Thoughts on exotic pets?

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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby Behind_The_Sea » Wed Oct 25, 2017 1:55 pm

I personally disagree with owning exotic pets. The care is not enough out there for them, like if there are no vets for them, it could be dangerous. If the pet has proper vet care, like a vet around it close, and has proper food and a cage, along with attention, I think It is ok.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby косатка » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:23 pm


    I am very glad to see a bit more positivity towards exotics here. I have to disagree with some of you though, but I was truly expecting nothing but "its cruelty", because that is what I usually hear. To start, I have to say that I hate the word "exotic". What does it mean? Someone may call a wolf exotic, even though they live in a place where they are native. In Australia "exotics" are banned, but they mean foreign species not native to their land. Then some say exotics are wild animals, or "uncommon" animals, or "dangerous" animals. Some say a ferret is exotic, but yet they are domestic animals. It is all very confusing so I just say "domestic" or "nondomestic". However, I'll still use the word "exotic" as that's what most are familiar with.

    There is absolutely no reason why someone who knows what they are doing should not be allowed to have an animal. As long as they have the space, time, money, and passion to care for an animal and are able to obtain the animal in an ethical manner, there is absolutely no reason why they should not be given the opportunity to own the animal they wish to own.

    It's dangerous? Well, then large domestics like horses and camels shouldn't be kept either, as they are both extremely dangerous.

    All these bans are actually very detrimental to the survival of species. For example, there used to be many breeders for ocelots in the United States, many of which would work along side zoological facilities. However, once they became "protected", their numbers dropped significantly. Thankfully, there are still plenty of breeders in the UK, Russia, and Asian countries, but either way, to export/import them you'll have to mess around with CITES which isn't fun and next to impossible with an appendix I animal. Anyway, many zoos in Europe have to breed their animals (which makes sense, as breeding is a vital part of conservation). These zoos end up with surplus, and they can't always give to other zoos because those zoos need to save their space. Many zoos in Europe used to give out surplus animals to private individuals, but now Europe has gotten extremely AR minded and surplus animals often get euthanized. Why can't they go on to qualified private keepers? That way, zoos can do what they are supposed to do (raise the number of animals of a species and have more chances to study the pregnancies of animals) without being slowed down by something like surplus, no animals get euthanized, and private keepers get to keep the animal of their dreams. Exotic pet ownership won't help animals in the wild, at least not directly, but a population in captivity is better than none at all, or a fading one in the wild. And zoos can't keep every endangered species around by themselves.

    As for monkeys... if you aren't okay with those being kept as pets then you, logically, should not be okay with parrots. Both are wild animals, are extremely intelligent, very social, and have difficult care needs... yet most people have a problem with monkeys rather than parrots. Parrots are still controversial, but not nearly as much so as monkeys. Why is that? The larger primates I get, but what is wrong with a squirrel monkey or a marmoset if parrots like macaws and cockatoos are a-okay?? (The current standard for bird keeping is extremely bad, imo. My dream birds include the western jackdaw and hyacinth macaw and NO WAY will I subject them to wing clipping and small cages. They will have a large aviary and opportunities for free flight.)

    I am a future owner of "exotic" cats, corvids, parrots, genets, foxes, and venomous reptiles and I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. I actually know quite a few people on a different forum site just for exotic talk. These people truly love and care about their animals and animals in general. One of them actually wants to start their own conservation center one day. I have heard stories of people having their animal ripped away from the home they know and away from their loving owners, often to be euthanized, simply because people personally believe that it is wrong or unethical to keep certain animals as pets. However, I support regulation! I don't think some random person should go out and just pick up a tiger at their local pet shop. Breeders should be licensed and follow strict rules, and buyers should prove that they have what it takes to care for the animal. I even feel this way when it comes to domestics. But in the end, I firmly believe that people who know what they are doing should have the chance to keep any animal as a pet.

    Here are some great articles written by a fellow exotic pet owner: X X X I highly suggest reading them! I certainly do not agree with them on everything, but they still have some very good information in their articles.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby MoonfallTheFox » Thu Oct 26, 2017 6:44 am

косатка wrote:

    I am very glad to see a bit more positivity towards exotics here. I have to disagree with some of you though, but I was truly expecting nothing but "its cruelty", because that is what I usually hear. To start, I have to say that I hate the word "exotic". What does it mean? Someone may call a wolf exotic, even though they live in a place where they are native. In Australia "exotics" are banned, but they mean foreign species not native to their land. Then some say exotics are wild animals, or "uncommon" animals, or "dangerous" animals. Some say a ferret is exotic, but yet they are domestic animals. It is all very confusing so I just say "domestic" or "nondomestic". However, I'll still use the word "exotic" as that's what most are familiar with.

