Ok to keep Exotic Animals as pets?? Just curious.......

last1earthOctober 4, 2006

Hi, I was just curious about this article I read in the paper. I never knew exotic pets like monkees, camels, tigers etc were still legal to buy, sell, or keep. Only 13 states including my NJ, have banned this.

In the article it states that one man got up to rile the crowd on how the government is wanting more permits and papers for the keepers of exotic pets--and he was upset at this.....

How many of you think it is okay to cage a parrot, keep a chimp in your home, or a tiger in your backyard? And why? I'm just curious, as it seems you must love animals to keep them, yet cage them up, away from their giant sprawling jungle homes.

P.S I just read that 80% of primates carry a virus inactive to them but dangerous to humans.

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Do a search for exotic pets and you will be very shocked at what you find. I couldn't believe that so many people keep potentially dangerous wild animals in their homes, particularly in the west.

I think it's wrong, because these animals can and do escape their cages and injure or kill people. I've also read about people who get them and then don't feed them correctly or enough. Big cats, for example, are extremely expensive to feed.

Also, most people can't provide an adequate environment for them and that's not fair to the animals either.

I'm not against good zoos, though, because so many animals are being threatened in their natural environments and the only way to save them may be through zoo programs. Actually seeing the animals raises peoples' consciousness about their plight and can lead to laws protecting them, too.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 3:39PM
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I think exotic animals belong in their natural habitat or maybe in a zoo.As for parrots in cages,I don't consider them an exotic animal and see nothing wrong with an individual owning a parrot or other type of bird.Most parrots I have known personally were very well taken care of and seemed happy in their cage.LOL

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 4:35PM
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I saw a report on parrots on tv. It seems like a lot of parrots start plucking out their feathers. And the reason given was that these social creatures are confined in cages, with nothing to really engage their brains.

They have so much space to spread out their wings in the wild. But they can't as pets. It's like you being cramped in a car for a REALLY long drive, when you get out all you want to do is stretch your muscles.

I had 3 parakeets in my life. And I really want a parrot. But half in my heart I feel this to be wrong. So many parrots are mistreated, so they can be brought here. I saw men roughly push a syringe of food into baby birds mouths. Some of these birds throats rupture(!!!!!!!!) because they can't swallow as fast as the food is slammed into them. Some birds are tied to insides of cars! And what is worst of all, is that taking these birds from their habitats is destroying the delicate balance of nature from where they come.

I'd really be interested to hear some opinions of people who keep exotic animals too. And why do you think it is okay?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 6:26PM
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i think part of the problem is that laws banning exotic pets, if not written appropriately, would also make it illegal for sanctuaries to keep and care for all those "pets" given over to the sanctuary by "pet owners."

    Bookmark   October 4, 2006 at 6:41PM
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There was an actual ad in the classifieds here for a free monkey. So many thoughts about that running through my head. Wish I would have called to see why.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:13AM
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Parrots are social animals and need regular social interation. Good owners know this. It's the people that want a parrot for a decoration that's abusing the bird to the point where they pull out their feathers.

Dogs are the same. Dogs are social pack animals and should not be left alone tied to a tree all day and night.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:38AM
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OK, I'm admitting to REAL biases here, first.

1) I have an iguana and a ferret. In the past I had a ball python, poison dart frogs, a gold dust day gecko, a box turtle, and a rabbit. I'm getting a parrot at some point in the near future. And I have dogs as well.

2) I am a veterinary student and my dream job would be to work exclusively with pet exotics. Lizards, snakes, turtles, amphibians, birds, whatever. I'm not particular, except NO HORSES (I'm allergic).

That said, I think that people can keep exotic animals well. I don't think that endangered animals should be kept by hobbyists because they need to be managed properly for the survival of the species. It's too important a job to be left to non-professionals. Zoos, aquariums, and protected wildlife reserves are the best places for endangered species, not a home.

But someone who is dedicated to the proper care of the animal can and should be able to own them. I don't care if it's an elephant, tiger, parrot, iguana, or dog. Some people simply shouldn't have ANY pets because they don't do the research into the proper pet for their lifestyle, they don't maintain a proper environment, they don't feed the animal correctly, they don't provide regular veterinary care, they don't follow good preventative medicine protocols. Ideally, any animal kept as a pet is one that was born in captivity, not wild-caught. Wild animals belong in their environment, as a vital part of their ecosystem. But in many cases, such as poison dart frogs, if it wasn't for the hobbyists many color morphs would be extinct in the wild due to habitat destruction. Zoos and aquariums can only hold so many frogs. Just as an example.

It would take an extremely dedicated person with a lot of specialized equipment, knowledge, and tons of land to properly keep an animal such as an elephant or tiger. I don't think most people should have prarie dogs as pets, unless you can also keep 100 of their closest friends too. But certain species do well in the proper captive environment and if someone is willing to provide that environment I have no problem with it. Same goes for dogs and cats. They have needs that must be met, regardless of their domesticated status (and I'm entirely convinced cats are completely domesticated).

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 7:28PM
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I completely agree with what Meghane has stated. I also keep a few pets that some might consider exotic. They have all been bred in captivity. I can provide the proper enviroment, food and veterinary care for my pets and would only consider keeping animals that I can properly care for. There are many exotic pets that are legal to own that I'd love to have but I know I can't provide what they would need so I would never own them. Too many people purchase exotic pets not understanding what their needs are. All pets should have what is necessary for them to thrive, not just to survive.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 8:54AM
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But is'nt that the problem? Most owners DON'T have big properties to keep their animals in and yet are allowed to because it is legal.

