Exotic animals such as lions, tigers, wolves, bears, reptiles and non-human primates belong in their natural habitats and not in the hands of private individuals. By their very nature, these animals are wild and potentially dangerous and do not adapt well to a captive environment. Sugar gliders, for example, are nocturnal animals and when kept as pets, they are forced to stay awake during the day due to bright lights, noise and manipulation. This interrupts their natural sleep cycle, making it difficult for them to sleep properly and carry out a normal life.
Because they are very sociable animals, if they don't get enough attention, they can harm themselves or die from the stress of loneliness. In addition to the fact that wild animals belong to nature, breeding methods with selective characteristics that are attractive to consumers can have an additional negative impact on the animal's physical and mental health. Every year, up to 21% of the total population of African gray parrots are poached in the wild. This is a species that is already in danger of extinction. Although they are now protected from international trade, they remain threatened by active illegal wildlife trade.
Mortality rates across the supply chain are believed to be high, ranging from 5 to 100% for reptiles caught in the wild and from 5 to 25% during captive breeding processes. According to an industry representative, a mortality rate of 72% during an average of 6 weeks of stock turnover is considered standard in the sector. The World Health Organization (WHO) and most infectious disease experts agree that the origins of future human pandemics are likely zoonotic, and that wildlife is emerging as the main source. Diseases such as SARS, MERS, Ebola and COVID-19 originate in wildlife. We believe that wild animals belong to nature, not to pets. The reality is that a life in captivity is a long way from life in the wild.
There are thousands of wild animals such as sugar gliders, fennec foxes, Bengal cats and even tigers that are kept as “pets” although they shouldn't be. While having some exotic pets may be less cruel than others, no wild animal can fully meet their needs in captivity. You can defend wildlife by promising to keep wild animals in the wild and not to buy them as pets. Exotic animals are taken from their homes in the wild or raised in warehouses that look a lot like puppy mills. As the largest pet store chain in Canada and the only large store still selling reptiles and amphibians, PetSmart contributes to the cruel multi-billion dollar trade that exploits wild animals on an industrial scale.
If you already have an exotic animal and haven't done so yet, seek the advice of a specialized veterinarian to ensure that you meet all their welfare needs as much as possible. We encourage you to continue giving your exotic animal the best possible life for as long as you can. Many animals begin their lives in the wild before being abruptly and cruelly uprooted from their homes and families to become pets. In addition, the NHES points out that exotic pets raised in captivity are “genetically the same as those of their wild siblings”.
We also ask that you commit to not buying another exotic pet in the future or raising the one you own. The glamorization of exotic pets through pop culture and social media masks cruelty and falsely legitimizes the trade. Confused or lax regulation makes the market for exotic pets vulnerable to illegal or unethical practices that negatively affect animal welfare and pose a danger to humans, other animals and the ecology of their new homes. However, if environments are similar, abandoned or escaped pets could thrive in the wild, altering the natural ecosystem.
An exotic animal is less likely to become an invader in a climate that doesn't fit its natural habitat. Most pet owners lack the experience and training to care for a wild animal, reducing their lifespan and population of the species.