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10 Exotic Pets that Pose No Threat to Public Safety

A cuddy big cat, the lion, lying on its back
A cuddy big cat, the lion, lying on its back

Are Exotic Pets Dangerous?

The public, and animal rights groups in particular, always seem to have such a negative impression of more unique animals being kept as pets. "You own that?" "How can you have that as a pet?" "That's dangerous!" "It must be wrong for the animal!" And the ever-so-popular and ideology-driven claim: "That animal belongs in the wild!" Well, all animals certainly come from the wild, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be happy (or happier) in domesticity. .

The existence of these animals should, at minimum, call into question blanket bans of exotic pets on the pretense of public safety. The goal of this article is to illustrate how pet ownership is being decided upon by the speculative and highly unsubstantiated emotions and ideologies of people who also have no interest in keeping these pets and possessing no empathy with this personal freedom, or those seeking to restrict pet ownership as a whole because of animal rights agendas, thus infringing on the freedom of choice and lifestyle pursuits of others. For more information on this, scroll down past the list.

A reminder: This article is not a care sheet nor do I endorse any of these animals as pets. I do support open-mindedness and I oppose pet bans. Always do your research before inquiring about any animal.

1. Fennec Foxes

The fennec fox licks its nose.
The fennec fox licks its nose. | Source

Keeping a small desert fox in a home environment may sound as though this small mammal may be a fish out of water. However fennec foxes are actually one of the most popular exotic mammals. This is because they thrive with the proper owner, being one of the easier exotic animals to manage.

Unlike other foxes, these animals make good house pets. Many use a litter box with varying levels of consistency and the droppings are dry, since this desert dweller conserves water efficiently.

Fennec fox care may be comparable to that of a high-maintenance ferret. A reasonable enclosure for this small mammal should be, at minimum, a multi-level ferret enclosure such as a Ferret Nation. In small enclosures, fennecs should be let out to play daily.

They weigh as much as a chihuahua and are harmless. Bat-eared foxes are similar animals that are not privately-owned in high numbers.

A fennec fox yawning
A fennec fox yawning | Source

2. Tamanduas and Two-Toed Sloths

A tamandua on a leash.
A tamandua on a leash. | Source

I include this unique animal only to show how an animal being "wild" and exotic certainly doesn’t mean it has to possess the danger of a Bengal tiger. Not all animals are ready to pounce on your next door neighbor or bat its paws at moving cars.

How many people would feel threatened by a two-toed sloth? This is an animal that an infant can probably out-crawl. Sloths are high-maintenance pets, and there’s a lot of misinformation floating around about them.

Currently, their captive-bred populations are small and they are (thankfully) unpopular as pets. To properly accommodate them, they should have a large room or an aviary with sizable branches and ropes to climb on. But with the right owner, the animal’s welfare needs can be met.

Is a sloth or anteater (tamandua) dangerous? Well, look at them. Sloths do possess teeth and in the worst case scenario, a person holding one can sustain an injury. As far as these animals escaping and running rampant, causing problems for other people, it's impossible.

Video: A Pet Sloth Climbing a Tree (Enzo the Pet Sloth)

3. Bennett's Wallabies

A baby wallaby and its albino mother in the background.
A baby wallaby and its albino mother in the background. | Source

Unlike kangaroos, wallabies are simply too small to be any possible threat or nuisance to anyone. So why should they be banned anywhere? Wallabies are mostly outdoor pets, and should be kept in a sufficient pen with available shelter.

Owners can seal a connection with these marsupials early on by carrying them in a makeshift pouch sling in their early adolescence. After this criterion is met, wallabies thrive in domestic settings. Outside of ideologies, no valid reason exists to ban these animals as pets.

4. Muntjac Deer

A muntjac deer sniffing a finger.
A muntjac deer sniffing a finger. | Source

Similar to pot-bellied pigs, muntjac deer are kept by some as house pets and they are unique to their larger counterparts. Muntjac deer reach the size of a large house cat, and are reported by their owners to be extremely affectionate.

If you realized that your neighbor was keeping a pet deer indoors, that might sound bizarre and destined to be a problem. However, aside from the owners needing to deal with the excessive chewing habit this species is prone to, they are wonderfully enriching pets that thrive with the proper human’s care.

Video: Bambi Our Muntjac Deer

5. Spotted Genets

My small spotted genet sitting.
My small spotted genet sitting.

I can personally attest to the harmlessness of this supposedly intimidating-looking exotic pet. An episode of the show Wild Justice on the National Geographic channel will call them a "wild African exotic mammal."

To me, they are a high energy, arboreal, and nocturnal "cat-ferret." They combine many qualities of different animals, as well as possessing a few of their own, and make a very rewarding pet for the right owners who can tolerate them.

Owners who like to snuggle and hold their pets for extended periods may want to turn owning a genet down—they just aren’t mentally built for it. Genets are very skittish and hate to be restrained by humans, and the last thing any person needs to worry about is their neighbor’s genet attacking them. Scratch marks can be expected for the owner who will interact with their pet genet (mine have significantly decreased since my genet’s babyhood).

I have also gotten some angry nips and the occasional bite due to food protection, fear, and simple playing, but I have survived these superficial wounds. My genet is extremely hesitant to leave my room, let alone the house, not that I would allow that to happen. If he did escape, my biggest fear would be his death, not him "sneaking into someone’s doggie door and messing with someone" (as was literally stated by the Wild Justice episode). Every genet owner knows that is preposterous.

Video: Exotic Pet Spotted Genet Standing Like a Person

6. African Servals, Savanah Cats, and Other Small to Medium-Sized Felines

A Geoffroy's cat in a bag.
A Geoffroy's cat in a bag. | Source

As the most "intimidating" animal on this list, servals deserve a spot on this list. Why? Not because they make excellent pets for average pet-keeping people (they require demanding husbandry and caging requirements), but because they are so sadly often lumped into the same category as tigers, lions, and leopards, which results in their unfair banning.

This type of ban has recently occurred in Ohio, because when people think of a wild feline, they generally think of big cats.

A caracal cat looking up
A caracal cat looking up | Source

While servals may have an intimidating size, most of their height comes from the length of their legs. They have a build similar to a cheetah (which, despite being a big cat, is also not so dangerous to people), and hunt much smaller prey.

A pet serval is not even likely to stalk a child if, by worst case scenario, it broke free from its owner’s home. In fact, from what I can find, servals have been responsible for no human fatalities or even any significant injury in the US.

I can assure any person that they would rather spend an hour in a room with an angry serval than 10 minutes with a protective dog on its turf that they don't own.

