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10 Animals We Wish We Could Keep as Pets (But Really Can't)

by Robby Bernstein 4 years ago in wild animals
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These are a few of the many animals we wish we could keep as pets.

Many, but not all, states in the US have laws prohibiting adoption of many wild or exotic animals. The popularity of adopting wild animals among people living in these states, or other parts of the world where wild animals can be legally kept, has increased dramatically in recent years. Unfortunately, the decision to adopt these animals is often short-sighted. Adopting a wild animal is not the same as having a pet, and as a result, these animals are often mishandled or abandoned once the adopter realizes how substantial the responsibility is. There are also many instances of adopted wild animals harming humans, either directly or unknowingly through the diseases they carry. With that in mind, here is a list of some of the many animals we wish we could keep as pets.


Contrary to what Mike Tyson may lead you to believe, the tiger is not a good animal to have as a pet. Though a tiger cub may be adorable, it is also one of the biggest cats in the world. By the time it is one-year-old, it will be nearly fully grown and strong enough to injure or kill humans without much difficulty. As stunning as the tiger is, for its own sake (and ours too) it belongs out in nature and not in our backyards.


Its eyes scream, "Take me home!" but our hearts know its not a good idea. The kinkajou, native to Central and South America, has grown in popularity as a pet in recent years, and it is easy to see why. Sad to say, the kinkajou is not a good choice for your next pet. Kinkajous are a major commitment—they have been recorded living up to 41 years in captivity and, on average, live for more than 20 years. They have also been known to carry diseases that can be transmitted to your family members. Kinkajous, also, are much more comfortable in their natural habitat, the rainforest, than they would be in your living would.


As lovable as Ross and Marcel were during their time together on Friends, monkeys and other primates are not good options for pets. Monkeys are not a good idea for your home for many of the same reasons as the kinkajou—they live long lives and they can carry diseases—with the additional factor of being a more dangerous animal as they grow older. Monkeys get more aggressive as they grow up, and there have been numerous reports of attacks and other injuries in the United States since the trend of bringing monkeys into your home became popular.


The capybara is closely related to the guinea pig—with the slight difference of being five times longer and 40 times heavier. Capybaras are one of the least dangerous animals in the world, but that still doesn't mean they make a good pet. For one thing, they still have a strong bite that can seriously hurt someone. Additionally, a capybara is a highly social animal, living in communities ranging from 10-100 of its furry friends. Unless you're ready to take care of a small army of the world's largest rodents, it's probably best to stay away from capybaras.

Fennec foxes live with an adorable combination of small bodies and enormous ears. Unfortunately, this alone is not enough to make them a good pet. Fennec foxes are one of the more common exotic animals to be made pets, but that does not mean it is a good idea. Fennec foxes are another social animal that is much better off when around others of their kind. Additionally, their small size coupled with their leaping ability makes it hard to keep track of them, and makes them one of the animals we wish we could keep as pets, but know we shouldn't.

Panda Bears

The panda bear's pudgy appearance and lethargic reputation may lead some to think it would be safer for a pet owner. This is (sadly) untrue! The panda bear is fierce just like other bears, and can easily harm humans both intentionally and by accident. This, and the fact that they can eat up to 80 pounds worth of bamboo a day, means they are probably not the ideal pet—unless you happen to live in the middle of a wet bamboo forest.

For those unfamiliar, the ocelot is a beautiful wild cat similar in size to a bobcat. Archer was not the first famous (albeit fictional) incident of a person having a pet ocelot. Salvador Dali was also known to own—and travel—with his pet ocelot. Once again, for the average person owning this pet is a bad idea. They are not easily tamed, very dangerous, and can easily hunt and kill other neighborhood pets.


With a top speed of 0.15 miles per hour, you wouldn't have to worry about this pet running away. What you would have to worry about in taking care of a sloth are their incredibly sensitive stomachs and their specific habitat needs. Though not generally aggressive, sloths are somewhat unpredictable, so it is recommended for nonprofessionals to keep a safe distance.


A wallaby is a marsupial very similar to a kangaroo, just much smaller. It is easy to understand why a wallaby is one of the animals we wish we could keep as pets—the appeal of a mini-kangaroo waiting for you when you get home is undeniable—but in reality, they are not well-suited for domestic life. Wallabies need a lot of room to run around and jump, and like their kangaroo friends, pack a pretty strong kick that could seriously injure someone.

Bush Babies

Bushbabies, known formally as galagos, are most commonly kept as pets in Australia. Before you consider getting one of these cuties here in the US or elsewhere, you should know that they, like many of the other animals on this list, are known to carry diseases that can have very serious effects on humans. Even if inoculated completely, galagos are known to be especially difficult to house train, and are better off visited, not owned.

I hope you've realized that these animals, while adorable, are probably not the best for us to take into our homes. That doesn't mean that you shouldn't be bringing a new pet into your home, there are many benefits of adopting an animal—I would just recommend a domesticated animal.

wild animals

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Robby Bernstein

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