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TamanduaGirl 09-06-2009 11:28 PM

Exotic pets forum
Seems there is a lot of anti-exotic sentiment from some members here. "wild" animals shouldn't be kept as pets, sort of stuff. Even though most exotic so called wild pets haven't seen the wild for more generations than most members have been alive.

We shouldn't abandon here because maybe we can talk some sense into a few of them with good examples. But if you are tired of getting told that should never be a pet when you ask for some advice about some species I made an exotics forum of my own but you can talk any animal there.

Chinchi 09-07-2009 12:00 AM

Well, some exotics really shouldn't be kept as pets.
Some may be able to care for them, but way to many people just get these pets because they are "cool".
Not that I'm saying that's what's going on here, but people do seam to be facinated by the unusual.

Kendalle 09-07-2009 12:39 AM

Some animals do not do well as pets, and some people do not make good owners of animals, especially exotics. That combo gives every thing a bad name.

It is never thought of as the people are not good owners, but rather, the pets not good animals.

Some animals should not be taken as pets, personally i don't think monkeys, apes, wolves, and so on.

On this forum i don't think people like the idea of taking animals from nature, which is good and bad. All pets you have have been taken from the wild at some point. But nature is suffering as it is now.

Research is the key. Too many people take animals from the wild, then don't know how to care for them and they end up with more than they can handle, the animal dies, or gets given to shelters.

TamanduaGirl 09-07-2009 02:01 PM

I agree that it's the people and not the species. There are only extremely rare exceptions where a species has a very poor history of captive survival, then people should not be getting those, not even zoos till someone, like the rescuers figure out how to keep them. Still most species live longer in captivity than they do in the wild.

But let's take lions, bears and wolves etc. They have a long history of being kept successfully. It is not impossible to keep them well. A friend on another forum keeps bears, they are not in the house but they are her pets. She does well with them. They are happy and fed and have never mauled anyone.

Should most people be discouraged from owning something dangerous or hard to keep healthy, yeah, but that doesn't mean no one should ever own them as pets. A pet owner is a private owner, so are sanctuaries, and any zoo not run by the state, all human owners. There is no reason it to say it is impossible for a pet owner to keep an animal as well as a sanctuary owner does.

That's why I will say they don't make good pets but with the caveat of "for most people" when I feel that's the case. There are plenty of good owners they just don't make the news.

I met a fella that has pet Giraffe. They were in great shape very happy and even friendly animals. He took them to the fair once a year to qualify for the state permit and needed federal license but they were his pets. Obviously most people should not have giraffes as pets but that does not mean no one should ever.

Most exotics, like tigers, and primates have been bred in captivity for many years and not taken from the wild so is not an issue for most species. Domestic fox have been bred on fur farm long enough they do differ from their wild counter parts in temperament, fur farm lineage foxes are not as tame as the Russian experiment foxes but they are tamer than wild ones and come in a variety of domestic colors. Would be very foolish to choose to go snatch a wild one instead and try to make a pet of it, also illegal in most places.

If some people can care for them well then I don't think there is any reason to say no one should. Yes abuse and neglect suck and it exists with domestics too and some domestics are dangerous, horses and cattle are huge and can be deadly. It's not the species that is an issue but the people involved and I'd say most people aren't going to pay big bucks for a rare exotic to let it die and lose that investment. Cheaper exotics it may be more common but they are also more common because they are easier to care for meaning the only reason for problems is the person involved not lack of info available. There are neglect and abuse laws to deal with that. There is no way to prevent it.

We can help by educating to the difficulties involved for those that really don't know but just saying no one should have those as pets isn't the answer.

Jennicat 09-07-2009 02:21 PM

I think we have to be realistic about exotic animals and people's abilities to own them. No one is suggesting that we abandon animals that are already currently in captivity as pets, but their ownership should be very strictly regulated, and in many cases illegal.

The minority being capable of doing something does not mean that the practice should be allowed wholesale. Already sanctuaries for exotics are full to bursting from people who want exotic animals. There is one nearby to here, the Carnivore Preservation Trust (though they also have non-carnivores).

In addition, many times when people do not care for exotics properly the damage to the animals themselves can be quite crippling. As a "pocket pet" rescue, we have rescued animals that literally were crippled or died from poor care -- and these are animals that have food and veterinary care more readily available than any giraffe or fox, etc.

Really, in the long run, it's hard to understand why a minority's desire to have a unique pet should trump the overall well being of the species in captivity. If only 10% of owners can appropriately provide habitat and husbandry, is it morally right to make the other 90% deal with owners that can't?

TamanduaGirl 09-07-2009 07:11 PM

It's called innocent until proven guilty and freedom. Treat everyone as if they may abuse their animal because some do is not the way it's supposed to work.

Some actual reported statistics
Only .001% of exotics are abused. For many wild species a third or more die before they ever reach adulthood in the wild. I'd say the captive statistics are pretty darn good.

1% of drivers have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel. Why are there not more laws trying to prevent that?

