Some Animals Should Never Be Kept As Pets But Are Anyway

September 15th, 2010
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Keeping animals primarily or entirely for companionship has a history going back thousands of years. A number of species have proven to make excellent pets and keeping such animals can provide comfort, companionship and a rewarding experience.

Domestic dogs make excellent pets. They’re intelligent, sociable, playful and, thanks to centuries of selective breeding, have an affinity for people and a unique ability to communicate with and understand humans. Dogs form tight bonds to their owners and can be trained to do numerous things for entertainment or practical purposes. They love to please and, if raised properly, will be submissive to their owners.

Cats are another option. They tend to be more independent and demand less attention than dogs. They can be kept indoors and easily trained to use a litter box. Domestic cats also develop bonds with humans and can be affectionate and inquisitive.

Many other animals have proven to be highly successful as domestic pets. Small mammals like gerbils, hamsters and even rats have long been kept as pets. They don’t have the same kind of social interactions of dogs and cats, but may also be less demanding to keep. Many species of birds have also proven to be highly successful pets. Some of the more intelligent species of parrot can be highly demanding to keep, but for those who know what they’re getting into, it can also be a rewarding experience that provides great companionship.

Yet for some reason, which honestly I don’t quite understand, many people insist on keeping animals as pets which are very poorly suited to captivity and in some cases are downright dangerous. It may be a desire to be different or an admiration for the traits that such animals display in the wild. It may be an attraction to the “cuddly” stereotype associated with animals that are not cuddly at all or it may even be a desire for status. Whatever the reason, there are a number of animals which are just not good choices for pets. Yet people keep them anyway, and sometimes pay with their lives. Even when these animals do not kill or injure their owners, the inability of the average person to care for certain animals often leads to the animal either suffering or being discarded.

Burmese Pythons - Quite honestly, I don’t know why anyone would want a snake as a pet, as they don’t exactly seem very personable. However, some people seem to really like snakes, which is fine, as long as they remain a manageable size. Burmese pythons, however, are very prone to growing to sizes beyond what most would consider “manageable.”

Never the less, these snakes have become fairly popular pets and are generally sold at a young age and small size, which can make the difficulties of caring for the full grown snake less obvious. After a few years of normal feeding, they can easily grow to about 12 feet (~4 meters) of length, and occasionally even larger. This sized python is far too large for most homes and can’t be kept in a normal terrarium. Owners who plan to keep such a large snake often need to construct large outdoor cages or devote a small room in their home to the snake.

Unfortunately, all too few are able to do so and due to both the size and appetite of the snake, the pet becomes unwanted. Most animal shelters find it nearly impossible to care for and find homes for such large snakes and zoos and animal parks are not always prone to taking them, as they often have more offers than they have room for. Many owners have therefore just released their enormous snake into wild. Those which are not intentionally released may escape if owners do not have proper accommodations, which all too many lack.

Because of this the Burmese Python has become an invasive species of major concern in a number of tropical and subtropical areas, most notably Florida in the United States. The Burmese Python has taken to the Everglades and in doing so, has begun to compete for top predator with native alligators. In 2005 it made headlines when a photograph of an “exploding snake” was published showing a snake which had attempted to consume an alligator. It also is an acute threat to numerous species of birds and small game.

In addition to the problem of released pythons, the Burmese Python can be dangerous to both owners and those who encounter released snakes. While deaths are rare, they are not unheard of. Proper handling of such snakes requires multiple persons to assure that the snake cannot gain control and wrap itself around the handler. They may be an acute danger to small children.

Few private pet owners are capable of providing the level of containment and care necessary and many are not aware of the dangers.

Wolves – Wolves look a lot like domesticated dogs. They may behave like domesticated dogs, and they do have a lot in common with domesticated dogs. However, they are NOT domesticated dogs. Dogs are the result of many thousands of years of selective breeding to create an animal that is good at interacting with humans, while wolves are wild animals, adapted to living in an environment where toughness is more important than being predictable and trainable.

A wolf never should be treated like a dog, but all too many owners do just the same. Wolves have very strong instincts which include the instinct to attempt to dominate others in the pack, and that includes the owner. They often are very docile and gentle when they are pups, but will develop more aggressive instinct as they grow into adulthood. These tendencies are entirely natural and are impossible to completely suppress, regardless of the amount of training one attempts to use.

It’s possible that some human-raised wolves will turn out to be perfectly friendly and non-aggressive toward people, but the problem is that one just never knows. Wolves are known to be unpredictable and may act out in unexpected ways even after years of uneventful ownership. Wolves also lack some of the unique traits of dogs that make dogs such good pets. Domestication of dogs has produced an animal that is especially attuned to human commands and tendencies. Dogs are good at knowing when people want something and at taking cues from human gestures, but wolves are not and may intemperate them entirely wrongly, even leading to unwanted aggression.

If that’s not enough reason not to get a wolf, it is especially difficult to keep a wolf healthy and well cared for. Wolves do not do well on kibble-type pet food and generally require a special diet consisting of fresh meat and specialized foods, which is complex and expensive. They may require a great deal of exercise, and may become restless if they are not given enough stimulation. They are also social animals and may need to socialize with other wolves. Substituting socializing with dogs is not recommended and can be disastrous!

Wolf-Dogs – If there was ever an example of a creature that simply should not be, this is it. Domestic dogs and wolves are closely related enough that the two can breed to produce a wolf-dog hybrid. This is sometimes the result of irresponsible dog owners, who allow their dogs to “get lucky” with local wolves. More often, it’s the result of intentional breeding of wolves and dogs – which is even more irresponsible.

Wolf-dog hybrids are trapped between worlds. Their exact nature and what traits they inherit from wolves and which from dogs are nearly impossible to determine. Unlike true wolves, wolf-dogs have a very difficult time surviving in the wild and may not be accepted by packs of wolves. Like wolves, however, they are dangerous and unpredictable pets. What makes wolf-dogs so tragic is that it can be impossible to know which ones will manifest dangerous wolf-like tendencies. If a wolf-dog seems docile and friendly, it very well may be, but it also is possible that it will show unexpected aggression.

Wolf-dog hybrids have been involved in a number of severe attacks over the years, some being fatal. One common thread seen in many such attacks is that the animals had been trusted due to a history of gentle non-aggressive behavior only to turn, without warning, and attack humans. Children are often the victims of such attacks.

In 2006, Sandra L. Piovesan of Salem, Pennsylvania was found dead, having been attacked by a group of wolf-dog hybrids she owned. Ms. Piovesan had been breeding hybrids and claimed that the animals gave her “unqualified love.” Authorities had expressed some concern before the incident about the safety of keeping and breeding such animals.

While there have been incidents of owners being attacked and killed by their own domestic dogs, these are exceedingly rare, especially with well socialized dogs which have not displayed extreme aggression in the past and are used to their owners presence. The nature of the attack on Sandra Piovesan is unheard of with domestic dogs. It is believed that she entered the pen where her pack of wolf-dog hybrids were kept and may have been ill or just let her guard down when several of the animals attacked her.

Why Sandra L. Piovesan could not be satisfied with the love and companionship of a Cocker Spaniel, Pomeranian or German Shepherd we will never known. Some friends had stated that she kept wolves and wolf-dogs as a way of staying in touch of her Native American heritage. Whatever the reason, it cost her life.