Even lizards have (I think) salmonela? And it has caused deaths?

But even from the animals perspective, even if people love their animals to death and take care of them....They don't have any of THEIR kind to interact with. They have only the limited space where you keep them? Even lizards or. In the wild they would be hunting, interacting with other wildlife. As a pet they just look out the window till the next meal. I wonder if they really are happy that way.

I guess the plight of birds just makes me jumpy. No matter how much you love them, you'll never let them fly the way god/nature intended.

How can the government regulate which people have done their research for certian pet owning? Maybe they should have tests that must be passed so that people cannot abuse these animals?

Why is'nt it just better to leave them alone? And if their habitats could be lost, then the people (who claim they keep exotics to protect them) can donate land to keep aside for these 'loved' animals.

How can any owner provide the 'proper environment' for things that live in the jungle?

Just thinking out loud...........

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 4:24PM
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Yeah, but even I can manage to not eat lizard poop and get salmonella.

People who properly care for their birds DO let them fly. That's what I'll be doing for Zack, every day. I'm going to train him so that he'll be able to go outside and fly. Many parrot owners allow their birds to fly indoors at least. Contrary to popular belief, parrots don't spend a lot of time flying. They do need owner interaction. Having another bird for company depends on the individual bird, but Zack does better with people and doesn't much care for the company of other birds. Many parrots are like that.

Many animals are solitary, coming together only to mate, like iguanas. They don't "hunt" since they are herbivores, and in the wild they basically do just hang around in the trees all day.

Since I've researched the pets I have, I know that all require similar temperature and humidity. So they stay in my office. Tavi, the ferret, stays on the opposite side of my office which I keep cooler than the side with the iguana and bird. So everyone does have the proper jungle environment.

I can't afford to buy a rainforest, but I can provide a bunch of poison frogs with a great home, and breed them so their kind is never lost.

Why not have tests and goverment regulation before people have dogs? Or children?

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 5:11PM
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Great Idea!

There are so many kids who are neglected and worse because so many parents don't know what kids need, like attention.
Is'nt that why we have so many violent kids these days, no human touch?

P.S I already know that gov regulation cannot happen for having child birth, it would be completly out of hand.... I was just thinking out loud....

P.P.S (So I'd love to own a parrot. bTW) But are they really okay in homes? You said they don't fly much, in your proffesional opinion/and at work, do you see most parrots as happy and well adjusted?

Offset Questions: When you have animal owners at the office do you ever find out if they keep their birds home alone while they work? Is this an okay behavior, or do parrots need constant stimulation? How do you feel about this??

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 5:29PM
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Yes, I do see happy parrots, a lot. Most in fact are happy. They come in for the annual PE and bloodwork, and are just fine. It's a good clinic though with exceptional clientel. I used to work at a clinic where people would buy dogs, cats, birds, bunnies, etc etc etc, and we'd never see the animals until they were on death's door. People in that area didn't do preventative care, didn't research what animals they could have to fit their lifestyle, didn't research the pets' natural environment, etc. The place where I am now has a LOT of smart people in the area (near Duke, UNC, I go to school at NC State- lots of PhDs, professor, and medical doctors). It's a different world than the poorer area where I came from, and having the latest trendy weird animal was cool, whether or not it lived.

Parrots don't need constant human stimulation. In the wild, parrots spend most of their time searching for food. So many parrot owners get toys in which they can hide food, or the bird has to manipulate the toy a certain way to get to the food. It's called enrichment. Zoos, aquariums, and others use it to keep animals doing as close as possible to what they would do in the wild. That keeps the animals happy when you're not around.

I think being with a parrot 24/7 only serves to make a parrot anxious when you finally leave. You don't want a bird to get too attached to one person (no pair-bonding please) because 1) parrots can outlive their owners and 2) pair-bonding makes for some very unacceptable behavior from the bird (screaching, biting anyone except "their person", that kind of thing.) It's kind of like separation anxiety in a dog. You make the parrot so fearful of leaving you, that he can never be very happy. So going to work every day and having the parrot entertain himself with getting to his food or whatever is actually better than constantly interacting with it.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 11:13PM
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Parrots are great IF you are the right personality type to be able to live with them. They are extremely loud at times and no neat freaks need apply. You'll find feathers and poo in the strangest of places. They need time out of their cages on a daily basis but they also need to be able to entertain themselves. They must be watched pretty closely when they are out or Grandma's heirloom table may be converted into toothpicks. They are like living with a three year old for the next 40+ years.
Some cases of feather plucking may be attributed to boredom but it can also be because of an underlying medical problem or a nutritional problem. Caring for a large bird is not inexpensive but then proper care for most pets is not. Harley, my Blue and Gold Macaw will destroy a $25+ toy in a couple of days.
Unlike Meghane I am not comfortable in allowing the birds any freedom outside. Their cages are rolled out when I'm working outdoors and can keep an eye on them because they do benefit from the natural sunlight. Most of these guys are only a generation or two removed from the wild, all their survival instincts are intact. They are easily startled by anything they may percieve as a preditor. Harley was allowed outside in his former home. Something spooked him, he flew and crashed into a car requiring over a thousand dollars worth of surgery to repair a wing and a leg.

