The Danger of Unusual Pets

The Danger of Unusual Pets

Maddie Port, Contributing Reporter

Cats and dogs have nearly become a staple in the average American family. What many people do not know is that some families in the United States and around the world have welcomed wild animals into their homes as pets. The behavior of wild animals has been proven to be unpredictable, both before and after supposed “training and domestication.” Currently, in the United States, it is illegal to be in possession of a wild animal because of the tragic incidents that have occurred concerning this issue.

Many new laws have been established prohibiting wild animals from being kept as pets due to the fatal injuries their unpredictable behaviors are capable of causing. The recurrence of tragic incidents involving interactions between humans and wild animals resulting in severe injuries, have proven that wild animals such as snakes, chimpanzees, and tigers, are not meant to be domesticated.

According to journalist Andy Newman of The New York Times, a 200-pound chimpanzee by the name of Travis, was raised as a pet by a woman and her friend in Stamford, Connecticut. This animal was popular within the community, starring in commercials and playfully conducting traffic on local roads. Travis had never displayed any actions of violence until his owner’s good friend, a woman Travis had known for years, came for a visit.

When approaching Travis, as she has many times, 55-year-old Charla Nash was mauled, with much of the skin on her face torn away as a result. She was admitted to Stamford Hospital and deemed critically injured. This case proves that no matter how domesticated a wild animal might seem, it can turn on its owner or others without provocation.

The amount of time a wild animal is trained and domesticated does not always determine or reflect future behavior. The stereotypical belief exists that, with years of the proper training, wild animals can be just as easily domesticated and trained as a cat or dog could be. However, this “belief” has been proven false. The story of Travis’ proves that an animal, even with domestication training lasting more than ten years, can still act unpredictably and dangerously. The behavior of a wild animal is never certain and cannot always be trusted by humans.

Not only is the behavior of a wild animal dangerous and capable of being detrimental, but the lack of space within a house or backyard for a wild animal to roam can cause health concerns as well. A wild animal in its natural habitat has the comfort of open space to roam and the ability to interact with others of their species. In a residential environment, neither of these aspects is available to a wild animal.

Some people maintain that wild animals can make for loving companions. This may be true in some cases, but in too many situations, wild animals have been harmful in residential environments and have proven that they are better off in their natural habitat.

The unpredictable behavior of wild animals and their special health and environmental requirements prove they are suited more for their natural, wild habitat, than for close-quartered, residential habitats.