have been socialized to humans through careful handling (pers obs). Warwick et al. [ 4 ] have developed the EMODE system, which scores the level of difficulty of meeting the biological needs of pets. Birds generally are scored as moderately to extremely difficult to keep, and parrot-type birds, especially those with a long life span and that have been imprinted onto humans have a high score using this method, meaning it would be difficult to fully meet their needs in captivity.

Having said that, keeping parrot-type birds provides many benefits, with owners’ perception being that they receive love, emotional support and companionship from their birds, as well as considering them a member of the family [ 37 ]. The needs of parrots are likely to vary by species, but few studies have investigated species-specific personality and behavior differences in psittacines. It is clear that the larger parrot species are fundamentally unsuitable as pets for reasons already outlined [ 8 ]. As long as the ethological needs for social interaction, space, enrichment, flight and diet are provided for, some of the smaller parrot species such as lories, lorikeets, caiques, Pionus and Poicephalus species, cockatiels, conures and budgerigars may make suitable pets [ 8 , 22 ].

As the smaller species are also more economical to buy and feed, it becomes easier for owners to address their social and spatial needs [ 38 ]. Having said that, the individual species must be researched fully, since for example, some conure species are extremely vocal, and lorikeets require a specialist nectar diet. Also, smaller birds may be seen as disposable because of their lower cost, and therefore the threats to their welfare may be different, yet as acute as the larger parrots [ 9 ]. Budgies, for example, being a popular pet, may be kept by owners who are not informed of the bird’s needs, so smaller parrots may suffer more from ignorance of their captive needs [ 14 ]. It is concerning that a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) showed that in 2001, 11.7% of bird owners in the USA reported at least one veterinary visit, compared to 83.6% of dog owners and 65.3% of cat owners [ 10 ].

The Netherlands has banned hand-rearing psittacine birds [ 39 ], but other European countries have not yet followed suit. The UK put in place the more general Animal Welfare Act in 2006, which means that owners have a “duty of care” to allow the expression of normal behavior [ 40 ]. Wing-clipping, over-use of a cage and social isolation are clearly contrary to this, but the law is highly unenforceable, with many parrots being kept this way (pers obs) and few prosecutions occurring to date. United States legislation is inadequate at both state and federal levels [ 9 ]. Clearer, species-specific legal guidelines are required for parrots.

3. Reptiles and Amphibians

It is difficult to quantify the extent of herpetological pet keeping, but it is thought to be extensive and involve at the very least tens of millions of animals [ 6 ]. For example, the USA alone is thought to import two million reptiles annually, and also exports 2–4 million baby “pet” turtles, with an estimated 12 million reptiles being kept in private homes [ 6 ]. The European Union is also a large market for the reptile trade, with estimated imports of 6.7 million live animals of various species between 2005 and 2007 [ 6 ]. Many authors have expressed concern in terms of ethics and welfare about the growing trend for keeping these animals [ 6 , 41 , 42 ], which has created demand for their removal from the wild and is responsible for huge mortality and morbidity [ 6 , 41 ].

As well as the ethical concerns surrounding the trade of these animals, reptiles and amphibians require specialized care and do not make suitable pets. Reptiles and amphibians have species-specific thermal, hydrological, dietary and behavioral requirements, and most owners lack a basic understanding of their needs in captivity. Whilst there are a number of exceptional hobbyists who are knowledgeable and scrupulous about providing for the needs of their animals, the vast majority of pet reptiles are kept in inadequate enclosures with poor husbandry and a lack of understanding of their biological needs [ 43 ]. Toland et al. [ 44 ] estimate that 75% of reptile pets die within a year of acquisition, and although other sources report a much lower figure [ 42 ], the welfare issues in capture, transport and husbandry are still significant. The issues are multiple, but include calcium deficiency (and associated metabolic bone disease), incorrect humidity levels, trauma due to escape attempts, thermal stress, inappropriate handling, and poor diet. Unlike dogs and cats, reptiles and amphibians are usually restricted in their movements in inadequately sized enclosures [ 6 , 43 ]. Social isolation, however, is less of a problem with amphibians and reptiles than with other, more social taxa. In addition to the welfare threats to the animals, reptiles and amphibians often carry zoonotic diseases, primarily salmonellosis, which is a particular concern if there are children or pregnant women in the household [ 45 , 46 , 47 ]. The Internet contains numerous care sheets and other information on keeping reptiles and amphibians in captivity, but misinformation and erroneous statements abound, particularly relating to the ease and suitability of keeping the animals [ 6 , 43 ]. There is the perception that certain species are easy to keep, and that they may be less demanding than larger pets and require less space, none of which are supported by the available evidence [ 6 , 43 ]. Owners are not generally knowledgeable enough to recognize the signs of stress and poor welfare in reptiles and amphibians, and many veterinarians do not have the specialized knowledge required to treat these species [ 4 ]. There are no reptiles or amphibians that are “easy to keep” [ 4 , 6 , 43 ], and for these reasons we do not recommend these animals as suitable pets.

4. Rabbits and Rodents

4.1. rabbits.

Rabbits are a popular pet in the UK [ 48 ] and the USA [ 49 ], with the estimated pet population ranging from 0.8 to 1.2 million rabbits in the UK alone [ 48 , 50 ] and three million in the USA [ 49 ]. Rabbits are also becoming popular companion animals in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, where traditionally they have been kept for meat or fur [ 51 ]. Despite their popularity, rabbits are not always kept appropriately, with owner knowledge of correct housing, preventative medicine, diet, handling and their pet’s behavioral needs frequently being lacking [ 50 , 52 ].

The UK’s Rabbit Welfare Association & Fund (RWAF) [ 52 ] recommends that rabbits be housed in hutches of a minimum size of 1.83 m × 0.6 m × 0.6 m (with a floor area of 1.10 m 2 ) which should be attached to a secure run of at least 2.44 m × 1.83 m (4.5 m 2 ) [ 52 ]. These dimensions are proposed to allow rabbits to move, stand up and separate feeding, resting and excretion areas [ 52 ]. It has been reported that smaller enclosures (0.6 m × 1.47 m/0.88 m 2 ), equivalent to a standard rabbit hutch size, have been found to inhibit rabbits’ behavioral repertoire, with greater inactivity and less interaction with environmental objects shown compared to those housed in larger enclosures (2.28 m × 1.47 m/3.35 m 2 ) [ 53 ], which supports the RWAF’s recommendations. A survey of the English population by Rooney et al. [ 54 ] recently found that 27.5% of rabbits were kept in enclosures smaller than 0.88 m 2 , as well as only 23.5% of rabbits having continual access to a run. These are clear areas of concern considering the RWAF recommendations [ 52 ] and the detrimental welfare effects of restricted enclosures [ 53 ].

