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Audrey Fierro
ENG 102
18 April 2015
Exotic Creatures as Household Pets
Exotic animals should not be kept as domesticated pets they have the right to live free,
not in a captivity where they are unable to exhibit their natural instincts, and pose a threat to the
owner and those around with no laws protecting the person or the animal. Nature needs to run its
path and if altered, there can be repercussions that we will regret in the future such as an
extinction of a species. With humans disrupting the course of nature by labeling these animals as
pets, they are endangering themselves, others, and especially the animals themselves.
In the hands of inept hands of caretakers, thousands of exotic animals perish or are
deserted. The head of the Environmental Crime Investigation unit in Western Cape, South
Africa, estimates that 90 percent of exported reptiles die within a year. (PETA) Humans are the
cause for these animals endangerment due to their lack of knowledge of the animals needs, and
once owners find themselves unable to care for the animals they simply lose interest. Animal
control authorities have confiscated Hedgehogs, who roll themselves into tight balls, can easily
become injured if children try to uncurl them or if cats attack them. Sugar gliders are very
social animals, and if they are not given enough attention, they may self-mutilate or die from the
stress of loneliness. (ASPCA) A majority of these exotic animal owners will fail to look into the
proper veterinary care for their animal since it can be very difficult because not many
veterinarians are trained or have any experience with exotic animals. The lack of medical
knowledge and aid is another factor threatening these animals lives. Humans should realize that
they are putting these precious creatures in danger by taking them in as pets due to their inability
to properly care for the creatures.

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The effects on the environment caused by mans desire to possess these glamorous beasts
is eternal as the species numbers exponentially decline. Some of these wild animals, especially
babies, are taken straight from their wild homelands and dispatched to the U.S. This is not only
traumatic and fatal for the animals, but also for their species as a whole and for the ecosystems
from which they came from. This is one of the reasons that some animals are in jeopardy of
becoming extinct. Baby tigers, for example, may be taken straight from their mothers by killing
their mothers and taking the cubs. This clearly causes a decline in their population, trauma to the
cub, and the beginning of a cycle of unhealthy practices for the animal. Baby animals are a
novelty and looked at as cute and cuddly. People are drawn to them without prior thought to the
reality that wild animals are not meant to be kept in a confined environment. They also come
from the breeding of the animals already with private owners for the purpose of making a profit
off the newborns. Many animals are continuously bred, long before they are mature enough and
more often than healthy, for the purpose of having as many litters as possible. The owners then
sell the cubs for large sums of money to a variety of individuals. The animals are purchased not
only for private ownership, but also for roadside circuses, as well as their body parts. As an
example, body parts of tigers such as skins, bones and whiskers are sold for fashion and
traditional Asian medicinal purposes (Whyte). The animals are bred so often and in many cases
adult animals are passed from buyer to buyer for younger animals who can breed more
(ASPCA). Besides the ownership of these luxurious animals, making money is just as alluring to
the owners. The breeding and selling of these animals at any level can be extremely profitable
and owners have found many ways of getting around state restrictions to do so. In 2004, the
American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reported that people in the United States spent
over $1.6 billion dollars in live exotic pet purchases. (Brown) When owners find themselves with
a surplus of animals, they also make money through canned hunting. This is placing wild

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animals in a confined area where hunters pay the owners to come in to kill the animals at close
range, mostly for trophy purposes. (ASPCA) The owners do not take into consideration the
damage they are causing to the species and the environment because they are more concerned
with the immense profit made off the animals lives.
These costly creatures are wild animals, this is something owners tend to push aside,
leading to dangerous situations for people around the confined animals. One significant reason
exotic pets should not be kept as domesticated animals is they are indeed wild animals meaning
that they are incapable of domestication. Wild animals who are kept in domestic situations and
are forced to live unnatural and unhealthy lives become depressed and frustrated and can have
psychological disorders. When humans dismiss the fact that these are uncontrollable creatures,
they put themselves and others in dangerous situations. An article from Fox News reports, A
man who kept exotic animals on his property was killed when a red deer gored him with its
antlers. His relatives told sheriffs deputies the deer had recently been acting hostile, probably
due to rut, the period when deer mate. Exotic animals follow their natural instincts and difficult
to tame. If they feel threatened, and yes, something as little as touching the pet can be seen as a
threat to the animal, can trigger an attack to protect their own lives. A problem with that logic is
that the owners are not the only ones being attacked. For instance, USA Today reports, In 2009,
a 2-year-old Florida girl was strangled by a 12-foot-long Burmese python, a family pet that had
gotten out of its aquarium. That same year, a Connecticut woman was mauled and disfigured by
a neighbors pet chimp. The chimp and the snake in the article attacked a person other than the
owner, which is concerning because people who freely choose not to own exotic animals cannot
live in peace the comfort of their own homes, knowing the fact that an animal next door or one
that lives with them can escape its captivity and attack at any moment. These owners put at risk
not only themselves but anyone around the creature, a ticking time bomb just waiting to explode.

