Do Wild Animals Make Good Pets?

September 12, 2019
Having exotic, wild animals at home is quite popular these days, but don't get it wrong, not all of them make good pets. There are many limits and precautions you should consider before bringing one of them to your home.

You’ve probably seen some of the amazing videos out there about “animal whisperers” who can interact with wild animals such as bears, tigers, lions, and other species. So, it’s perfectly normal for many of us to wonder if wild animals make good pets.

The exotic pet fad seems to be cyclical and regains popularity from time to time thanks to some celebrity who decided to adopt a wild animal as their companion. However, it’s very important to analyze the pros and cons of a trend before you follow suit.

Let’s think about it and analyze the different factors of this possibility. In addition, let’s also consider the risks of cohabiting with wild animals.

What makes an animal wild?

Wild animals, many of which are predators, are those who hunt to survive in their natural environment. An animal at the top of its habitat’s food chain is a superpredator, as far as human categorizations go.

So, every predator is an animal that hunts, but not all animals who hunt are predators. Domestic cats are excellent hunters just like any other member of their species, for example, but because they long adapted to a home routine, they’re no longer thought of as predators.

There are many species that feed on the prey they hunt, such as felines, canids, birds of prey, mustelids, among others. They play an essential role in the balance of ecosystems because predation keeps overpopulation at bay.

A species can reproduce excessively in the absence of predators and it leads to an imbalance in the environment. So, when this overpopulation occurs near agricultural production areas, it often leads to an increase in pests and damage to the human economy. This is quite a tragedy in our anthropocentric, capitalistic view of the world.

Do wild animals make good pets?

A group of vultures surrounding a bovine.
First, you must learn to differentiate what’s possible from what’s recommended and, even beyond that, to think about what’s ideal. Yes, it’s possible to tame and cohabit with wild animals. Those amazing videos we mentioned above prove it.

However, is it advisable to keep a wild animal as a pet and let them sleep on your bed? Of course not! The fact that a family in Canada once tamed a bear or that there’s a lion showing affection to a human, thanking them for saving them from a hunter, doesn’t mean a predator can be fully domesticated.

Actually, there are many differences between wild and domestic animals, whether or not they’re a predatorial kind. When forcedly removed from their habitat and inserted in a completely unknown and artificial environment, all wild species will get stressed. Not only that, but they may get sick and become aggressive.

So, the idea of adopting an animal with a very strong hunting instinct is quite dangerous. It doesn’t just put your well-being and overall integrity at risk, but it also condemns a being who should be free to imprisonment and the limitations that come with it.

Let’s not forget that the possession of such animal species is illegal in most countries. The specimens for sale usually come from poaching and illegal trade, so when you buy them you’re financing animal trafficking.

Cohabiting isn’t necessary, coexisting is

Do wild animals make good pets?
Of course, not adopting wild animals as pets doesn’t mean you should fear them, but neither should you impose on their habitat. Quite the contrary. Yes, it’s dangerous to have them cohabit with us, but it’s vital that we all learn how to coexist.

This is because predators are an essential part of nature and, without them, our ecosystems would be in danger. Keep in mind that their habitat, routine, and behavior are not compatible with the life of a common domesticated pet.

Coexisting with wild animals means, essentially, respecting their nature and not trying to subject them to our social codes and personal whims. The expansion of our civilization and technological advances should stop risking the habitat of the rest of the species.

We all belong to the same environment. We’ll only achieve a healthy coexistence by raising awareness of the importance of other species. It doesn’t matter if the creatures are large, wild, predatory, or even microscopic. All are essential for the good health of our planet.

  • researchgate.net/publication. 2009. El fenómeno de la domesticación animal en el siglo XXI. Extraído de: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/303484190_El_fenomeno_de_la_domesticacion_animal_en_los_albores_del_siglo_XXI
  • Organización Mundial de Sanidad Animal. 2008. Animales salvajes. Extraído de: http://www.oie.int/fileadmin/Home/esp/Publications_%26_Documentation/docs/pdf/bulletin/Bull_2008-3-ESP.pdf