Rabbits commonly contract a range of diseases including dental disease, gastrointestinal diseases, skin conditions and myiasis (fly strike) [ 55 , 56 , 57 ]. Many of these issues can be addressed if they are detected early on via health checking by owners. The UK Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) [ 58 ] advises daily general health checks and more thorough weekly checks, but currently the prevalence and frequency of rabbit health checking by owners is unknown. Myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease are usually fatal to rabbits, and also result in pain and suffering prior to death [ 59 ]. Yearly vaccination is advised [ 59 , 60 ]; however, 30–52% of owners have not vaccinated their rabbits against these diseases [ 50 , 54 , 60 ].

Rabbits should have a diet predominantly consisting of hay [ 61 , 62 ]. Rabbit muesli should be avoided due to concerns regarding selective feeding, obesity and dental disease [ 63 , 64 , 65 ]. Within the UK, whilst the majority of owners feed their rabbits hay, fresh greens or pellets, 32.5% still feed rabbit muesli (all of which is not eaten in 52% of cases) and 10% do not feed hay on a daily basis [ 54 ]. This is a clear concern, as the diet that the rabbit receives can influence the development of dental disease and obesity, as well as diseases such as myiasis [ 64 , 65 , 66 ].

In the wild, rabbits are prey to many other animals, and this can be an important consideration when handling pet rabbits. Rabbits should be approached and picked up in a non-threatening manner, ideally not from above in order to avoid inducing fear [ 67 ]. Full support of rabbits when handling is necessary to help avoid stress in the rabbit and prevent falling [ 68 ]. Correct handling and restraint is also important to avoid back injuries in rabbits [ 69 ]. Unfortunately owners may use inappropriate handling techniques, which induce stress or provide inadequate support. Rooney et al. [ 54 ] report that the majority of rabbits (61%) do not respond calmly when handled by their owners, suggestive that this handling may be causing stress to the animals.

Wild rabbits live in large social groups, are very active [ 61 ], dig extensive warrens [ 7 ] and have relatively large home ranges [ 70 , 71 ]. Domestic rabbits display similar behaviors to wild rabbits [ 72 , 73 ] and are likely to have similar behavioral needs. Despite recommendations that rabbits should be socially housed [ 68 , 74 , 75 ], 57–58% of rabbits are kept alone in the UK [ 50 , 54 ]. Issues can arise from solitary housing, such as abnormal behaviors [ 76 ] and a reduced lifespan [ 77 ]. In addition, whilst there are a number of studies documenting the welfare benefits of providing rabbits with environmental enrichment such as gnawing sticks and boxes [ 78 , 79 ], and clear husbandry advice regarding this provision [ 80 , 81 ], many rabbits’ behavioral needs are not met. The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals [ 50 ] reports that only 49% of rabbits get daily play with toys, 46% get play in the run, 40% get play in the garden, and 24% get opportunities for daily digging. Meeting the behavioral needs of rabbits is crucial to avoid abnormal behaviors and behavioral problems, and enhance their welfare [ 76 , 79 , 81 ].

Whilst there are a number of concerns associated with keeping domestic rabbits, they are not fundamentally unsuitable as pets as long as potential owners research rabbits and appropriately consider their health and husbandry needs.

Degus ( Octodon degus ) are social, long-lived, diurnal rodents native to Chile [ 82 ], although most pet animals are captive bred. As with all species, requirements in captivity reflect wild behavioral ecology. The RSPCA considers degus vulnerable in captivity because of their specialist needs [ 83 ]. In particular, they are susceptible to heat stroke. In the wild they live in the Andes, sometimes at very high altitude, so their enclosure needs to be maintained below 20 °C. They also need to be kept away from draughts, as they are susceptible to respiratory disease. As a prey species, degus may suffer fear of being swooped on from above, so a solid cage top is recommended. For the same reason, degus may not rate highly on owner satisfaction, particularly as a children’s pet, as they do not like to be handled and doing so will cause them stress. Degus are highly social [ 84 ], and, like parrots, rely on vigilance and the collective detection of predators [ 85 ], so should not be kept singly. Degus also require a specialized diet low in sugar to prevent diabetes. A study of 300 degus presented to a veterinary clinic found that most disease in the species was caused by poor husbandry and handling, including acquired dental disease, alopecia caused by fur chewing (self-mutilation), cataracts, trauma, diabetes mellitus, and hyperthermia [ 86 ]. It was concluded that owners’ knowledge levels were not sufficient to properly care for their animals in most cases. Degus may be suitable companion animals, but only for someone willing and able to devote significant time and resources to learn about and cater for their complex requirements. We particularly do not recommend degus as family pets; other rodent species may be more suitable as pets for families with children.

4.3. Guinea Pigs

Guinea pigs are popular pets, with 0.7 million kept in the UK and 1.36 million in the USA, making them the second most common small mammal after rabbits [ 87 , 88 ]. Guinea pigs are also often selected as pets for children due to their placid, docile temperament and ease of handling. As guineas pigs are socially tolerant animals [ 89 ], most reputable pet stores will only sell guinea pigs in pairs to avoid welfare concerns associated with social isolation.

Although not strictly classed as exotic pets, guinea pigs have specific husbandry requirements that differ from those of other rodent species and rabbits. When their physiological and behavioral needs are adequately met, guinea pigs can make rewarding pets that are neither expensive nor difficult to keep. Guinea pigs require a dietary source of Vitamin C; however, a number of recent studies have reported that owners are aware of this and many supplement their animals in addition to providing dietary materials high in Vitamin C [ 90 , 91 ]. Similarly to rabbits, guinea pigs require a high fiber diet in order to maintain good gastrointestinal health and avoid gastrointestinal stasis [ 92 ]. Owners need to be aware that guinea pigs require constant access to high quality hay in order to prevent the development of disease. Other common issues that affect guinea pigs include dental disease, ocular disorders and ectoparasitic infections [ 91 ].