Alligators and Crocodiles – Alligators and crocodiles are two different, though related, varieties of animal. Both are large reptiles that live primarily in water and are carnivorous. They’re also quite large, with most varieties growing to several hundred pounds. Even the smallest variety of crocodile has an average length of about a meter and a half. They can be quite dangerous to human and each year in the state of Florida alone, over a dozen people are killed by alligators. It should be noted, however, that attacks are usually the result of someone provoking or getting too close to an animal and such attacks are almost unheard of on dry land.

One would generally think that the reputation of alligators and crocodiles would be enough to stop anyone from being dumb enough to consider them a good pet. Such animals are routinely raised on farms and in zoos and animal parks, for spectators or for their meat and hide, but this is a far cry from an average person keeping one in their apartment or suburban home. Their size alone precludes them from being kept indoors in a home and their need for warm temperatures means they can’t be kept outside except in fairly tropical regions.

Despite this, alligators have been sold as pets in places like Florida, generally by unregulated fly-by-night individuals. It’s known that this occurred in years past, although how recently is not known. Generally sold as babies, the alligators were quite small and generally posed no threat to their owners. However, the animal grows quickly, resulting in most purchasers getting second thoughts about whether they want to keep such an animal around. This would lead to the creatures being disposed of by whatever means was convenient, possibly even being flushed down the toilet.

Chances are you’ve heard stories about “sewer alligators” in places like New York City. Such stories, on their surface, seem entirely like the stuff of urban legend. Indeed, there is no thriving colony of alligators in the sewers of New York, but, surprisingly, there have been individual gators found in sewers, storm-drains and bodies of water in New York and other northern cities. In the 1920′s and 1930′s, more than a dozen alligators and crocodiles were found in the New York area, many escaped from private pens and homes, a few appear to have been intentionally disposed of in storm drains and others were never conclusively identified. At least one alligator (apparently an adult) was legitimately found in a New York City sewer, in 1935. It was promptly tracked down and killed by sewer workers. There were scattered reports of alligators sighted in the sewers of New York in the late 1940′s and into the 1960′s, it’s entirely possible some of these were real, but no proof was ever found besides the 1935 incident.

It is unlikely an alligator or crocodile could live very long in a sewer, due to the generally cold temperatures, lack of food, high levels of bacteria, narrow passages and toxic chemicals and gasses present. However, there is no doubt that on occasion, alligators and/or crocodiles have been improperly disposed of or have escaped into urban areas. They don’t belong there and are not worth consideration as an exotic pet.

Despite being illegal in many countries and US states, alligators and crocodiles continue to be kept as pets. In 2007, authorities seized an adult alligator from its owner in New York State. In some jurisdictions it is possible to acquire a permit for keeping such an animal. Despite the fact that such permits are intended primarily for legitimate reptile farms or breeders, some individuals have managed to obtain them in order to keep alligators as pets. Even if it can be done legally, it is an extremely dangerous thing to do.

Chimpanzees - Of all the animals that should absolutely never be kept as a pet but are anyway, this one is probably the worst. The popular image of chimpanzees is that they are playful, funny, social animals that are fun to play and interact with. To some extent this is true, at least when they are in a good mood. However, chimps can also be highly unpredictable and are known for flying into rages unexpectedly. This may be the most dangerous aspect of chimpanzees, because some have been known to be friendly and gentle for years before going into a deadly rage.

Chimps are highly intelligent and can be very human like (indeed they are our closest living relative), but they are not human – they are wild animals whose behavior in the wild often includes savage fighting. When angered, a chimpanzee has an attitude worse than the worst two year old’s temper tantrum you’ll ever see. However, unlike a human two year old, they’re extremely strong. The average adult chimpanzee is stronger than a top-ranked human bodybuilder.

When chimpanzees attack, they are relentless. They go for the face, especially the eyes as well as the hands and the genitals. They don’t just bite – they bite off whatever they can. They are known for gouging out eyes, biting off fingers and mauling groins. Their strength literally allows them to tear humans apart. The injuries and disfigurement from chimpanzee attacks are some of the worst seen in any animal attack.

Their intelligence can also increase danger. Chimpanzees have been known to figure out how to escape enclosures and even to use trickery to escape. In captivity they can quickly become frustrated with the lack of stimulation from their environment or lack of a sexual partner. The demands of keeping a chimpanzee healthy in captivity are enormous and require highly trained specialists and facilities. Yet people insist on keeping them as pets and this has proven disastrous. Many states now ban the ownership of large primates as pets, yet a few are still being kept, in some cases because they may be “grandfathered” if they were acquired before the law was enacted.

There have been two well known chimpanzee attacks in recent years. In 2009, Charla Nash was visiting her friend Sandra Herold in Connecticut when Herold’s pet chimpanzee “Travis” attacked Nash. Travis knew Nash before the incident and had never displayed any violence toward her. It has been theorized that he was upset by Nash’s new hair style or may have been unsettled before the event. Travis severely mauled Nash, nearly killing her and causing debilitating lifelong injuries.

In 2005, Saint James Davis was visiting a chimpanzee, which had previously been his pet, at a primate rescue center in California when two other chimpanzees escaped their cages and attacked Davis. A worker shot the chimpanzees, but not before they had severely mauled Davis. He was lucky to survive the attack, but was so badly injured he was kept in a drug-induced coma for months. His face was completely destroyed, requiring extensive reconstruction, which could not save his nose. He is also incapable of much facial expression. Doctors were able to save one of Davis’ eyes. Davis also lost his genitals in the attack, which were bitten off by one of the chimpanzees. Most of his fingers could not be saved and due to damage inflicted to his leg and foot, Davis is primarily confined to a wheelchair.

Large Apex Predators (Lions, Tigers, Leopards, Pumas, Bears) - It would seem rather obvious that large predatory mammals like bears or large predatory carts are not the type of animals you would want to have as a pet, yet a surprising number have been kept as pets, even on occasion with very minimal protective measures.

These kind of animals can’t be “tamed,” but they can be socialized to humans. When socialized to human contact and presence they will usually tolerate human interactions and will not attack – usually. This does not make them safe to interact with in general, although their apparent gentleness may lead to a false sense of security. Aggressive behavior can still come out if the animal is spooked or thinks it sees an opportunity to establish itself at a more dominant level in the pecking order.

Indeed animals of this size and power do not even need to be aggressive to cause harm. When socialized to humans they may attempt to treat humans as they would their own kind, yet due to their enormous strength and size this can lead to severe injuries to humans even if the animal is only trying to play or even show affection. This seems to be what happened to Roy Horn in 2003 when he was severely injured on stage by a white tiger. Horn believes the tiger was startled and attempted to drag him to safety, as it would a tiger cub. Yet humans do not have thick fur and skin on their neck as tigers do, leading to the injuries.

This incident is not isolated. Just this year a man in Toronto was mauled to death by his pet tiger. A number of children have been killed or severely injured by lions tigers and cougars kept as pets in the US and elsewhere. In 2009, a Pennsylvania woman was killed by her pet black bear. Black bears rarely attack humans in the wild, but apparently she entered the cage with the bear, possibly causing the bear to attempt to defend its territory. A man in Ohio was also recently killed by a pet bear – surprisingly it was not illegal to keep a pet bear in Ohio, although the law may change because of the incident. A lion kept at a “private zoo” in British Columbia Canada killed a woman in 2009, resulting in the owner, her fiancee, being fined $500 for violations of local animal ordinances; several lion cubs were also seized due to the incident.