The people that you saw on the tv report about parrots were smugglers. They don't care about anything but making a buck. Parrots have been illegal to import into the US except in a very narrow range of conditions for at least 10 years nows. The vast majority are raised by hand by breeders and these are the ones that make good pets.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 7:56PM
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I have never owned an exotic in my life, but why not? But I do believe if a person is found neglectful they should be prosecuted for animal abuse. I do believe that more education is needed before people purchase exotic animals. So many people purchase exotics on a whim. I have seen this soo much through the years in volunteer work. We have gotten exotics in deplorable shape. You wonder what is wrong with these people. Years ago where we lived, a pet shoppe was closed because of the reptiles being starved and unsanitary conditions. This is what bothers me alot. Too many animals being neglected and even abused and not enough law enforcement. The owners of such animals get a little slap on the hands and that's all. Question: Are we letting too many exotics in this country without enough regulations? How do we get owners of exotics to realize the responsibility of ownership? Education, what? Pet shoppes the same.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2006 at 8:18PM
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The original question is rather broad. There are exotics like lions, tigers and such that, as some have already pointed out take a lot of money and space to properly care for. These animals are frequently abused, bought by drug dealers to act as guards, or just basically improperly cared for. I think there'd be much less need for shelters for these animals if people weren't allowed to own them. I do wish that penalties for animal abuse in general were much higher and harsher.

But there are exotics that do make good pets, especially for people that are allergic to dogs and cats. Lizards, birds, snakes, turtles, whatever, can make good pets.

Years and years ago I worked for a vet, and we boarded an old parrot that belonged to a couple in their 70's. The parrot was a wedding present from the young groom to his bride. We all thought it was so cool. This parrot had been a part of their long life together. It seemed quite happy.

It's all in the research and the willingness to provide the proper home and care any animal needs.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 9:44AM
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I'm not trying to pick on Meghane here because I really do enjoy her posts and have learned quite a bit from them. Going back to one post tho she somewhat immplied that the better educated, richer people were more likely to research and take better care of their pets that the poorer ones in the neighborhood she previously worked in. That has just not been the experiences that I've had. I've worked in the "hood" and in the rich, educated parts of the city too and at least in our area the folks with the money were just as likely to fall for the trendy new pet with little regard for what that animals requirements were as the folks in the poor neighborhoods were. I don't really think income and education have as much to do with what type of care an animal recieves as much as the desire of the person to learn about and do the best by the animal as they can. That's something that has to come from within the person.


    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 11:12AM
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There are people who keep exotics that are healthy and happy just as there are people who keep common pets healthy and happy and then there are those who do not.

I think the health and well being of the animal is more important than it's species with some exceptions. I believe elephants, big cats, primates, bears and wolves are not pets and should be kept by professionals. Even many professionals mistreat animals, there are plenty of small zoos that should be shut down and I disagree with exotic animals in circuses at all.

I think there needs to be more enforcement of laws for the health and well being of all animals.

There are too many animals of all kinds being abused either by ignorance or on purpose. Exotics are generally harder and more expensive to care for.

Thousands of them die from improper care. They die enroute to pet stores, they die at pet stores and they die in people's homes.

I do not believe any animals should be taken from the wild for the pet trade. Not fish, birds, reptiles or mammals. Captive bred or nothing. There are rescue groups out there for every kind of animal, adoption is far better than buying from a petstore or breeder. There are too many homeless or abused animals. period.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2006 at 2:46PM
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ok - I've got something of a different take on this...

I've got an old scar on my thigh from a lioness - and it was totally my fault ( it IS possible to 'play too rough' with a 14 month old lion) and I deserved to be bitten - and I took those 4 stitches like a veteran, and even my dad agreed that it totally wasn't her fault-

she had enough trouble at the time, one of the neighbor's dogs had gone and gotten itself mauled, and everyone was screaming for blood - never mind the dog had no business being on the farm in the first place, much less that close to the stable, OR that it wasn't much of a loss as far as dogs go, OR that there were 9 dogs ON that farm that she never had a problem with...

but I think keeping ANY animal should be a responsibility and a priviledge, not a right, and I'd be all for ALL animals getting the same kind of attention, not just the 'exotics'...

especially since I got 4 stitches from Her - 18 from the the shepard/dobie mix next door (who really wanted to kill me) and I don't even want to think about how many times a family pet's put the bite on me, drawn blood, or 'accidentally' hurt me.

I tend to think that keeping animals in cages defeats the purpose of them being animals, I'm fully opposed to the idea of keeping ANY animal as anything less than a full member of the household, and I think that anyone wanting to keep any animal smart enough to cry when it's lonely should be forced to take a course specific to that animal...

but that's just me.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 3:23PM
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Don't you have to have a special license to keep most exotics, as in tigers, monkeys and such? When I raised an orphaned racoon (of all things) I had to have a permit and the game warden came by often.

I also disagree with the more wealthy and better educated being more attentive to animal needs. One thing I've seen since moving to the country so many years ago is alot is in how folks are raised. For instance, a farmer I knew had horses.. he didn't believe in cleaning the stalls because manure heats up and will help keep the horses warmer in the winter. His beliefs were from how he was raised. And they weren't poor farmers back then! Perhaps less educated, though. *heh*

(And this should really get some people's ire up.) I also believe that the more wealthy are also less likely to take as good a care of their pets. They're too busy with socializing. Sure, they have the money in the end to seek medical care. (That may have been uncalled for... I tend to rationalize from things I've seen or experienced. :)

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 3:26PM
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*Points to chinacat* Yep, I agree with what she said. Why do people get pets only to tie them outside, ignore them after the puppy phase, kitten phase, etc.? This happens way too much. I just don't understand the point of having pets if they aren't going to be part of the family.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 3:37PM
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Exotic pets are usually not domesticated and not happy in the presence of people or confined in cages. They are used to sourcing their own food from either foraging or hunting and using a lot of energy in the process. Cats and dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years and are quite happy being pampered by their human masters. They unlike their exotic cousins would most likely not do very well in the wild without human intervention.

