Predators and Pets

When Andrew F. Oberle was mauled by chimpanzees, it brought an important issue to national attention: wild animals are dangerous. Yet some people still think that bears, alligators, and chimps make great pets.

When a man is beaten to within an inch of his life by the human species’ closest living relative, people should take pause. This is not the first time a chimp has attacked a human. In 2009, a Conn. woman was almost killed by a pet chimp that suddenly became hostile. In the wild chimps will perform raids on neighboring groups over territory. In the raids, they will kill and then cannibalize other chimps. It is not surprising that they would do the same to a human. Chimpanzees are not the only dangerous animal people invite into their homes.

It is illegal to own an exotic animal as a pet in Georgia. The list of animals includes lions, tigers, bears, wolves, kangaroos, chimpanzees, macaques, alligators, cobras, vipers, bats and many more. These animals are dangerous to untrained handlers and also pose a public safety threat with disease and the chance of them being released into the wild.

A pet boa constrictor might seem harmless enough, but one Nebraska Man was strangled to death by his. A Salem woman was mauled to death by a pack of wolves she had raised from pups. The fact is that even when the animals have not shown hostility for years, they are still instinctual wild animals.

Domestication takes many years, even thousands, of selective breeding. Furthermore, only certain animals are even possible to domesticate. You can’t pluck a baby animal out of the wild and raise it to be domestic: it takes generations for docile genetics to be carefully selected and bred into animals.

If you think getting a cute little pet money sounds delightful, do yourself a favor and just get a dog like a normal person. There are plenty of domesticated pets that go homeless, so give them a chance first.

Additional Resources

Born Free USA Georgia State Laws Governing Private Possession of Exotic Animals: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/b4a2_exotic_animals_state.php?s=ga

Born Free the Dangers of Keeping Exotic “Pets”: http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=187&more=1

Time Magazine Why the Stamford Chimp Attacked: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1880229,00.html

Oddee Boa Kills Nebraska Man: http://www.oddee.com/contrib_8831.aspx

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Wolf Dogs Killed Owner: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/sectionfront/life/wolf-dogs-killed-owner-autopsy-determines-442576/

How Stuff Works How Animal Domestication Works: http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/life/zoology/all-about-animals/animal-domestication.htm/printable

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