    There is absolutely no reason why someone who knows what they are doing should not be allowed to have an animal. As long as they have the space, time, money, and passion to care for an animal and are able to obtain the animal in an ethical manner, there is absolutely no reason why they should not be given the opportunity to own the animal they wish to own.

    It's dangerous? Well, then large domestics like horses and camels shouldn't be kept either, as they are both extremely dangerous.

    All these bans are actually very detrimental to the survival of species. For example, there used to be many breeders for ocelots in the United States, many of which would work along side zoological facilities. However, once they became "protected", their numbers dropped significantly. Thankfully, there are still plenty of breeders in the UK, Russia, and Asian countries, but either way, to export/import them you'll have to mess around with CITES which isn't fun and next to impossible with an appendix I animal. Anyway, many zoos in Europe have to breed their animals (which makes sense, as breeding is a vital part of conservation). These zoos end up with surplus, and they can't always give to other zoos because those zoos need to save their space. Many zoos in Europe used to give out surplus animals to private individuals, but now Europe has gotten extremely AR minded and surplus animals often get euthanized. Why can't they go on to qualified private keepers? That way, zoos can do what they are supposed to do (raise the number of animals of a species and have more chances to study the pregnancies of animals) without being slowed down by something like surplus, no animals get euthanized, and private keepers get to keep the animal of their dreams. Exotic pet ownership won't help animals in the wild, at least not directly, but a population in captivity is better than none at all, or a fading one in the wild. And zoos can't keep every endangered species around by themselves.

    As for monkeys... if you aren't okay with those being kept as pets then you, logically, should not be okay with parrots. Both are wild animals, are extremely intelligent, very social, and have difficult care needs... yet most people have a problem with monkeys rather than parrots. Parrots are still controversial, but not nearly as much so as monkeys. Why is that? The larger primates I get, but what is wrong with a squirrel monkey or a marmoset if parrots like macaws and cockatoos are a-okay?? (The current standard for bird keeping is extremely bad, imo. My dream birds include the western jackdaw and hyacinth macaw and NO WAY will I subject them to wing clipping and small cages. They will have a large aviary and opportunities for free flight.)

    I am a future owner of "exotic" cats, corvids, parrots, genets, foxes, and venomous reptiles and I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. I actually know quite a few people on a different forum site just for exotic talk. These people truly love and care about their animals and animals in general. One of them actually wants to start their own conservation center one day. I have heard stories of people having their animal ripped away from the home they know and away from their loving owners, often to be euthanized, simply because people personally believe that it is wrong or unethical to keep certain animals as pets. However, I support regulation! I don't think some random person should go out and just pick up a tiger at their local pet shop. Breeders should be licensed and follow strict rules, and buyers should prove that they have what it takes to care for the animal. I even feel this way when it comes to domestics. But in the end, I firmly believe that people who know what they are doing should have the chance to keep any animal as a pet.

    Here are some great articles written by a fellow exotic pet owner: X X X I highly suggest reading them! I certainly do not agree with them on everything, but they still have some very good information in their articles.


Basically what I was trying to say but with more words and better written.

Sigh, poor brain fogged me.

I've got enough small exotics at my house to start an army. Reptiles. So. Many. Reptiles. And of course my African Grey, a victim of human greed. I promised him a better life than what he had. It really bothers me that we (humans in general) keep such intelligent animals basically as ornaments. He was in a cage for FIFTEEN years with absolutely no social interaction. He started mutilating himself, he's totally bald. He may never stop mutilating now. I am happy that at least where I live greys and other large parrots are becoming harder to find. I do agree with you on flighting for parrots. Clipping their wings is beyond cruel. I have never clipped the wings of any bird I've owned and I'm not starting now. Smokey has shredded his wings and cannot fly, but if he ever lets them come in again, he will be able to- he can flap a few feet now, which is an improvement.

Some people even consider certain domestic animals like mice to be exotics which just adds confusion to the whole thing.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby MaybeOneDay » Sun Oct 29, 2017 5:21 pm

I'm against if or big wild cats and wolves,but i'm not sure about animals like servals and ocelots. Personally i don't think keeping a serval is all that bad as long as it is properly taken care of.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby blueh » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:22 am

Alright, so I'm going to define exotics in this post rare or unusual animal pet, or an animal kept within human households which is generally thought of as a wild species not typically kept as a pet and is NOT DOMESTICATED. As someone who has worked with several exotic species (specifically crocodilians and wolfdogs, but I have experience with others as well) and own some myself, have started & kept up with a reptile rescue for years as well as being heavily involved in herpetology (research and conservation) and other exotic related activities, I can safely say that certain species of exotics should not be owned by humans. When I say certain exotics, I mean large predator species that are not domesticated such as large cats, large canines and large reptiles (there are others as well, but I'm sure most people will understand the gist of this). Smaller species with easy husbandry (leopard geckos, bearded dragons, budgies, etc) are fine so long as the care provided is correct and kept up to date. Even species such as Burmese Pythons can be fine depending on the handler.

