bad facts about exotic animals

Bad Facts About Exotic Animals

From lions in cages to tiger cubs sold online, the exotic animal trade industry poses severe threats to global biodiversity. While glamorous images of big cats, colorful birds, and unusual creatures captivate hearts and minds around the world, shockingly little thought goes into understanding the real impact of the exotic pet craze on vulnerable populations in distant lands.

As consumers continue to prioritize novelty over conservation, certain hard truths need to be recognized to understand what truly lies behind the allure of owning something different.

So let’s take a closer look at bad facts about exotic animals and shine a light on less talked about consequences. Once exposed, the hope is to stimulate awareness of these pressing issues before it’s too late for many innocent victims caught up in this dangerous phenomenon.

Bad Facts About Exotic Animals: Dangers, Ethics, and Laws.

  1. Exotic animals require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance that the average person cannot provide.
  2. When in the hands of private individuals, exotic animals suffer due to poor care1.
  3. Exotic animals pose safety and health risks to their owners and any person coming into contact with them.
  4. Across the country, many incidents have been reported where exotic animals held in private hands attacked humans and other animals, and escaped from their enclosures and freely roamed the community.
  5. Children and adults have been mauled by tigers, bitten by monkeys, and asphyxiated by snakes.
  6. Exotic animals are inherently dangerous to the individuals who possess them, to their neighbors, and to the community at large.
  7. Wild animals have lived for thousands of years without the direct influence of humans. They are adapted for survival in complex, wild environments. They are not well adapted to living with humans or in a house.
  8. Keeping wild animals as pets can be dangerous. Many can bite, scratch, and attack an owner, children, or guests.
  9. Animal owners can be legally responsible for any damage, injuries or illnesses caused by animals they maintain.
  10. Finding new homes for large, hard-to-handle animals can be difficult, if not impossible, particularly since most zoos are unable to accept them.
  11. Wild animals can carry diseases dangerous or fatal to humans. Diseases include rabies, distemper, herpes viruses, salmonella, polio.
  12. Tarantulas are venomous, some rodents carry diseases and some large animals can become aggressive.
  13. Animals such as tigers and primates can be very cute and docile when they are young but become very aggressive and hard to manage as adults.
  14. Animals that have been raised with people usually cannot be returned to the wild, because they have not learned the skills to survive.
  15. Monkeys and other primates are more dangerous to people than other exotic pets because of their tendency to bite and scratch.
  16. Exotic snakes and reptiles are also, particularly dangerous.
  17. Born Free has tracked 443 incidents involving exotic reptiles since 1990, the most of any animal group.
  18. Exotic animals are not suitable for domestication.
  19. Exotic animals are not meant to be kept as pets.
  20. Exotic animals are not toys or status symbols.
  21. Exotic animals require a lot of space to move around and exercise.
  22. Exotic animals can suffer from stress and depression when kept in captivity.
  23. Exotic animals can become aggressive and territorial when they reach sexual maturity.
  24. Exotic animals can be expensive to care for.
  25. Exotic animals can be difficult to find proper veterinary care for.
  26. Exotic animals can be difficult to feed, requiring specialized diets.
  27. Exotic animals can be difficult to transport.
  28. Exotic animals can be difficult to obtain legally.
  29. Exotic animals can be taken from the wild, contributing to illegal activities and endangering wild populations.
  30. Exotic animals can be a threat to native wildlife if they escape or are released into the wild.

What are some common diseases that can be transmitted from exotic animals to humans?

Some common diseases that can be transmitted from exotic animals to humans include rabies, salmonella, and Lyme disease. Exotic animals such as reptiles, amphibians, primates, and certain birds can carry these illnesses without showing any symptoms themselves. Therefore, proper care and handling of these animals, along with vaccination programs, is important to prevent transmission to humans.

What are some of the challenges of caring for exotic animals as pets?

Caring for exotic animals as pets can present several challenges. One major challenge is meeting their specific dietary needs, which may require specialized foods or preparation methods. Additionally, exotic pets often require custom enclosures and equipment, regular veterinary checkups, and ongoing socialization to ensure they receive appropriate levels of mental stimulation.

All of this can add up quickly, both financially and logistically. Furthermore, many exotic pets come from wild populations and therefore may not adapt well to captivity, leading to behavioral problems. Finally, owners must be prepared for emergency situations and potential escapes.

What are some of the legal and ethical issues surrounding the ownership of exotic animals?

Owning exotic animals poses several legal and ethical considerations. From a legal standpoint, owning exotic animals requires registration, permits, and licenses depending on your location. Breeding activities typically require additional regulations to prevent unscrupulous individuals from breeding endangered species in order to sell them internationally.

