Skip to main content

Top 10 Most Dangerous Legal Exotic Pets

Melissa cares for a variety of exotic animals and has completed a certificate in veterinary assisting and a bachelor's degree in biology.

Wolfdogs are on the list of the most dangerous exotic pets.

Wolfdogs are on the list of the most dangerous exotic pets.

What Are the Most ‘Dangerous’ Exotic Pets and Why?

Exotic animal attacks are highly sensationalized and are often immediately reported upon their occurrence. For some reason, stories about 'crazy' people who buy alternative animals never fail to astound and conjure rapid emotions in people.

Often, the same handfuls of 'mad exotic pet ownership gone wrong' stories are repeatedly brought up by people who oppose the exotic pet trade, despite the rarity of these incidences. It should be understood that, based on the objective statistics, incidences of exotic animal attacks are very uncommon, occurring approximately 10 times a year with all exotic animal species lumped together.

For comparison, dogs kill about 30 people annually and bite/harm an uncountable number of people. General bites are not often considered newsworthy for most pet species. Consider also that a significant number of dogs are far too small to severely attack humans. Dog attack scenarios also seem to involve members of the public (and their pets) more often.

How to Assess 'Dangerous' Qualities

There are many factors to examine when assessing how ‘dangerous’ an exotic pet is. First of all, there’s the matter of public safety in contrast to the safety threat posed toward the owner of the animal. In general, animals pose the biggest threat to their owners for obvious reasons, while cases where animals escape and attack a member of the uninvolved public are rare or non-existent with many species as of current times.

I do not judge animals based on their capability to cause harm like many lawmakers and news reporters do; I categorize them based on whether or not these animals actually have attacked, killed, or severely maimed people relative to their numbers in captivity and how these animals are general kept (fully or partially enclosed?).

I’ve based my conclusions on my current knowledge about the behavior of these animals and a careful analysis of each situation depending on species behavior, the severity of the injury or fatality, and the circumstances regarding its occurrence. I should reiterate that I’m not declaring every animal on this list ‘dangerous,' but I am listing the species in order based on those that I know are kept as pets.

10. Crocodile Monitor

Sometimes extremely large and carnivorous reptiles are purchased by general 'herp' enthusiasts, and this is a major issue because these lizards are nothing like owning a bearded dragon.

This massive monitor grows to 8-12 feet in captivity and requires large caging that most private keepers can't or won't provide (you will often see large reptiles inappropriately kept in smaller caging than recommended).

Their temperament varies by individual, but bites are always a possibility with these generally high-strung animals and can result in finger amputations and deep tissue wounds, even with juvenile animals, due to their uniquely serrated teeth and strong jaws.

Monitors also have saliva that is densely populated with bacteria that will cause severe infectious reactions, such as inducing shock (here's one hobbyist's account of a bite from a small crocodile monitor), similar to Komodo dragons.

Fatalities and Injuries

Although no one has been directly killed by crocodile monitors and other large similar lizards, their bites can potentially be deadly if not treated. One of these rare examples was featured on Animal Planet's Fatal Attractions, where reptile keeper Ron Huff was likely bitten and succumbed to an infection that he didn't seek treatment for. Unfortunately, this story was absurdly presented by the program, and it was insinuated that the animals actually ate their keeper before he died from their bite.

Cute when little...

Cute when little...

...and as adults!

...and as adults!

9. Alligators

An alligator as a pet? That thing will eat you! Well, not quite.

Fatalities from alligator attacks are very rare, and indeed, all of the deaths that have occurred are from wild animals. The reason is obvious; it's far easier to be surprise attacked by a wild camouflaged alligator than one in a clear small pool in captivity.

Also, alligators do not chase people. Alligators may attack defensively but mostly do not view humans as prey. So it should be removed from your mind that they will sneak into your house and eat your children.

Fatalities and Injuries

At the time of this writing, there hasn't even been a single fatal attack by an alligator in the U.S. in the last 5 years, wild or captive (there has been a case or two of severe maiming by wild alligators). From 2000–2007 there have been around 10 fatalities, again, by wild animals. People who oppose exotic animals in captivity love for the public to ignore things like this.

But as one should expect, owning an alligator (and obviously, a crocodile, which isn't as common), while not likely to be a fatal endeavor as long as you don't do anything monumentally stupid, can be quite dangerous because the handler is at risk of getting bitten.

Alligators have an extremely powerful bite force, being built for tearing apart live prey, and like the crocodile monitor, they can cause severe injury should this happen, including the severing of limbs.



8. Old World Monkeys

All large monkeys have canines that can inflict serious injury (even if they are removed, the remaining teeth are also injurious), and it doesn’t help that monkeys can be prone to dangerous, spontaneous, tantrums when they hit sexual maturity that will surprise unsuspecting first-time monkey owners.

Black-capped capuchin monkeys are said to be the ‘best pet monkey,' and this is the species used by the organization Helping Hands (with their teeth removed), a group that trains monkeys to help disabled people.

Obviously, the physical severity of an injury received from a monkey will depend on its size, with small marmosets not being capable of inflicting large wounds. But I have signaled out old world monkeys here because they carry most of the non-human primate zoonotic diseases that are a health threat to humans.

Zoonotic Diseases

Diseases from monkeys have subsided dramatically after their import from the wild for the pet trade ceased (also, the idea that they are a significant source of rabies is a farce), and the 'safest' monkeys are those which are captive-bred, isolated from other monkeys in pet-owning situations, and in good health, but any serious disease potential in animals should be acknowledged.

colobus monkey

colobus monkey

Snow Macaque

Snow Macaque

Old world monkeys inhabit Africa and Asia and include colobus monkeys, macaques, baboons, mandrills, and langurs. By far, the most popularly kept primates of this group are macaques.

These monkeys are known for the high likeliness of carrying Herpes B virus, which can be transferred to humans with a 70% to 80% mortality rate. This disease is severe, yet rare, perhaps due to vigilance around these animals and lab tests determining their status. The last reported infection occurred in 1997, with a research lab worker being the victim. Old world monkeys are also highly susceptible to tuberculosis (like elephants), and frequent testing for this disease is often conducted.

7. Large Constrictor Snakes

The danger presented by snakes is often way, way, way, too overhyped. Surprisingly, despite decent popularity (Burmese, reticulated, African rock python, anaconda and boa constrictors) all large snakes combined kill on average one human (or less) a year in the United States.

Fatalities Caused by Captive Constrictor Snakes

  • 1990–2010: 10 deaths
  • 1 boa constrictor, 2 reticulated pythons, 6 Burmese pythons, 1 African rock python
  • All victims were owners or family of the owners

Burmese pythons famously infest the Florida Everglades as an invasive species, so even as they roam the wilds of the sunshine state, human fatalities are rare. Are large snakes recommended for beginner reptile keepers?

Of course not, but they are readily available and thus claim a spot on this list, being fully capable of strangling an adult human should misfortune cause the snake to behave uncharacteristically (such as the tragedy involving two young boys in Canada).

The problem with keeping a large snake, or any snake for that matter, is that they are excellent escape artists. Should a large snake find a way out of the enclosure of someone who didn’t research their needs diligently enough, sleeping children, pets, and sometimes adult humans are at severe risk from the unseen menace. Negligence is often a factor in escapes and subsequent strangulation of children or pets.