I'm going to focus a lot on herps in this post because that is what I am most qualified to talk about as well as having the most experience about, but I can touch on some other species as well.

To start, I'd like to remind everyone that the reason that we can safely own larger and dangerous animals such as horse and camels are because they are domesticated species that were created to work. They are bred over thousands and thousands of years to be in tune with humans and, most importantly, are prey animals. They don't have the instincts that exotics do because it was bred out of them by humans to create an animal that can live around humans.

Exotics such as large cats, wolves, and crocodilians? Not so much.

I am not saying that we should ban owning these animals since that would only cause more harm than good. The black market, which is already bad enough to begin with, would be over-flooded and it would just make everything worse. However, animal welfare and regulation laws are severely lacking. In Texas, there is a required permit to own an American Alligator, yet I can buy a Nile Crocodile (one of the most deadly species of crocodilian) for a few hundred dollars on Facebook. Backwater reptiles sells American Alligators, Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman, Smooth-Fronted Caiman, Morelet's crocodile with just the click of a button. It's easy to find exotic bybs and importers that sell the animals simply to sell them.

That is not okay.

I worked with a juvenile C. niloticus for a year (research on juvenile crocodilian morphometrics). Aside from research, I trained and raised her so when she was older, she would be able to be placed in a zoo. From the time she was 30 cm to the time she was 60cm, she was easily the hardest animal that I have ever worked with (and I have worked with a lot of animals). It's not just enclosure size and diet that you have to worry about; it's future temperament, husbandry, training, etc. If I messed up while she was young, she could seriously hurt someone by the time she was 14+ feet. There is so much time and energy that goes into owning and working with a single exotic. People don't seem to understand that this is not just like owning another pet. This is a life commitment and a lifestyle change.

Outside of conservation, education and research, there should be absolutely no reason to own one of these animals. Regulations need to be put in place to stop things like this from happening and weeding out those that can't and won't care for these animals. I understand that most people think they can handle certain species, but what happens if they can't? Then both the animal and the handler suffer from it. People have to understand that these animals do not make good pets. Dogs, cats and livestock were domesticated for a reason.

Education is an absolute must when it comes to exotics. Pushing for updated research and husbandry requirements will help keep the general public away simply because they don't want to have to put that much work into an animal. If husbandry is taught properly, there will be less neglect and less incidents that could potentially cause both parties harm. And, as much as people won't want to hear this, sometimes 'doing research' is not enough. Getting experience with behavior, health and other concerns in exotics as well as getting hands on learning should be something that everyone strives to do.

tl;dr: certain species of exotics are fine to own while others should require permits. education is a must when it comes to owning exotics

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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby косатка » Tue Oct 31, 2017 10:49 am

blueh wrote:
Alright, so I'm going to define exotics in this post rare or unusual animal pet, or an animal kept within human households which is generally thought of as a wild species not typically kept as a pet and is NOT DOMESTICATED. As someone who has worked with several exotic species (specifically crocodilians and wolfdogs, but I have experience with others as well) and own some myself, have started & kept up with a reptile rescue for years as well as being heavily involved in herpetology (research and conservation) and other exotic related activities, I can safely say that certain species of exotics should not be owned by humans. When I say certain exotics, I mean large predator species that are not domesticated such as large cats, large canines and large reptiles (there are others as well, but I'm sure most people will understand the gist of this). Smaller species with easy husbandry (leopard geckos, bearded dragons, budgies, etc) are fine so long as the care provided is correct and kept up to date. Even species such as Burmese Pythons can be fine depending on the handler.

I'm going to focus a lot on herps in this post because that is what I am most qualified to talk about as well as having the most experience about, but I can touch on some other species as well.

To start, I'd like to remind everyone that the reason that we can safely own larger and dangerous animals such as horse and camels are because they are domesticated species that were created to work. They are bred over thousands and thousands of years to be in tune with humans and, most importantly, are prey animals. They don't have the instincts that exotics do because it was bred out of them by humans to create an animal that can live around humans.

Exotics such as large cats, wolves, and crocodilians? Not so much.