In regard to Parrots, I noticed while in the Amazon Jungle a few years back that Parrots and other exotic birds would always fly in pairs. I was taught by a biologist there that Parrots while young will select a mate for life and will always be nearby their mate. In captivity they are either taken from their mate or never given a chance to aquire one. Very sad that the Parrot has lost this and his/her lifes sentence is in a cage in a persons home for their entertainment.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 7:23PM
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I own several snakes and I believe that if a person has researched the husbandry for the animal they desire or knows how to care for and handle it, they should be allowed to keep them. Information on how to care for reptiles and many other animals is readily available through hobbyist groups like kingsnake.com or other places on the Internet (simply type in "care sheet for whichever species" on Google and you will get many hits).

I prefer reptiles over cats and dogs because they do not stir up allergies when they shed, are not loud and obnoxious, do not require walks or extra trips to boarding facilities for short trips, and require less space. IMO, dogs are a bigger pain to care for than herps.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 11:36PM
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OK, what I was trying to say before is that the people in the old clinic tended to fall in love with their friend's exotic pet, run out and buy one for themselves, and not ask a vet or consult any other resource into the proper care of that pet. Because of money issues, or just not thinking about it, I don't know. We rarely knew that a client even had a non-dog, non-cat until they brought it in in very bad condition. They truly cared for the pet, and always wanted to change whatever the problem was. But for whatever reason- not used to consulting for animals without problems perhaps- that was what usually happened.
With the current place, people are always consulting each other in their jobs so they are used to seeking advice prior to doing things. So they ask a vet, or do a little research before purchasing an exotic pet. Perhaps it has nothing to do with money or education, although there are great disparities between the 2 clinics. although I do think money entered into it because in the old clinic people couldn't often afford to do anything beyond the basics, if that, even for their cats and dogs. They didn't love the pets any less, just had less resources to dedicate to their care. Personally I think it is a sign of intelligence to only purchase animals that you can afford to properly keep, either for exotics or cats and dogs. We had many clients in the old practice who couldn't afford heartworm prevention, for example. I don't think it's smart to own a dog if you can't even afford heartworm prevention. That's more of what I meant. People tend to act on impulse, react with their hearts instead of minds in the old place. Just a different culture here, where research, consultation, and concern about costs are a fact of everyday life and perhaps that is why we see more well-patient consultations and pre-purchase consultations. The fact of the matter is, you cannot properly care for an animal if you don't have the financial means to do so, no matter how much you love it.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 3:58PM
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moonie, I've seen that side of things too. People that could well afford the proper equipment for an animal or to pay out several hundred+ dollars on a vet bill and chose not to do so because they could get another animal cheaper.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 3:58PM
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I work as a volunteer for a rescue sanctuary, Tigers for Tomorrow, and they have all kinds of exotic animals. Most of them are animals that someone thought would be "cool" to have as a pet. I am talking anything from a kinkajou, coatamundis, all the way up to wolf hybrids and tigers.

Even more disturbing, though, is the exotic trade that goes on for "canned hunts" where someone pays a fee to go into an enclosed area and shoot an exotic animal, usually a lion or tiger. Please check the website www.tigersfortomorrow.org and click on "canned hunts" for more information.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tigers for Tomorrow

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 5:30PM
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Canned hunts are disgusting and worthy of entirely new thread.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 7:38PM
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Canned hunts should be illegal. I saw a documentary on them involving big cats and bears. It was sickening. I'd love to tie up the owners of these properties and the cowards who pay to hunt there and let the animals at them.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2006 at 12:42AM
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Here's another problem with exotics that I don't think has been mentioned. Florida has lots of problems with exotics that people have decided are too hard to keep or that have grown large and dangerous, so they let them go. Snakes and lizards from other countries can survive in Florida and upset the balance of natural wildlife. Pythons are especially dangerous because they grow large enough to swallow a person.

I don't know what the owners are planning to do when a baby crocodile, monitor lizard, or python grows too large to handle. I guess they think zoos will be glad to get them, but apparently that's not the case.

To me, this seems like reason enough to outlaw owning these types of animals.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 2:00AM
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Florida is only one state. In most other states, a non-native reptile will not survive in the long term when cooler temperatures arrive.

"Pythons are especially dangerous because they grow large enough to swallow a person."

Cases of pythons swallowing people are extremely rare and even those that supposedly occur are always highly scutinized. The majority of python species though can't eat people (ball, carpet, children's, blood, and woma pythons for example).

"To me, this seems like reason enough to outlaw owning these types of animals."

Strongly disagree. Outlawing is too extreme of an action and will hurt many responsible keepers and have some negative economic impacts. It would result in an increase in the number of displaced animals. Stricter regulations for housing, handling, transporting, and keeping such species seem more reasonable.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 10:58PM
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Why bans do not work:

Why laws prohibiting exotic animals do not work..
National Alternative Pet Association
PO Box 369
Burnet, TX 78611

1) As shown by both anti drug laws and laws prohibiting ferrets in CA, people are not stopped by such laws. Such laws have only created a black market for both, as seen by the fact that ferrets are often illegally sold in CA for as much as $800, while in other states, they can be acquired for as low as $60. Some people are willing to pay the higher price then to smuggle them in from other states. There are an estimated 500,000+ ferrets in the state of California.