A serval and a baby Geoffroy's cat.
A serval and a baby Geoffroy's cat. | Source

Other medium-sized felines:

  • Bobcats. In this category, bobcats possess the biggest potential to be dangerous because they actually take large prey despite their size. Yet, outside of rabies cases in wild bobcats, there are no reported bobcat attacks (this disease makes some animals highly aggressive) and are actually said to be the easiest of all the medium exotic pet cats.
  • Asian leopard cats, ocelots, jungle cats, and Geoffrey cats. Asian leopard cats, ocelots, jungle cats, and Geoffrey cats are also small cats that will not hunt down neighborhood children in the event of an escape. However they do not make good, easy pets. The owner would need to be willing to create double door entrances to their house, have an outdoor pen for the cat, and deal with excessive scent marking via spraying.
  • Savannah cats. Savannah cats are domesticated cats mixed with serval blood. The highest serval percentage (53%) Savannah is an F1, and their prices run from $7,000 to $22,000 dollars. F4 generation Savannah cats are similarly tall, and F3 and down are smaller and far more domesticated (more like a regular cat) than wild. They are simply interesting cats with dog-like characteristics. Bans exist for this particular pet due to fear of the unusual. These animals pose no threat to public safety.

A siberian lynx lying on a rock.
A siberian lynx lying on a rock. | Source

7. Bush Babies

A bush baby perching on shoulder
A bush baby perching on shoulder | Source

Welfare-wise, it's hard to defend having primates as pets. This is because they require dedicated individuals who have the animal smarts to understand their complex needs. The prospective owners should also preferably set them up in colonies so that they can benefit from social enrichment. Either that, or they should have a human owner who can spend significant amounts of time with them.

Unfortunately, many monkeys are purchased on a whim by people who believe they can be treated like small people. In the end, they have a relatively intelligent but highly instinctive and high energy animal with retained wild characteristics; hence why primate bans are so quickly brought upon counties and states.

For the previously stated reasons, I’ve never been interested in owning monkeys without garnering the needed experience and financial means, but I think bush babies differ from monkeys, other prosimians and certainly great apes (which don’t belong with any private owner—no exceptions).

Bush babies should not to be confused with slow lorises, which are not readily available in the United States and for the most part, cannot be kept as a pet ethically.

Common marmoset eating fruit.
Common marmoset eating fruit. | Source

Video: Bush Baby Piper on Sophie's Head

8. Capybaras and Patagonian Cavies

Two patagonian cavies
Two patagonian cavies | Source

Many states or counties who exempt rodents from their definition of a wild or exotic’ animal, thinking that this category only covers hamster-sized mammals may be interested in knowing what animals qualify for that definition.

  • Capybaras. Capybaras are the world’s largest rodent, clocking in at 150+ pounds. Their size alone would arouse interest from the non-exotic pet experienced crowd. However if you have a yard with a water source like a pool or deep pond, these massive semi-aquatic rodents can potentially be an enjoyable pet that clearly are of no danger to those uninvolved with this animal’s care.
  • Patagonian cavies. Patagonian cavies are smaller, more terrestrial versions of the animals (both are closely related to guinea pigs) who require some room to roam, and are obviously not dangerous as well.

The idea of a large rodent as a house-pet may sound weird to another person, but it truly is a harmless pet that a person should be allowed to keep if that is their desire.

Video: Pet Capybara Gets a Home Vet Visit

9. Kinkajous

Baby kinkajou being held
Baby kinkajou being held | Source

Thanks to mundane pop culture worship, kinkajous may have found a way to make a name for themselves among the typical cat and dog owning public. Well, one in particular at least:

Aptly named Baby Luv by owner Paris Hilton, this medium-sized pet proved to be not so suitable for red carpet photo ops. Leave it to naïve celebrities to give exotic pet owners bad names due to their mishandling. Logic should induce someone to conclude that this normally secretive arboreal mammal (from the raccoon family) wouldn’t appreciate bright lights and unfamiliar scenarios. It is also illegal to own these animals in California, along with every other non-dog or cat.

Exotic pet ownership requires some remnants of common sense and 'animal smarts', and while Ms. Hilton did get "attacked" by the small mammal (bitten more than once), she went to the hospital for a tetanus shot and the bites were described as superficial. There were no life-ruining deformities there, just the overly sensationalizing and predacious media at its finest.

Kinkajous require a spacious cage and need an outlet for their energy at night. Consistent handling will make them wonderful pets for true exotic animal lovers, and they are relatively popular in terms of exotic mammals. Coatimundis and ringtail cats are also closely related exotic pets that are similar. Those who aren’t their owners really have no business minding if someone brings one home.

Video: Kinkajou as Pets

10. Boa Constrictors

A large boa constrictor on a couch.
A large boa constrictor on a couch. | Source

All reptiles are undomesticated and considered to be exotic pets. Yet, most of them are essentially harmless, however the words "boa constrictor" may send chills down the typical snake-o-phobe’s spine.

Somehow, this animal has received a reputation as being hazardous to the same level of the two larger species that are responsible for the most deaths: the Burmese python and the reticulated python (death rates from these animals however, are still quite low.)

It may be of interest to some people that previous to 2010, boa constrictors, despite immense popularity as pets in the reptile trade, were responsible for zero recorded human fatalities in the US. Nor am I aware of any incidences in other countries, but the US is a more than sufficient sample size.

There are many miserable people who feel as though keepers of these constrictors deserve to die, but any snake owner knows that their chances of dying driving on the highway to pick up their pet's dinner is extravagantly higher.

Close-up of a boa constrictor head.
Close-up of a boa constrictor head. | Source

Fatalities Caused by Boa Constrictors

In 2010 a pet, 9-foot boa constrictor strangled its owner while he was showing it to a friend.

Therefore apparently, this species has caused one death. However one could only imagine the stupidity and unfairness that would result if we decided to ban everything that has caused a single death.

We’d essentially have to ban our existence. More importantly, this Hub is addressing public safety, and an attack against the owner of the animal is not considered to be an attack against a member of the uninvolved public. So not only are boa constrictor incidences pathetically rare (as are incidences with the larger snakes which have actually killed people with a regular occurrence), but they are even less likely to occur toward a person who is not involved with the care of the animal.

Therefore, outside of baseless fear, discomfort with a neighbor owning these animals is unjustified and senseless.

A Closing Note: Why Exotic Pets Don't Threaten Public Safety

The words "exotic pet" frightens many, but little do many people know that when they support exotic pet bans, they may be empowering bans for their own pets, such as ferrets, sugar gliders and select rodents that they don't consider to be exotics (not to mention breed specific legislation of domesticated animals). The word exotic has never been synonymous with the words "large and dangerous," but of course, this is its main association. Animal rights groups are not ignorant to the word--they just tend to keep quiet on their anti-position toward more common and less overtly threatening animals such as hedgehogs, sugar gliders, reptiles, and others so they can gain this group's support to take the big guys down first. There are however, many articles that indicate their disgust with keeping even small pets like these.