Pure wolf

Pure wolf

6. Wolfdogs

It might surprise people that wolfdogs are likely more dangerous than wolves when owned as pets within our society. While fully wild animals often have a more reclusive attitude and are cautious of humans, some wolfdogs possess the independent nature of their wild counterparts along with the loss of fear of humans that is characteristic of domesticated dogs.

Just like lions, wolves are natural pack animals and respond well to being given subordinate positions in the hierarchy. This also leads to a reduced tendency to bite. Throwing domesticated dog behavior into this mix can create a more unpredictable animal, yet as genetics vary, so do the produced animals. Therefore, not all wolfdogs will have problematic behaviors, but the issue is we don't know which ones do.

Supposed wolfdog

Supposed wolfdog

Probably a Low-Content Wolfdog

Probably a Low-Content Wolfdog

In addition to this, wolfdog owners are probably more likely to raise their pets in a less restrictive fashion than owners of big cats, which may account for the few incidences that wolfdogs have attacked people.

The problem with statistics about wolfdog attacks is that for most people, these animals are difficult to tell apart from very 'wolfy looking' dogs (and sometimes breeders lie), so it is possible that pure dogs have been mistakenly thrown into the list of attackers. As long as wolves and wolfdogs are owned by the proper owners who can give them the large, secure enclosure and time-consuming training that is mandatory in their care, attacks should remain uncommon.


There are not too many certified incidences of wolfdogs causing human fatalities. In August of 1999, 4-year-old Cody Tyler Fairfield was killed by his family's German Shepherd/wolf mix when the animal crushed his throat and trachea. Another incident involved 8 wolfdogs killing a 73-year-old woman whose son owned the animals.

Sandra L. Piovesan was mauled and killed by a pack of 9 wolfdogs, and this was presented again in Fatal Attractions. Two of these incidences had multiple animals, obviously increasing the danger.

5. Elephants

Even when not deliberately attacking, elephants are obviously large enough to harm people by accident, and that’s why only professionals should deal with them. Just like with horses, when a large animal like an elephant gets spooked, it can harm or kill anyone in close range.

Elephants, however, despite a vegetarian lifestyle, have minds of their own and there have been incidences of them intentionally killing their trainers/owners. Due to this, AZA zoological facilities now require protected contact with elephants and trainers. Circuses still use traditional handling methods with the use of a bullhook.

Elephants are not often kept privately outside of circus workers and other exhibitionists. For the few cases where they have been kept as private pets, there have been no fatalities in recent history.

Captive Elephant Fatalities

  • 1990–2013: 16 deaths
  • 8 USDA exhibitor deaths, 7 AZA zoo deaths, 1 USDA 'sanctuary', no reported private pet deaths.
Gaboon Viper

Gaboon Viper

4. Venomous Snakes

With front-fanged venomous snakes (also called 'hots), one bite will indiscriminately send the victim to the hospital. Since venomous (not poisonous) snakes require their owners to be experienced handlers who have been mentored by professionals or other long-time owners of ‘hot’ snakes, they are for obvious reasons, quite dangerous.

Venomous Snake Fatalities

  • 1990–2009: Approximately 16 deaths
  • 6 fatalities from religious ceremonies
  • 11 attributed to rattle snakes

Even the 'least deadly' venomous snakes such as copperhead snakes can still cause serious, painful reactions by a single bite which will require medical attention, and many venomous snakes are just as bitey as the most ill-tempered rat snakes.

Unfortunately, many inexperienced people are able to obtain these animals because they are readily available in states where they are legal, such as what's depicted in the anti-exotic pet documentary Elephant in the Living Room.

Based on every incident of envenomations from captive snakes (a good portion of them coming from religious groups that use them in ceremonies), these snakes are only a risk to their handlers and people who live with them. Should a venomous snake escape, it would likely just join the wild population of venomous snakes in posing a threat to the public, which is a very small risk.


3. Big Cats

Big cats can (and have) eaten people. This is unlike the smaller exotic cats that are often blindly accused of the same nature even though their wild counterparts only eat small animals like rabbits. Big cats (lions, tigers, mountain lions, jaguars, leopards, and not cheetahs) probably provide the most exciting news stories when they attack or fatally maul their caretaker, and the news media never misses a beat reporting on it.

So if you can recall the last time you heard of a big cat attack, you will probably realize that they aren't very common either, occurring on average about twice a year. The victim is almost always the owner or caretaker.

Captive Big Cat Fatalities

  • 1990–2012: 21 deaths
  • 14 deaths caused by tigers, 3 lion, 1, leopard, 1 jaguar, 2 'ligers'
  • 4 deaths occurred in AZA facilities, 15 in USDA licensed facilities, and 2 unlicensed pet owner fatalities.


Out of all the big cats, leopards are probably the most dangerous, being non-social, adaptable, particularly powerful animals. You will notice that big cat handlers tend to gravitate towards lions and tigers because they respond better to training and human dominion. Poorly trained big cats can harm or kill with mere playful antics.

However, entering the enclosure (i.e. the animal's territory) of an animal that is not familiar with human interaction will likely spike a defensive and fatal ambush.

Often, zoos that practice 'hands off' husbandry with big cats (which is recommended) will have fatalities due to their animal's likeliness to attack should a keeper forget to fully close a pen while cleaning cages. Most attacks by captive big cats are from tigers, probably because tigers are numerous in captivity.

Many fear that big cats will be a significant public safety threat should they escape into the wild, however, it should be noted that no big cat escapes off the property of the animal's enclosure have resulted in a fatality thus far.


2. Bears

Bears are listed before big cats because of their intelligence, dexterity, and omnivorous, opportunistic nature. They have impressive strength and a taste for meat like a big cat, but they can also have an interest in approaching humans, including breaking into their homes which both wild and captive individuals have done.

This makes escaped bears a much larger concern for the public, in contrast to the often reclusive large felines. The bear species most commonly kept as pets are black bears, and this species is also responsible for the most fatal attacks on humans, both wild and captive. However, the scarcity of larger bears like polar bears and grizzly bears being kept as private pets may very well contribute to the lack of fatal statistics from them, or perhaps it is people being less willing to enter their enclosures.

Fatalities Caused by Captive Bears

  • Approx. 6 deaths in 1990–2012
  • 1 Syrian brown bear, 1 Grizzly bear, and 4 black bears
  • All of these victims were employees or were cleaning the cage
Black Bear: Many fatal attacks are attribute to this species.

Black Bear: Many fatal attacks are attribute to this species.

Some Examples of Bear Attacks (Wild Included)

  • August 2010: 24-year-old Brent Kandra was fatally mauled while he was cleaning a black bear’s cage.
  • October 2009: 37-year-old Kelly Ann Walz was fatally attacked while cleaning the black bear’s cage.
  • August 2009: 74-year-old Donna Munson was mauled by a wild black bear that forced its way past a wire fence. Munson had fed bears for over a decade despite warnings from wildlife officials, and the bear that mauled her had previously injured a younger bear she had put food out for.
  • August 2001: 93-year-old Adelia Maestras Trujillo was killed by a wild black bear that broke through a glass pane to enter her house.
  • August 10th 1993: 24-year-old Colin McClelland was killed by a black bear that broke down the entrance to his trailer.
  • July 1978: 30-year-old Lynn Orser was killed by a black bear owned by her friend, that broke into the owner’s home.
  • April 2008: 39-year-old Stephan Miller was killed by his trained bear by a bite to the neck.