As with other animals, laws for keeping such pets depend on the jurisdiction. Some are kept illegally and others are kept by obtaining a permit, as laws occasionally allow individuals to obtain permits which are generally intended for zoos or research institutions. A surprising number of US States have little or no restriction on the private ownership of large exotic animals.

Outside the US, the laws are not necessarily much better. In Canada, the issue is dealt with on a Provencal level and enforcement has historically been inconsistent. The woman attacked and killed in 2009 lead to changes in the law in British Columbia. In most of Europe, such animals are not legally permitted as house pets, but one man in Poland managed to keep a lion by registering his home as a circus. In years past, others in the UK have kept lions as pets. At one time it was fashionable to keep large animals on estates, though this practice is now less common.

Many areas of the world have zero enforced regulation on the trade of exotic and potentially dangerous animals, such as Iraq, where lions, crocodiles and bears are all available for the right price. In Russia, a cottage industry has begun to grow of bear breeders who sell the cubs to nearly anyone, no questions asked. A great deal of attention was given to a video circulated on the internet of a man mistreating his pet lion in a residential section of Iran. It is not known how common such animals are as pets in Iran and other middle-eastern countries.

With bears, cougars and other animals that are native to settled areas, many pets are the result of individuals adopting cubs they find in the wild – often orphaned or injured. While this may initially be the result of good intentions, such animals should be reported to the proper authorities, not brought into the home to be nursed back to health.

Animals that can be successfully kept as pets, but are difficult:

There are a number of animals which can make good pets for certain individuals and are successfully kept as companion animals, but which are very demanding and require a great deal of specialized care. No pet should ever be acquired without first doing extensive research on the species. Most people are at least somewhat familiar with dogs and cats and have a general idea what kind of care they require, but more exotic pets may not be as well known.

Some species of monkeys have been successfully kept as pets. They are also occasionally trained to aid the disabled. Monkeys are not necessarily well suited to such roles by their nature, but can be trained to live in a human environment. Training and socializing the monkey can be beyond the capability of non-experts, and those without the proper background often have no idea how to acclimate a monkey to living with humans. Monkeys also require a great deal of social and cognitive stimulation as well as special diets. Their curiosity and dexterity can make the average home a dangerous place for a monkey, unless safety measures are taken to secure electrical outlets and other dangers.

In general, monkeys don’t make nearly as good a pet for most people as one might think. Yes, they can bite. Although a monkey is unlikely to cause severe injuries to a human, their bites can be rather nasty.

Exotic birds also can be successfully kept as pets but introduce their own unique requirements and challenges. Cockatiels are notoriously demanding and without proper socialization and stimulation may become highly agitated. They may bite, scratch and hiss constantly if they do not receive the proper care. Many purchase birds of the parrot family expecting them to be articulate speakers, but in reality not all parrots are adept at emulating human speech and teaching a parrot to do so well can be more difficult than many expect.

This is not to say that unusual or exotic animals are necessarily unfit for keeping as pets, only that anyone who thinks they want one should be sure to research them extensively and make sure they are willing to care for the animal and will be happy with the experience of keeping an exotic pet.


This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 15th, 2010 at 7:48 pm and is filed under Bad Science, Culture, History, Misc. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.
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37 Responses to “Some Animals Should Never Be Kept As Pets But Are Anyway”

  1. 1
    DV82XL Says:

    I agree that there are some animals that should never be made pets. But as the owner of four African Gray parrots I have to take issue with having these birds included on this list. We find them wonderful and loving animals, one of which is sitting on my shoulder as I write, happy just to spend some time with me.

    Agreed that these birds have their own needs, different from dogs and cats, or even smaller birds like budgerigars or a canary, but it is not any more complex. People with bad birds are like people with bad dogs – they shouldn’t own pets at all. The difference is how the animal reacts to mishandling, or lack of attention.

    Also my birds are from a licensed breeder, hand raised, and with a pedigree free of the known genetic issues that can effect wild-caught individuals. Two of them talk very well, the other two don’t, but can carry a tune, when they are in the mind to.

    I have been around parrots most of my life, two of my sulfur-head ****atoos, still live with my parents, because both the humans and birds have imprinted on each other, I suspect the birds will out live the people, but not by much.

    Parrots can make great pets, and in cases where people are allergic to dogs and cats, a perfect substitute.


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  2. 2
    drbuzz0 Says:

            DV82XL said:

    I agree that there are some animals that should never be made pets. But as the owner of four African Gray parrots I have to take issue with having these birds included on this list. We find them wonderful and loving animals, one of which is sitting on my shoulder as I write, happy just to spend some time with me.

    I would not disagree that they can make good pets. I categorize them as “demanding but potentially good pets.” I am all too aware of people who seem to have no idea what a bird needs or how to care for them and get them thinking they can be kept in a cage and will be as easy to maintain as a bowl of fish or who know birds only from the image of them sitting on their shoulder like a cartoon pirate.

    ****atoos are well known for being bought by way too many people with no bloody clue what owning a bird is all about and then being in very poor shape because of this.

    Most people have some idea what a dog or cat needs. Anything more exotic many have never encountered.

    Also, birds are a commitment – some live decades


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  3. 3
    DV82XL Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    I am all too aware of people who seem to have no idea what a bird needs or how to care for them and get them thinking they can be kept in a cage and will be as easy to maintain as a bowl of fish…

    You can get away with just keeping them clean and fed and watered IF you keep two or more together (not in the same cage, but in the same room.) When they can keep themselves company, you will have very few problems, and they won’t become pests looking constantly for attention.

    As for mistreated birds, I have not seen that many. Most parrot breeds go for $1000+ even from questionable sources, whereas a dog can be had cheaply from a pound. I would suspect there are more mistreated dogs out there than parrots, even as a percentage of the population.

    But in the end you are right that people should study the subject before buying a large bird, but one can say that about any pet.


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  4. 4
    Doogas Says:

    Hmm…

    I don’t know much about monkeys and I have heard they are not always good pets, but I have also seen handicapped people who have them for companionship and to help them. I suppose they can’t be that difficult if they’re a handicapped person’s helper, or at least have the potential to live with humans well.

    Yeah, big snakes are a problem. I’ve heard of people being stuck with snakes that grow way larger than they have space for. Burmese pythons are pretty popular and are sold in pet stores. Too many people don’t have any idea how big a 12 foot snake is. You can’t keep it in a glass cage on the countertop like when you first get it.

    I think at one time it was considered a sign of wealth to have some really exotic pets and have a private zoo. Lions and such things being kept on estates., That may not be a good idea.

    Incidentally, about ten years ago a friend of my dad had a ****atoo which was nothing but trouble. It was a beautiful bird that he paid a lot of money for but after he got it it started picking off all its own feathers and then was picking at its skin and biting the cage. He didn’t abuse it either, because I know it was a big stress trying to get the bird to stop mutilating itself and he never managed to get the bird to calm down. He ended up having to pay to send it to some place in Florida that would take it. That was at least a thousand dollars down the drain.