2) Illegal pets have no rights. They are often euthanized when seized by authorities and the owners face jail and heavy fines. Due to the fact that opening a rescue shelter for exotics is near impossible in states where they are illegal and the fact that zoos cannot or will not take them, these animals are often doomed if found.

3) Owners of illegal pets often fear taking them to vets, thus they fail to get proper vet care and vaccinations. The vast majority of vets will not turn owners in, since they know the fate of illegal pets.

4) The very fact a species is illegal often gives rise to misconceptions about the species. Such as wives tales like skunks being born with rabies and weasels sucking blood of infants, both of which have been passed on as 'facts' by state fish & game depts or health depts, with NO scientific proof. Such misinformation often leads to slaughter of these animals in the wild.

5) Laws against exotics are often used as tools by groups who use this to convince people that these animals are wild. This causes owners to turn exotic pets loose in areas they are not native to and cannot survive in. Turning exotic pets or ANY animals loose into the wild is federally illegal without proper permits for the rehabbing of native species.

6) The majority of people who keep illegal pets often are law abiding people who moved from states where they are legal, sometimes not knowing till after they have moved that their beloved pet is prohibited. These people are often subject to blackmail by others, who use the threat of turning them in to force them to do as they wish. If the animal is stolen or abused by others, the owner is unable to even report it for fear of the law.

7) Over regulation of exotic animals hampers those who gain valuable knowledge about each species, as many breeders and owners learn far more from their animals then a limited number of zoological parks can on their own. Much of the knowledge gained about successful breeding, diet and husbandry on pygmy hedgehogs was gained by breeders, not by zoos. So the private sector does have their place in the world of exotic animal keeping.

8) As the world population increases and natural habitat decreases, captive breeding is our insurance for the future of many animals. There are FAR more endangered species then a scant 2000 zoos worldwide can breed, thus zoos end up with surplus of certain animals who the zoos either don't have room for or the animal has minor defects that the zoos don't want. This can mean anything from fur color that is not correct for the species norm (albinos, mutations) to serious problems such as clef pallet in cheetahs or heart murmurs in Florida panthers. These animals that are not fit for the zoo breeding programs would certainly find life better as a pet or in a private collection then as a stuffed trophy on the wall. These animals often CANNOT be rehabbed into the wild at all.

9) The criminal element who might keep illegal exotics, simply do not give a damn if they are legal or not. If they cannot get them from a breeder or broker, they will get them from the black market and from poachers, rather then from existing captive bred populations. Banning the exotics has no more effect on them then banning guns, drugs, explosives or anything else, since they are already willingly breaking the law. In short, only the law abiding citizens care about the laws. NAPA wishes to help in creation of fair legislation regarding exotic animals as pets or in captive breeding programs. There are alternatives to making animals illegal, such as proper education of exotic animal owners in proper care and handling of these species, plus educating the public on them as well.

    Bookmark   October 12, 2006 at 11:04PM
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On the subject of parrots.....
Lisa made some very good points about parrots in her post. I agree with her completely!
nick49, my parrots are not kept in cages for entertainment and I think most responsible, loving parrot owners will agree with me here.
Our birds are part of our family. I don't even consider them "pets". They are our children and we treat them with so much kindness and respect. They are not here to entertain us. They are here to enjoy life with us. Our birds spend more time out of their cages than in them. We have a large house and they have plenty of room to fly when they feel the need. Our African Grey loves to circle our 28 foot long bedroom every night.
And when we are not home to supervise, they are perfectly content in their "houses". We provide them with very large living quarters filled with tons of healthy food and interactive toys. I think they like to have some "me" time to just rest and preen. There is so much activity throughout the rest of the day. Lots of playing and learning. My Greenwing Macaw especially likes to be tickled by DH!
We give them a great environment and they have several areas throughout the house they can choose to play. We've spent thousands on jungle gyms, play stands, hoops, ropes, swings, branches, etc. Not to metion all the homemade stuff.
I don't recommend adopting a parrot into your home unless you know the facts. It is true that many birds live lonely, sad, and abused lives due to the fact that their owner did not understand and do the research. They require tons of interaction, so if you don't have the time EVERY DAY then don't bother. Yes, they are messy. VERY messy. If you hate scrubbing grapes off the wall then please do not apply. : )
I don't think the wealthy are necessarily better caretakers, but you need to know that it is costly to own a large parrot. I spend more money on my birds food than I do for DH and I. A healthy bird needs clean fruits & veggies every day and will probably want a nice variety.
I could go on and on, but my point here is that you need to know everything involved before running to the local breeder or pet store and buying a bird or parrot. In many cases, it is a life-long decision. If you wouldn't want children, then you probably don't want a parrot. : )
Getting our first bird 10 years ago was a HUGE decision. We studied them and became educated for at least a year before making a decision. We also took the time to find a responsible, loving breeder. Please do your research and talk to fellow parrot owners. If you love birds as much as I do, you will realize that all that hard work, patience, and time is totally worth it.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 7:54AM
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MAMABIRD, ..."They are not here to entertain us. They are here to enjoy life with us".....

If they are not there to entertain you, then why can't they 'enjoy life' in the wild, where they were put to begin with?

Please don't take offense just discussing/asking questions out of curiousity.....

HERPER....You said people in California will buy $800 ferrets even though illegal. You gave that as a reason for not banning exotics? Yet is'nt this a good thing? Less people are able to buy $800 ferrets....means less ferrets than if they were $60. Would that not be the same thing with other animals? Making them illegal to own, fewer people would be able to keep them. Some afraid of the laws, and others not being able to afford now illegal (aka expensive) exotics.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 9:37AM
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Are ferrets even considered wild? From what I have read, they were domesticated in Europe long before becoming popular pets here.

Herper, I will concede that banning exotics could cause difficulties and maybe I should have said regulated. I don't think Florida's problems should be downplayed because it's only one state and this probably exists in other southern coastal states as well anyway.

Whether or not a python commonly eats people, some are capable and can certainly eat people's pets and wildlife that normally wouldn't be their prey.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 12:36PM
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The primary reason I adopted my birds was not to entertain us. Is that why you have children? No, it's to nourish, teach, love, care for, and hopefully offer all the best things in life to. It's to give another living thing a chance at a wonderful life. Entertainment comes as a bonus when the birds, or children, are happy and you are sharing fun moments together. Of course our parrots entertain us...they are filled with joy and it shows. But that isn't why we got them in the first place. We wanted to give them the best life they could have. Not to put them on display for our viewing pleasure.
They are enjoying life here with us and i'll bet your bottom dollar that they would rather be here than out fending for themselves, risking life and limb at any given moment. We are their flock.
There are many creatures living in "wild" situations, but that doesn't mean it's the best place for them.
Let me also say that I am completely against the illegal trapping and smuggling of these precious gems. I am a tree hugger and very saddened by the deforestation of acres and acres that house so many "exotic" creatures. I love to see them, flying free and enjoying such pristine beauty in their wild habitats.
I am a supporter of The World Parrot Trust. The survival of parrot species in the wild as well as the welfare of "captive" birds everywhere is extremely important to me. The main goals are....

Restore and protect populations of wild parrots and their native habitats

Promote awareness of the threats to all parrots, captive and wild

Oppose the trade in wild-caught parrots

Educate the public on high standards for the care and breeding of parrots

Encourage links between conservation and aviculture

My birds did not begin their life in the wild. They would not be able to survive in such a situation. So it is my job to provide them with anything they need to enjoy a fulfilled, safe life. If you met them you would see that this is their home.

It still brings a tear to my eyes every day when my DH gets home. All the birds start dancing around, hollering "Yahoo! Yaddy! Yaddy is back!" (They all call him Yaddy instead of Daddy, LOL) Our bond with these birds is stronger than you can imagine.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2006 at 1:19PM
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Mamabirrd, You sound like a wonderful mom. Your birds are very lucky.
I think a few on this board just don't understand the connection a parrot can have with a human being when they were bred in captivity and handfed. They can live VERY HAPPY, healthy, long lives in a loving environment such as you describe. Granted, it takes a special person willing and able to commit all it takes to provide a such a home. People who keep these magnificant birds cage bound with a few toys and little interaction shouldn't have them.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2006 at 2:19PM
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Thanks beeanne! Excellent points!
It is very easy to be critical of someone that has an "exotic" pet but until you actually live with one and they become part of your family there is just no way to really understand how special it is. We truly feel blessed to have our birds here with us...they come first.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 6:52AM
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Regarding the primate virus thing: primates CAN carry Simian Herpesvirus B, which is nearly universally fatal to humans. I'd never have a primate as a "pet" for that reason alone.

I don't know what I think about birds because I haven't really ever thought about it. I daydream sometimes of having a cockatoo, but I know it would be a HUGE commitment.

Regarding big cats, if someone has the time, the resources AND the space, why not? I'd love to have a cheetah or two--they were used in previous centuries the way we use hunting dogs. It's my understanding that they can be as sweet as any housecat, taught to sleep with you in the bed, house-/litter-trained, and the biggest problems are just that they are, well, BIG. That means when the 7 PM crazies hit, that you and the furniture might not hold up to the damage, whereas most stuff can handle domestic kitten-riot.

My brother used to work with an illusionist who used big cats in his show. Of course there were risks, but I think that big cats, especially those raised around humans, pretty much *know* who is okay and who isn't. The tigress could be difficult around her owner/trainer, difficult around the other stage hands (she just wouldn't move, and who was going to make her?), but she adored my brother. She would pad off after him and drool all over him, chuffing the whole time. My brother was not so enthusiastic about having a TIGRESS with a crush on him, but he kinda liked her. He said the lion cubs merely chewed on him and anything else they could get into their mouths, including furniture, electric cables and rocks.

As for lizards, I don't want them as pets because all reptiles are Salmonella factories. Uck. Actually, birds are pretty good at generating Salmonella, too. I guess if you have either a bird or a reptile, you'd best be very meticulous about cleaning up after them and handwashing.

In spite of all that, I still want a Cheetah on my bed at night--not that it will ever happen.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2006 at 7:38PM
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No. It's not.


    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 3:38PM
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In florida exotic pests are popular.
Example: Snakes and other reptiles.

When these pets get too big nobody wants a 10' snake so they have to go somewhere and people set them loose into the everglades where they wreak havoc on the local ecosystem and become invasive species. They'll eat anything like endangered species and even alligators. As long as there is zero potential for them to become invasive pests then I think it's ok. I have to wonder why anyone would want one but oh well.

And yeah... salmonella with the lizards and even turtles. Wash those hands after.... petting??? Or whatever it is one does with lizards and turtles.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 4:54PM
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Exotic pets are from the wild. They should not be in cages. Zoos should only have animals in cages if they can't be in the wild for some reason.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2007 at 11:08PM
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Iguana's are a problem in South Florida. They were released by owners, and now they are very well established.