1. Chimpanzees

Chimpanzees, which possess incredible strength, have by no means caused the most fatalities on this list . . . in fact, there hasn't been a fatality from a captive chimpanzee in recent U.S. history, but their near fatalities, such as the famous incident involving ex-TV star Travis the chimp, are chilling.

Chimps, like elephants, have more complex cognition and it can be difficult or impossible to know what's going on in their minds and how they'll react to novel situations. Like monkeys, they have natural hierarchies and their behavior may change unexpectedly, especially if they escape and encounter people they don't know who aren't familiar with chimp behavior.

This danger is especially true of animals that have reached sexual maturity around the age of 7. Thus, chimps are the best qualifiers in the exotic pet world as a public safety threat.

They tend to attack by biting off body parts, noses, fingers, ect. and often enjoy 'playing' with people while not allowing them leave. So while all the victims have survived, the damage was extensive.

Many zoos find housing chimps to be a complicated endeavor. The mindful animals may often figure out how to escape their enclosures, possessing the hands to be able to undo locks and turn knobs. Some chimp escapes have involved the animals opening doors to access terrified people. Their curiosity is unparallelled with the other animals on this list, making them, in my opinion, a very fitting number one dangerous exotic pet (gorillas aren't kept privately to my knowledge, and orangutans are uncommonly privately owned and seemingly less dangerous).


Severe Chimpanzee Incidents

  • 2011: A female worker at Riverside Discovery Zoo in Scottsbluff, Nebraska lost three fingers after an attack by two chimpanzees.
  • 2010: A privately owned chimp named Sueko ran loose in a neighborhood for 40 minutes, breaking a police car windshield and pounding on cars after escaping.
  • 2010: Andrea Maturen, a seasoned volunteer, was attacked by a chimpanzee named Shawn at Suncoast Primate Sanctuary, when he and another chimp escaped into a cage she was cleaning. She escaped further injury by locking herself in a bathroom.
  • 2009: A chimpanzee named Timmy had to be shot after he opened a deputy's car door, grabbed his leg, and tried to hit him.
  • 2009: The famous Connecticut incident was the most severe chimp attack, resulting in the victim, Charla Nash, losing her eyesight and undergoing a face transplant. Travis, an ex-TV star chimp that belonged to her friend, mauled her, severing her nose, ears, and both hands. Travis was shot after he made an attempt to attack an officer.
  • 2008: A chimpanzee named Conner, belonging to Jeanne Rizzotto, escaped her home and latched on to the arm of a woman, causing her to lose 6-8 inches of skin. The animal also entered several vehicles.
  • 2008: Kristen M. Howard, worker at Chimps Inc., was injured after a chimp named Kimie entered a cage she was cleaning and repeatedly hit and bit her.
  • 2007: A worker at Sunrise Exotic Ranch, a chimpanzee breeding facility, was bitten by a chimpanzee named Ginny while she was handing blankets to the animals through a feeding tray. Once she freed her hand from Ginny, two of her fingers were gone and two were nearly severed. Her hand is still disfigured and required $100,000 in medical bills.
  • 2006: A zookeeper at the Columbus Zoo was bitten while feeding a grape to an adult bonobo (a sub species of chimp). She lost part of her finger tip.
  • 2007: A chimp bit off the finger of Kathy Harris, caretaker at Dripping Springs wild animal sanctuary.
  • 2005: Four chimps escaped from Zoo Nebraska and one tried to open a door to a convenience store. Three of the chimps were shot.
  • 2005: Several chimpanzees broke from their cages at an animal sanctuary (Animal Haven Ranch) and attacked two visitors, seriously injuring them. Sanctuary workers shot and killed two of the animals.
  • 2005: St. James Davis was visiting a former pet chimp of his at California wildlife rescue center when two chimpanzees escaped their enclosure, ripping off his mouth and nose, gouging out an eye, and devouring his fingers, buttocks tissue, and genitals. He had to be kept in a medically induced coma and underwent 6 surgeries. His wife, LaDonna, also had her finger bitten off. This is the second most severe chimp attack.
  • 2005: A chimp reached through cage bars grabbing employee Carol Baker at Wild Wilderness Drive Thru Safari. Two of her fingers were bit off.
  • 2000: A chimp provided by 'Ranger Rick Kelly' at a Blockbuster promotion bit a 9-year-old girl.
  • 1999: Two Hogle Zoo animal keepers were injured, one critically, when they were attacked Saturday by chimpanzees that escaped their primary enclosure and accessed the employee service area in the Great Apes Building.
  • 1997: After being recaptured, a chimp that previously escaped by bending its cage bars jumped on a TV cameraman, knocked him to the ground and bit his arm.
  • 1996: Travis the chimp (the same animal that mauled Nash) bit a woman and tried to pull her into a car.
  • 1994: An escaped chimpanzee broke the door of a trailer where a family was looking at photos in the living room, dragging a 2 year old by her ponytail. The animal also threw a dog against the trailer, and needed to be fought off with a frying pan.
  • 1992: A 78-year-old woman hanging sheets on a clothesline was knocked to the ground and "rolled" by a chimp.
  • 1992: Michael “Mike” Casey was attacked by an adult chimpanzee when he entered a cage at his chimpanzee breeding compound. The chimpanzee bit off "a good portion of his nose".

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 Melissa A Smith


Unknown on August 10, 2020:

Can i adopt a wolf

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 01, 2020:

Wolfie: I have no idea.

puppylove on June 29, 2020:

i love animals but wild ones are excluded

Very useful article on June 17, 2020:

I really don’t care when this was published but all of these animals can kill you. Now of obviously I’m not a expert but, all of them are very dangerous. Someone give this author some credit!!!!

Wolfie on June 10, 2020:

Have a question is wolf dogs legal to Trinidad

CHEYANNE on December 09, 2019:

So cute !

Splashstorm on November 04, 2019:

Wolfdogs are not unpredictable... that's such a huge myth and I'm disappointed in you that you'd include that in your assessment of them. They're like any other large dog in that it's all about body language, which is more predictable than domestic dog's body language. i'm stealing from a site: "some myths do have their origins in a grain of truth, and this is one of them. The fact of the matter is that wolves, as a species, are more predictable than dogs; after all, the wolf is normally used as the model of canine behaviour, and is the basis from which we try to understand our dogs...dogs, however, deviate from this model as determined by what they were bred for, and what cosmetic modifications were done to them. Each individual wolfdog is entirely predictable...however, it *is* difficult to predict what you are getting when you initially bring home a wolfdog--there is great variation from one animal to the next, just like any other mixed-breed dog. Learning about genetics and background and choosing your pup carefully can give you a much better idea of what to expect, ahead of time. All responsible owners should learn the ins and outs of their particular animal." Source:

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 26, 2019:

Tracer7337 This article was published on 04/19/14

Tracer7337 on October 26, 2019:

Curious, I checked into it. In the past five years, there have been 8 fatal attacks by alligators. Considering there have been 24 fatal attacks since 1973, it seems attacks are definitely on the rise.

Tracer7337 on October 26, 2019:

Sorry, but need to do a better job fact checking. I caught several without even trying, including that there was a Nebraska boy killed at Disney by an alligator less than five years ago.