A common tactic by anti-captive animal organizations (such as The Humane Society of the United States or the Animal Legal Defense Fund), is to ever so subtly, throw all so-called exotic animals into the same category when these groups speak to legislators. In other words, if a chimp mauls their owner, a fennec fox is also responsible for it. If a human contracts monkey pox from a pet Gambian pouched rat, you should fear disease from any other animal that isn’t domesticated even though domesticated animals are capable of zoonotic transfer as well.

Can domesticated animals harbor potential pathogens or cause deaths? Absolutely, and often domesticated animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, and livestock are included within assessments of ‘exotic pet zoonosis’. Rarely are there ever incidents like these from animals that are often banned without question such as wild felines, canines, and other largely uncommon pets. Each animal species present unique risks--this just applies to all animals in general regardless of ‘domestication’ and popularity.

Therefore, when I say that the animals on this list--which are all not legal in some states--are "not a threat to public safety," I’m not suggesting that they pose zero threat to individuals like a stuffed animal does, or that a person should leave small children alone with these animals and fall asleep in the adjacent room, but that they pose the same threat, or far less, than a typical dog or cat.

Animals of any respectable size have teeth and can cause minor injury. This should be distinguished from a severe injury (all are equated when an exotic pet is the perpetrator), but even incidences of this occurring toward people who aren’t directly involved with the animal are rare or have never occurred.

The legislative goals that animal rights groups are calling for impose bans on entire groups of animals without exception under the guise that they are all dangerous, even though some clearly aren’t. They know this, but their true goal is to eliminate ownership of animals to support their ideologies. The discussion of exotic pet ownership then becomes a battle of which side can effectively exploit the ignorance of non-animal oriented legislators.

Some people even keep cheetahs as pets.
Some people even keep cheetahs as pets. | Source

Which exotic pets on this list would you realistically like to own?

  • Sloth
  • Fennec Fox
  • Tamandua
  • Small wild cat
  • Spotted genet
  • Wallaby
  • Muntjac deer
  • Bush baby
  • Capybara
  • Kinkajou
  • Large Constrictor
  • None!
See results without voting

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Comments 123 comments

KA Pederson profile image

KA Pederson 3 years ago from Texas

So that's why I am seeing foxes all over Pinterest! I had no idea people were keeping them as pets. Ewww!!! Voted you up for interesting!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm not sure why you find it gross KA Pederson, they're relatively clean pets. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

"Ew" is a word I find very strange when used to describe a fox... They are revered animals in both fables and popular media as being sharp-witted survivalists. I am unsure why anyone would think they were gross. Mischievous and meddlesome, perhaps...

Great hub, good to see some reptile representation here. I wouldn't go so far as to say that other (larger) snakes kill with "regular occurrence," since less than one death a year does not seem very regular to me, but of all the constrictors save for the Burm, the red tail has got to have the worst reputation simply because of its name. People don't even know what a "Boa constrictor" is most of the time, they just hear it and get scared. Anything that coils around its prey and is big must be a Boa constrictor, to them! Oiy...

Servals make fantastic pets, we have a couple that come in to the clinic on occasion. One in particular will play with the mastiff it shares a home with. Most "domestic" cats won't do that! I find servals to be excellent pets, worthy of much more social acceptance.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Yeah, even minuscule occurrences are occurrences, haha. I was just trying to emphasize how pointless the fear of boa constrictors are. For some reason people hear that name and think human killer. We can probably expect that there will be no fatalities from them for a long time, and they are extremely popular pet reptiles, so it's not that few people keep them. Most reptiles are probably harmless too (only exceptions, giant monitors, venomous snakes, crocodilians; even these are hardly a public safety issue), I think they are generally more expected than exotic mammals, which most people aren't aware that people keep them as pets. Glad to hear servals are good pets, WANT, haha. Do you work with a zoo vet?


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

I wish! I work at an exotic vet clinic though, which may just be the next best thing. As you know, "exotic" can mean anything from parrots, rabbits, ferrets, and hamsters, to skunks, genets, kinkajous, bobcats and 'roos :)


LoLo 3 years ago

Love, love, love this article! So many people are misinformed, brainwashed, and/or plain ignorant.. Or if it's just not your thing (owning animals or exotics) then let others be! If dedicated, responsible, kind and knowledgeable animal owners treat and care for their animals properly- then the rest should back off!

Some collect guns, go skydiving, race cars, have 10 kids, hike extreme mountains... The list goes on! The point is who has the right to tell anyone how to live, what to do, where to go or what ANIMALS to own/have... As long as they don't truly pose a threat to anyone or mistreat/abuse the animal- who cares?!?! I'm so tired of this world becoming so over-regulated and controlled! It's crazy how people think it's okay to have zoos, animal parks, etc; but it's not okay to own some of these 'exotics' privately, which 9 out of 10 get treated and taken care of better! 70% of people shouldn't own ANY pets (domesticated or not) so, why focus on owning 'exotics'??? Rant over... People will always have their opinions, I just want my freedom and right- just as they have with whatever it is they choose to own, collect, or do!

I'm actually waiting for my baby serval to arrive and I can't wait! I'll treat it better and provide more for it than most do (the 'anti' exotic fanatics) for their children. Again, thanks for the article and I just hope more people open their mind and heart to some of these wonderful animals!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

You are quite correct Lolo, and unfortunately even the anti-zoo sentiment is growing. I'm jealous, I want a serval. They're not legal in my state.


LoLo 3 years ago

That's awful! Ohh, you need to move then ;)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Yes, that is in the works, to NC. Hopefully when I go there in the future new bans won't be in place in the town or the state.


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

Great list, Melissa, and I am sharing this on twitter.

I want to add Tegus, since they are like mellow house cats. My large male prefers to just find a sunny corner of my studio to plop down in. He is a lot less dangerous than a dog.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Dr.Mark, there are of course many animals that could be on this list, but I've found that nice short little lists get more attention from the general public than a boring comprehensive dictionary on all the other pets, lol. People tend to find the more scaly fur-less animals unsettling but most of them are harmless. My iguana is probably worse than tegus, despite being a vegan.


