It is imperative to be responsible for having a pet but owning a dangerous or wild animal, more so. Snakes, scorpions, spiders, monkeys, and chameleons have become increasingly common pets. The owners of these pets generally treat them with great care and make sure that the said animals are not missing out on whatever they need or want. However, domesticating exotic animals is also highly controversial for the reason that it somehow threatens animal welfare and endangers public health and safety.
These unique creatures are great companions but usually require extraordinary nurturing. Truth remains, most exotic animals are better off in their natural habitat or a zoo, not in our homes. So, if you are thinking of buying an exotic pet, there are many things that you need to put into consideration before taking that final step. In hopes of helping you out, we have listed below the pros and cons of having exotic animals as pets to help you assess whether you are a perfect match for them.
1. They are charmingly unique
One of the biggest crowd-pullers to owning an exotic pet is the fact that they are incredibly unique compared to other pets. Not just an excellent conversation starter, but great for wildlife awareness.
2. Learning Experience
These rare animals are fascinating. From unique behaviors, incredible social interactions with each other, and with us, to weird but charming appearance. They can honestly give us all sorts of new information. Before fully committing yourself to this idea– into exotic pet ownership, be sure that you are armed with sufficient knowledge. Start with the social, nutritional, and environmental needs of the specie/s you are considering so that you don’t end up with a pet whose needs are more than what you bargained for.
3. Most exotic animals that can be domesticated don’t need too much space
Most city dwellers live in apartments that have limited space. And it is not always smart to have a dog or cat as a pet since they spend a lot of time outside a cage and requires a lot of space, which is unfortunately not an option for many. Small mammals such as a chinchilla, rat, hamster, guinea pig, or gerbil, even a reptile or little bird that can live in a reasonably small cage, might be a more appropriate choice.
4. Avoid the hassle of having to walk them
The great thing about keeping exotic animals as pets is that they don’t need to be walked. But it is still necessary for them to be handled; we must not deprive them of the social need that they deserve and need. Most small mammals, reptiles, and birds can adapt to humans’ busy schedules when it comes to “time out of the cage.” In general, for most exotic species, the time you make available is flexible, as long as you set aside a period every day (regularly) to interact with these animals.
5. Longer life– in most cases
One of the saddest realities of having cats or dogs as best friends is their lifespan. Although we appreciate all the joy they have brought us, it still leaves a pang in our jaws, knowing they won’t stay longer than we desire. An average dog lives 10 to 13 years, while cats can reach a minimum of 2 to a maximum of 16 years. There are certain species of exotic animals such as reptiles and large birds that can live for 20 – 40 years, some even more. Of course, with proper care, an appropriate diet, and a living environment that is customized to their particular needs, they will surely live up to their maximum genetic potential.
6. Pretty Much Hypoallergenic
There is no such thing as a hundred percent hypoallergenic animal. However, if you suffer from allergies because of fur and dander– dogs, cats, or other common furry domesticated animals are not for you. You may now start considering exotic animals such as aquatic pets (such as fish, jellyfish, octopi, and seahorses), emperor scorpions, ferrets (they do not shed dander), reptiles, or tarantulas.
7. Low Up keep
A notable character of both dogs and cats is their intimacy with their human. They do not just want attention, but they need it. Some exotic animals in the likes of reptiles are much easier to maintain. Reptiles won’t destroy your furniture or your most recent purchased pillow if they’re not getting enough attention. So long as you remember to feed and care for them regularly. They are all set on their own.
8. Last chance for home
The truth remains that wildlife territory has massively decreased due to the accelerated speed of urban development. And with you providing a home for an exotic animal which you will acquire legally, it might be its last chance for a home.
1. Ethical Concerns
The animal’s welfare is the prime and foremost concern we must all consider. Ensuring proper pet care for a wild animal requires a lot from anyone. From research, adjustment, preparation, investment, creating an environment that is customized to the needs of the animal, to substantial medical care. Despite all these preparations, we can not be entirely sure if the arrangements are adequate for the animal.
2. Exotic pets are not suitable for cuddling
It is not advisable to cuddle a reptile, birds, especially aquatic animals.
3. Some exotic pets are carnivorous
A drawback in keeping an exotic animal is their specific nutritional needs, and most of the time, every species has its personal preference with their meaty meals.
4. Wild Animals may spread infectious diseases and pests
There are a lot of wild animals that carry diseases that are fatal to humans. For example, Salmonella infections are contracted by thousands of people every year due to contact with reptiles or amphibians. In the United States, an outbreak of monkeypox happened in 2003, resulting from pet trades from Africa of Gambian rats who were infected by the disease.
5. They grow up
Regardless if an animal came from the wildest forest, while they are still babies, they are irresistibly charming. But always keep in mind that these adorable animals grow up. And some species can become too big and too strong for an owner to care for. Along with its development is its wild instincts, they might seem innocent while they are young, but the wild is still within them.
Be extra considerate of all the measures when it comes to deciding on adopting animals as pets. Weigh the pros and cons of having exotic animals as pets. There is much at risk to it, not only to the animals but also to live and the environment. But if you are deeply invested in this, we’re glad to know that you can provide a home to at least one of them.