What about the "exotic" outdoor cat? Released feral cats are being blamed for the spread of distemper to the endangered Florida panther and the spread of female leukemia virus in the California mountain lion.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cats

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 11:04AM
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Okay, I say yes to lizards, snakes, birds, turtles etc. if you have the means, time, energy and dedication it takes to care for these animals.

I say a big, fat, NO to monkeys, big cats, wolfs/wolf hybrids, alligators, etc.

People who have monkeys baffle me. I just cannot understand it. And the big cats, don't even get me started....

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 11:23AM
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I go to an exotic animal auction and swap where everything immaginable is available, Arachnids to Zebras. Some animals do require a license others dont require only the high bid. These animals are captive bred and not wild collected; I see no reason to deny a responsible person from having them. I cant afford to maintain a Liger but I am gonna get a Bobcat. I did buy a zebra but had to resell due to no transportation that day.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2007 at 11:35AM
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I am of the opinion, that no one should keep anything more dangerous than a cat or dog. (And many people can't even manage to keep their own dogs from tearing people apart)

I can maybe see zebras or antelopes or something like that. Birds, a big maybe.

If any of those animals escapes (lions, bobcats, giant snakes, etc) , it becomes a public safety issue and/or environmental problem. Those giant snakes are becoming a big problem in the everglades.

End of story.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2007 at 11:27AM
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"I am of the opinion, that no one should keep anything more dangerous than a cat or dog."

How do you determine what is and what is not more dangerous than a dog or cat?? Unfortunately, many tend to fear animals that are perfectly harmless because they are not familiar with them.

"If any of those animals escapes (lions, bobcats, giant snakes, etc) , it becomes a public safety issue and/or environmental problem. Those giant snakes are becoming a big problem in the everglades."


    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 3:27PM
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Dogs and cats can have the official designation of being dangerous or viscious and have certain requirements under your local laws or be illegal.

So what happens when you get one of these exotic animals and can no longer care for it and nobody wants it? You have to euthanize it.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 8:56AM
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I am sorry, you are not going to convert me, the potential damage that can be caused by a bear or a mountain lion as opposed to a dog or a cat, cannot be doubted.

I lived on a river and the first year I moved out here, someone found a cayman in the river that was an exotic pet. And in another town near here, there was an escaped wallaby, someone's exotic pet running around the forest preserves. That poor thing escaped and likely froze to death here in IL. That is what happens to those exotic pets once people get tired of them.

I am also of the opinion if a dog (or cat) bites someone in aggression, even its owner, it should have to be euthanized with no exceptions. (Unless of course the animal is being tormented and it bites in self defense.)

Human safety is of utmost importance. Only licensed zoos should be allowed to have those dangerous animals.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:35AM
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I was referring to the many species of reptiles, tarantulas, and amphibians that are commonly kept and have never contributed to any fatalities or serious injuries. Unfortunately, they often get broadly lumped into this "dangerous" animals categorie due to someone's perceived, irrational phobias.

"So what happens when you get one of these exotic animals and can no longer care for it and nobody wants it?"

That's not unique to exotic animals. The same occurs with dogs and cats or nearly any animal. What needs to be blamed are the irresponsible actions of individual owners, rather than discriminating against species. While one should be aware of the animal's husbandry before purchasing it, there are reptile rescues or herpetological societies to who can and do take in and rehome reptiles.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 5:55PM
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> "That's not unique to exotic animals. The same occurs with dogs and cats or nearly any animal. "

Just one teeny weeny difference. It's inevitable that a Caymen will outgrow it's aquarium or wtf you keep them in. You can post an ad in the paper or petfinder.com for a 16' caymen with a 20' mean streak and I don't think you're going to get any takers. With domesticated animals you have much greater odds of finding them a home than a large gator-type thing or some constricting or venomous snake that requires a fork lift and box truck to transport. You literally have to euthanize your pet for the sole reason it grew too large in captivity.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 7:31PM
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You need to advertise to the correct demographics. To do this, place an ad for the animal in publications and websites more likely to be frequented and read by owners, hobbyists, and others who have the interest and knowledge of those animals such as faunaclassifieds, kingsnake.com, Phoenix exotics association, or Reptiles Magazine. Petfinder and the local classifieds are not the only mediums, you know. I think the unwanted animals should be listed on one of those sites and be given a chance before euthanization, something you don't seem to be advocating.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2007 at 9:47PM
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Oh, I'd advocate it but I can't imagine there'd be enough demand if all of a sudden every boy and girl got a pet caymen as a gift. Do people really want caymens that large and what do they do with them when they get them? I can't imagine they'd be too great to have around the house. Not too good with kids, eating the neighbors dog etc.
Is there some online website with listings show for reptiles in this situation, up for adoption? (too big for existing home) if so I'd like to take a look at it and what the listings say.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 9:09AM
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Kingsnake.com and Faunaclassifieds are two of the largest mediums. As you will see on the Faunaclassifieds site, many of the reasons for reptiles surrenders are not so different from those experienced by dogs and cats.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 12:22PM
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I don't really consider reptiles, tarantulas, and amphibians as really that exotic. I am referring to people who have the urge to keep thing slike bears, and cougars and lions without a license. When something like that gets loose you have to call in the national guard.

Does anyone remember the news story last year about the guy who had a tiger in his apartment? Seems he had it since it was very small.

Yeah I know what you mean about the caymans. Around here I think there was a reptile collector in the neighborhood because sometime later after the one cayman was found in the river, a landlord who was cleaning out a house after the renters moved out, stumbled on a cayman in the bathroom of that house. Yikes - surprise! The losers had abandoned it there when they left.