DrMark1961 profile image

DrMark1961 3 years ago from The Beach of Brazil

I laughed at that comment, since it made me remember my iguana (when I lived in Chicago). He was a LOT worse than a Tegu, but still a lot safer than a big guard dog!


cmoonwolf 3 years ago

I agree with all this these animals and all harmless ones should not be banned anywhere in anyway, i agree with permits because exotics are not for everyone and with any animal you should do your homework before getting, but never banned. I would love to have a fox but as far as i know can't because of these senseless bans. I'd gladly pay the permit cost to own one but it's senseless to not allow me at all. Yes if you are careless they could screw with wildlife systems, but that's why permits would be good and inspections or whatever, to make sure they won't let that happen. They can just do something like that t make sure they won't be a threat to the eco-system or whatever but they aren't dangerous. Usually those willing to pay proper permits are gonna be responsible enough to avoid any escapes and troubles, that goes for any animal owner. Wish we could end this senselessness?!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree cmoonwolf, and where foxes are legal I haven't heard of any environmental destruction. Cats are a different story.


saveahusky profile image

saveahusky 3 years ago from Maine

Love this HUB! I wish I could have a pet fox


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks saveahusky. They are interesting pets.


Shaquiqui 3 years ago

Hello. Girrllll, you cool.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Shaquiqui


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 3 years ago from Centreville Michigan

Very cool hub. Thanks.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Paddyboy


jimmyglaughlin profile image

jimmyglaughlin 3 years ago from Colorado

Great hub! Pet lover here. Very cool pets you have listed, may I have one of each please, LOL!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Glad to hear that Jimmy, I wish I had enough room for all of these too!


Billrrrr profile image

Billrrrr 3 years ago from Cape Cod

You had me right up until Number 10. I'd be willing to consider all your other choices but not the snake!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi BIllrrr, thanks for reading and number 10 will not harm you at all. Probably one of the most 'harmless' additions on this list.


Availiasvision profile image

Availiasvision 3 years ago from California

I want one of those foxes! Super cute.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Availiasvision, me too, they are a little loud though.


marion langley profile image

marion langley 3 years ago from The Study

Other than the boa and the bush baby (my sister-in-law has one) I had no idea these other animals were kept as pets. Very interesting.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Wow, bush babies aren't very common as pets in the U.S., I would be very excited if I knew someone who had one. Many more people have fennecs and kinkajous. Many animals can be kept as pets, although they are not as simple as dogs and cats. Thanks for commenting Marion.


Dreamhowl profile image

Dreamhowl 3 years ago from United States of America

These are some interesting exotic pets, and I agree that many of them seem no more dangerous than some of the pets people normally keep. We've gotten a lot of lizards in my pet store recently that are considered exotic, and they even started carrying tarantulas and scorpions (which aren't recommended to be handled much at all). I'd take one of these exotic animals over a scorpion or tarantula for sure. Voted up!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks dreamhowl! It is simply maddening that these animals are called dangerous because they are unique.


queerlyobscure profile image

queerlyobscure 3 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

Oh these are all adorable and I'm sure have the potential to make lovely pets. I've always wanted to keep a boa but I've never lived in a situation where everyone else living with me would have been happy about it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Yes, they can make good pets but it depends on what you're looking for and willing to tolerate. I know what you mean, my parents hate snakes, yet I bought 8 of them anyway.


Solaras profile image

Solaras 3 years ago

Great Article! Voted up and awesome. Love the Fennec Foxes!! I understand they are very popular as pets in Russia. Do you know if they can be walked on lead?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Solaras, fennecs can be trained to wear a harness but I don't think they will walk on a lead like a small dog. It would be more like walking a cat (letting them do the walking). It is also dangerous because the animal can get away and they would be almost impossible to catch if this happened, so only inside would be best.


Carl8033 profile image

Carl8033 3 years ago

The fennec foxes are so cute, I wouldn't mind having them as pets. Great hub :)


Danette Watt profile image

Danette Watt 3 years ago from Illinois

A woman in the next town over had a pet monkey. She visited a dog park and the monkey bit a boy on the arm. He wasn't interacting with the monkey at all, he was really just petting a dog but apparently the monkey was rather protective / possessive of the dog. I think she's going to be forced to take it to the St. Louis Zoo to live.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Carl8033, they are pretty interesting.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Danette, I've heard of that incident. Monkeys can be very possessive. The bite was not severe but it is protocol to screen such animals for rabies and other diseases are a concern, which is why hospitalization often occurs. However it is highly unlikely that sole pet monkeys will have something. They really ought to not be taken out in public, that is a stupid thing to do, especially with Old world monkeys like macaques. So far this year no 'pet' exotics have killed or critically injured any person but dogs, notably 'bully breeds' have several times.


beckieland profile image

beckieland 3 years ago from Binghamton NY

I want a fennec fox! The Chihuahua is an ancestor - I was holding my Chihuahua at an animal showing. We were standing next to the fennec fox. A spectator thought I was holding a larger version of the same fox! They almost looked alike.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi beckie, they can look alike, but foxes don't have compatible genomes with dogs to produce offspring. I believe it is just convergence. Thanks for commenting.


LisaKoski profile image

LisaKoski 3 years ago from WA

I've never heard of some of these animals before. This is a very fascinating and informative read. My boyfriend's dream is to one day have a fox for a pet. I will definitely be passing your article along!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Hi Lisa, foxes are definitely something he can aspire to get if he lives in the right state, particularly fennec foxes. Other foxes (reg, arctic, grey) are mainly outdoor pets unless he can find a Russian domesticated silver fox. Thanks for stopping by!


lyndaroux profile image

lyndaroux 3 years ago from Alva, Fl

I think your heart and mind are in the right places as far the wild or exotic animals, however, one has to consider the consequences of what happens to these animals . There are poachers out there and the majority of these animals are illegally captured and shipped to the USA .

Most people haven't the experience to provide the proper care or when the animal becomes to much to handle, they often end up in the wrong hands. I feel the ban on exotic animals is the right directions to proceed.

I think it is cruel and unusual punishment towards these innocent animals. We wouldn't like to taken from our only home we know or taken from our parents before we are ready; nor is it fair to capture something wild and cage it for for the rest of it's life.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Where are you getting this information? Is this a subject that you normally follow? Where is the proof that most exotics are illegally poached? It is -illegal- to do that and there are heavy restrictions on wild imported animals nor does it pay for poachers to catch any animals on this list and smuggle them to the U.S. You are free to point out any proof to the contrary.

What is your experience with animals and what has led you to believe they think like humans?

Regardless of all that it is arrogant and oppressive to ban something simply because you don't agree with it. There are millions of people out there who would love to ban non-vegan food, and I can certainly tell you animals would be a fan, should they be able to? What if I took something important from you because I had a trivial 'moral objection' despite having little substantiation. Why don't you think about that for a while.