.009% of dogs are abused. That's nine times the rate of exotics. Where is the permitting system for them?

Percentages gotten from and estimated number of species owned.

Can we assume a number of incidents of abuse and neglect go unreported sure, same for dogs and kids. But assuming would mean we can make any number up we like, such as 90% are abused or just 1%. Fact remains dogs are abused more if the goal is to stop abuse by banning a species let's start with dogs!

Of course you will see a lot of problem cases if you work at a rescue or shelter that is what they are there for. Who stops in to show you their animal that they care greatly for and want to keep?

Many big exotic sanctuaries stated out breeding their own animals, like big cat rescue, that artificially inflates the number of "rescued" animals, many just buy them and then call them rescued. Even the good ones help make their own problem by not adopting out. There ARE good homes out there but they keep them all then say there is no room at the inn.

Jennicat 09-07-2009 07:20 PM deals with only cases that are reported and prosecuted. As an animal rescuer, I can tell you that most cases are not reported to the authorities, and when they are, especially with exotics, many places do not prosecute them because they require only that an animal be given food, shelter, and water. It doesn't matter if those are inappropriate, as long as they have them.

We've taken in rabbits dying of malnutrition because they were being fed cat food. A guinea pig living on a porch in an aquarium eating cheerios named Precious (of all things) that died hours later. Rabbits have been surrendered to the shelter with eye infections literally so bad that pus was streaming out of their eyes in a constant stream. None of these were able to be prosecuted. Because they owner had TRIED to feed them, you understand.

The over-arching theme in exotic animal rescue is neglect, primarily through negligence, and it is very rarely prosecuted. Because it is not seen as neglect, especially to those people not "in the know" about exotics.

I'm used to people using the paranoid tactics when they feel threatened by sanctuaries and rescues (we've often been accused of "making tons of money" even though each of the board members probably donates more than $3000 a year to provide vet care for our animals), but CPT absolutely does not breed their animals. NC Claws also accepts only surrenders and does not breed. They stay full, and NC is not even a particularly "busy" state in terms of exotics.

Again, just because there's a small percentage reported, I think it's ludicrous to assume that the rest of the animals are living in hunky dunky shape. How many reports do we see on this board alone of people begging AC to come and take dogs away from clearly abusive homes, and yet they don't have the legal grounding to do so.

And yes, we deal with the public frequently, and do know a lot of owners that take excellent care of their exotic pets. Many of them adopt companions from us, or seek us out for vet references, or to volunteer. But they don't make up the majority of the population by any means, and most people get their information from pet stores, which are notoriously out of date and incorrect.

Jennicat 09-07-2009 07:31 PM

Here's an example of a case we took earlier this year:

This is from a guinea pig named Trixie. Trixie was being fed bird food. You see the spots on her legs? That's where her starving body was cannibalizing her bones to try and meet it's desperate need for calcium. She died 2 days after intake. This was not prosecutable because the woman had, in good faith, provided food that she believed to be ok for guinea pigs. She was crippled and unable to walk and screeched in agony when she tried. This was in addition to her liquid diarrhea.

That's Gabriel. He was surrendered to us because he was "a little itchy" and they were moving. When our volunteer picked him up, he began having violent seizures in the car due to the severity of his mites. We had to stop transport to take him to an emergency vet to be injected with valium because his seizures were so violent. He died 4 days after intake. Not prosecutable -- she'd gone to the vet for him who said "he was fine". Our foster mom reported that he awoke her screaming in agony from violent seizures every 30 minutes.
This is BunBun. He was found by a police officer living behind a school. He was in an outdoor, wire-floor hutch with a broken-in roof, mounds of droppings and dead chickens underneath, no water or hay, and moldy pellets. He was seized, but no charges were pressed.

I could post and post and post examples, and they would go on and on. The truth is, they happen so often that they barely rate any notice except when they are especially horrific, and isn't that sad? And yet, these are domesticated animals with readily available veterinary care and supplies -- not highly specialized exotics with complicated dietary, habitat, and medical needs.

I've got to say that, personally, no one in our rescue has ever heard of any of these cases being prosecuted, and we've been "in the business" for nearly a decade now. The ONLY times we've seen prosecution are in hoarder cases that also involve dogs, and these people typically get very light sentences. Actual, singular cases of abuse are very rarely prosecuted when they happen to exotics.

Chinchi 09-07-2009 11:48 PM

Bears, lions, tigers, girafs and so on should NEVER be kept as pets.
It just plain wrong to keep these animals as pets, and treat them like part of the family.
They are wild animals. If you want one of these animals, you sould have a big outdoor aria they can run around on.
And now we are on big endangerd species. Do you know how they get the babies?
They shoot the mom, and take away the baby/babies, and sell them as pets.
But your right... as long as a "good" person takes care of them, it's all right...

I'm glad those kind of things are illegal over here.
Nobody can care proporly for such a big animal. Eaven most zoos have problems doing it right, and they have fare more experts than most people can ever hope to talk with...