And you are right, people treat their cats and dogs just as bad. Face it, some people just should not have pets, of any sort because they have issues of handling responsibilities.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 2:05PM
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I didn't browse those sites for all that long. I didn't see a way to search the listings but I didn't find any Burmese Pythons or African Mambas in there.

I did however notice that in the one that was set up like a forum, people were asking for adoption fees and getting btched at by the other members for asking for money.

And I did google the term "burmese python adoption" and came across some additional sites, including a craig's list listing trying to unload an 8 footer for a mere $200 adoption fee. Also found another one, a 7 footer for $250.
Heck for that kind of money I can just go out in the everglades and catch one that's displacing and gobbling up native endangered wildlife. At any rate the craigs list ads seem to have a common reason "really need the money/ low on funds/ need to pay tuition"
Yeah. Right.

The general public just isn't that bright. It would be a stretch to assume everyone's going to post ads to get rid of their unwanted large snakes. People buy things like snakes for reasons I'll never understand. They don't know what to do with them when they can no longer care for them. If there were some regulation or licensing body to oversee that every snake were "disposed" of properly then I'd be all for it. Until then I still say nay. Sorry. They are adorable creatures though.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2007 at 3:31PM
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These are not exotic pets they are wild animals and should stay that way. Keeping a monkey....k so you're say, from Madagascar-Lemurs run wild there but here in North America they are considered an Exotic pet. Come on that's like (i'm from canada) keeping skunks, raccoons,or porcupines etc as pets. It's not right they should be left in their natural homes. I am an Wildlife Rehabilitator here in Canada and the amount of wild animals I get every year, because some idiot thought it would make a great pet for themselves or their children, is staggering. They don't realize the amount of work involved in taking these animals and trying to raise them themselves. Just because you can buy it in a petstore doesn't mean it's a pet. I also run an Exotic and Small Farm Animal Home and Sanctuary. The amount of 'regular' pets like pot belly pigs, mini horses and donkey's etc that need homes is enough why keep bringing more animals into the mess.

Here is a link that might be useful: Heavens Half Acre Exotic and Small Farm Animal Home

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 10:06AM
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As I've said before, you're only seeing the "bad apples" and not the entire range of keepers.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 6:54PM
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Ha! I'd love to see someone go and 'catch their own burmese python' in the glades. Good luck!! Oh, and good luck finding a 16 foot Cayman while you're at it!!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:43PM
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Are you suggesting that exotic pets are not posing a problem for native wildlife in the Everglades? Please google it. I'm not making this up. Plus it's been all over TV- nat'l geo chan and an. planet and discovery.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 9:59PM
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Oh, I guess you havn't read the entire post. That's where I'm from.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 10:48PM
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BTW, I'm suggesting that you go into the Glades and catch your own!! Good luck. Seriously, you'd need A LOT of gear. A LOT of knowledge and expertise on how to #1 negotiate the glades. Get a boat. Have common knowledge on how to track one down, considering that they are not native. And as you said, save you $250.00. Oh, and by the way, the mosquitos are as big as birds by dusk, so ya better get out quick!!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2007 at 10:57PM
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The catching my own part was sarchasm, (a joke). I am notorius for helplessly blending sarcasm in with serious replies and debates Internetwide. The point I was making, is while it's perfectly reasonable in my opinion for one to want to charge an adoption fee to recoup their investment in this, it's questionable what their intentions really are and what will happen if they don't get the money and what will happen if they aren't allowed to post to the adoption sites because they are asking for money. For goodness sakes, I wasn't suggesting that one could really go and catch their own to save the money. On TV, they show certain experts that they have to call in with all kinds of gear and expertise to catch those things. For the everyday average joe, you can't just stick one in the back seat of the Accord either.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 9:31AM
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LOL....I caught your sarcasm :) Did you see the one with the Burmese Python torn open with a 6 foot gator in his stomach? I think it was on the discovery channel. I don't think it actually burst open, I recall it had eaten the gator, and then was attacked by another gator, that had been scared away by the helicopter that spotted it. Though, every news report describes it as burst or exploded.

Here is a link that might be useful: MSNBC

    Bookmark   January 26, 2007 at 10:14AM
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Yes I saw that. If my memory serves me they determined there were 2 gators fighting, one lost and was injured or killed and the snake ate the gator when it was helpless. Something like that. I can't remember it all that clearly and I may have fallen asleep towards the end of it.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2007 at 10:16AM
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There is nothing wrong with taking care of an animal that couldn't reasoably be expected to thrive if returned to his/her native environment. Knowledge and preparation are the key.
I have 5 Burmese Pythons living in their own large upstairs bedroom. They all came to me as rescues. Three have been with me since 1984. They have their own heating system, plywood sheathed walls, expanded metal gratings on the outside of their windows. Cleaning their room and watering trough are onerous duties that have to be performed weekly. Feeding and electricity to keep them warm are expensive. All things considered, it is an expensive hobby that I love. They have individual personalities, much like cats.
Let me add this: we have a responsibility to assure a good life to our pets if we suddenly leave the picture. I have it in my Will; my executrix and my kids all know that I have 2 different individuals lined up to come in and whisk these "special" animals away in the case of my sudden demise.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 11:51AM
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steve: Glad to hear you are such a responsible reptile owner. A lot of folks, just let the animals loose in the wild when they get too expensive or large.
Like the eejits that left the cayman in the bathtub when they got evicted, in my neighborhood.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 11:00AM
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It sounds like steve is a responsible pet owner.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2007 at 7:49PM
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