Whilst some of the common disorders affecting guinea pigs are relatively simple and cost effective to treat (e.g., parasites), others such as dental disease require ongoing treatment and management [ 93 ] that owners may be unwilling to financially invest in. This is particularly the case when affected animals have a guarded prognosis, which may lead owners to believe that euthanasia is the best option. Problems such as dental disease are most successfully treated when diagnosed early, but when guinea pigs live in an outdoor hutch with conspecifics, it may be difficult for owners to identify subtle signs, such as a decrease in food consumption [ 94 ]. Further issues include the lack of confidence of some veterinarians in diagnosing and treating dental disease in guinea pigs [ 91 , 95 ]. It has been reported that a lack of dietary fiber is the primary cause of dental disease in rodents [ 94 ]; however, the only experimental study to investigate this in guinea pigs failed to relate tooth wear to dietary abrasiveness [ 96 ]. It is recommended that guinea pig owners consult a veterinarian experienced in treating exotic pets if their animals show signs of ill health.

Many of the health problems that affect guinea pigs occur in older animals [ 97 ]. By this point children may have lost interest in their pets, and if animals are not routinely handled, signs of ill health may not be observed. The incidence of oral cavity disease is higher in older animals [ 98 ] and geriatric males often suffer impaction, which may require daily owner intervention to manage.

Guinea pigs are also susceptible to respiratory tract infections, but the reported prevalence varies quite considerably. It has been identified that the development of pneumonia is linked to housing animals in damp or dusty conditions [ 99 ]. Pathogenic causes of respiratory disease include viruses and bacteria, but mortality rates are high regardless of the etiological agent [ 100 ]. The RSPCA recommend that in temperatures below 15 °C, guinea pigs are moved indoors unless their outdoor accommodation is suitably insulated. There is limited research on whether owners prefer to house their guinea pigs indoors or outdoors, but it could be hypothesized that an indoor environment protects against the fluctuations in temperature that can lead to the development of disease. It would seem likely that most outdoor-housed guinea pigs are not routinely brought indoors when the weather is colder. Unlike rabbits, guinea pigs are not readily litter trained, which means that they cannot be kept as house animals. However, guinea pigs still require space to exercise and their welfare may be compromised if they are predominantly left in their hutch or enclosure. The floor of guinea pig cages should be smooth and solid as housing guinea pigs on wire mesh can cause injury to the feet and subsequent pododermatitis [ 101 ].

Behavioral problems are uncommon in guinea pigs [ 89 ]; therefore, these seem an unlikely cause of owner dissatisfaction. Bonding mature males can be challenging, but this can be easily overcome by keeping neutered males with females or by introducing same sex pairs when young.

We recommend that guinea pigs can make good pets if they are kept by interested adults who are aware of their potential lifespan and husbandry requirements. Whilst the temperament of guinea pigs makes them a good pet for children, it is imperative that an adult takes responsibility for their welfare and appreciates the potential costs associated with health problems that they may experience in later life.

5. Conclusions

In conclusion, whilst there are increasing numbers of exotics being kept as pets, this unfortunately does not reflect increased public understanding of their needs. The difficulties of keeping these animals are also often underestimated by owners. Whilst some exotic animal species such as budgerigars, parakeets, rabbits and guinea pigs are likely to be suitable as pets as long as owners conduct research into their lifespan, husbandry, ethological and health requirements, meeting the needs of exotic pets such as large parrots, reptiles and amphibians is likely to be challenging in captivity. In particular, we feel that the lack of accurate and comprehensive information on keeping these pets and the difficulty in finding specialist veterinary care for exotics puts them at risk of both behavioral and physical problems. Whilst exotics are not the only pets that can suffer welfare problems when not properly cared for, there is much more information available on the needs and proper care of cats and dogs. This stands in stark contrast to the situation for many exotic pets, and we believe that not only careful research and planning, but also much greater consideration of whether an exotic animal should be kept as a pet at all, is needed before owners acquire them.


We thank four anonymous reviewers whose comments greatly improved the manuscript.

Author Contributions

Alison P. Wills, Rachel A. Grant and V. Tamara Montrose conceived the idea; Alison P. Wills wrote the section on rodents; V. Tamara Montrose wrote the section on rabbits and Rachel A. Grant wrote the section on parrots and herps.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

essay keeping wild animals as pets

Do we really have the right to own our fellow creatures? Are there some animals that should never be kept as pets? Is it okay to declaw a cat, clip a bird’s wings, or dock a dog's tail? These are some of the questions we're asking on this week's show. 

Ideally, keeping a companion animal is a good thing that enriches both of your lives. I can’t find fault with someone who adopts an animal from a shelter, and provides care throughout the animal’s life. But many people who keep pets fall short of this ideal.

In worst-case scenarios, people neglect or abuse nonhuman animals in a variety of ways: hoarding, dogfighting and cockfighting rings, domestic violence that targets animals as well as humans. This cruelty toward animals is obviously wrong. But there are a range of less extreme cases that also raise ethical problems.

For example: is it really ethical to keep wild animals as pets? Cats and dogs have co-evolved with humans, but hermit crabs, hedgehogs, snakes, and sugar gliders are adapted to life in the wild, not life in captivity. Someone who adopts a wild animal might have difficulty caring for its psychological needs, not just its physical ones. And the exotic pet trade both removes wild animals from their natural environment, and introduces them to new ecosystems, where they may be highly disruptive (although not all the changes are bad; I believe that San Francisco’s feral parrots make the city a beautiful and interesting place).

What about the ethics of adopting a puppy from a breeder? This seems like a fraught choice, when there are so many shelter dogs in need of families. It’s important to avoid breeders who mistreat their animals. Even if a breeder treats individual dogs well, there are collective problems with overbreeding : Pugs and Bulldogs inherit pushed-in faces that interfere with their ability to breathe; German Shepherds may suffer from hip problems due to the characteristic shape of their hind legs; and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels are prone to a condition called canine syringomyelia, which causes severe neck and shoulder pain, as well as nerve damage.

Even if you adopt a domestic animal from a shelter, there are ethical issues to consider. Providing survival, even with a baseline level of predictability and physical health, doesn’t seem like enough. Someone who gives their cat adequate food, water, shelter, and medical care isn’t being abusive, but if the cat is left alone most of time without human or animal companionship, is that really a good enough life?   

When is it okay to modify your pet’s body, given that they can’t consent? Hair clipping seems justified (it’s not particularly painful or harmful), and so does spaying/neutering (we wouldn’t tolerate such treatment of a non-consenting human, but failure to spay/neuter pets results in significant animal suffering).  On the other hand, I don’t think it’s right to put a cat through a painful and risky declawing operation, even if that would simplify the life of their human companion. ( The American Association of Feline Practitioners agrees with me.) Docking a dog’s ears or tail for aesthetic reasons is even less justified; the human interest is trivial compared to the pain suffered by the animal.