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  5. 5
    Jason Ribeiro Says:

    The latest animal to become an inappropriate pet is the jellyfish.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/scavenger/detail?entry_id=71272

    I could never have a pet that didn’t have a brain. House plants are not pets, neither are jellyfish. Any animal that can put you in an emergency room without being aggressive should not be a pet.

    Some of the pet snakes, tarantulas, giant centipedes and other exotic predators are said to be pets by their owners but I think they’re more of an amusement animal or something the owner uses for their own ego boost. Many of those owners love to watch their “pet” attack and consume the mouse or rat they just bought for entertainment.


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  6. 6
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Jason Ribeiro said:

    The latest animal to become an inappropriate pet is the jellyfish.
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/scavenger/detail?entry_id=71272

    I could never have a pet that didn’t have a brain. House plants are not pets, neither are jellyfish. Any animal that can put you in an emergency room without being aggressive should not be a pet.

    Yeah, from that story it looks like they’re not so much kept as “pets” for companionship or anything as they are kept for ambiance – like a lavalamp or a plasma globe or something. I suppose they are kinda cool lookin, but I’d just as soon get… a lavalamp or plasma globe. At least that variety doesn’t sting.

    I considered including on the list any animal with dangerous venom. A few people have died because they decided to keep a pet scorpion or snake or even spider. Some people idiotically seem to think it’s a good idea to have an aggressive poisonous snake that is exotic enough that the local medical authorities can’t even get antivenomn in an emergency.

    A dude in germany was killed by his pet spider, which he named Bettina:http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/213294/Man_Killed_by_Pet_Spider_Eaten_by_Creepy_Crawlies

    What the hell was this guy thinking? It’s a freakin spider. It’s not like it’s going to learn who you are and be your friend and cuddle and stuff. Black widows bite people, sometimes fatally, when they come in contact with them, because that’s what spiders do…


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  7. 7
    Jason Ribeiro Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    A dude in germany was killed by his pet spider, which he named Bettina:http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/213294/Man_Killed_by_Pet_Spider_Eaten_by_Creepy_Crawlies

    Wow, that story is like a horror movie, that’s really creepy.


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  8. 8
    Gordon Says:

            Jason Ribeiro said:

    Wow, that story is like a horror movie, that’s really creepy.

    It certainly does, and I agree keeping a venomous spider like that is idiotic and should be left to legitimate research institutions or other professionals.

    However, there might be some more to this story because I have trouble understanding how someone could just die like that from a spider bite, even from a black widow. They can kill you but it’s not instantaneous. You would be bitten and the bite hurts and stings badly. Then as the toxins start to work on you sickness would follow and then you’d be increasingly paralyzed and finally suffocate from not being able to breathe. This would take some time. Usually when someone is bitten by a deadly spider they have more than enough time to call for help unless they’re somewhere very isolated.

    Maybe he decided not to call for help from authorities because he feared they could confiscate his collection? Maybe he just through that being a healthy young adult he stood a very good chance of surviving the bite by just letting the venom run its course, because bites are not always fatal (usually they are not). Maybe he tried to administer self-treatment or something. I don’t know.

    It’s also possible he died of something else and the media just jumped to conclusions.


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  9. 9
    THE V Says:

    Bad choices of pets is very much based upon the individual. Some people can care for them but sadly the majority of them cannot. Even relatively easy pets like dogs are very often poorly cared for and develop severe behavioral problems.

    You missed a large section of inappropriate animals – fish. Sadly most of the industry has little or no interest in keeping fish healthy and alive. The sicker and weaker the fish is the more money the petstore makes from medications and new fish. An excellent example is the poor little betta fish (Siamese fighting fish). With proper care bettas can live for up to 10 years with a 4-5 year average. They are tropical fish and need water temps around 80-85F. In order to keep toxic ammonia waste from building up damaging their gills and/or killing them they need at least 5 gallons of water and a filter. They are also carnivores and cannot feed off the roots of a lily like has be advertised.

    They also commonly sell fish that get very large and recommend inappropriate tanks. Goldfish are one of the worst. Most breeds grow to 10-12″ in body length without the fins. They gain most of that size in the first two years of life. The list of other fish in this group is huge, pacu (4′), common plecostomus (3′), and iridescent sharks (3″) are some of the most common. The old story that “a fish will only grow to fit the size of the tank” is somewhat true. It’s called stunting and generally drastically shortens the life of the fish and makes it very susceptible to disease.

    Not to mention how some fish owners are more irresponsible than the python owners. Do a little research on invasive fish species and the list is huge.


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  10. 10
    Laughingdog Says:

    Some of the pet snakes, tarantulas, giant centipedes and other exotic predators are said to be pets by their owners but I think they’re more of an amusement animal or something the owner uses for their own ego boost.

    Owning a small non-poisonous snake is hardly an ego boost. I’ve had several over the years and, unlike a lot of other popular reptiles (e.g., iguanas), are fairly easy to care for. As long as you handle them several times a week, you avoid aggression issues. Even if they do get aggressive, it’s limited to a strike at your hand because they think the heat from your fingers is food arriving. A lot of them have beautiful coloring, they stay small enough to be easy to handle, and they not very obtrusive when you’re in college.

    On a related note, when you rub a king snake near the base of its jaw, it’s rather amusing to watch it flatten it’s body and press against your finger. It’s obviously not the same as having a cat purr while you scratch it. But when you can’t afford a place that allows cats/dogs, or have the time to care for either, you take what you can get.


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  11. 11
    drbuzz0 Says:

            THE V said:

    Bad choices of pets is very much based upon the individual. Some people can care for them but sadly the majority of them cannot. Even relatively easy pets like dogs are very often poorly cared for and develop severe behavioral problems.

    You missed a large section of inappropriate animals – fish. Sadly most of the industry has little or no interest in keeping fish healthy and alive.

    Yeah, I was really concentrating more on animals that should never be kept as pets and which may well kill you or someone else or cause an equally disastrous outcome. I mentioned that there are exotic pets that can be kept but are challenging, but there are others that just plain should not be pets.

    Chimpanzees should never be kept as pets, allowed constant close contact with humans and treated as companions. Nor should lions, bears, wolves and alligators. If you have a big predatory cat curled up at the foot of your bed, you’re doing it wrong!

    Of course, these animals can be kept and cared for by some who have the resources to run their own game park or research center or whatever, but that’s not the same as owning it as a pet.

    Yeah, some people can’t even handle a dog, but nobody can handle a chimp in their own private residence as a companion animal.


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  12. 12
    quokka Says:

    I have never been able to understand why anybody would keep highly venomous snakes for a hobby. Especially snakes like the Australian Taipan. A large, fast, strong and extravagantly venomous snake, it is said to be the most dangerous snake in the world. Mortality is pretty much 100% in the absence of anti-venom. of Nevertheless it is legal in Australia to keep them if you have the appropriate license.

    There is an interesting and sad storey about the first person to collect these snakes for anti-venom research. He died at the age of twenty from a bite. It seems that with with fingers firmly gripped around a snake’s neck he hitched a ride on a passing truck. Full marks to the truck driver for his composure!

    On the entirely different topic, I have seen chimpanzees in a national park in Africa and they were indeed very aggressive, perched in the top of trees hurling everything they could find at their unwelcome visitors.


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  13. 13
    Troberg Says:

    As a pet rat owner and someone who grew up with dogs, I would say that rats have more social interaction, both with each other and with humans. Actually, that, and my work times, made me choose rats, as they have the same “I’m so happy you are home, I wanna cuddle with you and play with you!” attitude as dogs do, but with the simpler care of small animals.

