There are a lot of people out there who don’t think that exotic animals should be kept as pets. We respect that view and understand a lot of their concerns. We however believe differently, that there are a lot of exotic animals that make great pets, and even the one’s that don’t make the best companion animals, may still have their place in captivity. Our reasoning is very simple.
We believe that while not much is known about keeping many exotic animals in captivity, there is the same potential for captive success as there is in any other companion animal. While the disposition of certain animals may make them more or less suited towards a certain owner, most animals can have very happy and healthy lives in captivity. These animals can have a mutually beneficial relationship with humans. We benefit from the experience of caring for another living being, and sharing our lives with a companion we don’t completely understand. On the flip side, the animal can also benefit from this companionship, but mostly benefits from being cared for, a lack of predatory threats, and consistent supply of food, shelter, and water. Even beyond the intrinsic value of a human exotic pet relationship, there are other reasons why exotic pet ownership is beneficial.
Many concerns are for the long term health of the animals being greatly reduced through captive life. This may be true for many exotic animals, but without active interest in keeping these animals, no advancement in the care for the animal will ever be made in any substantial amounts. Through active interest in the captive keeping of these animals, a great many things are being learned by breeders and the community of keepers about husbandry techniques that lead to better and more consistent care than these animals might find in the wild.
Conservation is another issue that captive keeping can lead to great benefit. Many of the exotic animals currently being kept in captivity as pets have populations that are declining in the wild. Very rarely is this being caused by the pet trade, but rather destruction of the animals natural habitats or use of the animal for natural resources. The captive keeping of these animals… such as the three banded armadillo, is likely to increase awareness of the conservation of the animal, which may be the only long term hope for the animal’s protection. Also providing long term hope for the preservation of the species.
An important part of our support for exotic animal keeping is that owners of exotic animals be responsible for the life they take into their hands. We encourage all exotic animal owners to make the most of their unusual experience with animals and extend the benefits of keeping these animals beyond themselves, whether through education, breeding, sharing information, inspiring young biologists, providing an excellent example of husbandry, or anything else!