Beyond these questions of individual responsibility, I have larger ethical questions about our treatment of pets in society. When I talk about my dog, I sometimes feel tempted to speak of myself as her owner (especially if someone else speaks of me that way, and I’m following their lead). It’s also common to speak of pets, particularly those of unknown sex or gender, as “it.” But this framing feels disrespectful; shouldn’t we think of ourselves as our pets’ caretakers or stewards, rather than their owners, and isn’t it better to speak of a companion as “they,” rather than “it?” I wouldn’t want to slip into thinking that my dog exists to serve my needs, when she’s a living being with needs of her own.

It’s also strange to me that we lavish a relatively large amount of attention and care on domestic pets, while also tolerating factory farming. What makes a pig or a cow less morally valuable than a dog or a cat?

I believe that responsible pet stewardship is possible and valuable, but the bar for responsibility should be set high. I’m excited that Josh and I will get to talk more about these questions with Gary Varner on this week’s episode. I hope you’ll tune in!

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Nonhuman rights, animal rights, the moral lives of animals, animal minds, the morality of food.

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Comments (7).

Saturday, June 27, 2020 -- 2:51 PM

In my opinion it’s not ethical for human to keep pets.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020 -- 7:15 PM

Living out of doors for my formative years, my friends were all of the creatures in the woods and streams around me--domestic and wild. My attitude towards all of them was tempered by whether bonding was involved or not. With bonding comes responsibility, affection and dependency. I was even bonded for some years with a large white duck and a few birds, cats, a rabbit, and a dog. I want to leave the question, "What are the ethics of bonding and dependency?

Friday, July 3, 2020 -- 12:53 PM

We humans have created animals' dependency on us, and with that comes bonding for both. I keep 11 dogs, 2 horses, and 3 donkeys -- all unwanted and doomed until adopted. But that situation of their having no place in the world was created by us humans. Easy to say keeping another creature is unethical, but a stream of unethical behaviors may call for the resulting ethical behavior of taking responsibility for their condition by forming the bond and giving these awesome creatures the security and, hopefully, happiness of a forever home.

Thursday, July 9, 2020 -- 4:35 PM

Pragmatism does not beget ethics. I take your point but I think it misses the mark here. I'll take my lumps on this but most humans have no idea why they pay taxes much less own animals. It is the owning that is the issue not the need or net reduction in animal suffering.

I've tried to frame a response to this show but I'm at a loss. I need to think this out more. Pragmatic need is a worthy justification for pet ownership but not the "right" one ... perhaps.

When I look back on a lifetime of pet ownership... I have to say I have received more benefit from pet ownership than my pets received from me. I would have done better to spend that money protecting habitat and reducing human impacts on animal welfare I think... I don't know.

Thursday, July 9, 2020 -- 8:58 PM

I don't like myself when I think about the ethics here. I don't think I or any other person understands other creatures' will, most especially that of our fellow humans. We don't understand life or the forces that direct it. Pet ownership is anathema to me. Yet I have had a pet my entire life as long as I can recall.

One cat I had went feral in the woods of Northern Michigan. That, and the detail around that transition are one of the most profound in my life - and I'm not kidding. Attachment to pets and the loss entailed has moved me deeply (whatever that means.)

To own a pet is unethical and essential at the same time given the world as it is. LIving with others is the single hardest, most rewarding thing a person can do. There is no ethic there... only simultaneous experience that is more than likely misunderstood.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024 -- 8:30 AM

As an animal welfare advocate, the ethics of pet keeping extend beyond mere ownership. It's crucial to consider the well-being of animals in our care, ensuring they're provided with affordable protection dogs appropriate housing, nutrition, and medical care. Responsible pet ownership entails recognizing and respecting animals as sentient beings with their own needs and rights.

Wednesday, March 20, 2024 -- 10:52 AM

Ethical considerations in pet keeping encompass responsible ownership, ensuring the well-being and welfare of animals. This cable and internet bundles involves providing adequate care, attention, and a suitable environment for their physical and mental health. Educating oneself on proper pet care practices and respecting the needs and rights of animals are fundamental aspects of ethical pet keeping.

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essay keeping wild animals as pets

The keeping of non-domestic species as pets, companion animals or part of ornamental or specialist collections is becoming increasingly popular. Numerous species of mammals, birds, herptiles, fish and invertebrates are available in the exotic animal trade. However, it is important to carefully consider the suitability of such species for a captive environment and research the […]

Ethical challenges and welfare considerations for keeping exotic animals as pets: five key principles

Considerations of a species suitability to a captive environment and diligent research on their needs and requirements is crucial before the decision to keep exotic and wild species is made

essay keeping wild animals as pets

The keeping of non-domestic species as pets, companion animals or part of ornamental or specialist collections is becoming increasingly popular. Numerous species of mammals, birds, herptiles, fish and invertebrates are available in the exotic animal trade. However, it is important to carefully consider the suitability of such species for a captive environment and research the needs and requirements of these species diligently before the decision to keep them is made.

Alongside the “regular” exotic pets such as corn snakes ( Pantherophis guttatus ) or bearded dragons ( Pogona vitticeps ), more specialised wild animals that require a dangerous wild animal (DWA) licence are also kept in the UK. Estimates suggest that nearly 2,500 DWA-registered species are housed in England alone (Tovey, 2022).

What makes wild species different to domesticated ones?

Unlike domesticated breeds of dog, cat, chicken or goldfish, exotic animals are not so far removed from their original wild ancestors. Their behaviour patterns will be more aligned to a life of freedom rather than one lived in a human-created environment. As such, behavioural disturbances (such as pacing, self-damaging and displacement or redirected activities) that indicate negative welfare experiences are more common in a captive environment.

It is a greater challenge to provide sufficient and appropriate opportunities and outlets for adaptive traits and highly motivated behaviours to be performed (ie characteristics and behaviours that have evolved for a specific survival reason) when a species has not been domesticated and, therefore, has not been moulded or changed to be best suited to life around humans ( Figure 1 ).

essay keeping wild animals as pets

Even if an exotic species is captive-bred, it has not been domesticated. “Captive-bred” simply means the individuals in the pet trade have been produced from other captively housed animals rather than being sourced from the wild. These captive-bred animals are more likely to be tame and acclimatised to human care, but they are not markedly changed from their ancestors and therefore are not domesticated.

