What common pets are illegal
Exotic mania: Wild animals are terrible pets
The animals only have small but extremely sharp canine teeth that can easily penetrate human skin, explains Williams. "I can't tell you how many calls it gets from people [the Duke Lemur Center] saying that the cute Babylemur they bought online has gotten aggressive and they don't want him anymore."
In addition, lemurs cannot be house trained. When people come into contact with their feces, they can contract various pathogens, including hookworms, whipworms, giardia and salmonella. In addition, they mark their territory with glandular secretions, the smell of which Williams describes as "pungent".
These highly social rodents with their nut brown fur love to cuddle with family members and even kiss each other. In the wild, they often live in large colonies or "cities" that span many acres and can include more than two dozen family groups.
In general, the animals therefore need a lot of attention and the company of conspecifics. If neglected, they can become aggressive, the Ness Exotic Wellness Center reports. The Illinois veterinary practice specializes in exotic animals.
Of course, the subterranean habitat at home can hardly be simulated either. Often prairie dogs are kept in cages where they cannot dig and are quickly stressed. Even if it is legal to keep them in large parts of the western world, that does not mean that it is sensible or fair to the animals.
The gray carnivores native to Southeast Asia are extremely charismatic animals. They are also very social and live in large family groups. However, over the past two decades, the demand for pygmy otters and their relatives has increased dramatically. In Japan, where animals are most commonly kept as pets around the world, they can be found in cafes and on TV, but especially in the homes of social media influencers. Because otters are - unfortunately - all the rage.
The supposedly cute little animals can also be very different. Nicole Duplaix, who heads the World Conservation Union's Otter Specialist Group, recently told National Geographic that captive otters can be destructive and aggressive when we don't get what they want.
The Otter Specialist Group also warns zoos that "even small otters can bite through rubber boots and gloves". They also mark their territory with urine, feces and oily secretions from their anal glands. In other words, they are not good pets.
The article was originally published in English on NationalGeographic.com.
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