The Biggest Myths About Exotic Pet Ownership
There is a lot of misinformation on the Internet about exotic pet ownership, mostly because keeping exotic pets is less mainstream than choosing to adopt dogs and cats. The issue of keeping exotic pets is also divisive, particularly in the animal-rights community.
If you’re considering bringing a chameleon into your home, you may have heard some arguments against choosing such an unusual pet. Let’s put on our myth-busting hats and debunk some of the most common misconceptions about the decision to keep an exotic pet.
Myth: Keeping exotic pets is dangerous.
Fact: Yes, there are horror stories of people who have tried to keep highly intelligent species such as chimpanzees and tigers as pets and suffered attacks when those animals lashed out. However, exotic pets such as reptiles, amphibians, birds, spiders and hedgehogs are generally extremely safe. In fact, you’re more likely to suffer an attack from your neighbor’s pet dog than you are from your other neighbor’s boa constrictor.
Myth: Keeping exotic pets is inhumane.
Fact: Most animals are extremely adaptable. As long as you are taking care of your chameleon’s needs for habitat, nutrition, hydration and temperature, it won’t matter much to them whether they are living in their native environment or in your suburban home.
Myth: Exotic pets are carriers of contagious diseases.
Fact: Though reports are exceptionally rare, exotic animals may act as disease vectors. However, since many pathogens cannot cross species barriers, there is a natural remedy to this problem.
Myth: Exotic pets have been illegally poached from their natural habitats.
Fact: It is unfortunately true that some unscrupulous people have taken pets from the wild to supply the pet trade. The illegal pet trade is a major contributor to the reduced numbers of some species.
When it comes to getting an exotic pet, your best bet is to work directly with a reputable breeder. That way, you can be sure you are not inadvertently contributing to the illegal pet trade or affecting the wild population of that animal. Numerous animals, particularly lizards, snakes and birds, are part of breeding programs in the U.S.
Another reason to work with a breeder is that they will be able to give you the full medical history of the animal you are buying, including offering a guarantee on its health. When you purchase a captive-bred chameleon, you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing you are getting an animal who is much healthier and less stressed-out than a wild-caught chameleon.
If you’re ready to take the plunge and get a pet chameleon, contact a reputable breeder and make sure you arm yourself with everything you need to know to take care of your pet for years to come!