Are you thinking of getting an exotic pet? Here is a list of 25 worse mammals to have as pets. Cats and Dogs have been man’s favorite animal companions for hundreds of years, and that is why these two creatures have been the go-to animals for pet lovers across the globe.
However, things seem to be changing with time as more people are beginning to opt for options like foxes, dingoes, chinchillas, and even baby lions with little or no knowledge about them.
The major problem with having some of these animals as pets is that no matter how hard you try, these wild folks can’t live well with humans. Baby chimps, for example, can be super adorable until they grow to become extremely strong and possibly aggressive adults.
Some other exotic animals need a lot of space to play and roam, plus they can be finicky eaters. It may seem really unique to have a wild animal in a home as a pet, when in most cases, when a human can’t or doesn’t know how to care for exotic pets, the love story ends in abandonment.
In May, a group of researchers in the Netherlands published a systematic ranking of animals’ suitability as pets, to aid public understanding and improve animal welfare.
In this article, we have put together a list of 25 of the least desirable mammals when it comes to getting exotic pets. No matter where you are in the world, never make the mistake of getting any of the 25 mammals featured here as a pet.
This is not to say that these animals are bad, let’s just say, they are better off in the wild than in our homes.
Table of Contents
- 25) American black bear
- 24) American bison
- 23) Arctic fox
- 22) Leopard cat
- 21) Dingo
- 20) Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
- 19) Plains zebra
- 18) Crab-eating raccoon
- 17) Black-eared opossum
- 16) South American coati
- 15) Egyptian fruit bat
- 14) Long-tailed chinchilla
- 13) Utah prairie dog
- 12) Common degu
- 11) Kinkajou
- 10) Raccoon
- 9) Mexican prairie dog
- 8) Eurasian elk
- 7) Red fox
- 6) Capybara
- 5) White-tailed prairie dog
- 4) Brown bear
- 3) Fennec fox
- 2) Sugar glider
- 1) Black-tailed prairie dog
25) American black bear
First off, please note that these rankings are based on subjective judgments from animal experts. The order used in this post isn’t so important; it is just a simple list of animals that are “probably not as great as pets.”
Bears of all kinds are a primary example of an animal that probably should not be anyone’s pet. You might find it funny, but many people have kept bears — in different parts of the world, and the relationship had deadly consequences.
24) American bison
Bison may be a cool looking animal that you’ll be tempted to keep as a pet. However, it eats around 24 pounds of grass every day.
I bet that nobody will have 24 pounds of grass lying around every day to feed a pet. Don’t get a bison for a pet no matter how tempted you get.
23) Arctic fox
I won’t even deny that Arctic foxes are adorable.
However, as Popular Science had revealed that, when it comes to keeping this adorable canine as pets, it is vital to bear in mind that these animals may be tamed with time, but they are never domesticated.
The difference between tamed and domesticated animals is that while tamed animals have been trained to live with humans, their domesticated counterparts have been bred for centuries to live with humans.
You may already know that tamed animals are always going to be the more dangerous ones. Besides, they are currently dealing with habitat shifts as a result of climate change, so it is only fair that we let them be.
22) Leopard cat
Leopard cats are beautiful and all regal in every sense of it. However, before you think of getting one as a pet, know these felines would rather hunt rodents in the wild than eat whatever store-bought cat food you have to offer.
Lest you forget, dingoes are not the best choice when it comes to pets. It’s safer to let them live their lives in their natural habitat that bring one to your home.
20) Thirteen-lined ground squirrel
To make the picture clearer, here is the testimony of a commenter on the blog Squirrel Awareness who tried to raise a 13-lined squirrel as a pet:
According to the pet owner, she noticed that her squirrel grunts at her whenever she approaches its cage. And for the past week, whenever she transfers her pet from the indoor to an outdoor pen, it climbs on her shoulder and tries to pull out her hair.
The worse part yet is when she tries to discourage the squirrel, it scratches. Needless to say that the owner is beginning to fear her companion.
19) Plains zebra
Is there anyone around the world who doesn’t love zebras? I doubt there is any. But in most places, owning them is illegal. However, you may consider starting a zebra farm instead of having one as a pet.
If you really must get a zebra, then you should consider moving to West Virginia or Wisconsin. These two states have little or no restrictions on exotic-pet ownership, plus you do not require permission from the local governments to begin a zebra farm.”
18) Crab-eating raccoon
The clue as to why you should not get one as a pet is in this creature’s name. This raccoon requires other live pets to survive.
Unless you’re Aquaman or a mermaid, I wonder where you are going to get the turtle eggs, crabs, and lobsters that this creature loves to feed on. Besides, these folks are nocturnal.
17) Black-eared opossum
The black-eared opossum is not friendly. Their razor-sharp teeth will not be gentle on your skin if ever they sink in (you don’t want that). Besides, who wants a pet they can’t play with?
16) South American coati
No matter what you think, when you see these furry little guys, your kids should not be allowed to play with a coati.
Coati is quick to bite, most especially if they do not want you to touch them or do something they do not like, and this makes unsuspecting children an obvious target for these creatures. To sum this all up, never get a coati as they are not great pets for most people.