Vegas 3 years ago

I own an African serval. Years, I've always owned a dog. When she passes away we purchase a serval. He goes everywhere with us, if he doesn't like someone or something he just mind his own business by walking away or stay quiet. He's never attacked anyone. I agree the banning of some exotic animals that are a few hundred pounds that can over power a human but exotics listed are way more harmless then a dog who will attack and harm a human. Most exoticss mentioned above will run before they attack anyone. Servals are the greatest pet to pet owners who do enough research and for people who spend enough time with them. For sure they are not for everyone but if you really spend the time and effort, the reward once bonded with them is incredible.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for your comment Vegas. Would like the opportunity to have one someday. If I never get to do it, I don't want it to be due to some asinine ban.


mypetfinderph profile image

mypetfinderph 3 years ago from Philippines

I'd get any of those except the boa constrictor! :)


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Heh, it is the only non-mammal listed.


steven 3 years ago

i was wondering if it is better to take some animals to the zoo to live or to give them up for adoption coz i really love my fennec foxes but their mother just put to birth and i am on my way out of the country can some one help me?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Steven, it is likely that a zoo that accepts pet cast offs isn't really a decent zoo. Some exceptions could exist I guess. I recommend posting this information in these locations: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/FennecFox/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Exotic-Animals-For-... even here: http://pets.groups.yahoo.com/group/Kinkajous/ ... but please screen homes thoroughly. Ask about past experience, expectations of exotics, ect. This is a great rescue that could provide info or perhaps adopt your pet: http://crittercamp.weebly.com/ Please do not just give your pet away! Unless the person has exotics already and you are comfortable with them. Beware that 'road side zoos' may put your animal in a small cage with little enrichment...


toptenluxury profile image

toptenluxury 3 years ago from Cedartown, GA

Those are some crazy ideas for exotic pets. Great hub! Voted up!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks toptenluxury.


carrie Lee Night profile image

carrie Lee Night 3 years ago from Northeast United States

Interesting HUB! the first one mentioned (the fox critters) They are soooo cute. I never knew people had them as pets. I remember a while back when people said they owned ferrets people gasped in disbelief, but now they are very common. I think as time goes by we will start to have more homeowners host exotic pets. I know potbelly pigs, hedge hogs and flying squirrels are becoming more common. I wonder what's next ?

I remember when I was a kid my aunt had a baby raccoon, but that didn't work out for long because it became very aggressive and had to be confided to the cage...thus she could'nt take care of it anymore. Thank you for this hub :) Have a wonderful week


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Carrie. Some animals should remain unpopular as pets because they don't fit the lifestyles of most people, unlike dogs and cats. However animals like ferrets are good for anyone who doesn't mind the smell!


Kallie 3 years ago

I actually just met a guy who used to privately breed Kinkajous for private homes. His prices were incredibly high because he figured if they were willing to spend the money on one of his, they would be able to provide for it comfortably, he also kept in contact with the ones he sold and had them on contracts. The laws changed and he was unable to continue to sell his Kinkajous, but he says that they made the most magnificent pets and were great for 'average pet owners' who would put in the time to spend with these animals. Great article and good list!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Kallie. They are usually around $2-2,700.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I'm not sure where you read that, Bonnie. Getting drunk is perfectly legal as long as you aren't behind the wheel. I think alcohol is a major public safety threat and small pet foxes are not (whether under someone's control or not), so I wonder why unnecessary attention is paid to them and other animals. I wonder, if the 'industry' for more atypical exotics is booming so much, why no major retailers provide any products for the millions of owners of pets like those on this list aside from the snake?


afffrrrtgjkklll 3 years ago

Awsomwe


cjarosz 3 years ago

Interesting look on things. Some of these are so cute! If only I could actually have one. I think people create the scare that they have of animals period. We pose more threat to any animal, then they do to us. How many have went extinct, or on the brink of it?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

I agree cjarosz, these small pets pose no one any real risk.


desolatefox 3 years ago

Interesting article. I've read a few of yours after ending up on Hub to read a review of the movie Blackfish.

I love savannah cats, I swear one day I will own one. For now though, nice to see boas making the list. ;) I have one, and he's pretty docile. A little cage aggressive, but that's understandable.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

My snakes associate my presence with food and always take it as an opportunity to lunge at me.


desolatefox 3 years ago

Lol! Well, that makes life interesting for you, I'm sure. That's why I feed in separate plastic tubs. Some people say it doesn't make a difference, but at least a couple of my snakes seem to know what the tub means. My young carpet python has only ever bitten me while in or leaving the feeding tub, never in her enclosure or while being handled. While in the tub, she strikes the side any time I move too close to it. I always worry the silly thing is gonna break a fang doing that.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Haha well my snakes seem to get stressed easily so I don't like moving them. Balls can be very funny about feeding I'm sure you know.


DACA 3 years ago

Wow Bonnie you might want to do a little research. I share my home with several foxes (red fox-vulpes, vulpes) and they did not come from the "wild." They were privately/ranch raised for the past 200 years. They have an outdoor run and they can choose if they want to be in the house or outdoors. They use a litterbox and several of them sleep at the end of my bed. They are so incredibly "wild" that we take them into schools to exhibit them for K-5th graders! Vicious little beasties have nearly licked the face off many an unprepared child (mostly because we go right after lunch)! :P

We also have nearly 20 Fallow Deer and we're on waiting lists for both Muntjac Deer and Patagonian Cavies. None of these animals came from the wild. Most of them would be unable to survive in the wild and would die a slow painful death caused by starvation.

Melissa I really enjoyed your article and the positive spin it put on exotics! We're incredibly lucky to live in a state that allows us to have these critters in our home (with proper permits).


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for that great comment DACA! I wish my state was as lenient as yours. We can only have fennec foxes.


Jasmine 2 years ago

While I do agree that exotic animals are given a bad rep, I also wonder have you thought about the comparison you are making? You mention how there are more incidents of "domesticated animals" like dogs hurting people than there are "exotic animals". However, couldn't it be that it just seems like there are more incidents because of the fact that there are far more dogs in homes than these other animals? If you were to take the total of "domestic animals" in homes and use that number to come up with a percentage of harmful incidents and then take the total of "exotic animals" in homes and use that number to get a percentage of harmful incidents most likely you will find that the numbers are not that far apart. So while I agree that exotic animals should not be lumped into one category I also say that what we call domestic animals should not be given a bad rep either. We are all animals in this world and the chances of a harmful incident by any animal that is in a home is almost the same to me.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Jasmine, I made the point you're making in this article: http://hubpages.com/animals/exotic-pet-attack-goog...

But the main point is that out of nearly every exotic pet incident, the victim is the -owner- or the person assuming the risk of being involved with the animal, which is relevant to 'public' safety. It is not common for exotics to escape and attack, unlike with dogs, which are traditionally left behind easy to escape fences. If people treated dogs like tigers, I would agree, attacks by tigers would beat dogs, but that won't ever happen. The animals listed here are unlikely to cause a fatality to anyone other than an infant.


