There are thousands of years between a wild and a domestic animal. Expert study believes that it took at least 5 to well over 10 thousand years for wolves to evolve into dogs as pets. How can one think they can evolve a wild animal into a willing domesticated animal overnight?
Although there is a fine line that permits some retailers to sell exotic type animals, in many places it is illegal to buy or own them.
A few of the many exotic animals that people keep as pets are bearded dragons, spotted pythons, pot bellied pigs, corn snakes, black panthers, veiled chameleons, flying squirrels and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, because of the length of time it took for some wild animals to become domesticated, it will take that long to truly understand all of the needs of exotic animals kept in captivity. Most people, just don’t realize what they are getting into when purchasing an exotic animal. Ultimately the animal, or both the owner and animal suffer the consequences. They will rarely bond with their owners, in turn attacking, injuring and in some cases killing their owners. They are unpredictable. The behavior may change in a way that we don’t understand and are not expecting such as change in life cycles or seasons.
One simple example would be how many exotic animals, such as birds, monkeys and wild cats can travel many miles in just one day. How can we possibly give those animals the exercise they would need to remain healthy compared to what they are meant to travel? Do to the owning humans being unable to meet the necessary needs, these animals are then kept in an even stricter captivity such as being constantly caged, chained or even beaten into submission. And some animals teeth or claws are removed to save injury to the human who has placed them into their captivity. Heartbreaking when you actually think about this.
Sadly, finding proper medical care for some of these animals can be quite difficult. This can be for several reasons, such as inexperience of the average veterinarian, illegalities surrounding the animal and some illness symptoms can be hidden and unknown.
According to the ASPCA, estimates vary, but experts agree that at least one in three reptiles harbors salmonella and shingella. The percentage of reptiles with salmonella is probably 77-90 percent. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says that 90 percent of imported green iguanas carry “some strain of intestinal bacteria.” Requinst and Whitney (1987) give an excellent summary of the many diseases that primates alone can transmit to people. They report that up to 25 percent of both imported and domestically bred macaques have or have had the herpes B virus.
Some of the diseases in which exotic animals can infect humans are: ringworm, chlamydia, rabies, giardia, monkey pox, tuberculosis, hepatitis A and measles, to name a few.
So after you have acquired this fascinating exotic animal, you realize that you can’t provide properly to what it needs. Or the needs are too great and quite overwhelming to you. What do you do? Trust, the dealer won’t take them back, and a reputable zoo won’t take them, nor are most shelters properly equipped to handle them. Inevitability now becomes reality as the animal is kept in a prison like captivity or doomed to death.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Centersfor Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have all opposed certain exotic animals as pets.
Laws are sometimes inadequate. Some states and local municipalities prohibit the sale and/or ownership of certain exotic animals. Some require permits. Some have no laws at all. If there aren’t proper laws set in place, who protects these animals? It has to be us. Common sense and our compassion is needed to prevent the cruelty and negative repercussions that can come from private ownership of many of the exotic animals.
So, wouldn’t it be more rewarding to know that you helped to preserve these animals natural habitats rather than to imprison them in ours?