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Wild Animals as Pets

 Wild Animals do not make good pets


From the exotic to the familiar, wild animals fascinate us all. But the average household cannot provide the complex environment that wild animals need to thrive. Here’s why wild animals do not make good pets:

  • Wild animals are just that: wild. They are specially adapted for their own complex environment. On the other hand, domesticated animals have been selectively bred to co-exist with humans for both companionship and utility.
  • It is inhumane to keep a wild animal as a pet if one cannot meet the behavioral, social, nutritional and psychological needs of that animal. Most people simply cannot provide this and compromise the welfare of the animal.
  • Wild animals have natural instincts and can be unpredictable even when they are human-reared. They can bite and attack their owners or other people if they feel threatened. Animal owners are legally responsible for any injuries their animals might cause. Many states and cities prohibit ownership of wild animals as pets for this reason.
  • Wild animals can carry diseases.


  • Owning a wild-caught animal encourages illegal trade and can diminish natural populations or even cause a species to become endangered.
  • Human-reared wild animals cannot be released into the wild when no longer wanted. If released, they usually die because they do not have the skills to survive on their own. Or, if they do survive and reproduce, they can be a threat to local wildlife.
  • Some wild animal species live a long time, even outliving their owners. Who will take care of them when you no longer can?
  • If you own a wild animal and need care for it, you may not be able to find a vet or specialist with the knowledge to help. If you do, it can be very expensive.
  • Instead of owning a wild animal as a pet, appreciate wild animals in their natural habitats. Observe wild animals in accredited zoos and aquariums where they receive exceptional care from trained specialists. Support organizations that promote the welfare of wild animals in their natural habitats. Encourage anyone considering a pet to research and find an appropriate companion animal. Adopt domesticated animals from your local shelter when you can – many thousands die each year because they cannot find homes. In Fort Wayne, contact Animal Care & Control at 260-427-1244.


Discover more about why wild animals do not make good pets.

Discover more ways to help wild animals.

Orphaned Wild Animals

Have you found an injured or orphaned animal?  The zoo is not licensed to care for orphaned or injured wildlife.  Please check these resources to find the best option in your area.

Find out what to do with orphaned or injured wildlife.

Find a licensed Wildlife Rehabilitator who can care for orphaned or injured wildlife.