The news have been reporting lately on the latest dumbass to own an exotic, wild animal and get killed for it. Apparently, he had a group of wild cats on his property, one of whom also attacked a young boy. His neighbours continuously tried to have the dangerous animals removed from his home, but to no avail. He won in court. (How the fuck you ‘win’ the right to own animals that want to EAT you and your entire neighbourhood is beyond me.)
I’ll tell you guys a story on this subject and I promise it won’t be boring. Years before I became an office drone, I volunteered one summer at a local zoo that specialized in reptiles, snakes and giant birds. Basically, my duties involved cleaning, chopping up veggies and dead things for meal time, putting turtles in warm baths so they could “poop” (I’m not lying, turtles need help pooping!) dragging iguanas out of their outside cages where they sunned to bring them inside for the day, changing the bedding of the large snakes who were none too happy about being woken up and also dragged out of their cage, and occasionally helping with demos. It was tiring, dirty work and oh yeah..just “kinda” dangerous. When I first started, I thought it would be ‘fun’ to eventually adopt one of those critters and didn’t think taking care of him or her would be all that difficult. Oh how wrong I was!
The zoo was literally packed with iguanas, many abandoned by their owners who had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they first got them. They saw tiny, green things in pet stores and thought they were cute and novel, but then soon came to regret their decision when their cute little green baby morphed into a huge, bitchy, territorial bastard who bit, scratched and tailwhiped them! People just don’t realize how damn moody and territorial iguanas are: My cousin, for example, watched his take over his entire living room! In addition to reptiles, we also had insects and spiders or to be more specific, tarantulas. Tarantulas are interesting and some can be docile (ie pink toes), but they don’t really make good pets. They are very delicate(they can die if you drop them), they don’t form any type of “bond” with their owners and they will flick hairs in your eyes when feeling threatened. (Oh and those hairs are notoriously hard to remove, just ask this guy.) The tarantula trade is also killing off many species of tarantula. Yep, by buying that tarantula, you are contributing to their demise. Even captive bred ones have to come from somewhere.
There were lots of other creatures that were fun and challenging to work with, but essentially they should not have been removed from the wild and were only at the zoo because no one else would care for them. (We were also involved in rehabilitating their numbers and trying to protect them from extinction) Frankly, most people can’t and shouldn’t own them privately! This also goes for lions, tigers, alligators, monkeys and anything else that some ignoramous thinks would be “cool” to own and possibly profit from. They are not happy being your “pet” and resent being gawked at and all you will get is heartbreak for your foolishness.
Leave wild animals in the wild and if you’re feeling lonely, get a cat or dog-Some of them are more than zany enough to keep your life interesting!;)
A very good article on the exotic pet trade can be found here. Please read it for even more information on the evils of this industry: