Why Do People Keep Wild Animals as Pets?


Wild animals are not meant to live in domesticity. Often, owners of these animals think they have tamed them, but when the animals reach sexual maturity they suddenly become aggressive. On the other hand, they are not fit to be released into the wild, since they have not learned the skills to allow them to survive on their own. Capturing of wild animals is also a concern of conservationists, who worry that this will drive certain species to extinction and disrupt ecosystems. Wild animals may also carry diseases which can be transmitted to humans. As a result of these concerns, many countries have passed laws against raising certain types of animals as pets.

Nevertheless, there are many people who ignore these risks and attempt to raise wild animals. It’s important to remember that raising wild animals isn’t a modern trend: American Indians and Amazonian tribes kept wild mammals and birds as pets.

Motivations behind keeping wild animals as pets include :

  • Dr. Jennifer R. Wolch, professor of geography at the University of Southern California, cites the pursuit of power as a reason to tame a wild animal. In most cultures, having power over a wild animal shows a person’s strength and courage.
  • Domesticated animals are subservient to humans and are often treated like children, while wild animals are independent and demand respect. This causes people to admire them. However, the process of domesticating them destroys some of that independence. People want their “pet” to be wild, but they also want him to behave and this causes much tension between animal and human.
  • As human beings become more and more distanced from nature, they yearn to reconnect with it. One way of reconnecting with nature is through a wild animal.
  • The human-animal bond exists between all species. People are attracted to all kinds of animals, from the cute and cuddly to the ugly and deadly. Although men tend toward powerful predators and women toward furry and friendly, human beings can connect to any species.

Although many people wish to have a personal connection with a wild animal, for all the reasons cited above, it is better to admire them from afar.

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