Ethically speaking, there are concerns over whether owning these animals is truly in their interest given their natural habitats are disrupted. In addition, confining exotic animals could lead to welfare problems and undermine their ability to behave naturally.

Moreover, owning exotic animals has ecological implications if invasive species become established through escape or release into the wild by irresponsible owners. Ultimately, prospective pet owners should carefully consider all aspects before deciding to purchase an exotic animal.

What Are Some Specific Zoonotic Diseases That Can Be Transmitted From Exotic Animals To Humans?

Exposure to exotic animals comes with risks due to the possibility of contracting zoonotic diseases — ones originating in animals but transmittable to humans. Here are four types:

  • Rabies – Spread mostly via saliva from bites or scratches; common among bats, raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other mammals worldwide
  • Salmonellosis – Caused by intestinal bacteria (e.g., Salmonella enterica) spread through feces contamination, affecting rodents, lizards, snakes, turtles, frogs etc.
  • Lyme disease – An inflammatory condition caused by Borrelia bacteria mainly distributed by hard-shelled ticks frequently found on mammals like white-tailed deer, moose, mice etc.
  • Herpes B virus – Associated with macaque monkeys and other old-world monkey species capable of shedding infectious particles; potential risk exists during grooming, feeding and direct contact

What Are Some Of The Unique Needs And Requirements Of Exotic Animals That Make Them Challenging To Care For As Pets?

Some people keep wildlife at home, often underestimating the complexities involved in nourishing, housing, exercising, monitoring, training and generally looking after creatures coming from different ecosystems and habitats. Key factors include:

  • Specialised diets – Many animals have strict nutritional demands difficult to replicate domestically unless adhering to specific formulated feeds or supplements
  • Veterinarian availability – When unexpected medical conditions occur with your non-domestic companion, accessing expert treatment becomes essential but could prove problematic considering few specialists cover some species
  • Sufficient living space/environment – Each creature has environmental requirements based on climate, terrain, vegetation or water presence reflecting life where they originate. These elements need addressing within captive environments to provide acceptable levels of physiological comfort and freedom of movement
  • Social interaction – Wild animals usually exist within communities necessitating appropriate company of conspecifics, or alternatively, meaningful interspecies contacts involving homosapiens. Providing adequate interactions remains a significant hurdle since opportunities rarely match those available in nature, possibly triggering behaviour issues
  • Legislative compliance – Every nation establishes guidelines covering acquisition, husbandry, safekeeping plus eventual transfer/release back into wilderness. Advisories might change periodically, testing owners’ knowledge and capacity for maintaining abidance

What Are Some Examples Of Legal And Ethical Issues That Have Arisen In Cases Of Exotic Animal Ownership?

Owning wild creatures brings responsibilities beyond individual fulfilment, extending to broader societal expectations. Several prominent dilemmas have resulted:

  • Species protection – Welfare laws exist to protect each country’s indigenous animal inhabitants. However, when imported animals are brought in for personal interests, they could potentially upset existing balances, impact local biodiversity or introduce pathogens. Permitting legislation varies geographically but always seeks reasonable compromises
  • Public safety – Larger more dangerous creatures or those less predictable pose genuine threats to society. Laws commonly limit accessibility to high-risk animals with stringent permit procedures. Accidents may still happen requiring judicial involvement for damages to victims or even criminalization.
  • Conservation matters – Keeping rare species may indirectly encourage trade further threatening declining populations or ecosystems. Personal collections could conflict with wider initiatives attempting sustainable recovery programs
  • Zoo versus private possession – Often privately held zoo facilities don’t possess the resources or competencies to guarantee equivalent animal wellbeing compared with officially recognized state or government-run institutions.

How have laws and regulations around exotic animal ownership changed over time?

The laws and regulations around exotic animal ownership have changed over time. In the U.S., laws regulating the ownership of exotic pets vary from state to state1. Some states have strict regulations on the ownership of exotic animals, while others have little to no regulation.

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), an international agreement signed by 183 governments, has voted to ban or limit trade in many animal species sought after as pets.

Many countries also prohibit domestic sales or possession of certain animals. Nonprofits around the world have been trying to shut down the exotic pet trade by educating people about the dangers of owning exotic animals.

What are some of the risks associated with owning exotic animals as pets?

There are several risks associated with owning exotic animals as pets. Exotic animals can be unpredictable and dangerous, which can pose a risk to both the owner and the public.

Bad Facts About Exotic Animals.

Additionally, exotic animals have unique needs and requirements that can be difficult to meet in a home environment, which can lead to injury, illness, and death. Exotic animals can also carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans, including salmonellosis, herpes B, monkeypox, and tuberculosis.

What are some of the ethical concerns around the exotic pet trade?