It's not _public_ safety 2 years ago

It's environmental safety. For example, boa constrictors escaped from their owners in Florida thrive in the Everglades; they're multiplying hugely and causing massive ecological damage right now, basically eating every meat they can find. Damaging invasive species is one main reason for import/export restrictions on certain things.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I'm aware of invasive species, and it IS public safety because that's what the legislators are saying. That's why it's called 'dangerous wild animal act', ect. Furthermore, there are NO significant mammalian invasive species that originate from the pet trade, but plenty of domesticated animals that have gone feral and are messing up the environment (dogs, cats, pigeons, wild pigs, horses), so that blows your statement far out of the water I'm afraid.


brianna 2 years ago

well I can see the boa cause many pet owners and their kids have been killed by their boas.Most are banned due to more and more Exotic Pets being released by iresable pet owner or just plan escaping into the wild and the black market.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

I only found one boa-related fatality brianna.


Cassandra Cooper 2 years ago

It's not _public_ safety, according to DNA studies, the majority of snakes loose in Florida originate from one breeding facility that was destroyed during a hurricane. That's why facilities now have to follow strict disaster rules when a major storm is about to hit. People releasing their pets is almost a non-existent factor. The constrictors' numbers are also falling because of the cold snaps occurring there lately. The "invasive" snakes are kind of tropical and sub-tropical and so they don't survive temperate conditions very well. If it is even a problem, it is only one or two states' problem.

I am glad to see boa constrictors on here! I have a wonderful boa who has always been just the sweetest snake. He has never hissed at me, and only struck at/bit me when I was feeding out of the enclosure due to his feeding response. Once I smartened up and began to feed in the enclosure, that's all stopped! Hook/tap training a snake is much more reliable and less stressful than feeding in a separate enclosure. He's not the least bit cage aggressive and is even sweet when in shed.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Good to know they made new plans.


Amanda 2 years ago

I loved seeing boas on this list. We have one (along with 2 Kenyan sand boas and 2 ball pythons), and he's a delight. He's even pleasant while in shed, bless his little heart.

Those fennec foxes sound amazing! Not the right pet for me -- we have enough rabble-rousers in the house already with the 3 cats, 2 dogs, and 4 pet rats, but I'd love to see one up close someday.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thank Amanda, I hope to get one in the future.


ZookeeperByNature profile image

ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

It's not _public_ safety, those are not Boa constrictors you are hearing about. In fact, there are not really any invasive boas anywhere in the United States, aside from Puerto Rico. (Interestingly enough, there are boa species that are native to areas such as California and New Mexico.)

The snakes you are referring to are actually Burmese pythons, which are noticeably different than boas. For one, they get larger, much larger, and two, they reproduce at a faster rate since, unlike boas, they lay eggs instead of giving life birth.

Despite the millions of Boa constrictors that exist in American households and private facilities across the nation where they are legal, they have established a single confirmed invasive populations in the continental U.S., and Florida has even made an exception for them that still allows their ownership as pets whereas they have banned large pythons.

Those that have managed to escape (which is more likely than someone dumping them) have either been found, captured, or do not sustain themselves long enough to breed and die off shortly after due to environmental hazards, such as the great North American cold fronts.


theBAT profile image

theBAT 2 years ago

Interesting hub. Perhaps, What is important is the objective determination of whether the animal can co-exist in an urban community. Is the "exotic pet" on the endangered list? Thanks for sharing.


ZookeeperByNature profile image

ZookeeperByNature 2 years ago

Correction to one of the paragraphs I made above due to a typo:

Despite the millions of Boa constrictors that exist in American households and private facilities across the nation where they are legal, they have *NOT* established a single confirmed invasive populations in the continental U.S., and Florida has even made an exception for them that still allows their ownership as pets whereas they have banned large pythons.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks ZookeeperByNature.


Jabberwocky 2 years ago

I was absolutley appalled by response to lyndarox's comments. She was simply stating her concern for these exotic pets, and you berated her and insulted her intelligence. She may not have stated her sources, but it has been made known to the public by vetrinary and animal groups (not just animal rights activists) that exotic animals do not make good pets.

Even if that were not the case, to belittle someone for objecting to your opinion shows a staggering lack of debate skills. To tell someone that they are "arrogant" for simply being concerned for these animals is disgusting. Are you capable of a civil debate or just sling insults like an infant when someone has a decending opinion?

"The American Veterinary Medical Association, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have all expressed opposition to the possession of certain exotic animals by individuals.

Exotic animals do not make good companions. They require special care, housing, diet, and maintenance that the average person cannot provide. When in the hands of private individuals the animals suffer due to poor care. They also pose safety and health risks to their possessors and any person coming into contact with them."

https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/020801c....


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Jabberwocky-- Her comments were utterly untrue. The animals on this list (fennec fox, small wild cats, tamandua, bush baby, sloths, boa constrictor, wallaby, deer, capybara) are either not normally taken from the wild to supply the pet trade in the U.S. or never.

Many people just automatically assume a non-domesticated animal was captured from the wild. They are probably thinking of one or two animals where this might be true (cheetah, orangutan, slow loris), and of course, this was true at one point in history, but now we have captive breeding. It's not rocket science.

Be disgusted all you want. I don't usually respond kindly to people who accuse me of animal cruelty after having stated a wholly ignorant, made up statistic as a fact. But I actually did not call her arrogant nor did I "insult" her so it sounds like you're just angry that you agree with her wrong opinion and needed an excuse to call my reply 'infantile'.

Your comment is more deserving of an insult. Try using your own brain sometime. Your quotes make no sense at all. They sound like a precautionary warning that blanket every animal that can be considered 'exotic' yet some exotics are far easier to care for than dogs and cats if the owner has basic competence. And of course, more difficult animals can be owned too. I'm tired of repeating myself. It's as simple as the right animal for the right owner.


mueblesdejardin profile image

mueblesdejardin 2 years ago from madrid

beautiful docoment!


Leigh Anne 2 years ago

No. Exotics are not meant to be kept by humans who, after realizing that the needs of the animal are beyond what can be provided, are just going to end up relegating the animal to a life of neglect, abuse, or restricted movement. Exotics need to be wild. Leave them there. There are thousands of exotics that are abandoned by owners who just wanted to feel special owning an exotic. If you really love animals, this is not how to show it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

How original Leigh Anne, haven't heard that before.


ameagari 2 years ago

Oh, how original! a rebuttal that consists of ironically saying "how original!"

Melissa, I thought you deserved a somewhat respectful reply to your hub, but after reading your responses to your detractors-- including the one directly above this-- I really don't have enough respect remaining for you to offer one.

