Exotic animals: to pet or not to pet? Galen Schulz responds to last week’s articles about keeping exotic pets

2015-10-06 06:00
Photo: trish beaver
Exotic pets: ‘What’s needed is more expertise and customer interaction between animal experts and consumers’.

Photo: trish beaver Exotic pets: ‘What’s needed is more expertise and customer interaction between animal experts and consumers’.

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I OFTEN see the neighbour’s cat hunting in the garden and wonder whether cats are simply born to be wild.

Several domesticated cats “run away” from home, adding to the growing number of strays that hunt birds, rodents and lizards.

To my knowledge, the domestication of animals by humankind began with the reindeer.

Since then, pet stores have thrived, and now offer a variety of animals from the scaly to the fluffy — from around the world, as we read in The Witness last week. Sometimes this can have tragic consequences (The Witness, May 26).

I can understand the lure to own an exotic animal. The good that can come from this is that it should encourage the owners of such animals to take a bigger interest in their lives and to understand their worlds better.

As an owner of exotic fish, I also understand the chances of survival of such animals in the wild, and once equipped with the right knowledge, the hobby extends to recreating a safe and happy habitat in which they may thrive.

I all too often notice people coming into pet stores, noticing them see something unusual and get excited, buying something exotic, and exiting the store without the proper knowledge of how to care for their new pet properly.

Pet stores do offer brochures and guidelines on how to look after most of the animals they sell, but what’s really needed is more expertise and customer interaction between animal experts and consumers.

As far as exotic fish are concerned, I appeal to pet-store owners to print out and place relevant information regarding proper care of different fish species above each tank in the store.

Information regarding their diet, tank requirements, how large they grow and what other species of fish they can be kept with is useful. In this way, at least consumers get the information at a glance.

More importantly, it is the responsibility of all those who wish to acquire an exotic pet, to do their homework beforehand and fully understand the commitment they are making.

It can be a thrilling and educational experience.

Let it be that rather than a tragic and sad end.

- Supplied

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