Exotic Pets

(Image from Freedom for Animals)

Many wild animals are kept captive in private homes as pets. They often live in inhumane conditions. Wild animals, whether they are caught from the wild or born in captivity, have complex needs that cannot be met in a domestic environment. Wild animals are completely unsuited to life in captivity, especially when kept as someone’s pet. They have evolved to live in specific wild environments and may struggle to adapt to life alongside people. As a result, wild animals may develop a range of physical and psychological problems when kept as pets. Common animals kept as pets include lions, tigers, cougars, ocelots, wolves, bears, alligators, snakes and primates like chimpanzees. Texas is said to have the world’s second-largest tiger population. The demand for wild animals as pets fuels the wildlife trade. Wild animals are widely available from pet shops, trade fairs, auctions, markets and breeders, and can be seen advertised for sale in newspapers and online. Some come from the black market or are ‘surplus’ from zoos. Whilst some animals are bred in captivity to supply demand, many others are captured from the wild. This disrupts ecosystems and may even threaten species with extinction. Many exotic pets become unwanted or too challenging for their owners and may be simply abandoned or released, while others may escape. Space in genuine rescue centres and sanctuaries for exotic pets is extremely scarce. In some cases, exotic pets released into the wild have established free-living populations that cause havoc among native wildlife.