Leigh Anne is correct. It's a shame that your desire for a cute, unique exotic trumps the countless reasons that these animals should be given the respect to be left wild. I'm sorry her response to you wan't original-- the lack of originality may have to do with the basis in fact. Sometimes when you keep hearing something it's because YOU NEED TO LISTEN.

I'm going to respond to some of your points. This is, by the way, a subject I do follow closely. I have and do care for exotic pets which have been given up by owners who thought it was cool to have them, until they realized that meeting these animals' basic needs was beyond the ability of any normal home or caregiver.

melissa said: "Where are you getting this information? Is this a subject that you normally follow? Where is the proof that most exotics are illegally poached? It is -illegal- to do that and there are heavy restrictions on wild imported animals nor does it pay for poachers to catch any animals on this list and smuggle them to the U.S. You are free to point out any proof to the contrary."

Try a google search. You're a big girl, I am sure you can find the info if you were really interested in facts. But just in case, here's one for you.

http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/fatal-attract...

Ever read about the poachers and illegal importers who use /tape/ to bind birds to the inside of their clothing, wrapping their beaks in tape to keep them quiet? Most don't survive the trip but yes, it does pay when the poacher manages to sell the one or two out of 20 that did survive. I've seen the pictures of the aftermath.

melissa said "Regardless of all that it is arrogant and oppressive to ban something simply because you don't agree with it."

Really? We're the ones who are ignorant and oppressive? Ignorant-- my dear that is the kindest thing I can say about you at this point. Oppressive? Yes, I'd call it oppressive to keep a non-domestic creature that has-- by god or by evolution-- been designed to live in a wilderness you are completely incapable of recreating, with others of its kind-- that's what I call oppressive. But it's just an animal right? And you love it and hug it and squeeze it and call it George so it's just FINE.

melissa said: "There are millions of people out there who would love to ban non-vegan food, and I can certainly tell you animals would be a fan,?"

Oh yes, I'm sure the lions and alligators and raptors of the world would appreciate being forced to go on a vegan diet. Oh, wait. Vegan diest aren't natural. What we're supporting here is NATURE, and allowing creatures to remain and thrive in their natural habitats rather than be a cool talking point amongst your friends when you bring the exotic out at house parties.

Melissa said : "What if I took something important from you because I had a trivial 'moral objection' despite having little substantiation. "

TRIVIAL moral objection? Here's my trivial moral objection-- THOUSANDS of exotic, non domesticated animals are subjected to improper living conditions, abuse, bad, unnatural diets, and abandonment because of YOUR TRIVIAL desire to own a cool pet.

Melissa said: "Why don't you think about that for a while."

Indeed, it would be nice if people could THINK. You should try it.

You should also try some research. The data on why exotics and non-domesticated animals make extraordinarily difficult and inappropriate pets is all over and readily available. Talk to anyone who works in exotic animal rescue.

Most appalling of all is your obnoxious attitude toward anyone who has expressed any differing opinion to yours, any suggestion that people shouldn't own exotics. The comment immediately preceding mine where you smugly dismiss someone's very polite and conscientious objection is a stellar example.

I wonder if you'd make a good pet. I hope you have some pleasant dreams where you get to find out what it is like.

Dogs and cats are human companions. They don't need a cage to remain with you, to come back every day and lie down by you on the couch. The animals on your list do require cages and restraint. That should make you think.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

ameagari-- You've earned the dunce cap of the week out of the posts I've received, even though the week's not over, for failing to realize that this post is not my ONLY post. I've addressed people making statements like "no, that animal belongs in the wild", for two years, and I have articles DEDICATED to them:

http://hubpages.com/animals/Understanding-Domestic...

https://pethelpful.com/exotic-pets/argument-exotic...

http://hubpages.com/animals/simplelogic

http://hubpages.com/animals/dogssuffer

This is why I said "how original". I've addressed these assertions, tirelessly, tediously. About every other week or so an idiot starts attacking me with the exact same arguments. This week, that's you. It's an insult to myself to even try to reply to your points. The use of your Animal Planet link as 'proof' that exotic animals are often illegally caught from the wild for the American pet trade is so unfathomably pathetic. I've probably visited that page 20 times and spoofed it twice.

Just....go. Don't humiliate yourself here anymore.


Olivia 2 years ago

i really want a Fennec fox AND a small big cat. I would personally enjoy a baby lynx.


spike 2 years ago

here's the thing most people don't even need a dog or cat much less any exotic i keep and have kept anything from hawks and owls to many reptiles such as monitors and boas i mainly keep venomous now i personally think with the use of intelligence anything can be kept as a pet and i use the term pet loosely


J. R. LaGreca profile image

J. R. LaGreca 2 years ago from New York, New York

Fascinating, informative and well done!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thank you J. R. LaGreca


joehelsing profile image

joehelsing 2 years ago from Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I've always wanted a sloth. Great article.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks joehelsing, they are difficult.


Aeris Wright 2 years ago

Great article!


nathalia27 profile image

nathalia27 2 years ago

I have seen in television that there are people that keep snakes as their pet.


Ryan 2 years ago

Oh wow!! Extremely interesting article. I'll definitely have to read more of your articles. Beautiful animals on this list. I find it even funnier reading the people replying to you. Anyone with common sense who read your article(s) should easily see that you have experience & have done more than enough research. Thanks for making me laugh. If people believe that the animals listed are meant to be wild their entitled to their opinion. I do like the fact that multiple people seemed to skip the bold words before the article begins that you aren't saying that these animals should be bought and sold legally. Your just saying that lumping all exotic animals is ignorant. I strongly believe not everyone should be allowed to own certain dogs. Also someone said that taking a desert animal & making it a pet is cruel. Well is it cruel to own a St. Bernard or Siberian Husky in a warm climate? I personally say not at all. Thank you for your knowledge and expertise. Above all thank you for actually knowing what your talking about before writing your article. For to many people are doing that nowadays.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks Ryan.


Jane Hash 2 years ago

Savannah Cats should not be listed in this article. They are NOT exotic. Though they are NOT dangerous at all.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Jane, not only are Savannahs not dangerous, but neither are servals. That is the point of this article. Some Savannahs have more serval blood than domesticated cat.


Abdullah Alharbi 2 years ago

Is legal to have cheetah as pet in USA?


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Only in a few states, but they aren't really in the private sector.


21 months ago

great article


Frida Nyberg profile image

Frida Nyberg 20 months ago from Sweden

Practically and looking at history, even big cats, bears, wolves, wolfdogs, hyenas, chimps, large snakes (like retics and burms) and venomous snakes all pose ZERO public safety threat.

http://exotic-exotics.tumblr.com/danger

(I used your article on dangerous animals for a lot of sources.)