There are several ethical concerns surrounding the exotic pet trade. The exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, both legal and illegal. Animals are often taken from the wild before they’re sold as pets, which can lead to the depletion of wild populations and the disruption of ecosystems.

The trade-in of exotic animals also poses grave dangers to the animals, as well as to human health and safety. Exotic animals are often kept in inadequate conditions, which can lead to injury, illness, and death. The exotic pet trade also results in the mistreatment and neglect of animals.

When owners can no longer care for their exotic pets, they often turn to zoos and other institutions to take them in. However, these institutions cannot accommodate all of the unwanted animals, which can result in euthanasia or poor living conditions.

The RSPCA is opposed to wild-caught animals being part of the exotic pet trade, as these animals are taken from the wild and often transported long distances.

What are some examples of exotic animals that are commonly kept as pets?

Exotic pets can include a wide variety of animals, from birds and reptiles to large mammals like tigers and wolves. Here are some examples of exotic animals that are commonly kept as pets:

  • Birds, such as parrots and macaws
  • Reptiles, such as snakes, lizards, and turtles
  • Rodents, such as sugar gliders and hedgehogs
  • Primates, such as monkeys and lemurs
  • Large cats, such as lions and tigers
  • Wolves and other canines
  • Bears and other large mammals

How do exotic animals end up in the pet trade?

Exotic animals can end up in the pet trade in a variety of ways. Some animals are captured from their native habitats and transported to various countries to be sold as pets. Others are surplus animals from zoos or their offspring.

Backyard breeders also supply exotic animals. The internet has made it easier for people to find and purchase wild animals for their private possessions.

What are some of the challenges of enforcing laws and regulations around exotic animal ownership?

Enforcing laws and regulations around exotic animal ownership can be challenging for several reasons. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of coordination between levels of governance, which allows illegal exotic pet trade to pass as legal pet trade.

Additionally, the laws regulating the ownership of exotic pets vary from state to state, and some states have little to no regulation. It can also be difficult to track the number of exotic animals entering a state, making it hard to enforce regulations. Finally, the exotic pet trade is a multi-billion dollar industry, both legal and illegal, which can make it difficult to regulate.

Legal Requirements for Owning Exotic Animals as Pets:

Pet ownership laws vary widely by jurisdiction and country, so I recommend checking your local regulations before considering bringing an exotic animal into your household. In general, though, many exotic species have CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) protections that govern how they can be kept captive.

These rules are put in place not only to protect the species but also public safety, such as ensuring proper enclosures and veterinary care. There may even be different regulations based on whether the animal was obtained through breeding versus rescue/adoption from accredited facilities.

While certain countries ban private exotic pet ownership entirely, others may impose stricter permitting or licensing conditions compared to more common domestic pets like dogs and cats. Of course, these regulations should always follow ethical considerations around keeping nonhuman animals captive at all.

Exotic Animal Pet Trade Impact on Native Ecosystems:

There is a complex relationship between humans and other members of our planet’s fauna because we share habitats. We often rely upon wild animals for food and medicine while simultaneously seeking entertainment value from them, perhaps visiting zoos or circuses, hunting game birds, fishing, or buying pets.

Feeding this demand requires removing some individuals from nature into artificial environments. This might mean live capture for shows or menageries, hatcheries to supply eggs or chicks, farms raising livestock (often genetically modified strains), or trapping predatory mammals for fur or feathers instead of allowing them to control population densities naturally via predator-prey interactions within ecosystems.

Since we don’t always use sustainable methods, sometimes removing critters from the environment alters the delicate balance among populations.

Health Risks Associated with Owning Exotic Animals as Pets:

There are several reasons why exotic animals make poor pets. Firstly, there are a multitude of legal barriers that prevent most people from ever getting one – and if one did find themselves in possession of an endangered or protected species, either from finding it abandoned somewhere where it had escaped the previous owner, or having rescued it from imminent danger, one must then check if they meet the stringent requirements of federal, state and local authorities.

Next, if any part of its life cycle requires free movement outdoors (which includes going outside periodically to urinate, defecate etc.) it could cause problems such as zoning restrictions and nuisance ordinances prohibiting unacceptable levels of noise/smells.

Other concerns include the lack of access to appropriate diagnostics tests (many lab rats and primates used to test diagnostic equipment fail inspection due to diseases not found commonly in domesticated companion animals).

Finally, since these animals would never otherwise interact with Homo sapiens without great difficulty for both parties involved, and since there exists no way to effectively educate the average person on how to read body language well enough to prevent injury, there exist inherent behavioral issues that cannot be solved except in very rare cases (some monkeys bond readily with humans given ample space and gentle handling by a family with experience caring for them).

