Don’t Put A Collar On Exotic Animals

Lots of us see exotic animals on TV or at the zoo and think, “Oh! I want one of those!” Tigers are powerful, awe-inspiring animals. Sugar gliders and hedgehogs are cute-and-cuddly playthings. Some people find these creatures fascinating and want to own them. But should we take these exotic, undomesticated animals from their natural habitats and bring them into our homes?

In December, authorities in Arlington, Texas raided U.S. Global Exotics, and approximately 26,000 animals were confiscated. The company, which specializes in the trade of exotic animals like snakes, sloths, wallabies, turtles, hedgehogs, and chinchillas, is accused of not caring for their animals. Four thousand animals have died. The judge awarded custody of the animals to the city, so that the SPCA can find homes for them in zoos and sanctuaries. They will not go back into the exotic animal trade.

There are many risks that come with the exotic animal trade, including danger to the animals, the environment, and the people who acquire them. One giant issue is that these animals are wild! They have unpredictable behaviors that we don’t fully understand, which can result in injury or death to people, and almost certainly death for the animal.

Also, these animals require an enormous amount of care: they need special diets, sometimes a controlled climate, and possibly miles to roam. If any of these things should go wrong, the vet bill (if you can find a vet who knows how to treat these animals) is extremely high. On top of all this, exotic animals carry a number of diseases that can be transferred to humans: herpes, hepatitis A, rabies, ringworm, and measles, just to name a few.

Finally, taking these animals out of there natural environments disrupts that ecosystem, and if they escape–or are let loose, as many people feel forced to do after they learn how difficult it is to care for them–these animals can disrupt the environments they were brought into.

Hopefully the raid of U.S. Global Exotics, called “the biggest animal seizure of its kind,” will be a turning point in how we see the treatment of exotic animals. Instead of risking harm to environments, people, and these animals, perhaps we should just leave them in their natural homes, and be content to watch the adorable wallabies bounce on our TV screens.


Joe R.
Joe R4 years ago

Good article. Thanks.

Amy S.
Amy S.4 years ago

Seems my post got cut off:

The fact is, keeping dogs as working animals only and banning them as pets would prevent massive amounts of animal suffering, and keep many people, especially children, out of the hospital. Why is your right to keep the animals you like in captivity more important than mine?

Amy S.
Amy S.4 years ago

I don’t crusade to ban your pets, even though they cause harm to humans (pet dogs send an estimated 800,000 people to the hospital every year and kill around 20) and the environment (cats are the #1 invasive pet species and kill millions of native wildlife every year), so please stop trying to tell me I should not be able to keep my sugar gliders, corn snake and iguana and that I am a bad person for doing so. My animals show no signs of suffering or being stressed out, unlike my neighbor's labrador who flips out and slams her body against the windows when you walk by their house, and never gets to go for a walk.

Do I need these animals as pets? No. I don’t need my dog or cat either. If your goal is to stop animal suffering, then ban dogs and cats too. They suffer way more than any other animal kept as pet. Millions of them are confined in kennels an put to death every year. How many people just tie their dog in their yard and leave it? How many people believe their dogs have human reasoning, so cause them to suffer mentally when they scold and hit them for reasons dogs don’t understand? How many people let their cats roam loose outside to be attacked by predators and get hit by cars? I go jogging every day. I see dogs jumping at fences, trying to get out – you cannot tell me a dog doesn’t want to be “free” any less than any other animal.

The fact is, keeping dogs as working animals only an banning them as pets would preven

Iene C.
Iene C.4 years ago

Too many people just think of themselves. They want an exotic and get them. Please, think before you act. Think of the poor animal. Get them only if they are cared for properly. Or, leave them in the wild where they belong.

Charles Webb
Charles Webb6 years ago

Charles Webb
Charles Webb6 years ago

This is such a one-sided discussion. I know many people who own small exotic pets, not yanked out of the wild, but domestically bred, take good care of them, and have a vet who knows the animal. One case of neglect, and nobody is ever to work with exotics? Pulease!

Sandy and Tigger
Sandra Watson6 years ago

The heart of man can be judge on the way he treats the animals!

Theodora P.
Theodora P6 years ago

Just leave exotic animals alone- before they end up behind bars- the bars that they see in Our homes

Yvonne H.
Yvonne H.6 years ago

I am strongly against people having exotic pets, especially birds in cages that they can't fly around in they need to spread their wings and fly and be free, I mean damn how would we like it if we couldn't go to do the things we want and need to do out of necessity and pleasure, these creatures are not criminals that should be caged, this i see as a sin against nature

Regina D.
Regina D6 years ago

Stop bringing poor animals to USA.
Leave them where they belong.