That's what really pissed me off about the new "documentary" (what a joke), called "Wild and Dangerous: The World of Exotic Pets". After they had already blamed extinction, illegal wildlife trade, animal cruelty and all sorts of things on "exotic pets" as one big, broad brush - then they said that WORSE than all of this, is the "public safety threat". That's when I turned off the film, just 15 minutes in, because I couldn't stand anymore bullshit.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 20 months ago from New York Author

I wouldn't say zero, but close. Remember, injuries are also a part of public safety issues, not just fatalities. I recall a non-pet owner getting attacked by a bear (I'll have to do one on them later), and my recent write up lists the potential uninvolved public incidences with big cats. One example:

"August 11, 1993 Georgetown, OH: Two teenage boys suffered facial cuts when a lion attacked one, and the other attempted to intercede. The boys were walking when a “pet” lion escaped from his cage and attacked them unprovoked."

Of course, this has to do with smaller populations (especially hyenas and chimps) and more precautionary actions taken, but that's to be expected. It is a GOOD thing that overall, exotic pet owners have been responsible enough to severely limit fatalities and injuries. But what an awesome site!


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

Melissa, this is interesting to say the least. It depends on how much environment you have and what your neighbors say. Some of those animals I never heard of before, while the rest I'll say pass. Voted up!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 18 months ago from New York Author

Thanks Kristen.


Kristen Howe profile image

Kristen Howe 18 months ago from Northeast Ohio

You're welcome.


Isabelle 18 months ago

Too bad savannah cats are banned in my province. I would love to have a big cat like that. They are so beautiful!!


Yvonne 18 months ago

I think an aspect you are missing is where these animals are coming from and who are they going to. Many exotic pet breeders and importers are strictly in it for the profit which can lead to an unhealthy animal and many people do not do enough research into what type of animal is best suited to their home.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 18 months ago from New York Author

Yvonne--that's not what this article is about.


Yvonne 18 months ago

Yes, but this article without that information is just promoting bad decision making. Most of these animals are not bred in the states and so you end up ordering one on the internet like the new latest gadget. There is no way to be sure the person you are dealing with is reputable, or responsibly breeding or legally harvesting. You have comments of "hey that is cool, I want one" with no thought as to what goes into ownership. This is why there are so many animals in zoos and sanctuaries who began as pets and end up mistreated, displaced, animals with health problems. The same way popular animals end up in rescues. If you have information on how to go about properly finding a reputable breeder of any of these please let those commenting know so they can purchase a healthy animal they can love for a full lifetime.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 18 months ago from New York Author

Most of these animals are 99% of the time born in the states. Sloths might be the only exception.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 13 months ago from New York Author

I don't understand twitter :-(


Jewel 9 months ago

I like all of these animals, except maybe the boa constrictor .......\/013


uwy 8 months ago

it isn't good to keep wild cats as most of them are endangered and if it is in captivity it does not contribute to conservation and by buying it people create a demand for it and the number of these species in the wild decline. although the conservation status is "least concern" it may drop and there is a possibility that they could become extinct.

but it is a cool exotic pet and I would like to own 1


WftRight profile image

WftRight 7 months ago from Wyoming

I've owned pet snakes for over ten years. During that time, I'm aware of five deaths in the United States.

Two of those deaths involved reticulated pythons that were sick. In both cases, the owner was trying to administer medicine alone. I don't know exactly what they were doing in each case, but medicating a snake usually involves either giving a shot, putting medicine in a prey item and feeding the snake, or putting a tube down the snake's throat and pouring liquid into the stomach. No one likes getting a shot, and anything that simulates feeding can trigger a snake's constrict and feed response. On top of these issues, any unhealthy animal is more likely to react defensively to a strange situation. In both cases, the owner underestimated the response.

The most famous death was the little girl in Florida. Her mother used illegal drugs. Her mother's boyfriend used and dealt drugs. The little girl was malnourished and underweight. Even the boyfriend's pet snake was underweight. Children are often abused by bad boyfriends. This child didn't have a chance regardless of what kind of pet he kept.

The fourth case involved a guy who was found in the doorway of his Burmese python's cage. He had a blood alcohol of 0.2. Good things don't happen when people have that high a blood alcohol. No one is absolutely certain that the snake killed the guy. Even if the snake constricted the guy, we don't know whether he did something in a drunken stupor that led to the attack.

The final case is the boa constrictor mentioned in this article. I've heard that the snake did not attack but was just exploring and constricted the owner's neck in order to climb onto a shelf or something. That account says that the guy blacked out and may have hit his head. Sometimes in martial arts, someone is put in a sleeper hold and just doesn't wake up again. That's a freak accident, but it doesn't suggest over aggression.

There's no case for any of the big snakes being particularly dangerous to their owners. Snakes over about 12 feet in length require a little more attention to logistics, but they aren't dangerous to their owners or the general public. One big danger of any snake over 9 or 10 feet is tripping over a part of the snake's body if one is walking and carrying a snake that is draping part of its body towards the ground.

Thanks for a good article.


sage 6 months ago

i love all of the animals so much


Donna 4 months ago

Note - the fellow who was killed by the boa was drunk, and decided to dance around with the animal around his neck to show it to his terrified girlfriend. The snake tightened its grip to avoid falling, and unfortunately cut off blood flow to his brain. He naturally fell down, scaring the snake even more, and the girlfriend ran outside.

The paramedics didn't arrive in time - the snake was absolved of responsibility for the accident, and from what I heard, was taken by Henry-Doorly Zoo, not euthanized (since it didn't attack anyone).


Coatimom 3 months ago

I am so glad I found this..tired of all the sites like born free etc. that do not even address how social and affectionate so many animals can be...my coatis literally climb up me when I get home ...a lot of people own dogs and cats and do not take care of them that is a lot worse than owning an exotic. Coatis have brought me much joy for the last 20 years and I recently discovered I will have to move to another state to legally have one.


Keysa 2 months ago

I would never keep a monkey.

I'd personally like a Wallaby someday but I'd build the right enclosure first.


Chris 4 weeks ago

this was a very great article. I might show this to my 2 period lang. arts although my class finished the unit.


Chris 4 weeks ago

by the way boe constrictors aren't safe because they can eat a human.


Frida Nyberg profile image

Frida Nyberg 8 days ago from Sweden

No Chris, a Boa constrictor can't EAT a human, unless we're talking infants. This snake rarely exceeds 2.5 meters (8 feet), and no matter what the size, can never swallow an adult human or even an older child. They can strangle you, but that's a different thing, and is extremely rare, as for a snake to strangle you, they have to first view you as potential prey.

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