Captive-bred vs.Wild Caught Pets


The pet industry consists of the sale of captive-bred animals as well as wild-caught ones. Many pets are bred by breeders but birds, fish and reptiles are often captured from the wild.

There are a number of reasons to prefer captive-bred pets to wild-caught:

  • In some cases, collection of animals from the wild is detrimental to the environment. Rare animals being removed from their habitats may cause irreparable damage if the wild populations can’t withstand the depletion. Over-collection of more common species can also badly affect the wild populations. Large-scale depletion of a species also affects its predators and causes a population boom of its prey, thus disrupting an entire ecosystem.
  • Animals which are captured in the wild have a hard time adjusting to life in captivity. They may suffer from stress and disease during transport, inadequate care and a shorter lifespan. Death during transport is a common occurrence due to disregard of government regulations by both the suppliers and the airlines.
  • Captive-bred animals are less likely to carry diseases. Although the initial purchase price of a wild caught pet may be less expensive, veterinary treatment is likely to raise the price. It is more cost-effective to lay out more money for the captive-bred pet.
  • There is an active black market in wild animals. The more exotic the pet, the greater the chance that it was captured or imported illegally. A large part of this trade takes place on the internet. To avoid buying from the black market, purchase your pet from a reliable local breeder or supplier.

The best way to ensure you are buying a captive-bred animal is to buy from a local breeder. If you buy from a pet shop, ask where they get their pets from. Although you can’t guarantee you will receive an honest answer, if enough people demand captive-bred pets, the stores will be eager to supply that demand. A pet store which gives good advice about the health and care of each pet it sells should be responsible enough to sell only captive-bred animals.

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