Rubasha on October 14, 2019:

I would love to have a wolfdog but it is fatal

Madame Rose Peony on June 14, 2019:

Nothing personal,but shouldn't you add informations about foxes and koalas to this article?

I mean,foxes and koalas may look cute and harmless,but foxes and koalas are too dangerous to be kept as pets,as foxes can easily bite children or kill them if they have rabies,untamed and unvaccinated foxes are death dogs and NO,foxes won't grow into lazy puppies who chase frisbee and chow down on bacon,NO,foxes will grow into 1 kg monsters a size of a cat that eat more meat than normal humans can afford,plus,it's much better idea to leave foxes in zoos or in the wild,killing everything,also,there have been numerous instaces where foxes attacked,mauled or killed small children and in most cases,children died from rabies and sepsis,plus,foxes are responsible for 300.000 human fatalities. On the other hand,koalas are ILLEGAL to be kept as pets in USA,not only because they are endagered,but also,because they are dangerous,koalas have been known to bite or scratch their owners,plus koalas are the most dangerous marsupials,along with Tasmanian devil,red kangaroo and wallabies and wallaroos

Sara Hernandez on April 18, 2019:

So the articles lends to the fact that wild animals kept as pets could be deadly yet right below the page are articles arguing why they should be legal and the allowances by state! In obvious admonishment! What's really going on here?

YourMaMa on February 21, 2019:

I would loooooove to have a husky

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm on December 18, 2018:

wow i want the wolfdog but it seems aggressive

Anonymous on July 03, 2018:

Dogs should be on this list...

Fresh prince of bel air on April 03, 2018:


Trippie redd on April 03, 2018:

Let it go yea we let it go

net on March 01, 2018:


Mcdonel jones on February 09, 2018:

Very informative.

louloouuuuu on September 12, 2017:

very dangerous animals i see, wont be getting none of these :(

3333 on October 14, 2016:


Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 17, 2015:

Thank you bnayr.

Ryan from Manchester on June 17, 2015:

Fantastic Hub!! Very clear and well written. Keep up the great work.:)

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 03, 2015:

I don't believe you, bye Misty.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on June 03, 2015:

Here is the snapshot of Pa law 12 While there are exceptions, permits are generally issued only to residents of the

Commonwealth who are 18 or older. 34 Pa.C.S. § 2901(a). 13 Id. § 2904(a)(15). 14 Wildlife menagerie permits and “special use” permits may be issued to residents of the

United States who are 18 or older. Id. § 2901(a). Note that this is the only occurrence of the term

“special use” in Title 34. 15 “‘Menagerie.’ Any place where one or more wild birds or wild animals, or one or

more birds or animals which have similar characteristics and appearance to birds or animals wild

by nature, are kept in captivity for the evident purpose of exhibition with or without charge.” Id.

§ 2961. Note that animals in a menagerie need not be exotic. However, it is unlawful for the

operator of a menagerie to fail to exercise due care in safeguarding the public from attack by

exotic wildlife and to recklessly engage in conduct which does or might place another person in

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on June 03, 2015:

You have no idea of what is legal here. Nor do you know anything about my animals. and yes I do fear they would be harmed , I do not feel they need to plaster my life or pics all over the net. I'm done there are some people who just love sensationalizing things. I like my privacy so you will never see pics of any of the animals I own or of any thing else. I will not be responding again as this is boring me now.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 03, 2015:

You feel that if someone sees a picture of your 'wolf' online, they will think it's a coyote, come to your house and shoot it? The facts are that you do not have a wolf, they are illegal in your state and permits are not administered to pet owners (that would have been a more convincing excuse not to post the photos, but that would also mean you lied about having a permit). I don't know why you feel the need to push these fabrications toward me. I have zero desire to call any exotic pet 'dangerous' and my articles are overtly opposing the fact that there are bans on wolfdogs and other alternative animals. There is a difference between 'most dangerous' and 'dangerous'.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on June 02, 2015:

I don't put pics of my animals on line because of the chance they could be harmed there are several reports of dogs who were mistaken for coyotes shot. The pic on there is a dog that died. I don't have to justify to you. I still think that your lack experience or credentials to make broad statements about an animal being dangerous.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 30, 2015:

Interesting Misty, I didn't know we were 'arguing'. I had to go back and re-read the comments to see what happened. What's funny is that you were arguing with me about wolf genes not causing aggression when I never even claimed it did, I specifically stated that the domestication genes is what makes a wolfdog more prone to attack than a 'pure' wolf. I observed your link and it did not address wolfdogs, period. For some reason, this neutral logical fact-stating is offensive to you. And, you refused to give me more information about your "wolf" that a cordially requested. On your page, I see a picture of a lab and no mention of any wolves. You think that you can just anonymously come on here, declare you have a wolf or have lived with them and I should just blindly believe everything you say because apparently I live in a 'city'. This actual wolfdog sanctuary seems to think wolves can be aggressive:

But perhaps I should ignore that because a 'Misty Bluge' has '54 years experience', zero photos of alleged wolves, and that's all I need to know. Since you've decided to get nasty with me I can now boldly state that I do not believe you have any wolf or any experience with them. I've seen someone on Hubpages post photos of their pet 'wolf' that was clearly a mixed breed dog and when I informed them of such, they assured me it was a wolf and then they told me my dog looks like one! Maybe that was you.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on May 30, 2015:

If done correctly an owner becomes the pack mate. I'm done arguing with someone that has limited experience actually living with animals. I have lived with animals for 54 years and have extensive experience with wolf-dogs and wolves not from books but actually living side by side with them. There are some things you cannot learn from books but I would expect anyone from a city to understand that.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 21, 2015:

1. The article is about wolves, not wolfdogs

2. Humans are not wolves. The 'inherent tolerance' may only exist in a natural pack structure.

3. Their methodology for the study is extremely limited and almost useless.

4. If it is only limited to 'pack mates' that does not eliminate the danger for people who are not in it.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on May 21, 2015:

Apparently you haven't understood the point the article was making. "Wolves therefore appear to be surprisingly tolerant -- a trait associated with kindness d the research. Wolves are inherently more tolerant than dogs are, according to new research, such feelings are limited to their own pack mates. " When a human is part of the pack it is then logical that the wolves are more tolerant toward the human pack mates. Just as Jim ans Jamie Dutcher reported in their findings.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 19, 2015:

That study doesn't say anything about wolfdogs or wolf relations with humans.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on May 19, 2015:

A bit of proof that having wolf in a wolf dog is not what makes the individual aggressive.…/wolves-are-kind...