Captive-bred animals are more likely to be tame and acclimatised to human care, but they are not markedly changed from their ancestors and therefore are not domesticated

Dogs, wolves and sugar gliders: a study in captivity

The gulf between our understanding of the needs of domesticated breeds compared to exotic species kept as pets is probably best illustrated by the evolutionary history of the domestic dog ( Canis lupus familiaris ) and the sugar glider ( Petaurus breviceps ), a marsupial mammal from Australia.

Genetic research published in 2015 suggests that dogs first split away from ancestral grey wolves ( Canis lupus ) potentially up to 40,000 years ago (Skoglund et al. , 2015), with domestication following shortly after this. This highlights the intensity and longevity of the relationship between dogs and humans. In fact, the dog is the oldest of all domesticated breeds (the next being the sheep, Ovis aries , around 8,000 to 9,000 years ago). Because of this long association, we know what to provide for a pet dog, we know how to interact with them and there is a deeper level of communication and understanding between us and our canine companions.

Our manipulation of dog reproduction has not only caused them to look completely different from wolves from the outside, but it has also changed the structure of different brain regions

Our manipulation of dog reproduction has not only caused them to look completely different from wolves from the outside, but it has also changed the structure of different brain regions (Hecht et al. , 2019), which has resulted in different behavioural specialisation desired by humans.

Conversely, the sugar glider first appeared in the US exotic pet market in the 1990s (Brust, 2009). It is not domesticated, and we have had just over 30 years of experience with its husbandry care. Sugar gliders are difficult to look after properly and are often seen by specialist exotic vets because of husbandry-related pathologies (Lennox, 2007). They have a poor tolerance for pain and will often eviscerate themselves by chewing on the stitched area following surgery (Ness, 2012).

Sugar gliders are difficult to look after properly and are often seen by specialist exotic vets because of husbandry-related pathologies

Perhaps what best illustrates our challenges of providing correct sugar glider care is that many of the sugar gliders available for sale may not actually be sugar gliders but a closely related species of possums in the same Petaurus genus (Campbell et al. , 2019). If we struggle to correctly identify the species that we are keeping, we have even less of a chance of providing the right environment and care needs.  

Five key principles for keeping wild animals in captivity  

Before considering an exotic species as a pet or companion animal, it is important to remember the following five key principles to be welfare-positive and ethical in our approaches to exotic pet care.

1)     Housing needs and life-long care

  • What area is required for roaming, daily movement and performance of essential natural behaviours? Can these be replicated in an enclosure?
  • Can we provide the required resources easily to promote behavioural diversity and good welfare?
  • Do housing needs extend to the regulation and control of heating, lighting, ventilation, humidity and other climatic parameters at different times of the day/night? Can these environmental aspects be controlled/managed?
  • Is there a veterinary specialist nearby who can provide appropriate treatment and healthcare for the species in question if needed?

2)     Social group and space

  • Is the species naturally social or solitary? Do the social preferences of the species change with age and development?
  • Can a natural sex ratio and minimum number of animals be maintained easily in a captive environment?
  • Can an enclosure provide sufficient space for different/all members of the group to come together and/or remove themselves from the group as and when desired?
  • How big does the species grow when mature? Can this size be easily accommodated for all individuals in a social group?
  • How much space does each individual animal require to be comfortable in a social group (if applicable) or to fully engage with the environment around it, and can this amount of space be provided?

3)     Nutrition

  • Can an appropriate diet for each life stage of the animal be easily provided?
  • Are there alternative ingredients that are readily accepted by the species if wild foodstuffs cannot be sourced?
  • Has a captive diet been nutritionally analysed to ensure its suitability?
  • Will captive diets (including any substitute ingredients) promote important natural feeding and foraging behaviours?

4)     Source population

  • Are individuals in the trade captive-bred? Is this captive population sustainable and well-managed?
  • Does the breeder keep records? Can they verify the source and origin of all animals under their care?
  • If the species is wild-caught, is this sustainable and conducted in an ethical way?
  • Can relevant paperwork and documentation be sought and verified (eg CITES paperwork) where required according to a species’ status?

5)     Behavioural needs

  • Are the behavioural needs and natural time-activity budget of the species documented to evidence the appropriateness of a captive environment to behavioural outputs?
  • Can all natural behaviours be performed in captivity?
  • If some behaviours cannot be performed, what are the welfare implications of this? Are the welfare implications known?
  • If the species is prone to abnormal repetitive behaviours (such as stereotypic pacing, self-directed behaviours or behavioural disturbances that impact health), can these be treated and rectified with changes to husbandry, use of enrichment or positive reinforcement training?

Final thoughts

essay keeping wild animals as pets

Owners (both potential and actual) should ask themselves if they have the answers to all these questions under each of the five points listed above ( Figure 2 ). If answers cannot be found, and the owner is then ignorant of such key aspects of an exotic species’ biology, behaviour and care needs, it is best (from an animal welfare and ethical perspective) to err on the side of caution and not keep the species in the first place.

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The case against pets

A morally just world would have no pets, no aquaria, no zoos. no fields of sheep, no barns of cows. that’s true animal rights.

by Gary L Francione & Anna E Charlton   + BIO

We live with six rescued dogs. With the exception of one, who was born in a rescue for pregnant dogs, they all came from very sad situations, including circumstances of severe abuse. These dogs are non-human refugees with whom we share our home. Although we love them very much, we strongly believe that they should not have existed in the first place.

We oppose domestication and pet ownership because these violate the fundamental rights of animals.

The term ‘animal rights’ has become largely meaningless. Anyone who thinks that we should give battery hens a small increase in cage space, or that veal calves should be housed in social units rather than in isolation before they are dragged off and slaughtered, is articulating what is generally regarded as an ‘animal rights’ position. This is attributable in large part to Peter Singer, author of Animal Liberation (1975), who is widely considered the ‘father of the animal rights movement’.

The problem with this attribution of paternity is that Singer is a utilitarian who rejects moral rights altogether, and supports any measure that he thinks will reduce suffering. In other words, the ‘father of the animal rights movement’ rejects animal rights altogether and has given his blessing to cage-free eggs, crate-free pork, and just about every ‘happy exploitation’ measure promoted by almost every large animal welfare charity. Singer does not promote animal rights ; he promotes animal welfare . He does not reject the use of animals by humans per se . He focuses only on their suffering. In an interview with The Vegan magazine in 2006, he said, for example, that he could ‘imagine a world in which people mostly eat plant foods, but occasionally treat themselves to the luxury of free-range eggs, or possibly even meat from animals who live good lives under conditions natural for their species, and are then humanely killed on the farm’.