    Most small animals can accept attention, but rats demand it.


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  14. 14
    Shafe Says:

            Doogas said:

    Incidentally, about ten years ago a friend of my dad had a ****atoo which was nothing but trouble.

    It was a beautiful bird that he paid a lot of money for but after he got it it started picking off all its own feathers and then was picking at its skin and biting the cage.

    He didn’t abuse it either, because I know it was a big stress trying to get the bird to stop mutilating itself and he never managed to get the bird to calm down.

    I’ll preface this by saying that this is a limited-information, over-the-internet analysis and I don’t know a thing about your dad’s friend, but …

    Self-destructive and manic behavior in a ****atoo (similar to the same behavior in a human) could very well be an emotional response to loneliness and lack of affection. ****atoos are very intelligent and social animals and require stimulation and interaction. Buying a ****atoo and then leaving it alone for 9 hours a day while you go to work is murder on its psyche.

    As has been touched on above, if you’re going to get a parrot, ****atoo, macaw, or really any bird, you need to understand their needs and wants. If no one is home for most of the day, (perhaps you should pass on buying a bird) it will help to have two birds to keep eachother company. Know that the birds are not merely ornamental like houseplants and are certainly not aloof and independent like cats. They need your presence, your attention, and your affection. Also know that if, as an adult, you buy a young parrot, ****atoo, or macaw and care for it well, there is a good chance it will outlive you and it will mourn your passing.

    I had a parrot for a short time when I was 13-14 years old, and I knew none of this. Neither did my parents. We got him while living in a foreign country and left him there when we returned to the US. It breaks my heart now that I realize all the things I did wrong by him. I would love to get another bird, but I won’t until I feel secure about where I’ll be living long term and that I or a member of my family can be home much of the time to dote on it.


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  15. 15
    DV82XL Says:

    There are many potential causes of feather plucking in parrots, physiological ones are possible, but usually there is more to it than that. Diet, mites, temperature issues, fungal infections, hormonal changes as the bird gets older, several other causes can be at work, and have to be considered.

    Thinking these birds are mentally disturbed, or abused is not usually warranted, until the other possibilities are eliminated.


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  16. 16
    Kevin Brennan Says:

    Here in Indiana, we have the Exotic Feline Rescue Center, which cares for over 200 large cats previous owned by people who couldn’t handle them. It’s a fantastic place to visit, but it is saddening to see that many of the former pets faced abuse or neglect before being transfer to their new home. With lions, tigers, cheetahs, etc, proper space, food, and vet care is essential:

    http://www.exoticfelinerescuecenter.org/about.html


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  17. 17
    PsihoKekec Says:

    Too often, exotic and dangerous pets are simply another way of attention whoring. People want to show off and hide their insecurities with ownership of animal that no one in their neighborhood has, same as 50 kg guy with pack of pitbulls. The fact that these animals are not fit to be pets or even illegal to keep just ads to their appeal to this kind of people.


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  18. 18
    Matthew Says:

            PsihoKekec said:

    Too often, exotic and dangerous pets are simply another way of attention whoring. People want to show off and hide their insecurities with ownership of animal that no one in their neighborhood has, same as 50 kg guy with pack of pitbulls. The fact that these animals are not fit to be pets or even illegal to keep just ads to their appeal to this kind of people.

    Just speaking to the pitbull issue – the issue isn’t with the breed itself (frankly, I’m more worried about poodles, which seem to tend towards the psychotic), but with owners that raise them to be nasty, and keep them underfed (ie. always hungry) so that they will be ill-tempered and aggressive, thinking that this is the best thing to have in a guard dog. The best guard dogs I ever met (belonging to the family of a friend of mine in highschool) would not touch someone just outside a door, but would attack instantly if a stranger entered the home without a family member present (to known family/friends, they were basically cuddly slobber-machines). And they were disciplined – a mutual friend once recounted to me his first visit to the home. The door was open, so he just walked in to find a large dog growling leaping for him. A single shouted command of “Brownie, down!” had the dog twisting itself *in midair* to convert from an attack leap to a friendly tackle.

    The issue, usually, is owner behaviour and proper rearing/training. Dogs generally try to meet your expectations, once they accept you. If you want them mean (and, unfortunately, there are many who acquire pitbulls for this purpose), they will be mean.


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  19. 19
    Calli Arcale Says:

    A few quibbles for an otherwise excellent article:

    The nature of the attack on Sandra Piovesan is unheard of with domestic dogs.

    While it is much less common with domestic dogs, it is definitely not unheard of. Domestic dog packs have killed humans, including the dogs’ own caregivers. Dogs aren’t wild animals, but even a domestic animal has a mind of its own, and that mind can turn against you. Most commonly, this happens if the animals are neglected or inadequately socialized to humans, especially if there are puppies involved.

    The average adult chimpanzee is stronger than a top-ranked human bodybuilder.

    This is actually a massive understatement. A really wimpy adult chimp will outperform a top-ranked human bodybuilder without even trying very hard. It’s tough to measure their pull, because there’s no good way to tell them to “please pull this handle as hard as you can,” but experiments where they were given force gauges as toys resulted in truly staggering loads. A half-ton pull with only one hand is not unusual, and in some experiments, the chimps have broken the gauges.

    I read an article by some neuroscientists hypothesizing that it was because of a difference in how their muscles are ennervated. When a chimp contracts a muscle, it is contracting the *entire* muscle. Humans are different. When we contract a muscle, we are in many cases individually contracting several bundles of it, and we can only control a finite number of them at once. The result is that we aren’t wired correctly to get maximum performance from our muscles, whereas a chimp is. (There’s an upside to it; because we control our muscles this way, we have much finer control, which gives us our extraordinary dexterity.)

    There is another reason why it is irresponsible to keep these animals as pets — the implications it has for their wild populations. The captive populations, outside of zoos and sanctuaries which are participating in a Species Survival Plan, are seldom bred wisely. In most cases, they are nearly worthless for the survival of the species, being so severely inbred that releasing them into the wild (in the proper habitat, of course) would make things worse, not better. Yet people who keep them in captivity, or who see them kept in captivity, start to wonder why there’s such fuss about endangered tigers. Why, if you can have one as a pet, then it can’t be endangered, can it? Captive tigers grossly outnumber wild ones, and the captive ones are now quite different from the wild ones. The pets are no help to the wild populations, and if they dilute the message of endangered species protection, then they are actively harmful to the wild tigers.

    Some species of monkeys have been successfully kept as pets. They are also occasionally trained to aid the disabled. Monkeys are not necessarily well suited to such roles by their nature, but can be trained to live in a human environment.

    As with service dogs, it is vital to have this training performed by an experienced professional.

    Jason Ribeiro:
    I could never have a pet that didn’t have a brain. House plants are not pets, neither are jellyfish. Any animal that can put you in an emergency room without being aggressive should not be a pet.

    It won’t love you, but that’s not the only reason people keep pets. Even many pets with brains aren’t going to socialize with you. Fish, for instance. Or triops (aka “aquasaurs”) or brine shrimp (aka “sea monkeys”). That isn’t why people get them. They get them to look at, much as they do houseplants.