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 29, 2015:

I would be interested in knowing about your dog's history if you are willing to share. As for the content of this article, to make any changes to it I would need evidence. I do not currently believe that the propensity of killing in an animal is mediated by environmental causes, with the exception of intentionally training an animal to kill.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on April 29, 2015:

You can get permits to have wolves in Pa. and yes I know she is a wolf dog. As a cognitive behaviorist I believe it's not the breed it is the people who own them. You can turn any animal into a killer by the way it's treated. All animals whether domesticated or wild have the potential to kill. I would say out of all the animals that are "dangerous" the human animal is the worst killer of all. As you may have gathered I am an activist for the safety and right to live for all wolves. Usually I try to avoid politics on here but any negative portrayal of wolves or wolf dogs is hurting our cause. There are bills in congress as we speak which will give western states the right to eradicate all wolves, they are planning to gut the endangered species act. It is imperative that the public see wolves in their true light. For a better look at wolves Jim and Jamie Dutcher

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 28, 2015:

Hi Misty, three things: This article does not account for domesticated animals in the list, and saying which species kills more is complex; we know there are far more dogs than wolfdogs. In fact, I stated that wolfdogs are dangerous 'exotic' pets because of the domestication genes being introduced to 'wild' genes, which would heighten the animal's propensity to attack if the animal happens to have the genes that regulate lack of fear of humans. Wolves are rather shy animals that aren't looking for fights. Wolfdogs can turn out to be mostly wolf, mostly dog, or a mix of both, so one example of a wolfdog doesn't go against what I'm saying. So technically I was acknowledging the danger of dogs, HOWEVER, a big part of why dogs cause injuries is because of the way they are traditionally kept.

Wolfdogs actually injure more people than wolves, statistically speaking. It could be the population of these animals. It's likely that many captive 'wolves' have a lot of dog in them as well. I know of one AZA-accredited institution that purchased a high-content wolfdog from a smaller zoo and called it a Timber wolf. It's probably impossible to know for sure which is what.

Also, 50/50 wolfdog mixes are very uncommon as wolves have different breeding seasons and behavior, are you sure she's a wolfdog? Where did you get her? And if she was a wolfdog, she would be illegal in your state, if that's where you live. PA unfortunately has absurd pet laws.

Misty Bluge from Pennsylvania on April 28, 2015:

I have to politely disagree about wolf dogs; more people are seriously injured by domestic dogs each month than by wolf dogs in a two year span. I live with a 50/50 mix she is black and part lab/ part grey wolf . I would trust her far more than the full blooded chocolate lab I own. He was the result of kitchen breeding and more aggressive than any animal I've ever owned before. My sweet Zoie girl is shy and very loving. Children have climbed all over her and even pulled her ears and tail and she just rolls over. She is much smarter than any dog and keeps me on my toes since she opens doors and is able to quickly figure out other obstacles to keep her from the trash.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 10, 2015:

That's the only case I know of (from Fatal Attractions) and that dunce was trying to keep the hyena in an apartment. Might as well try to keep a horse in a garage. I'd say hyenas are uncommonly owned, and every time I see them for sale they won't sell to unlicensed facilities. One of my dream animals is an aardwolf, but I'd also take a striped. This list just discusses the popular animals and it's highly inaccurate, if it's even possible for it to be accurate : )

Frida Nyberg from Sweden on March 09, 2015:

Do you have any information on privately owned hyenas attacking?

I only know of Bryan Hawn with his spotted hyena, Jake, breaking his arm.

Then again, hyenas are owned very rarely but I would (without any expertise) put their danger level a little above a lone dog or wolf, as they are rather similar in behavior and physique, but have much stronger jaws and teeth.

me on November 20, 2014:

yall need to stop playin with these animals they give you all warnings and yall think they palyinh\g

TopCat on September 01, 2014:

Now this is a VERY well written & interesting article Melissa. All of your information is worded clearly, leaving no room for any type of misunderstanding(s) & it is very clear that you put a lot of time & energy into researching each & every area in this article. Also, I like the way you responded to others comments... You did so in a very professional way. Thumbs up on this article.

Anna Haun from USA on July 16, 2014:

Hi Melissa,

Before Honey Poo passed away, I went over there to see if he was going to be having any more wolf dogs but the bear was loose and decided to give me a hug, which scared me at first but she was gentle. Standing on her hind legs she towered over me. That bear didn't try to be mean, she was gentle but she wanted attention. I petted her but he didn't have any pups. He used to take those animals to activities a township would be having but his insurance refused to insure him after the huge boa scared people when it got loose from its enclose. Well actually the insurance was going to raise his rates because one person tried to sue. Don't know what happened on the lawsuit. People around here are used to the animals noise they make. On his land it completely fenced in but I've know the panther run loose, see it, and others have seen it. The bears though could go and rip the fence out if they wanted, at Yellowstone park they have destroyed peoples cars, even ripped the doors, cause people leave food in their cars. Bears can run about 30 mph, and can smell up to 5 miles. Most bear attacks is because you startled the bear, has cubs, or you looked it in the eyes as that is a not a good idea. Bears will stalk, and when they don't eat their food, they will bury it. People should remember going into the animals environment, there is a chance you may get attacked, mostly if you see a bear and you turn around and leave the area chances are it won't attack but don't run as that signals to the bear your prey.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 15, 2014:

Wow, hopefully that rumor isn't true. We certainly do not need more individuals to taint the names of millions of exotic pet owners.

Anna Haun from USA on July 15, 2014:

Hi Melissa,

Yes I got Sable from a breeder, here in the town where I live, Sable passed away a few years ago from the hip disease. Actually the guy lives about 4 miles away, he still has a wolf, 2 brown bears (HoneyPoo) passed away, 2 Bangla tigers, 1 lion, 1 mountain lion, and some other dangerous animals. The Kangaroo also passed away. It is rumored that at night he lets his lions, and tigers (2 white tigers, 2 orange & black) run loose in the ball park which has a large section of woods, but the black panther runs loose all the time as we have seen it before. We've even heard those tigers at night before, that's why Tyke (little dog) doesn't go out at night unless in the enclosed fence section, now a days it isn't safe to go to their home, those animals may be roaming around loose, last time the bear was, we left in a hurry, an old bear.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 15, 2014:

Hi Annie, wolfdogs are pretty rare. Did you get yours from a breeder? That is an interesting story, glad your grandson is OK.

Anna Haun from USA on July 15, 2014:

Nice article. I owned a wolf dog that was 99% wolf, yes if not watched around other people or kept on a log chain around a few people she didn't care for she could attack. Sable was gentle most of the time, she would protect my grandson from harm and in fact she did once, a person wandered into the yard through a closed fenced in area and went directly for my grandson (3yrs.) while I had run inside to get him a popsicle. When I hear someone screaming for help, I ran out only to find him flat on the ground and Sable standing over him growling while my grandson stood next to her, she did let him up once the police came. Nearly everyone that saw her was afraid of her, she looked like a wolf, and we took her camping a lot but kept her on a chain.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 05, 2014:

Frida Nyberg- Thanks

Frida Nyberg from Sweden on July 05, 2014:

Great article, but I just wanted to point out that "leopard" is a jaguar. :D Huge rosettes, and big, strong head.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 01, 2014:

Without a license, I don't think so, but there's a lot I don't know about. They are animals I feel only professionals should be dealing with.

Jared TM on June 30, 2014:

Do you know of anyone without a usda license who has an orangutan? I've never heard of them being privately owned like that other than with one person and that didn't last very long. I would LOVE to have one someday though. I really wish animals like this were more common in private hands, that would really boost the population and help with species survival

ZookeeperByNature on May 19, 2014:

Okay, that sounds reasonable.

Scroll up to Dolores Monet's comment though. I think you missed that one, and that's what compelled me to make the statement that I wrote in my previous comment, as well as people I'm sure using this article to "further prove" "wild" animals belong in the wild.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 19, 2014:

ZookeeperByNature-- I don't think anyone made a comment like that, can you point it out? I think I responded to the various critical ones.

