Some people think it will be exciting, fun or cool to keep a wild animal as a pet. But we only have to think of the complex environments in which wild animals live – forests, deserts, wide open spaces, rivers, oceans- to know that we can’t possibly provide for their needs in captivity, especially in a small cage or tank in a house or flat.
Just like us, animals get bored and frustrated when they don’t have things to do and when they can’t act on their natural instincts, and, in the case of social animals, are deprived of the company of others of their kind.
You may see a pet monkey rocking from side to side, a bird on a perch bobbing his head up and down, a caged squirrel pacing from side to side or running round and round in circles. These are all stereotypic behaviours. Some animals are so distressed they may resort to self-mutilation – pulling out their fur or feathers or biting their limbs and tails.
And if this isn’t reason enough to not keep wild animals as pets, keeping them can be dangerous for us too. Several serious diseases, called zoonotic diseases, can be passed from wild animals to humans, and vice versa. Also, wild animals, no matter how long they are kept as pets, remain wild animals and retain their natural instincts, and can often inflict severe injuries through bites and scratches.