    THE V:
    The list of other fish in this group is huge, pacu (4′), common plecostomus (3′), and iridescent sharks (3″) are some of the most common.

    Common plecostomas are large, but there are small species too. I have an established breeding population of Ancistrus (cousins of the common pleco) in my tank, and this species does not generally exceed 6″ including caudal fin. It’s been fascinating to watch. The males are the caregivers, and he shoos that female away the moment she’s done laying eggs. He watches over the babies for a few weeks after they hatch, and has been a very good daddy. What you say about irresponsible fish owners is definitely true — and also what has been said about irresponsible fish sellers (though I disagree with your statement that the stores deliberately sell sick fish so they can sell medicines — truth is, selling sick fish is a good way to have to give a lot of refunds, becuase sick fish don’t often survive the transfer to a new tank).

    As with any pet, it is important to understand what the animal needs, and to make sure you are purchasing from a reputable seller. If they can tell you where the fish came from, that’s even better. Some tropical fish, especially saltwater ones, are wild-caught using methods which can cause great damage to their reef ecosystems — and since so many tend to die in transport, they have to catch a lot in order to get one of them into your tank.

    Related to that is an area I have mixed feelings about: live coral. If it’s captive-bred, fine, but they are extremely sensitive critters, so a significant number are going to die — given the size of the current live-coral fad, I’m sure many are being taken from wild reefs.

    Talking of the environment, I agree that it is terrible how irresponsible fish owners release their fish into the wild when they find they can no longer care for them. If you can’t find a new owner, you should euthanize the fish. Some species, you will be relegating to a slow and painful death if it can’t handle the local environment. Others, you may be introducing the latest invasive pest, though around here (Minnesota), the aquarium plants have proven even more of a problem than the fish, as they seem to handle a larger range of conditions.

    Matthew:
    (frankly, I’m more worried about poodles, which seem to tend towards the psychotic)

    I’ve lived with standard poodles all my life, and while they tend to be a little energetic, I’ve never known one which was psychotic. The breed tends to be highly attention-motivated, and very people oriented. Lack of socialization as a puppy will tend to result in a hyperactive, difficult-to-control dog, and if it’s a large poodle, that can be frightening or even dangerous. (The breed standard goes up to about 65 lbs, but actual poodles can exceed 100 lbs on rare occasions without being obese.)

    It’s really just what you said about the owner being the problem in most cases of dangerous dogs. Poodles are like people in that the young ones are little sponges, enthusiastic about learning. So you have to be aware of what it is you’re teaching them.


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  20. 20
    Matthew Says:

            Calli Arcale said:

    I’ve lived with standard poodles all my life, and while they tend to be a little energetic, I’ve never known one which was psychotic. The breed tends to be highly attention-motivated, and very people oriented. Lack of socialization as a puppy will tend to result in a hyperactive, difficult-to-control dog, and if it’s a large poodle, that can be frightening or even dangerous. (The breed standard goes up to about 65 lbs, but actual poodles can exceed 100 lbs on rare occasions without being obese.)

    It’s really just what you said about the owner being the problem in most cases of dangerous dogs. Poodles are like people in that the young ones are little sponges, enthusiastic about learning. So you have to be aware of what it is you’re teaching them.

    Could be just the ones I’ve met, then – the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”, after all. I think it may also be that small dogs don’t seem as dangerous/threatening, so owners may be more lax with them.


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  21. 21
    Calli Arcale Says:

    Ah, you’re talking about the little yappy ones, not the big ones. ;-) (My older poodle is 75 pounds, and all muscle. And since poodles tend to be lanky, he’s quite tall as well, and before his hips started acting up, could easily place his paws on my shoulders. He is not yappy. He has quite a deep bark.)

    I think you’re right that small dogs get underestimated by a lot of their owners. On some of those pet behavior problem shows on Animal Planet and Nat’l Geographic, you often see households essentially terrorized by a Chihuahua or a Yorkshire terrier. People instinctively baby them, but they’re not babies. An adult dog will have the same force of personality regardless of stature, and I think some small dogs are to some extent compensating for their lack of size — they can’t get respect just by looking at you and growling (people often make the mistake of thinking it’s cute), so they may be quicker to get physical just out of necessity.


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  22. 22
    Matthew Says:

            Calli Arcale said:

    Ah, you’re talking about the little yappy ones, not the big ones. ;-) (My older poodle is 75 pounds, and all muscle. And since poodles tend to be lanky, he’s quite tall as well, and before his hips started acting up, could easily place his paws on my shoulders. He is not yappy. He has quite a deep bark.)

    I think you’re right that small dogs get underestimated by a lot of their owners. On some of those pet behavior problem shows on Animal Planet and Nat’l Geographic, you often see households essentially terrorized by a Chihuahua or a Yorkshire terrier. People instinctively baby them, but they’re not babies. An adult dog will have the same force of personality regardless of stature, and I think some small dogs are to some extent compensating for their lack of size — they can’t get respect just by looking at you and growling (people often make the mistake of thinking it’s cute), so they may be quicker to get physical just out of necessity.

    Makes sense – have you every read Terry Pratchett’s book “Men at Arms”? Big Fido is what I think of when I think poodle.


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  23. 23
    DV82XL Says:

            Calli Arcale said:

    … and I think some small dogs are to some extent compensating for their lack of size — they can’t get respect just by looking at you and growling (people often make the mistake of thinking it’s cute), so they may be quicker to get physical just out of necessity.

    We have to keep in mind that small terrier breeds where created to be ratters, and that is not a job for a dog that intimidates easily. It needed a certain type of attitude to face down (literally) a cornered rat with the intent to kill it.

    Their bodies many be small, but their hearts are huge.


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  24. 24
    Shafe Says:

            Matthew said:

    I think it may also be that small dogs don’t seem as dangerous/threatening, so owners may be more lax with them.

    To me, that’s what the pit bull issue comes down to. Pit bulls have better temperaments than chihuahuas and may be less prone to biting, but when chihuahuas bite, they don’t put you in the hospital, they are simply an annoyance. The danger of pit bulls is not that the breed is particularly aggressive, it’s that they are bred to be strong and lethal, and an intemperate individual can maim or kill.

    Many people keep horses, and that’s great. But while you’re feeding, grooming, and riding them, you have to also know that they can kill you.


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  25. 25
    drbuzz0 Says:

    As someone who has worked with dogs and known many dogs in my life, there are several things that I would like to point out:

    Dogs are all individuals and are not governed entirely by what breed they are. Yes, there are some general tendencies from breed to breed, but these are not hard and fast rules. Terriers may tend to have a strong attitude and be fairly brave, but that’s not 100% – some may be very timid. If you have a breed of dog and like its temperament so you buy another of that breed, don’t expect to get a dog with the same personality. More likely than not they’ll have some similar general traits, but will never be identical.

    The behavior of a dog, especially related to things like aggression or submission is far more based on environment than genetics. You can get any breed to be very gentle and well behaved if you treat them right. There may be some very rare exceptions if they had extreme trauma at a young age, but it’s really a lot more nurture than nature.

    Understanding how to treat a dog and how to communicate with them is very important. If you don’t do it right, you’ll almost universally end up with a dog that behaves badly or is not easy to deal with. You want to be very confident, make it clear that you are in charge. Dogs are very very observant as to whether you yield your ground or not.