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These exotic pets can also carry serious diseases or sicknesses that can do something as
drastic as kill the human. According to the Association of Zoos and aquariums, "Keeping wild
animals as pets can be dangerous. Many can bite, scratch, and attack an owner, children, or
guests. Animal owners can be legally responsible for any damage, injuries or illnesses caused by
animals they maintain. Wild animals can carry diseases dangerous or fatal to humans. Diseases
include rabies, distemper, herpes viruses, salmonella, polio, tuberculosis, Rocky Mountain
spotted fever and bubonic plague. Wild animals also harbor parasites, such as intestinal worms
and protozoa." In 2003, the monkey-pox outbreak in the Midwest was traced to a Gambian rat
from Africa; the animal had been housed with prairie dogs in an Illinois animal dealers shed.
(Wilgoren) Hedgehogs can transmit salmonella bacteria as well as viral and fungal diseases, and
their sharp spines can cause skin infections.( Riley) Exotic animals endanger the lives of humans
around them due to our vulnerable immune system.
The government responds to the troubles presented by exotic animals kept as pets, but the
laws often are inadequate for taking action against the owners. Some state and local laws prohibit
the sale or keeping of exotic animals. While other states require that person obtain a license, but
most states do not have any laws protecting these exotic animals. Unfortunately, the government
is often only able to do too little, too late, as dealers and disreputable pet stores adapt to avoid the
law. Even though the government does try to help, we have to rely on our own common sense
and ethics to prevent the cruelty and damage that owning an exotic animal causes.
Exotic animals, such as large cats and crocodiles should not be allowed to be kept as
domesticated pets in the United States. For these animals deserve to run free and not live their
entire lives in cages much too small. These species need to run their course and not disrupted by
humans causing the extinction of the species. By taking these animals put of their habitat humans
are endangering themselves and the animal. Current laws lack substance for protecting these

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wondrous creatures but humans should realize the damage they are causing. With these reasons
alone exotic animals should not be allowed as domesticated pets, so it is up to us humans to
realize the damage that is caused and take action.

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Works Cited
ASPCA. "Exotic Animals as Pets." ASPCA. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<https://www.aspca.org/adopt/adoption-tips/exotic-animals-pets>.
Brown, Robert. ""Exotic Pets Invade United States Ecosystems: Legislative Failure and A" by
Robert Brown." Indiana Law Journal. Indiana University of Alan, Spring 2006. Web.
18 Apr. 2015. <http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/ilj/vol81/iss2/6>.
"Exotic Animals as 'Pets'" PETA. N.p., 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/exotic-animals-pets/>.
"Georgia Man Gored to Death by Deer." Fox News. The Associated Press, 08 Oct. 2007. Web. 18
Apr. 2015. <http://www.foxnews.com/story/2007/10/08/georgia-man-gored-to-deathby-deer/>.
"Officials: Pet Python Strangles Toddler - USATODAY.com." Officials: Pet Python Strangles
Toddler - USATODAY.com. The Associated Press, 1 July 2009. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/nation/2009-07-01-python-strangleschild_N.htm>.
PETA. "Exotic Animals as 'Pets'" PETA. N.p., 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/exotic-animals-pets/>.
Riley, Patricia Y., and Bruno B. Chromel. "Hedgehog Zoonoses." Hedgehog Zoonoses - Volume
11, Number 1-January 2005 - Emerging Infectious Disease Journal - CDC. University
of California, Jan. 2005. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/11/1/04-0752_article>.
Whyte, Chelsea. "Exotic Pets USA: Tigers, Big Bucks and Organised Crime." New Scientist.
N.p., 13 Oct. 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21078-exotic#.VTJWgBnn_qA>.

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"Wild Animals Do Not Make Good Pets." Association of Zoos and Aquariums. AZA, n.d. Web.
18 Apr. 2015. <https://www.aza.org/Education/KidsAndFamilies/detail.aspx?id=276>.
Wilgoren, Jodi. "Monkeypox Casts Light on Rule Gap for Exotic Pets." The New York Times.
The New York Times, 09 June 2003. Web. 18 Apr. 2015.
<http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/10/us/monkeypox-casts-light-on-rule-gap-forexotic-pets.html>.