We use the term ‘animal rights’ in a different way, similar to the way that ‘human rights’ is used when the fundamental interests of our own species are concerned. For example, if we say that a human has a right to her life, we mean that her fundamental interest in continuing to live will be protected even if using her as a non-consenting organ donor would result in saving the lives of 10 other humans. A right is a way of protecting an interest; it protects interests irrespective of consequences. The protection is not absolute; it may be forfeited under certain circumstances. But the protection cannot be abrogated for consequential reasons alone.

Non-human animals have a moral right not to be used exclusively as human resources, irrespective of whether the treatment is ‘humane’, and even if humans would enjoy desirable consequences if they treated non-humans exclusively as replaceable resources.

W hen we talk about animal rights, we are talking primarily about one right: the right not to be property. The reason for this is that if animals matter morally – if animals are not just things – they cannot be property. If they are property, they can only be things. Think about this matter in the human context. We are all generally agreed that all humans, irrespective of their particular characteristics, have the fundamental, pre-legal right not to be treated as chattel property. We all reject human chattel slavery. That is not to say that it doesn’t still exist. It does. But no one defends it.

The reason we reject chattel slavery is because a human who is a chattel slave is no longer treated as a person, by which we mean that the slave is no longer a being who matters morally. A human slave is a thing that exists completely outside the moral community. All the interests that the human slave has can be valued by someone else – the owner – who might choose to value the slave as a member of the family, or could provide the slave with minimal sustenance but otherwise treat the slave horribly. The slave’s fundamental interests might be valued at zero.

There were many laws that purported to regulate race-based human slavery in the United States and Britain. These laws did not work because the only times regulatory laws are relevant is when there is a conflict between slave and slave owner. And, if the slave owner does not prevail substantially all of the time, then there is no longer an institution of slavery. There can be no meaningful challenge to the exercise of the owner’s property rights.

The same problem exists where non-humans are concerned. If animals are property, they can have no inherent or intrinsic value. They have only extrinsic or external value. They are things that we value. They have no rights; we have rights, as property owners, to value them . And we might choose to value them at zero.

There are many laws that supposedly regulate our use of non-human animals. In fact, there are more such laws than there were laws that regulated human slavery. And, like the laws that regulated human slavery, they don’t work. These laws are relevant only when human interests and animal interests conflict. But humans have rights, including the right to own and use property. Animals are property. When the law attempts to balance human and non-human interests, the result is preordained.

however ‘humanely’ we treat animals, they are still subjected to treatment that, were humans involved, would be torture

Moreover, because animals are chattel property, the standard of animal welfare will always be very low. It costs money to protect animal interests, which means that those interests will, for the most part, be protected only in those situations in which there is an economic benefit in doing so. It is difficult to find a welfare measure that does not make animal exploitation more efficient. Laws requiring the stunning of large animals before slaughter reduce carcass damage and worker injuries. Housing calves in smaller social units rather than in solitary crates reduces stress and resulting illness, which reduces veterinary costs.

To the extent that animal welfare measures increase production costs, the increase is usually very small (eg, going from the conventional battery cage to ‘enriched cages’ in the EU) and rarely affects overall demand for the product given elasticities of demand. In any event, however ‘humanely’ treated animals used for food are, they are still subjected to treatment that, were humans involved, would be torture. There is no such thing as ‘happy’ exploitation.

Although the right not to be property is a negative right and does not address any positive rights that non-humans might have, recognition of that one negative right would have the effect of requiring us, as a matter of moral obligation, to reject all institutionalised exploitation, which necessarily assumes that animals are just things that we can use and kill for our purposes.

W e want to take a short detour here and point out that, although what we are saying might sound radical, it’s really not. Indeed, our conventional wisdom about animals is such that we come to almost the same conclusion without any consideration of rights at all.

Conventional wisdom about animals is that it is morally acceptable for humans to use and kill them but that we should not impose unnecessary suffering and death on animals. However we might understand the concept of necessity in this context, it cannot be understood as allowing any suffering or death for frivolous purposes. We recognise this clearly in particular contexts. For example, many people still have a strong negative reaction to the American football player Michael Vick, who was found to be involved in a dog-fighting operation in 2007. Why do we still resent Vick almost a decade later? The answer is clear: we recognise that what Vick did was wrong because his only justification was that he derived pleasure or amusement from harming those dogs, and pleasure and amusement cannot suffice as justifications.

Many – perhaps most – people object to bullfighting, and even most Tories in the UK oppose fox hunting. Why? Because those bloodsports, by definition, involve no necessity or compulsion that would justify imposing suffering and death on non-human animals. No one proposed that Vick would be less culpable if he were a more ‘humane’ dog fighter. No one who opposes bloodsports proposes that they be made more humane because they involve unnecessary suffering. They oppose the activities altogether, and advocate their abolition, because these activities are immoral, however they are conducted.

The problem is that 99.999 per cent of our uses of non-human animals are morally indistinguishable from the activities to which the overwhelming number of us object.

The only use of animals that we make that is not transparently frivolous is the use of animals in research to find cures for serious illnesses

Our most numerically significant use of animals is for food. We kill more than 60 billion animals for food annually, and this does not count the even larger number – estimated conservatively to be about a trillion – of sea animals. We don’t need to eat animals for optimal health. Indeed, an increasing number of mainstream healthcare authorities, including the National Institutes of Health in the US, the American Heart Association, the British National Health Service, and the British Dietetic Association, have stated that a sensible vegan diet can be just as nutritious as a diet that includes animal foods. Some authorities have gone further to say that a vegan diet can be healthier than an omnivorous diet. In any event, it cannot be credibly claimed that we need animal products for health reasons. And animal agriculture is an ecological disaster.

We consume animal products because we enjoy the taste. In other words, we are no different from Vick, except that most of us pay others to inflict the harm rather than inflicting it ourselves. And our uses of animals for entertainment or sport are, by definition, also unnecessary. The only use of animals that we make that is not transparently frivolous is the use of animals in research to find cures for serious illnesses. We reject vivisection as morally unjustifiable even if it involves necessity (a claim we also believe is problematic as an empirical matter), but the morality of vivisection requires a more nuanced analysis than the use of animals for food, clothing, entertainment and other purposes. Just about all of our other uses of animals can easily be seen to be immoral given our conventional wisdom.