    I have gone up to dogs in cages that were snarling and showing their teeth, barking at me and jumping at the cage door – showing every sign of aggression and being very clear that they were ready to attack me. I stood there, perfectly quiet with my arms crossed and then looked the dog right in the eye and said in a firm slow voice “Don’t you dare.” At this point the dog either stops barking and looks at me puzzled or actually will divert it’s head and walk away. I’ve even seen dogs you’d think were killers role over on their back, which is a sign of extreme submission.

    People are surprised by this. They don’t really think a dog would ever fall for a bluff like that. More than 99% of the time, they will. However, you have to be 100% committed. You stutter in your speech, you divert your eyes or take a step back and the dog won’t buy it. If you’re ever charged by a big dog and you don’t think you can get away from it into a car or past a gate or something, your best bet is to hold your ground, if you can manage to do so.

    Not understanding this is also the #1 problem people have with dogs as pets, even non aggressive ones. if the dog barks and you start screaming “Oh my god! WILL YOU SHUT UP! WHAT IS WRONG!” Arms flarin and everything… the dog will never shut up. A firm “stop” will work better. If the dog keeps barking wait another few seconds and say it again. Standing over the dog looking down at it helps a lot too. With the possible exception of Great Danes, we have a height advantage over them and this turns out to be a big deal in being assertive.

    I have a dog who occasionally likes to start running when outside. I never chase him. I point at him and say “Hey. Whose in charge here.” He stops every time without problem.

    It’s not that hard. Domestic dogs have been bred to respond to humans well. You have to know how to properly send them the right signals.

    BTW: I know pit-bulls that you can literally take the food out of their mouth and they won’t show any aggression.


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  26. 26
    Shafe Says:

            drbuzz0 said:

    BTW: I know pit-bulls that you can literally take the food out of their mouth and they won’t show any aggression.

    That’s an important trait of a pit bull. A split second after he bloodies his fangs in the neck of his opponent, he will turn and lick his master’s hand. The breed was selected for non-aggression toward humans but brutal lethality against an opponent dog. That actually creates problems if you’re a thug looking for a pit bull to be aggressive toward humans, so they tinker (ham-handedly) with the breeding and “training” to get them to be more aggressive.

    Your comment about individual behavior in dogs is just what I was getting at. The breed is not particularly problematic where temperament is concerned, but an ill-tempered individual pit bull is far more problematic than an ill-tempered tea-cup poodle. Unfortunately, it’s the ill-tempered individual (probably non-standard) pit bull that serves as the ambassador for the breed these days. People have forgotten the image of the pit bull as the World War I hero.


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  27. 27
    drbuzz0 Says:

            Shafe said:

    That’s an important trait of a pit bull. A split second after he bloodies his fangs in the neck of his opponent, he will turn and lick his master’s hand. The breed was selected for non-aggression toward humans but brutal lethality against an opponent dog. That actually creates problems if you’re a thug looking for a pit bull to be aggressive toward humans, so they tinker (ham-handedly) with the breeding and “training” to get them to be more aggressive.

    Your comment about individual behavior in dogs is just what I was getting at. The breed is not particularly problematic where temperament is concerned, but an ill-tempered individual pit bull is far more problematic than an ill-tempered tea-cup poodle. Unfortunately, it’s the ill-tempered individual (probably non-standard) pit bull that serves as the ambassador for the breed these days. People have forgotten the image of the pit bull as the World War I hero.

    Yes, pitbulls more commonly have problems with dog to dog aggression than human aggression. They can be human aggressive if mistreated, but it’s not a natural trait of theirs. Aggression toward other dogs is a bigger problem.

    It’s also not universal though. I know pitbulls that are very gentle toward other dogs and even run in fear of chihuahuas barking at them.

    There is a way to make sure that they are not overly aggressive toward other dogs though. You have to socialize them heavily at a young age. Basically if you have a pitbull pup, it’s a very good idea to take it to dog parks and to play groups to have fun playing with other dogs. If it grows up this way it will generally not have problems with aggression toward other dogs.

    Of course it’s also a good idea to expose them to other people on a regular basis. This is true for all dogs. Socialization is important and you want them to get used to meeting new people. Dogs that spend the first part of their life in isolation and spend most of their time interacting with only a small number of people are more prone to being aggressive or just fearful of strangers.


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  28. 28
    Calli Arcale Says:

    I’ve met some very sweet pit bulls. It’s all in the owner. With the really powerful breeds, and the more independent ones (I’m thinking of the lanky distance runners here), there is more capacity for harm, so the owner has a bigger responsibility to do it right. But the responsibility is there even for the tiniest, most adorable teacup poodle; they’re all dogs, and they need to be treated as such — respected for what they are, not treated as animated stuffed toys. Honestly, some people really should just get an Aibo and dress it in a fluffy suit.

    drbuzz — what you said about the way you talk to dogs is so true. My mom will do that, literally asking the dogs to shut up when they’re barking, and of course it does no good. They’re barking; if you yell at them, as far as they’re concerned, you’re just barking back. If you must yell, it should be a single, short, sharp “no!” or whatever phrase you’ve selected to be the “correction signal”. And you must have the right demeanor when you use it. Flailing around the human way probably won’t even be interpreted as a threat response; the dog may even interpret it as play and bark all the harder. They’re trying to figure out what you want, but if you give them mixed signals, they’re going to misunderstand, and that will end badly for all. They’re generally happy when they think they’ve done what you want, which means you need to make sure they *know* when they’ve done right, and you need to be clear when you’re correcting them.

    Cesar Milan gets into this a lot, and while I’m not so sure the whole dominance display thing is necessary in most cases, the attitude definitely is. It’s not so much “be the alpha” as “be in charge”. Don’t just say you’re in charge and expect them to believe. You have to actually believe you’re in charge.

    Actually, this applies to childrearing too. Never get exasperated with your child; it does no good. (Note: this is impossible to do all the time. You will yell at your child, sooner or later. We’re all human.) Staying calm isn’t giving in; it’s a demonstration that you are still in command, and people and dogs alike really don’t want to listen to somebody who’s lost it.


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  29. 29
    nomuse Says:

    In your opening image, a koala? Surprised you didn’t go into detail on THAT poor choice. Based on what little I’ve read about koalas, I don’t think you could carry one around on your shoulder and away from his habitat unless you drugged him.


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  30. 30
    Matthew Says:

            nomuse said:

    In your opening image, a koala?

    Surprised you didn’t go into detail on THAT poor choice. Based on what little I’ve read about koalas, I don’t think you could carry one around on your shoulder and away from his habitat unless you drugged him.

    Well, if I recall what the guide said when I was in Australia a few years back, they spend most of their lives drugged up, due to their diet (eucalyptus) – they sleep something like 20 hrs on 24. The big danger factor isn’t aggression, but poor eyesight. If it’s on the ground, it may mistake you for a tree and try to climb – given that it has a powerful grip and claws designed to sing into wood, that would be a fairly unpleasant experience.


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  31. 31
    Phil Says:

    I am scared of animals, and I dont know how someone can live with a chimp in our room. May be I am from the different part of world.


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  32. 32
    georgina Says:

    Its not nice that people are taking animals from the wild and breeding them to be sold on to familes! dogs and cats have lashed out at their own owners but a Tiger or ape ect thats crazy! if we all were a type of animal how would u feel if we were taking away from your family and your way of life! if you keep a wild animal like a tiger or ape monkey and you all continue with buyin wild animals they will all soon be exstinct! ! I mean they kill them and skin them for fashion! again imagine if u were the tiger its not nice what people are doing to these animals! but no one will ever listen!


