The exotic pet trade is a destructive, awful, and terrible thing. Unfortunately, it is not dying. Many people still own exotic pets and their popularity continues to rise. Exotic animals are beautiful and fascinating creatures, and it’s tempting to think that they would make good household pets, but that isn’t true. Taking wild animals out of their natural habitat is dangerous to their health and wellbeing, as well as a threat to your safety. Despite the risks, people still attempt to keep exotic pets in their homes.
5 animals that should never be kept as pets
5. No Monkey Business
Justin Bieber famously put monkey ownership on the map when he abandoned his monkey at German customs because he didn’t have the proper paperwork for the primate. Since then, his capuchin monkey has found a new home at a German zoo and will live out his days safely away from the pop star. Justin’s inexperience and lack of responsibility regarding his animal has taught us all a lesson: monkeys shouldn’t be kept as pets. They are highly social and intelligent creatures, and need to be surrounded by their own kind in order to live a fulfilling and happy life. Keeping them indoors and in cages is torture, no matter how cute and small they are. Monkeys can become aggressive, are very messy, carry diseases, and have certain needs that a human household simply cannot meet.
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4. Owning An Owl?
It’s a common thing for successful movies and TV shows to pave the way to pop culture trends that exist outside of the screen. Think “The Rachel” haircut from friends, which led to one of the biggest style trends in America. One pop culture trend that had environmentalists and animal lovers worried stemmed from one of the biggest movie franchises in history: Harry Potter. In the magical world of Hogwarts, the wizarding school, many students had owls as pets that served as their primary form of mail delivery. Clamoring to be more like their hero Harry, many children begged their parents for a pet owl, against author J.K. Rowling’s requests. Although the initial craze from the franchise has died down, the plight of these exotic pets has not. Once people realized the extensive care and commitment that owning an owl required, many got rid of them, leading to overpopulation at many sanctuaries. Although they are majestic, owls are not good pets. They are meant to be in the wild, and they require a lot of time and attention when they are kept in captivity. They are beautiful, noisy, smelly, and dangerous.
3. Sneaky Snakes
Snakes start out small, but they grow fast, and can quickly overwhelm their owners with their size. Snakes that are no longer wanted are turned over to a humane society or released into the wild, where they are often unprepared to care for themselves and will often die. Snakes released into the wild can also cause harm to local wild animals, as well as humans. Although not naturally aggressive, large snakes — like the boa constrictor and python — have the ability to easily cause harm to and even kill a human. They are essentially one long muscle, and a strong one at that. These snakes are not meant to be kept as pets.
2. Tickling Is Torture
You have probably seen those viral videos circling the internet where a cute slow loris is being tickled and they raise their arms up in pure joy, begging for more. It’s adorable and hilarious, right? Not so much. As it turns out, the slow loris is actually raising their arms not in joy, but in self defense. They raise their arms to activate venom glands on the inside of their elbows to protect them from predators. Not so cute, right? A species that is already threatened in the wild due to illegal poaching and habitat loss, the slow loris is now being removed from the wild in order to satisfy the growing illegal pet trade due to their internet stardom. Wild animals are not meant to be pets however, and the adorable slow loris is no exception. The slow loris is nocturnal and is meant to live in the forest, not a human home. They also have really sharp teeth, which are often removed before the animals are sold as pets — a painful and unnecessary procedure that no animal should have to endure.
1. The Prickly Issue
Hedgehogs are becoming increasingly popular as a household pet, and that’s a cause for concern. African pygmy hedgehogs — the most common species desired by pet owners — are cute, small, and cool, but they shouldn’t be kept as pets. Eight states have actually made owning a hedgehog as a pet illegal, and for good reason. People become easily bored with their hedgehog pets because they are nocturnal, require a lot of cleaning and maintenance, and just don’t belong in captivity. When people get bored of something, they get rid of it, and that leads to a whole range of issues. The worst being that, when hedgehogs that are released into the wild, they can disrupt and wreak havoc on local ecosystems.