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4 Dangers of Owning an Exotic Pet

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man with exotic bird - dangers of owning an exotic pet

Cats and dogs are the most popular household pets.1 People grow up forming bonds and learning responsibility from them. However, some people may find interest in a variety of uncommon pets or exotic animals. Exotic pets are animals kept within the household that are generally thought to live as a wild species. Because they’re not meant for domestication, these animals can be quite dangerous.

4 Dangers of Owning an Exotic Pet

  1. They Don’t Adjust Well to Captivity
    Some exotic animals are used to being free to roam large areas where they can run and play. When they are brought in as pets, people don’t have the same amount of room to give them. Rather than accommodating the animal, exotic pet owners try to change the animal’s nature.2 To do this they put them in confinement or barren enclosures, sometimes even chaining to help restrict them. They will try to make the exotic animals submissive by beating, declawing, and removing teeth.2 All these treatments can anger the animals which may lead to them getting aggressive.
  2. Unpredictability
    Every exotic pet is unpredictable in its own way. When working with monkeys, you never know when they may bite you. This can lead to potential health risks when it comes to diseases. Lions, tigers, leopards, etc. have ability to attack unsuspecting people. They can catch people by surprise, leaving them unprotected and out of luck. Even if they are detained in cages, there have been multiple cases of them escaping and prowling the community. Reptiles are also known for sneakily escaping, allowing for them to bite others with their potentially poisonous venom, or strangle them to death.2
  3. Health risks
    Besides physical injuries from bites, exotic animals can carry zoonotic diseases.2 Zoonotic diseases are those that generally live in animals, but can be transferred to humans. They can be dangerous because there usually aren’t very many known treatments for these diseases. Monkeys tend to have the most potential of giving different diseases. They are known to carry Herpes B, Monkey Pox, and Ebola.2 Other non-human primates may carry the Herpes B-virus as well. Reptiles have the possibility of spreading salmonellosis.2 These diseases can be difficult to treat, and we generally should not be exposed to the public.
  4. Hard to properly care for
    As humans, we tend to care about the dangers that affect us; However, owning exotic pets is also dangerous to them. These animals have very specific needs for being cared for. They need special housing and special diets, and those special needs need to be maintained. If anything is neglected, the animal will suffer.2

In the end, many exotic pet owners decide they can’t handle keeping up with these wild pets. They turn to zoos and sanctuaries to give them a new home. The problem is these places can’t juggle the amount of new animals coming in. This results in them being euthanized, abandoned, or left in horrible conditions.1 Consider the dangers for you, your family, and the public when purchasing an exotic pet. For more information on how this may affect your life insurance, see a licensed life insurance agent in your area.

1. American Veterinary Medical Association, Market Research Statistics US Pet Ownership, 2018,

2., the Dangers of Keeping Exotic Pets, 2019,

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