When people feel the call of nature, they can do some incredible things: climb mountains, surf the waves of the Great Barrier Reef, and live off the land. But there is a difference between embracing nature and keeping wild animals as pets. Since the early 1970s, the U. S.
has restricted the commercial import of endangered species for good reason. The World Federation of Animal Sanctuaries estimates that 5,000 captive tigers are living in the United States; most of them are with private owners and not in accredited zoos. Cougars are also popular exotic pets. Amber Michelle Couch, from Odessa, Texas, found out the hard way when her 4-year-old nephew was almost killed by his 12-year-old feline pet.
The boy suffered multiple lacerations and puncture wounds all over his body and face. Fortunately, the boy survived, but the lion had to be euthanized. Monkeys are notorious for throwing their feces at people, but they can also transmit several deadly viruses to humans. JayJay was a 9-year-old tall macaque pet monkey who wore a diaper and pretended to be Santa Claus for the holidays.
He played with children at his home in Okeechobee, Florida, until he suddenly attacked his owner and tore his hand, buttocks and thigh. Jimmy Schwall, JayJay's owner, received more than 200 stitches and a two-week course of antibiotics to prevent infections. Schwall and his wife Mona had kept JayJay as a pet since he was 3 weeks old. Keeping an owl as a pet is illegal in the United States, and few private homeowners can provide the level of care required for them.
Not even most veterinarians have adequate training to properly care for owls, including regular maintenance of claws and beak. Owls are head-to-toe predators that use their beaks and sharp claws to gut and kill their prey and attack threats, including humans. If you don't want to keep frozen rats, gophers, mice and rabbits in your freezer for 10 years, then you're not meant to have owls. Bears are big and heavy; one swipe from their claws can knock you down.
Whether it's a Fennec fox or a red fox, they can't be trusted. They have a terrible smell worse than that of a ferret and can bite if they feel threatened. There is no vaccination protocol for them either. Tim Harrison has seen some crazy things as a public safety officer in Oakwood, California; he says that privately owned alligators are one of the most frequent animal attacks against humans (and dogs) he has encountered during his career.
If you've never heard of an animal species before (this one was new to me), you probably shouldn't keep it as a pet. Walz was killed by her bear in front of her own children and a group of neighbors despite her extensive experience with animals and having been licensed to own and manage it since 1994. Shirley Minshew from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) says that even owners who care about cats can't usually meet their needs. Wild animals don't do well in captivity; forcing them to play the role of a pet endangers them. A Dutch research team had experts in ecology, animal welfare and veterinary medicine classify animals based on their suitability as pets.
They found that animals like monkeys, owls, foxes, bears and alligators were probably not suitable pets due to their size, aggression or special needs. But as Popular Science explains, when it comes to keeping foxes as pets it's important to remember that they may be domesticated but they're not domesticated. They are social animals that need constant attention from their person or they will cry out of distress. Capybaras aren't the calmest animals either; they make a lot of noise and need another capybara to talk to or else they will become anxious.
The exact order doesn't matter; what matters is that all these animals belong to the group of animals that “probably aren't very good” like pets. The best decision you can make is to leave an animal alone in its natural habitat and appreciate it from afar.