I didn't want to make a list like many of the pro-pit bull lists that show the 'most aggressive dog breeds' (and of course the list is filled with small dog breeds and no pit bulls) because it is dishonest. Pit bulls may often have a better disposition (this has a lot to do with how the breeds are raised in comparison to the spoiled small breeds) but pits also, when conditions are NOT optimal, are far more dangerous when they are aggressive.

Here I wanted to not deny that these animals have dangerous tendencies, but to educate readers about the REAL risk they pose, especially to the public, which is nil (except for number 1). This way my list can compete with the sensationalized lists that suggest exotic pets will break into schools and eat children. I don't want anyone under the impression that I am biased against exotic pet danger, and that I can assess the risks sanely, so I can garner their trust.

It's hard for me to consider which animals are the most dangerous because again, that depends on how the animal is traditionally kept. Big snakes are generally NOT dangerous at all but should they escape (which they are prone to) and someone is unaware of their presence that is when those few fatalities pop up. Tigers are highly dangerous if you are their owner and go in with them, but if you are smart and don't do this and keep them well-secured, the danger significantly decreases. Records show they haven't attack members of the uninvolved public when they escaped in the U.S. so far. So where would dogs fit in this picture? I'm not sure. Most are overwhelming not dangerous if you aren't interacting with them, but members of their species are responsible for severe and deadly attacks. They are also far more comfortable with humans than most wild animals. So including domestics in this list would be a challenge. Listing domestics above exotics would certainly be perceived as a disingenuous attempt to help my cause.

ZookeeperByNature on May 19, 2014:

I'm still curious as to what this article is trying to prove. The only really supportive comments I'm seeing are by the ignoramuses who are saying that this "proves that wild animals meant to be in their natural habitat," something you typically write against.

I'd think it would be better if you had a list of animals, both exotic and domestic, that are dangerous to keep, as this would make a better statement. As you've said more recently, animals aren't "designed" like toys manufactured in a factory. They just exist like all life forms. Domestication is a rather undefined or loose term made up as a feature of human society.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 11, 2014:

Thanks luisj305

luisj305 from Florida on May 11, 2014:

Very nice pictures, enjoyed reading.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 10, 2014:

Thanks Ariel-Cal.

AuniceReed-- Savannahs are decent exotics to have I think.

Aunice Yvonne Reed from Southern California on May 10, 2014:

I love animals and have frequently fantasized about owning an exotic pet or two. I learned about chimps in an Anthro class in college, so they are totally off limits! They can be cute, but watch out they are really strong and will go off with no warning. I'm a cat lover and entertain the idea of getting a Savannah which are a hybrid of serval and domestic. Great hub by the way!

Evelia Veronica Rivera from Bridgeport, CT on May 10, 2014:

great list and information!

Tommy from Colorado. on May 09, 2014:

Well people don't know that hippos kill more people then crocs, and yeah I agree with your list chimps belong at number 1

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 09, 2014:

Tommylop, chimps are the animal I would be most afraid of on the list. I think Travis the chimp changed that reputation. Big snakes do not deserve a rep and can be handled by children with a responsible adult. Many people simply react with engrained fear towards reptiles where none is warranted.

Tommy from Colorado. on May 09, 2014:

I can understand if your a zoologist or in some profession that requires and trains them but who in the earth would keep these pets around family. The only one I can understand why a person would buy and raise is a chimp, and that is because they don't have the reputation of being has dangerous has they are.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Thanks Amanda108, there might be one or two I would eventually like to deal with.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Yes collegedad, but even that tail can cause serious injury. Regardless of size, their amazing bite will be particularly painful. I don't like that croc monitors are often kept by people in smaller encloures, they are best suited for zoos that can provide large habitats or dedicated private people who can give them the room-sized enclosure that facilitates their natural semi-aboreal behavior. Iguanas are also victims of small caging, and I think this is due to the fact that members of the 'reptile community' feel that these non'zoo-grade' animals should be able to fit in a conventional cage.

I think that with large snakes, all should be well as long as the snake doesn't escape or some feeding incident doesn't occur. An escaped snake is a big threat to unsuspecting people should it be hungry and uncharacteristically pursue humans. Snakes are generally caged animals, so I think this is why dogs cause more injuries, along with their high numbers in captivity. So as I've stated in other articles, statistics don't necessarily imply lack of danger; lifestyle and population density need to be factored in. So I've listed them as 'dangerous' based on certain elements but overall, they are not dangerous as long as their ownership is conducted the way most people conduct it. Unlike many dogs, they still aren't an animal that an unprepared person should 'wing' caring for (unless maybe purchased as a baby, allowing time for the person to adjust to the responsibility).

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

isaacasante- Is this a recent find? Thanks for the information. So I understand then that croc monitors still do have bacteria? The article is strange though, I've always assumed the bacteria was a symbiotic thing, not originated from the animal's prey.

heidithorne- I don't think keeping pets is inhumane and danger is relative. Here I listed the 'most dangerous' exotic pets but none have extensive history of causing human death. Pythons are common in captivity and are rarely a problem, they have very predictable behavior and are generally docile. The croc monitors I listed are an example of a reptile that is NOT docile but they don't kill people. As long as you know what you're doing, gator handling is not a serious threat. Reptiles are different from mammals in their extreme predictability and limited range of motion (you can restrain an alligator but not a lion). I don't think anyone is trying to 'domesticate' these animals but they can be tamed. Some reprehensible people release animals outside where they are exposed to danger (this frequently occurs with cats) but I've yet to hear of an escaped exotic pet preying on a person.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Thanks MJennifer, that is completely correct. My exotic pets are the main pleasure of my life, yet far more troublesome activities that I don't prefer enjoy no illegality. You have no idea how refreshing it is to hear someone who isn't involved with exotics have a logically sound take on exotic pet owners (and it's clear that you've read the article, as some others believe I am bashing exotic pets due to the title).

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

AOkay12- I think what the Charla Nash incident is telling us is that chimps are of a particular concern because of their strength and territoriality with strangers, this is not the case with all exotic pets. Do you judge all dogs based on the few that have mauled children?

WiccanSage - Because of that history NYC has enacted some of the most horrendous bans, including a ban on ferrets. While I agree that monkeys are bad for living in an apartment, the city now assumes anything under the definition of exotic should not exist.

cfin- I have a dog that when younger, would take opportunities to run out of the house and return on her own volition, so I think by denying her continuous outdoor access I am 'controlling' her by confining her. She isn't in agreement with my closed door policy. I have a bird on the other hand that doesn't like to go out, and I can't even get him to fly in the big open space of my house's high ceiling. Most social birds that have been hand-raised do not want to leave their owners, but they might fly away by pure instinct (fear). They view humans as companions but haven't evolved to be a flock member with a grounded primate. So it's not as though there is no mutualism between species, but many birds lack the intelligence or ability to have a homing instinct.

Chimps are also highly social and regard their human parents as members of their family. In my examples, they 'think' they are doing the right thing, and they are not attacking their owners. It's not unlike an overprotective dog mauling someone. So if birds and chimps cannot be controlled than neither can any animal. Other small pets such as rabbits, hamsters, hedgehogs, and even agricultural animals like chickens and horses, would not stick around without confinement. Having a pet is control in my opinion, and without that you don't have a pet.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Thanks georgescifo, you are right. That is an option for people who don't want to deal with pets.