I am not saying that we should ban owning these animals since that would only cause more harm than good. The black market, which is already bad enough to begin with, would be over-flooded and it would just make everything worse. However, animal welfare and regulation laws are severely lacking. In Texas, there is a required permit to own an American Alligator, yet I can buy a Nile Crocodile (one of the most deadly species of crocodilian) for a few hundred dollars on Facebook. Backwater reptiles sells American Alligators, Cuvier's Dwarf Caiman, Smooth-Fronted Caiman, Morelet's crocodile with just the click of a button. It's easy to find exotic bybs and importers that sell the animals simply to sell them.

That is not okay.

I worked with a juvenile C. niloticus for a year (research on juvenile crocodilian morphometrics). Aside from research, I trained and raised her so when she was older, she would be able to be placed in a zoo. From the time she was 30 cm to the time she was 60cm, she was easily the hardest animal that I have ever worked with (and I have worked with a lot of animals). It's not just enclosure size and diet that you have to worry about; it's future temperament, husbandry, training, etc. If I messed up while she was young, she could seriously hurt someone by the time she was 14+ feet. There is so much time and energy that goes into owning and working with a single exotic. People don't seem to understand that this is not just like owning another pet. This is a life commitment and a lifestyle change.

Outside of conservation, education and research, there should be absolutely no reason to own one of these animals. Regulations need to be put in place to stop things like this from happening and weeding out those that can't and won't care for these animals. I understand that most people think they can handle certain species, but what happens if they can't? Then both the animal and the handler suffer from it. People have to understand that these animals do not make good pets. Dogs, cats and livestock were domesticated for a reason.

Education is an absolute must when it comes to exotics. Pushing for updated research and husbandry requirements will help keep the general public away simply because they don't want to have to put that much work into an animal. If husbandry is taught properly, there will be less neglect and less incidents that could potentially cause both parties harm. And, as much as people won't want to hear this, sometimes 'doing research' is not enough. Getting experience with behavior, health and other concerns in exotics as well as getting hands on learning should be something that everyone strives to do.

tl;dr: certain species of exotics are fine to own while others should require permits. education is a must when it comes to owning exotics


    You can not "safely" own a camel. They are very dangerous. Not as dangerous as a tiger or a nile crocodile, but are still extremely dangerous.

    "Domestic" animals are animals bred for human use. That doesn't always mean they are safe. They are certainly safer than something like a tiger, yes, but they are still extremely dangerous. Camels, for example, are extremely dangerous if they are not castrated. Not only that, they are not easy to care for. They need lots of land (some sources say about an acre per camel, others say two acres per camel) and have very special dietary needs. They are also very powerful, needless to say, and are notorious for escaping the most sturdy fences. Reindeer are also very dangerous during the rutting season, and need very special care in most climates. Even in the UK, the climate is too warm for them. Yet, these are domestic animals. They are prey animals, yes, but very large prey animals. They still have instincts telling them to survive. A spooked horse is not a safe horse. Difficult care needs and danger is indeed usually accompanied by a nondomestic, but are not exclusive to nondomestics. I am quite certain that I would have an easier time and be far safer caring for a serval than a camel or reindeer or even a horse. While I agree that education and regulation is important for nondomestics, it is also very important for domestic animals. Domestics still have the instincts that "exotics" do, just diluted or amplified depending on what the animal was to be used for. And certain instincts can arise if an animal escapes and lives without humans for a long time. This is very evident in stray dogs and cats.

    Some dogs were bred to be very territorial and protective, such as the kangal and Caucasian shepherd. Does this look like a safe dog to you? That dog is a protective dog that can overpower anyone it wishes to. While they are very friendly and loving to their family, they are not a dog you should have around new friends coming over, or a dog you can take to the dog park. These dogs were also bred to protect very large plots of land, not live in someone's backyard. The West and East Siberian laikas are another example. They retain many wolf-like characteristics, such as regurgitating food for pups, creating dens, and strong territorial and hunting instincts. They need a lot of space, are very intelligent, are escape artists, and are... domestic. Unfortunately, these dogs are starting to rise a bit too much in popularity, despite the fact that most people are not capable of caring for them.

    Many people are so worried about the instincts of nondomestic animals, but no one seems to care about the instincts ingrained into domestics that some people are just not able to satisfy. The border collie, considered to be "the most intelligent breed in the world", is a herding dog. Yet most border collies will not be able to truly satisfy their desire to herd. You'll hear stories of border collies trying to "herd" children. Some may call that funny but I call it sad.