Lastly, those raised in sterile laboratory conditions who come from litters of a few hundred would require intensive individualized training programs costing many thousands per year that may not be feasible or even possible.

Overall, with all these factors considered, an ethical, safe future of exotic animals being integrated back into society is unlikely unless we radically transform our relationships with them as pets.

What are some of the consequences of owning an exotic animal without a permit?

Owning an exotic animal without a permit can have serious consequences. Here are some of the penalties and consequences for owning an exotic animal without proper licensing: Fines: You may be subject to fines for owning an exotic animal without a permit.

Criminal penalties: In some cases, owning an exotic animal without a permit can result in criminal charges.
Seizure and forfeiture of animals: Authorities may seize and forfeit your animals if you are found to be in violation of exotic animal ownership laws.

Liability: If your exotic animal causes harm to someone or damages property, you may be held liable for any resulting injuries or damages.

Legal charges: You may face legal charges if your exotic animal escapes and causes harm to someone or damages property.
It’s important to research the laws and regulations in your state before deciding to own an exotic animal as a pet.

How do the legal requirements for owning an exotic animal vary by state?

The legal requirements for owning an exotic animal as a pet vary by state. Here are some examples of how these requirements differ:

Permits: Some states require permits for certain exotic animals, such as primates, wolves, wild canine hybrids, large cats, elephants, rhinos, and hippos. For example, in Vermont, you’ll need a permit to own an anaconda, but not to keep a pet alligator.

Bans: Some states have outright bans on the ownership of wild or exotic animals as pets. For example, in Oregon, it is unlawful for a person to possess an exotic animal, which is defined as any wild cat, non-human primate, canine not indigenous to Oregon, bear (except black bear), and any alligator, crocodile, or caiman.

Partial bans: Some states have partial bans on exotic pets, which means that these states ban specific, listed animals by statute, but not all non-traditional, non-domestic animals. For example, Connecticut allows some exotic animals as pets, such as primates under 35 lbs. at maturity, ferrets, hedgehogs, and sugar gliders, but bans others, such as lions, leopards, cheetahs, and all wild dogs.

Licenses: Some states require licenses for certain exotic animals. For example, Idaho requires a permit for tigers and other “deleterious exotic animals,” while Vermont requires a permit to own an anaconda.
No regulation: Some states do not have a statutory or regulatory scheme that directly addresses or controls the private ownership of exotic pets, but may regulate some aspects of ownership. For example, in Indiana, you need permits for most animals, but the state does not bar any animals.
It’s important to research the laws and regulations in your state before deciding to own an exotic animal as a pet.

What are some of the requirements for obtaining a permit to own an exotic animal?

Here are some of the requirements for obtaining a permit to own an exotic animal:

Permits: Some states require permits for certain exotic animals, such as primates, wolves, wild canine hybrids, large cats, elephants, rhinos, and hippos. For example, in Vermont, you’ll need a permit to own an anaconda, but not to keep a pet alligator.

Licenses: Some states require licenses for certain exotic animals. For example, Idaho requires a permit for tigers and other “deleterious exotic animals,” while Vermont requires a permit to own an anaconda.

Registration: Some states require the registration of exotic animals. People seeking licenses may have to register with the state, prove satisfactory conditions for the keeping of such animals, pay a fee, and maintain liability insurance.

Insurance: Some states require liability insurance for exotic animal owners.

Health certificates or import permits: Some states may require health certificates or import permits for exotic animals.
It’s important to research the laws and regulations in your state before deciding to own an exotic animal as a pet.


As we have explored, owning exotic animals is becoming increasingly popular across various continents and age groups. From millennials desiring unique selfie opportunities to millionaires acquiring exotic animals to show off their wealth status, many seem to overlook some alarming truths surrounding the issue.

The sad fact remains that as long as this trend continues, countless endangered species will fall victim to illegal poaching, deforestation caused by land conversion, and exploitation at the hands of commercial interests. With this in mind, it’s crucial to acknowledge and address bad facts about exotic animals to curtail their negative effects.

By taking action against the wildlife trade industries profiteering on threatened species and implementing conservation efforts to rehabilitate habitats and reduce pollution levels, we can safeguard biodiversity and maintain the ecological balance on Earth.

After all, protecting our planet’s fragile natural heritage means preserving not only the beauty of wildlife but also the survival of entire ecosystems under threat.

Let us strive to foster a greater appreciation for Earth’s diverse inhabitants rather than contributing to their decline through careless consumer choices. Remember to keep “bad” facts about exotic animals front and center when making decisions affecting nature and wildlife.

The welfare of our world depends on responsible stewardship and compassion toward all sentient creatures inhabiting it. I wrote an article Bad Facts About Animals in Zoos which you need to read to learn more about Animals.