Shelly Nun-Chucks, large exotic pets can potentially be dangerous to the owner but domesticated pets are more likely to be a problem for the person who isn't the owner, with the exception of chimps.

dragonflycolor-- Yes, size alone will show that at least a few incidents will pop up with large animals being kept as pets, but statistics show it actually isn't common.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Artois52, Suzy Miles, Dolores Monet, mary615, MrJohnReynolds-- Thanks. Exotic pets are a commitment but so are all pets, and any animal of a certain size can present danger. With the right education nearly all of these animals can be owned successfully.

Amanda from Michigan, United States on May 08, 2014:

What a fascinating and well explained hub! I'll stick to my ordinary house cats and not worry about dealing with any of these 'pets'.

collegedad from The Upper Peninsula on May 08, 2014:

Just a couple of points. Croc monitors do achieve 8', but they are more than 2/3 tail. To put into perspective they are a 3' lizard with a 5-6 foot long tail.

The mortality rate for big snakes is spot on, but there are over 11 million big snake owners in the US so the mortality rate is minute. Another fact. Domestic dogs kill an average of 26 humans in the US each year and send another 800,000 to the emergency room most of which are children.

Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on May 08, 2014:

As a pet advocate, I absolutely do not encourage anyone to have these types of creates as "pets." They are wild (or should be in the wild) and are usually not candidates for domestication. As well, they require professional and well trained handlers. And even then, there still may be incidents.

What worries me the most is that people who are untrained or unprepared for the special care and handling these wonderful creatures require may be prone to leaving them in forest preserves or other open areas where either they will become prey or prey upon others.

At the animal shelter I work with, they occasionally have stray exotics entering their doors. The one was a python that was let loose and slithered into a resident's garage. The police were not able to respond to the call, so the resident was able to lure it into a plastic storage container (must have been a big one!) and bring him to the shelter where the folks there were able to enlist the help of a reptile rescue. Whew! In another case, a woman found a small alligator in her garden. We're in the Chicago area, so gators are not native to our area. Egad! Can you imagine her shock? These stories are frightening examples of what can happen when these poor animals become unwanted by irresponsible owners.

Great hub highlighting a dangerous and inhumane trend! Thanks for spreading the word!

Isaac Asante from Accra, Ghana on May 08, 2014:

Correction in your article... You made a comparison of saliva between Crocodile Monitors and Komodo Dragons. But claims regarding the latter are actually a myth. Komodo Dragons are simply venomous; but it's not the bacteria of their saliva that kills or hurt as such. They don't have toxic bacteria in their mouths. See here:

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on May 08, 2014:

As always, I thoroughly appreciate your hubs and your rational and objective perspective on an issue that is inevitably one on which people react first with emotion. People's need to control other people will ultimately result in legislation forbidding the ownership of ANY pets. It's incongruous to me that the same individual who blithely drives while drunk or texting will happily pronounce that laws should be in place prohibiting far, far less hazardous activities. I don't own any exotic animals (just a lot of much-loved domestic creatures), but I hate to see the constant, ill-informed, emotional media and social attacks on those who do.

Congratulations on a well-deserved HOTD.

Best -- Mj

Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on May 08, 2014:

I owned two years ago and volunteered at a wolf refuge here in NH. I helped to feed, vet, love, and educate the people who came to the refuge. I loved t0 hang out with them. They are such great animals, that are mostly misunderstood. Mine, Kishka and Kayla are both gone now, but I miss them still. Kayla was the size of a large German Shepard, and thought she was a lap dog. She would come over, turn herself around, and plunk in my lap. That was a BIG 145 pound plunk, I'll tell you. Kishka (short for Nikishka-a city in Alaska), was much more shy. He preferred to sit next to me. Both did wind up on the refuge when I had to move, and I was happy that Kishka became the alpha of his pack before he died.

cfin from The World we live in on May 08, 2014:

@ Melissa, I think you misunderstood. I meant exactly what you said. Some animals don't "submit". I would feel cruel keeping any of those animals. A Bird in a cage is just the saddest thing. A cat, for example can live with us, but with an understanding. Almost a cohabitant.

I am not sure why you told me that chimps are strong. I am well aware ;) But no matter how "Small" they were, they would not be "controlled". Caging an animal doesn't amount to control. It amounts to torture or restraint. There mind would never come in line with our social norms, and as such, they would simply become broken. Once out of their cage, they would not be "ours".

Unlike dogs who are happy to submit, yet they still maintain a loving relationship with us out of respect, I don't feel that a caged chimp can ever "live under our roof" or be "owned" by us. The very thought is cruel and the fact that they understand that cruelty makes it an unsuitable relationship.

Everton mattos on May 08, 2014:

Some people likes dangerous things and this is getting popular #take care #animals #jungle #faceaqui

AOkay12 from Florida on May 08, 2014:

The Charla Nash attack is one of those incidents that stayed with me. I guess it was the images of what her face looked like after the attack and after all of the reconstructive surgeries that she went through. Her life is basically ruined and Travis is dead because he followed his natural instinct. Truly sad for the both of them.

I don't know when people are going to learn once and for all that wild animals, belong in the wild in their habitat. They aren't meant to be held as pets.

Mackenzie Sage Wright on May 08, 2014:

That poor elephant looks like he's going to fall forward! Aww! Anyway, I had an aunt in NYC who always had strange animals in the house coming and going. I don't know why or how but she'd get really weird pets and then when she couldn't handle them she'd get rid of them. She had tons of reptiles & rodents over the years, but also odder things like monkeys, she has a baby mink once, and she had an alligator in her bathtub until it became dangerous. In a NYC apartment, mind you! Where I'm sure even back then in the 70s all this was illegal. This was an interesting hub, these pets are so beautiful but people have to be crazy to try to bring one home.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Cfin-- I don't know about that. Chimps are extremely strong, and in a hypothetical situation if they were the size of small monkeys, they could be 'controlled' easily. No animals need to 'submit', that is only for certain species that have a natural hierarchical mindset. One does not force to submit ferrets, cats, birds, ect. They have different relationships with their keepers. The chimp attacks listed reveal that attacks were carried out against people who weren't in the chimp's hierarchy.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Thanks Aya Katz, owning a chimp to me sounds like something only a very special person can undertake with a proper facility. Based on my research and your comment it sounds like strangers are generally the victims of the existing chimp attacks, so that is why one escaping would be a public safety problem. I've followed your videos and you seem to have a wonderful relationship with Bow.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 08, 2014:

Cloverleaffarm-- well you see that's just it. If a pet requires specialized knowledge to prevent bad incidents that is a reason to list them here. Keeping in mind that I don't see some of these animals as dangerous per se, but imagine if you had to make a list of the top 'dangerous' dog breeds, despite not believing any are dangerous, but some are clearly more 'demanding' than others.

A wolfdog's size and strength plus having a carnivorous nature make them a potential threat, even if they are not inclined to attack. They aren't an animal that I would feel comfortable owning unless I had experience and a secure enclosure. I've also factored in their owner's particular lifestyle (an exotic pet that is often not confined to cages). The other thing is that I selected 'wolfdogs' over wolves because the temperament is more of a wild card. I've obtained this information from other credible sites, but it also makes sense to me because you have the independent nature of a wild animal yet introduce the domestication traits. I actually find domesticated dogs to be dangerous because, in combination with the lifestyle they live with their owners, should they attack many breeds are genetically selected to be fearless and to not back down, traits that aren't like their wild counterparts. So a working breed like a German Shepard mixed with a wolf sounds like a concern.