    Pet owners need to prove that they are able to care for any animal. Not just the ones seen as "difficult" or "dangerous", because even the animals you listed as smaller with "easier husbandry needs" are still abused far too often. Probably more so than the nondomestic cats and crocodilians. Keep in mind that most people don't even want a crocodile or tiger, and the majority of those who do are very serious about it. No one needs to be told about how difficult a tiger is to care for, whereas fish, budgies, and ball pythons are often seen as "throwaway pets" bought for children. Hybrids, however, are a different story. People buy wolfdogs thinking they will be just like a dog, and savannahs as if they are just like a domestic cat. It is in this case where I believe that education is the most crucial.

    Other than that, I overall agree with what you've said.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby ratsy » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:46 pm

Not a fan. It's fine for professional trainers/animal workers who do it purposefully and know what they're doing, but I don't think anyone else really ought to own wild animals as pets.

But then again, big difference between tiger and sugar glider-- ones much more understandable than the other.
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby sammybunny40 » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:49 pm

I think if the person has the financial stability and affectation/time for the animal as well as ALOT of room, it's great to have a exotic pet. The person would also have to have knowledge of this animal as well of course!
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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby blueh » Thu Nov 02, 2017 7:24 am

oops late reply, don't go on this site much anymore

Camels & Reindeer are domestic livestock species, they don't live in the house and are not treated like many exotics are treated. They're not companion animals like exotics and in general, shouldn't be treated as such. Again, they are prey animals and this really should not be brushed off. Their behavior is nothing like large exotic predators and their instincts are completely different. A defensive horse is not going to be in the same league as a defensive tiger.

Depending on where you live, camels and reindeer can be classified as exotic species. In some parts of the world they are common and the care they are provided is much different than other parts. And if you can't "safely" own a camel, then how are you going to safely own a large exotic?

The video that you linked is actually very cool! Most of the videos are from a sport called IPO, a protection sport. The entire point of that sport is human control. If the dog does not listen to the handler, he does not advance on. However, those are also trained behaviors. It's a really fun sport to watch and there is much more to it than just bite work! There is also holds & blinds which the dog has to do. You mentioned kangals and caucasian shepherds which are LGD (livestock guardian dogs) and not human protection dogs. They are bred to protect their herd, it's a job that was given to them. It's a desired behavior & dogs that don't show that behavior are often washed.

WSL & ESL are used as hunting dogs that have recent wold ancestry, so it makes sense that they still retain some wolf-like qualities. They're not an animal that I would say is 100% domesticated and instead on that line of being domesticated and not.

Unfortunately, these dogs are starting to rise a bit too much in popularity, despite the fact that most people are not capable of caring for them.


That is exactly the problem with exotics. If humans can barley take care of an animal that is mostly domesticated then how can they take of an exotic? The care for exotics is so much more intensive than, say, a dog, and the experience needed to keep the majority of them thriving is high.

Keep in mind that most people don't even want a crocodile or tiger, and the majority of those who do are very serious about it.


I, again, can't say much about the market of large mammals but in the herpetology world, it is incredibly easy to get large and dangerous predators. I've seen an unboxing video of a 12 year old boy who used his mom's credit card to get an american alligator. I've seen a young couple buy a small, reticulated python thinking that it will only grow three or four feet. I've seen people buy parrots thinking that they only live for 5-10 years and not realizing that they can out live their owners. I'm currently raising two american alligators because their clutch was dumped at a crocodilian rescue and they don't have the space for that many babies. We don't know what happened to the parents. Working with exotics, I've seen too many that are abused, neglected or abandoned. I understand that people love their animals and don't want anything to happen to them, but love isn't always enough.

It's not just that exotics can be dangerous. If it was just that, I wouldn't have this opinion. The majority of the people buying exotic don't understand the consequences of that animal; they want them because they are cool. Owning an exotic is a lifetime commitment and a lifestyle change. They're expensive (so, so expensive), require a lot of space, time and vet care (so important!! very few vets treat exotics) and not everyone has that much to give to them. I've said this before and I'll say it again, but outside of research, conservation and education there should be no reason to own a large exotic. If people really want to work with them that badly, volunteer at a local rescue or zoo.

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Re: Thoughts on exotic pets?

Postby Siarczek » Thu Nov 02, 2017 10:05 am

I am fine with exotic pet ownership as long as its done responsibly- I've followed fox and wolfdog owners around the internet for a long time and I've always been an advocate of responsible exotic pet ownership.

That being said, there are certain animals that shouldn't be kept- endangered species and large, dangerous animals are examples. Big cats in particular should never be in direct contact with a human unless absolutely necessary, yet alone being kept as a "pet".
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