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  33. 33
    Giselle Says:

            DV82XL said:

    You can get away with just keeping them clean and fed and watered IF you keep two or more together (not in the same cage, but in the same room.) When they can keep themselves company, you will have very few problems, and they won’t become pests looking constantly for attention.

    As for mistreated birds, I have not seen that many. Most parrot breeds go for $1000+ even from questionable sources, whereas a dog can be had cheaply from a pound. I would suspect there are more mistreated dogs out there than parrots, even as a percentage of the population.

    But in the end you are right that people should study the subject before buying a large bird, but one can say that about any pet.

    Sadly you’re wrong. Just as many birds are mistreated as cats or dogs. Possibly more. ****atiels and budgies are the two most common birds held as pets probably because of their inexpensiveness. You would not believe the widespread abuse and most often the neglect of these animals. I have two ****atiels and even though I absolutely cherish them I’m starting to wonder if it’s right to keep them as pets. If you really love someone you’d want what’s best for them. Only one of my birds is actually content. The other I purchased a few years ago at a pet store. I was told he was found abandoned in a vacant apartment. No one knew how long he’d been there. The bird currently has psychological issues. It’s like he has post traumatic stress disorder. What his previous owners did to him has utterly destroyed him. Even after three years of kindness he’s no better and that’s why I’m starting to think keeping birds as pets just should not be. There are no restrictions on the sale of birds. Anyone can own a bird. The idiots who abuse their pets ruin it for all of us. As long as people like that are allowed to own birds I don’t think anyone should. It’s just too horrible! People should have to have an exotic pet owning license don’t you think? In order to buy a bird a person should have to have some kind of license and in order to obtain such a license they would have to prove they would make a decent owner. Here’s an idea. Maybe they should have to take a brief class on the care of whatever animal they’re wanting and then they have to take a test. If they pass they get their license. And 6 months later they have to pass an inspection. I think if people really cared about stopping animal cruelty then either we do something drastic or no more pets. There are way too many horror stories. Feel free to respond personally. My email is lilac.lover222@yahoo.com


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  34. 34
    DV82XL Says:

            Giselle said:

    People should have to have an exotic pet owning license don’t you think? In order to buy a bird a person should have to have some kind of license and in order to obtain such a license they would have to prove they would make a decent owner. Here’s an idea. Maybe they should have to take a brief class on the care of whatever animal they’re wanting and then they have to take a test. If they pass they get their license. And 6 months later they have to pass an inspection. I think if people really cared about stopping animal cruelty then either we do something drastic or no more pets. There are way too many horror stories.

    Have you seen the way farm animals are treated? I’m afraid that as much as it would be a nice idea the fact is that not enough people care all that much about animal abuse unless it is happening in front of them and then only for that moment. And frankly in a world where most are indifferent to the suffering of members of their own species, the fate of animals will always be of secondary importance.


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    drbuzz0 Says:

    Yes, but there are animals that should not be kept as pets without a license because of the other consequences. I believe Burmese pythons should not be sold to the general public unless the individual actually is serious enough to be equipped to keep the snake.

    They grow way too large for the average person’s home. That’s a given. They are bought small, but they always grow to 18+ feet. That may be find for those who are serious snake enthusiasts and have thought ahead to have a large habitat to keep it. However, a large number of owners find the snake is way too large for their apartment or small house once it reaches adulthood.

    As a result of this, they are discarded into the wild frequently. They are not established as a breeding population in much of Florida. They’re an invasive species of major concern.

    The same has happened with other exotic pets. Enough monkeys were let loose in Florida that, for a period of time they managed to keep a few breeding groups going before they were eradicated. They’re a lot of trouble too. They climbed utility poles and electrocuted themselves, shorting out transformers in the process.


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  36. 36
    Ryan Says:

    I’m a bit curious as to why we always publish negative media. Sure, this world isn’t always rainbows and lollipops, but people don’t always obtain and neglect exotic pets 90% of the time. They’re not monsters; they’re just animals. I know a lot of people in the reptile community who are extremely stressed out by imposed legislation; as a responsible owner of two pythons, I am one of them. Yes, there are always big ignoramuses who impulsively buy an animal only to screw up, but in general, those people will screw up no matter what species they chose, be it dog, lizard, or ape! If you are responsible, you’ll know your limits on what you can keep. It just must be accepted that some people will do it wrong. This is simply a sad fact of life. All we can do is fix what we have to and move on. However, making things more difficult than they should be for new and existing pet keepers is not the way to go. Now that some snakes, for example the Burmese python among others, were listed under the Lacey Act, this makes them impossible to take across state lines- yes, even for responsible keepers. That means the animal has nowhere to go should one be required to move out of state or country, as in the case if military employees. As it was said, shelters are not always open for new arrivals, possibly leaving the owner with a hard decision. Either euthanize the animal, which may be extremely hard or impossible for a loving pet owner to do, or to illegally release it. And trust me, this is the case for pre-existing pet owners. No matter what animal it is, pets are family. Do you think I would still have the will to live if I had to make the choice to kill a family member because somebody screwed up, caused over-exaggerated yet misunderstood fear in the public, and unlawful legislation against my pet? All because some idiot didn’t do their homework, I have to suffer the harsh consequences? Don’t bother giving me that ‘life-isn’t-fair’ bullcrap; that won’t justify a damn thing.


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  37. 37
    Matthew Says:

            Ryan said:

    I’m a bit curious as to why we always publish negative media. Sure, this world isn’t always rainbows and lollipops, but people don’t always obtain and neglect exotic pets 90% of the time. They’re not monsters; they’re just animals. I know a lot of people in the reptile community who are extremely stressed out by imposed legislation; as a responsible owner of two pythons, I am one of them. Yes, there are always big ignoramuses who impulsively buy an animal only to screw up, but in general, those people will screw up no matter what species they chose, be it dog, lizard, or ape! If you are responsible, you’ll know your limits on what you can keep. It just must be accepted that some people will do it wrong. This is simply a sad fact of life. All we can do is fix what we have to and move on. However, making things more difficult than they should be for new and existing pet keepers is not the way to go. Now that some snakes, for example the Burmese python among others, were listed under the Lacey Act, this makes them impossible to take across state lines- yes, even for responsible keepers. That means the animal has nowhere to go should one be required to move out of state or country, as in the case if military employees. As it was said, shelters are not always open for new arrivals, possibly leaving the owner with a hard decision. Either euthanize the animal, which may be extremely hard or impossible for a loving pet owner to do, or to illegally release it. And trust me, this is the case for pre-existing pet owners. No matter what animal it is, pets are family. Do you think I would still have the will to live if I had to make the choice to kill a family member because somebody screwed up, caused over-exaggerated yet misunderstood fear in the public, and unlawful legislation against my pet? All because some idiot didn’t do their homework, I have to suffer the harsh consequences? Don’t bother giving me that ‘life-isn’t-fair’ bullcrap; that won’t justify a damn thing.

    The oldest principle in journalism – “if it bleeds, it leads.”

    Fear sells more papers and delivers more eyeballs to a channel for advertisers..


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