Photo Credit: 8 Eyes Photography via Compfight cc
We know that it takes a lot of responsibility to take care of an unconventional pet, and there are a lot of risks associated with it, but ownership of exotic pets is still on the rise. Owning reptiles, large cats, and even chimpanzees requires a lot of effort, and must be thought out carefully. This is because you may not just be putting your life at risk by keeping a dangerous pet, but endangering its life as well. 

Since 1990, there have been 1500 incidents and 75 human deaths relating to exotic pet ownership. This is not including the horrific treatment of pets and the fact that many die in captivity. These pets are not able to do what they do best, for example, mountain lions and bears tend to hunt, forage, and kill for the sole purpose of killing. This keeps them healthy and happy, which they cannot be when they are chained or caged up for the sole enjoyment of humans. 

In the hands of unprepared caretakers, many exotic animals die or are abandoned. The head of the Environmental Crime Investigation unit in Western Cape, South Africa, estimates that 90% of exported reptiles die within a year due to poor conditions and lack of knowledge.

Other people will try to return unwanted animals to their natural homes or abandon them outdoors. Without appropriate habitats or rehabilitation, these animals know very little about their abilities and may starve or fall victim to the elements or predators. If they do survive, they may overpopulate and wreak havoc with the ecosystem, killing native species.

Its not just taking care of these pets that is not easy, but also the way they are yanked away from their homes and have to go through horrible transport conditions. Many of these pets do not even survive the trip from their homes in places like Africa and Brazil. Parrots may have their beaks and feet taped to easily be hidden in luggage, and stolen bird and reptile eggs are concealed in special vests so that couriers can bypass X-ray machines at airports. 

It is extremely important to allow animals the freedom they deserve, especially rare animals. Today, there are more tigers in captivity than there are in the wild. To love an animal does not mean that one must possess it, and owning a pet for personal satisfaction should not be the only reason to deprive an animal of its natural habitat.