Exotic animals as pets may seem fascinating but taking a wild animal out of their natural habitat can be risky for their well-being as well as your safety.
Here are some exotic animals that are commonly petted in homes (huge mistakes) –
Find Nemo, but leave him there! It must be understood that marine fish are much happier in oceans than in aquariums. Clown Fish, Sting Rays, Puffer Fish and Electric Eels are popular as exotic animals and aquarium pets.
But these fish are not easy to care for. They die without adequate care. But the most important reason to leave them in the wild is because of their important role in endangered coral reef ecosystems. Fish provide important nutrients that help marine life and humans indirectly as well.
Not many people know that the Wildlife Protection Act (1972) covers several birds as endangered species. This makes it illegal to capture and keep these exotic animals as pets.
Birds like the African Grey parrot, yellow cockatoo, blue-throated macaw, etc., are protected species and are forbidden for commercial trade.
Large parrots live up to over 70 years and often outlive their owners. Since they are highly intelligent, it becomes difficult for them to live in captivity.
Specific species of tortoises and turtles
It’s mostly assumed that turtles and tortoises require limited care and are hence often kept as pets. But such exotic animals as pets have specific requirements which may not be met in a home setting. In fact, tortoises can also carry the salmonella bacteria which can spread when touched and cause severe illnesses.
Some species are illegal to own, like the Indian star tortoise which is protected by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) and the Wildlife Protection Act. Turtles like the red-eared slider, when fully grown, is up to 12 inches long. Their tanks need to be constantly changed as they generate a lot of waste and require almost 35-40 litres of water every day.
Reptiles like Snakes and Iguanas
Hissss not safe at home! While non-venomous snakes are often harmless, they require the highest level of care and protection. Snakes like the non-venomous ball python are usually kept as pets since they are smaller compared to other pythons. They need to be fed frozen rodents and mice.
On the other hand, Iguanas grow up to 1.5 meters long and require a temperature controlled environment. They also need to be given a varied diet since they usually suffer from deficiencies of calcium and vitamin D which can cause muscle tremors, soft bones and even death.
Before you go shopping for exotic pets next time, open your eyes, heart and mind to adopting a pet in need instead.