The bottom line: whether you adopt an animal-rights position and recognise that animals must have a basic, pre-legal right not to be property, or you stay with conventional wisdom, the result is the same: substantially all of our uses of animals must be abolished.

T o say that an animal has a right not to be used as property is simply to say that we have a moral obligation to not use animals as things, even if it would benefit us to do so. With respect to domesticated animals, that means that we stop bringing them into existence altogether. We have a moral obligation to care for those right-holders we have here presently. But we have an obligation not to bring any more into existence.

And this includes dogs, cats and other non-humans who serve as our ‘companions’.

We treat our six dogs as valued members of our family. The law will protect that decision because we may choose to value our property as we like. We could, however, choose instead to use them as guard dogs and have them live outside with virtually no affectionate contact from us. We could put them in a car right now and take them to a shelter where they will be killed if they are not adopted, or we could have them killed by a veterinarian. The law will protect those decisions as well. We are property owners. They are property. We own them.

The reality is that in the US, most dogs and cats do not end up dying of old age in loving homes. They have homes for a relatively short period of time before they are transferred to another owner, taken to a shelter, dumped or killed.

And it does not matter whether we characterise an owner as a ‘guardian’, as some advocates urge. Such a characterisation is meaningless. If you have the legal right to take your dog to a kill shelter, or to ‘humanely’ kill your dog yourself, it does not matter what you call yourself or your dog. Your dog is your property. Those of us who live with companion animals are owners as far as the law is concerned, and we have the legal right to treat our animals as we see fit as long as we provide for minimal food, water and shelter. Yes, there are limitations on the exercise of our ownership rights. But those limitations are consistent with according a very low value to the interests of our animal companions.

But, as you recoil in horror thinking of what life would be like without your beloved dog, cat or other non-human companion, whom you love and cherish as a member of your family, you are probably thinking: ‘But wait. What if we required everyone to treat their animals the way I treat mine?’

The problem with this reply is that, even if we could come up with a workable and enforceable scheme that required animal owners to provide a higher level of welfare to their animals, those animals would still be property. We would still be able to value their lives at zero and either kill them, or take them to a shelter where they would be killed if not adopted.

You might respond that you disagree with all that as well, and that we ought to prohibit people from killing animals except in situations in which we might be tempted to allow assisted suicide (terminal illness, unrelenting pain, etc) and that we should prohibit shelters from killing animals except when it is in the best interests of the animal.

domestication itself raises serious moral issues irrespective of how the non-humans involved are treated

What you’re suggesting starts coming close to abolishing the status of animals as chattel property and requiring that we treat them in a way that is similar to the way we treat human children. Would it be acceptable to continue to breed non-humans to be our companions then?

Our answer is still a firm ‘no’.

Putting aside that the development of general standards of what constitutes treating non-humans as ‘family members’ and resolution of all the related issues is close to impossible as a practical matter, this position neglects to recognise that domestication itself raises serious moral issues irrespective of how the non-humans involved are treated.

Domesticated animals are completely dependent on humans, who control every aspect of their lives. Unlike human children, who will one day become autonomous, non-humans never will. That is the entire point of domestication – we want domesticated animals to depend on us. They remain perpetually in a netherworld of vulnerability, dependent on us for everything that is of relevance to them. We have bred them to be compliant and servile, and to have characteristics that are pleasing to us, even though many of those characteristics are harmful to the animals involved. We might make them happy in one sense, but the relationship can never be ‘natural’ or ‘normal’. They do not belong in our world, irrespective of how well we treat them. This is more or less true of all domesticated non-humans. They are perpetually dependent on us. We control their lives forever. They truly are ‘animal slaves’. Some of us might be benevolent masters, but we really can’t be anything more than that.

There are some, such as Sue Donaldson and Will Kymlicka, who in their book Zoopolis (2011) say that humans are dependent on each other, and ask what’s wrong with animals being dependent on us? Human relationships might involve mutual dependence or interdependence, but such dependence either operates on the basis of choice, or it reflects social decisions to care for more vulnerable members of society who are bound together and protected by the complex aspects of a social contract. Besides, the nature of human dependence does not strip the dependant of core rights that can be vindicated if the dependence becomes harmful.

There are those who respond to our position by saying that dogs, cats and other ‘pet’ animals have a right to reproduce. Such a position would commit us to continue to reproduce without limit and indefinitely, as we could not limit any reproductive right to ‘pet’ animals. As for those who are concerned that the end of domestication would mean a loss of species diversity, domesticated animals are beings we have created through selective breeding and confinement.

Some critics have claimed that our position concerns only the negative right not to be used as property, and does not address what positive rights animals might have. This observation is correct, but all domestication would end if we recognised this one right – the right not to be property. We would be obliged to care for those domesticated animals who presently exist, but we would bring no more into existence.

If we all embraced the personhood of non-humans, we would still need to think about the rights of non-domesticated animals who live among us and in undeveloped areas. But if we cared enough not to eat, wear or otherwise use domesticated non-humans, we would undoubtedly be able to determine what those positive rights should be. The most important thing is that we recognise the negative right of animals not to be used as property. That would commit us to the abolition of all institutionalised exploitation that results in the commodification and control of them by humans.

We love our dogs, but recognise that, if the world were more just and fair, there would be no pets at all, no fields full of sheep, and no barns full of pigs, cows and egg-laying hens. There would be no aquaria and no zoos.

If animals matter morally, we must recalibrate all aspects of our relationship with them. The issue we must confront is not whether our exploitation of them is ‘humane’ – with all of the concomitant tinkering with the practices of animal-use industries – but rather whether we can justify using them at all.

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Should Wild Animals Be Pets At Home? essay

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Wednesday 25 May 2011

Keeping wild animals as pets (pros and cons essays).


  1. Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

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  4. Should Wild Animals Be Pets At Home? Free Essay Example

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  1. Write 10 lines on Wildlife

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  4. 10 lines on Wildlife in English

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  6. Why Are Wild Animals that Should Never Be Kept as Pets Being Domesticated?


  1. Why Wild Animals Don't Make Good Pets

    Keeping wild animals as pets can be dangerous. Many can bite, scratch, and attack an owner, children, or guests. Animal owners can be legally responsible for any damage, injuries or illnesses caused by animals they maintain. Finding new homes for large, hard-to-handle animals can be difficult, if not impossible, particularly since most zoos are ...

  2. Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

    Keeping Wild Animals As Pets. When people think of exotic pets, they think: tigers, bears, lions, and crazy dangerous animals that can kill you with a playful "give me paw". Exotic pets are more than those large mammals; they are any animal that is not native to your living area or has never been classified as domestic.

  3. Essay on Wild Animals As Pets

    100 Words Essay on Wild Animals As Pets Wild Animals: Not Suitable as Pets. Keeping wild animals as pets is a bad idea. Wild animals are not domesticated like dogs or cats. They have not been bred to live in close proximity to humans, and they may not be able to adapt to the same living conditions.

  4. Why is it cruel to keep wild animals as pets?

    It limits the natural behaviour of an animal and places both their mental and physical wellbeing at risk. They often lack adequate shelter, food, room to roam, and environment control to keep their body at the temperature it needs to be. We believe that wild animals belong in the wild, not as pets. The reality is that a life in captivity is a ...

  5. The Pros and Cons Of Keeping Wild Animals As Pets

    Wild animals are expensive. A tiger cub could easily cost you $2500, and a wolf-dog puppy can cost up to $3000. A baby skunk can easily set you back up to $500, and a fox can cost anywhere from $500 to $6000 dollars! Just paying for one of these animals isn't cheap, and some need to be kept in packs.

  6. Exotic Animals as Pets: Persuasive Essay

    Exotic animals have unique needs. For example, wild tigers need a large territory to roam around in. A venomous Monocled cobra, which can be legally bought in a number of states for a puny $100, will repeatedly strike when feeling in danger. A bobcat can hunt a prey eight times bigger than itself.

  7. Pros and Cons of Keeping Wild Animals as Pets

    Pros. Some of us might not have enough space to bring home popular pets like cats and dogs. In such a case, certain wild animals (like geckos or hedgehogs) which are small in size, can be kept as pets. Certain wild animals, like the hedgehog, can be useful in controlling insects and pests in the house. Buying small wild animals may sometimes ...

  8. Keeping Wild Animals

    Physical injury is just one of the risks of keeping a wild animal. Many wild animals carry zoonotic diseases (illnesses that can be transferred from animals to humans), such as Brucellosis, Salmonella and Ringworm. They often carry parasites, as well, that can be transmitted to humans or other pets. Any way you look at it, keeping a wild animal ...

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  10. BBC

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  11. Persuasive Essay: Wild Animals Shouldn't Be Kept as Pets

    People shouldn't own wild animals. Wild animals shouldn't be pets because they can be extremely harmful to humans and their surroundings. According to Wild Animals Aren't Pets, a 2-year-old girl got strangled by a 12-foot Burmese python (a family pet that escaped its aquarium) in 2009. This shows that wild animals can be deadly to their owners.

  12. Should Exotic Animals Be Kept As Pets Argumentative Essay ...

    2. 📌Published: 26 September 2022. Many exotic pets, such as big cats, are one of the many animals close to extinction. Lately, there has been a debate on whether people should be able to have ownership of exotic pets or be banned from owning them. Many people who have owned exotic pets have struggled with keeping proper care of them.

  13. ExNOTic: Should We Be Keeping Exotic Pets?

    1. Introduction. A pet can be defined as an animal kept for companionship or pleasure. There has been a trend in recent years towards keeping pets other than traditional domesticated species such as dogs and cats [].Dogs have been associated with humans for thousands of years, and through artificial selection have become well adapted to life as a human companion or worker [].

  14. The Ethics of Pet Keeping

    Ideally, keeping a companion animal is a good thing that enriches both of your lives. I can't find fault with someone who adopts an animal from a shelter, and provides care throughout the animal's life. But many people who keep pets fall short of this ideal. In worst-case scenarios, people neglect or abuse nonhuman animals in a variety of ...

  15. Should Exotic Animals Be Kept As Pets Essay

    Millions of wild animals, including reptiles, large felines, nonhuman primates and others, are kept in private possession in the U.S." (Born Free USA). This topic has caused a court case over a man with exotic animals and the government. People should not be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets because of cost and safety.

  16. Ethical challenges and welfare considerations for keeping exotic

    Alongside the "regular" exotic pets such as corn snakes (Pantherophis guttatus) or bearded dragons (Pogona vitticeps), more specialised wild animals that require a dangerous wild animal (DWA) licence are also kept in the UK. Estimates suggest that nearly 2,500 DWA-registered species are housed in England alone (Tovey, 2022).

  17. Why keeping a pet is fundamentally unethical

    The problem is that 99.999 per cent of our uses of non-human animals are morally indistinguishable from the activities to which the overwhelming number of us object. The only use of animals that we make that is not transparently frivolous is the use of animals in research to find cures for serious illnesses.

  18. Exotic Animals as Pets Free Essay Example

    Essay, Pages 6 (1483 words) Views. 5412. Danger, danger! Animals are cute, but not all are domesticated to own as pets. Dogs are a man's best friend, people suggest cats are an old lonely lady's answer to everything, and everyone has a dream to own a tiger or lion. However, people should not be allowed to own exotic animals as pets.

  19. Persuasive Essay On Wild Animals

    Many people are attracted to keeping wild animals as pets. They believe the wild animals to be interesting and exciting. At a young age, the animals may seem easier to tame, but the older these animals get, the more aggressive they tend to become. Many problems can develop from keeping a wild animal as a pet. Wild animals have specific needs ...

  20. Should Wild Animals Be Pets At Home? Free Essay Example

    9339. Many people have questioned whether they would ever consider to buy a wildlife animal as a pet. Although owning a wildlife animal would seem out of this world, it's not worth risking the lives of these poor animals who are meant to be out in the wild. Wildlife animals are not as domesticated as dogs. They have wildlife instincts even ...

  21. Should Wild Animals Be Kept As Pets Essay

    In "Wild Animals Aren't Pets" it states that Terry Thompson opened the cages to many exotic animals, putting other people in danger. Some of these animals will kill if they get the chance. In 2009 a 2 year old girl was strangled by a 12 foot long Burmese python, a family pet. If the animals don't go for the kill,….

  22. Keeping wild animals as pets (pros and cons essays)

    On the other hand, there are certain drawbacks in keeping wild animals as pets. First of all, our house is small for them. Also, when they grow up, they can be dangerous. But, although this idea looks exciting, and many people want to have a wild animal as a pet, it isn't a good idea. We don't know how exactly to take care of them.

  23. 15 Animals You Should Not Keep As Pets

    Snakes. Quite a few people have snakes as pets. A lot of them even think that the snake feels as much affection for them as they do the reptile. If the snake is small enough that's an easy ...