I don't think every wolfdog will have this problem because again, it's variable genetics. But what you tell me sounds astounding! May I ask where,how,why you had 20 wolfdogs? Did you lose them to bans?

Thanks for the suggestion about the name. I can't find verification that hybrid exclusively refers to a cross that can't reproduce, but I see on a quick search that people prefer the term 'wolfdog' because a dog and wolf are subspecies, something like that.

Shelly NunChucks Ninja from worldwide on May 08, 2014:

Great Hub. People don't understand how dangerous exotic animals are.

I actually visited a wolf sanctuary and know people who have wolf hybrids.

Animals are animals and yes I have had different types of animals, but the things is, they look very "cute" and cuddly.

But if you ever see when a "wolf" is cornered indeed it will attack.

You hear stories, when people get certain animals as pets when they are little and don't know how to handle them.

Once again, if you want to own wolves, have an established "sanctuary" for them and understand they aren't just cute little furballs.

Myself, I will never own these type of animals, but I still think in life, they should be saved.

I know maybe off topic, with Pandas a lot of people don't understand, why people need to save pandas. Well their droppings helps to fertilize the vegetation that grow all around them, so in return saving Pandas helps the environment.

Just like the article here, we all need to do our research and educate ourselves, well done :)

cfin from The World we live in on May 08, 2014:

Chimps are hardly even animals, but something completely different. Much to smart and advanced to be"Controlled". In a non mean way, an animal needs to submit to it's leader (us) and understand that we are in charge. If we have problems with dogs who are loyal by nature, none of the above should be within our "control".

dragonflycolor on May 08, 2014:

If my dogs feel comfortable enough to bulldoze me over when I get home because they're so excited to see "mommy", then what's to stop a liger from trampling me to death out of "love". Hmmm? Good hub!

georgescifo from India on May 08, 2014:

I thinks all kind of pets are harmful in one or another way. I prefer to stay away from pets.

Aya Katz from The Ozarks on May 08, 2014:

Thanks for this fair and generally unsensationalistic treatment of the subject. Dogs have in fact killed, maimed and hurt more people in the US than chimpanzees, but we don't outlaw the ownership of dogs. We just use common sense in their treatment and supervision.

I would not advise anyone who is not willing to make an enormous commitment of time to embark on the long journey of raising a chimpanzee to adulthood. It is very safe if you are always there for the chimp, as I am for Bow, if you have a proper enclosure and safety protocols. and if you exercise extreme caution when introducing new people. Every stranger is a potential enemy for a chimpanzee. and yes, there is a dominance hierarchy.

But for those of us who know what we are doing, it is safer than keeping a dog.

MrJohnReynolds from USA on May 08, 2014:

Wow this was great, extremely informative. Thanks for your hard word and tons of content.

Mary Hyatt from Florida on May 08, 2014:

I have never understood why people would choose one of these for a pet! I'll just stick to my little dog who is like a child!

Congrats on HOTD! Very interesting and informative Hub.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on May 08, 2014:

Fascinating! The idea of keeping a wild animal may seem appealing to some (I loved the old movie "Bringing up Baby") but I feel that wild animals need to be wild. Domestic animals have been bred for generations to get along with humans. The worst is the Burmese pythons that have run wild in Florida, decimating local populations of small mammals. It's a big commitment to keep a wild animal.

Suzanne Miles from Phoenix, Arizona on May 08, 2014:

Interesting read, but all are too dangerous for me to own or keep as pets. Visiting the zoo to see them is enough for me.

Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on May 08, 2014:

Congrats on HOTD. While I think this is a great hub, I disagree on the wolf hybrid on a couple of accounts. First, I have owned and lived with several "wolf hybrids". I actually slept with them...all 20 of them. I would rather sleep with a pack of wolves than be with many If you have studied the wolf behavior, and understand it, there is little problems. They are not dogs, they are wolves. They will not come when called, as they are more intelligent than a dog. It's like owning a teenager. They hear you, they just ignore that they heard you. Secondly, they truly aren't "wolf hybrids". That is a misnomer, as a hybrid can not reproduce (as in a mule). The term is technically "wolf cross" or "wolf cross dog". I loved my animals, and we both respected each other for what we were. Sadly, many people got them for the wrong reasons, and this is what led to them being banned. Just like the pit bull, dalmatian, or even the poodle, it's up to the owner to understand the breed. Not understanding the breed is the problem, not the animal.

Artois52 from England on May 08, 2014:

Great Hub.

As ever, the problem is usually with the owners, not the pets. If you don't know how it look after it, or worse, you train it to be vicious like some people do dogs, then the animal will react.

hello on May 06, 2014:


Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 28, 2014:

Oh I'm sure pythons are a non-issue when they are in the wild, and that's a great link for the idiots that think the pythons are out there swallowing children. What I would be particularly concerned about with pet big pythons, as this article states, if the owner isn't responsible, they can escape and become a threat to small children, pets, and even adults that are in the house. The few cases of fatalities from these snakes as pets show the result of such a scenario. They have caused fatalities, so I placed them on here after monkeys because monkeys don't cause death or 'severe' mutilation, but it can easily be argued that monkeys pose a bigger threat of wounding their owner than a snake would cause either.

Overall exotic pets do not cause many fatalities, but large pythons still demand caution from anyone who owns them, as do all the animals listed. The fact that there is an 'incorrect feeding procedure' shows the owner needs specialized knowledge to deal with them.

I also found the Canada situation strange, but from what I've read it is confirmed that the snake did it. The boys died of strangulation. I would just find it impossible for a person to set that up. I think sometimes animals act in ways that we don't expect for whatever reason. Maybe the boys had prey scent on them.

ZookeeperByNature on April 28, 2014:

And lets not forget how 'hazardous' those wild Burmese pythons are:

While these animals can be potentially dangerous, I'm somewhat confused as to what this article is implying. Is it that these animals are the only particular threat, or is it going to show that the exotic pet trade in general is not as much as a hazard people assume them to be?

Either way, another well written article. I'm not sure about the inclusion of larger snakes on the list, or at least their position on it. Their behavior seems rather predictable and severe bites and incidents are almost always a result of incorrect feeding procedure or somehow related to feeding. (I myself have been bitten this way.) An exception is that the struggle involved with one retic who was highly resistant to receiving medication it needed, in which is it couldn't be safely restrained and managed to strangle the owner in an effort to escape. And as far as the rock python in Canada, the police never officially declared the snake actually did it, but after obtaining some dubious information, they are still investigating as to if it was a murder with the snake being used as a scape-goat. After all, to anyone familiar with snakes, this situation just seems absolutely unreal.

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 28, 2014:

Thanks choosetolive

Ravi and Swastha from London, Canada on April 28, 2014:

Wonderful pictures. Just through this hub I came to that, there could be even private zoos or such pets at home. Anyhow it is good & informative hub. Voted & interesting. Tweeted the hub !

Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 26, 2014:

I doubt it, there's a lot of scams out there.