Kendalle 09-08-2009 12:22 AM

I have an iguana. It is termed an exotic wild animal but she is doing well in captivity, she was born on a farm shipped to the usa and i got her from a pet store. She is healthy and happy.

Iguanas are hard to take care of, they need high humidity, high heat, big cage, lots of care to tame but can be great pets for the right people.

chinchillas were taken from the wild so much that they are i think extinct. I don't think they should be banned as pets, they are here now.

Lots of animals are abused, lots of people don't know they are doing it. It is the education that goes along with the pet.

Iguana's for example anything you see in a pet store except for UVB bulbs should not be used for iguanas besides the light bulbs nothing for my iguana came from a pet store. Not many people know this, but those that do have happy healthy iguanas. It is education.

nearly 100% of birds are wild animals, they are not domesticated at all, but people can take care of them.

i am not anti exotic animals. I am anti stupid people though.

Chinchi 09-08-2009 06:23 AM

The chinchilla is not extinct. C. lanigera is still out there, and the latest couple of years there has been an increse in numbers.
A few years ago a couple of scientists found remains of what they thing was a C. brevicaudata, so some thing they might be out there,
C. chinchilla (or C. b. chinchilla or what ever it's called) is extinct.

But you can't really compare a chinchilla to a lion or tiger.
Chinchillas were hunted for their fur.
When they came to the US there was a ban on hunting wild chinchillas. The guy who got them, had a hard time getting permits trough.
He got 11 chins back to the US, and used them for fur breeding.
AFTER this (they came to the US in the mid 1920, and I think it was around 1940 or 1950 people began holding them as pets), when they were kinda domesticated, they were kept as pets.

They have not been hunted since 1920.
All our domesticated chins comes from the 11 animals (roughly, might not be the whole truth, but it's kinda hard finding material)

So comparing a giraf or a tiger to a chinchilla is a little out there.
Most big animals like the tiger or the giraf, start out like small cute animals, where the parents are killed off...

Also most reptiles will be content in relativly small enclousers, if they are just given the food and vitamines they need.
If we look at a tiger, it still needs loads of room.

Over here most WC animals are illegal, and I really like that.
There are SO many domesticated animals to choose from, so why allow WC animals?
It is just because most people who gets these, want a different animal... Nothing good in that.

I'm not anit exotichs either, I'm juts anti stupid people, who get them because they look cool, and fact is, that why most people get exotic animals...

Just look at all the people on here who keep lonly PD's... That's just not right!

TamanduaGirl 09-08-2009 03:24 PM

"Most big animals like the tiger or the giraf, start out like small cute animals, where the parents are killed off"

That is FALSE. There are no imports of wild lions or tigers for pets in the US. They have been bred in captivity for many generations. No imports because they are CITES I.

People also aren't importing giraffes for pets. they are bred here but not as common at tigers. Sometimes people can buy zoo surplus.

TamanduaGirl 09-08-2009 03:26 PM


Originally Posted by Chinchi (Post 573211)
Nobody can care proporly for such a big animal.

So ban horses

TamanduaGirl 09-08-2009 03:51 PM


Originally Posted by Jennicat (Post 573171)
As an animal rescuer, I can tell you that most cases are not reported to the authorities, and when they are, especially with exotics

Your are counting guinea pigs and rabbits as exotic. Even CA that bans gerbils doesn't ban either of those as exotics but I suppose they would be counted in official exotic cases.

Foxes have been kept as pets and bred in captivity longer than hamsters. When you count them being kept as pets in their native lands even anteaters have been kept as pets longer than hamsters and in the USA at least as long as hamsters. Just pointing that out because no one ever says ban hamsters, they are wild animals. You know they roam miles of territory in the wild?

And I didn't say all exotic sanctuaries are bad, are you trying to claim all of them are good? There was one in CA licensed and permitted inspected sanctuary that had tiger cubs in the freezer among other violations. One took in a pair of endangered cats as part of an SSP breeding program then fixed them, well at least they weren't breeding. Buying at auction doesn't count as a rescue but many do that then say "rescued from the pet trade". Big cat rescue started as breeders then changed their name and those they had while pet owners/breeders are now labeled rescued from the pet trade. This artificially inflates the numbers of big cats needing rescued. If a magic act or someone retires an animal to the sanctuary and in most of these cases pay for it's care there that should not count as rescued either but they do. And the sanctuaries by definaition don't adopt animals out to other facilities even when qualified. Imagine how full your little rescue would be if you became a sanctuary and never adopted out. Of course exotic sanctuaries get filled up.

So, fine you want to believe the majority of owners abuse their animals, then ban ALL animals as pets or for any reason to be owned. No ones allowed to breed them any more but they can keep what they have till it dies. Then you will never have another case of animal abuse. If it's okay to ban exotics because they might be abused then it should be okay to ban all animals for the same reason.

Jennicat 09-08-2009 04:01 PM

They are considered exotics for the purposes of veterinary medicine. Maybe you can take it up with AVMA instead of me. :)

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