15) Egyptian fruit bat
Taking the 15th position on our list of 25 worse mammals to have as pets is the Egyptian fruit bat. No matter how cool you are, once people know you have a pet bat, most of them will never come over to your house. Not in this life. Ever.
Also, bats are not like parrots that love people, so it’s safe to say that they deserve to fly free in the wild.
Besides, bats need to feed on a diet that they can only get in the wild. Keeping a pet bat will shorten their life span, make them bored, and make them fall sick often. Being a bat owner can also be considered cruelty, so it is best just to watch them on TV or look at cute pictures of them if you love bats so much.
14) Long-tailed chinchilla
Chinchillas are charming, really soft, cuddly, and somewhat adorable. And they are one of the most popular animals used as a pet on this list.
However, they are also very social creatures that require a lot of attention and stimulation. Life in a cute little solitary cage somewhere in your beautiful home doesn’t suit them.
And then there’s this the fact that Chinchillas are not cuddlers. Indeed, a well-socialized chinchilla might be free enough to sit on its owner’s lap for about 4 to 5 minutes, note that these animals are naturally inquisitive, and will not be satisfied just to be petted as they would much rather explore the area around them.
13) Utah prairie dog
You may already know that prairie dogs are not dogs. They are a kind of rodent.
This particular species of prairie dog has also been listed as an endangered species according to the Endangered Species Act. Don’t be cruel enough to remove them from the wild.
12) Common degu
There is a possibility that you have never heard of this animal species before now (I must confess that this one is new to me), you probably shouldn’t consider keeping it as a pet. Degus live in communities, which means you can’t keep a single degu as a pet.
Cute and friendly-looking, Kinkajous are native to the rainforests of South and Central America. And though they have friendly faces, you must bear in mind that they can dish out a crazy bite.
In 2011 there was a report from the Associated Press on a Tennessee girl getting rushed to the hospital after a pet kinkajou bite:
By the next morning, the 16-year-old female was running a fever of 102, dealing with severe headaches and peeing blood. Her mother immediately rushed her to the Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
That’s when the 16-year-old told her mother and the doctors about the pet kinkajou bite. To which, the population of the room replied, “Kinka-what?”
Her mom said, “I had never heard of the animal, and neither had the doctors,” said Thurmond’s mother, Miika Montgomery. “I was Googling it; they were Googling it. …
If it had been a dog or a cat or a raccoon, they would have known exactly what to do, but they had never seen anything like this.”
Number 10 on our list of 25 worse mammals to have as pets is the Raccoon. So, because you have raccoons bothering your neighborhood, you think keeping one as a pet will help you understand them better? Here’s a reason why you should think about it.
Raccoons are known to act out when they’re hormonal and unhappy. Their instinct is to bite you when they’re upset, frustrated, or stressed.
However, raccoon owners have also told stories of other manners in which their little companions deliver payback, including removing buttons from clothing their owner was forgetful enough to leave around, “repotting” house plants, flipping over water bowls, dumping the contents of bookcases, moving belongings to other locations and sometimes peeing on them for good measure, and stripping the bedsheets.
9) Mexican prairie dog
No matter the species of prairie dog, the simple answer to the question “should I keep one as a pet? ” is NO! don’t think about it.
8) Eurasian elk
Also known as moose. Regardless of how big you think your backyard is, you can never have enough room for a moose.
7) Red fox
Indeed, there are a couple of tamed red foxes, but the report from owners remain that often have a strong musk odor, they are incredibly destructive to property, and can also pose a danger to strangers or other pets. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a pet destroying my belongings or chasing away my guests.
These are a giant rodent that nobody can deny how frightening they look. I mean, they are genuinely scary. But asides their scary looks, here are a few things you should know about capybaras:
capybaras naturally live in groups; thus, if you go ahead to adopt a single one, you won’t be doing it any good.
If you must keep them as pets, then you would need to adopt a minimum of two capybaras, but it is preferable that you get more (trust me, you don’t want to do that).
Secondly, consider the size of these rodents. They are quite huge. They are more than two times the size of a jackrabbit. They are the biggest rodents roaming the earth.
Keeping at least two giant rodents in healthy condition may be a daunting task and costly in itself, but asides the impossibility of feeding them a healthy diet every day, they have special needs as well.
5) White-tailed prairie dog
Oh well! You already know it’s a bad idea to have any species of prairie dog as a pet. If you need to be reminded, please check the other prairie dogs on this list.
4) Brown bear
Brown bears are not your friends in real life. I mean, including the scary North American grizzly bear — are giant-sized and ferocious.
Bears are cuddly and soft only when you have them as toys in your home. Forget what you see in cartoons or movies, these seemingly cute guys can hurt you and everything you love if you try to keep them as a pet. Ted is better off in the wild, I assure you.
3) Fennec fox
This animal is ridiculously adorable. Almost any person will have problems remembering the fact that fennec foxes do not make good pets.
2) Sugar glider
They may be sweet and have a nice size, but these nocturnal fellows with sharp claws and sharp teeth will pee on everything in your house. Why do you want a pet like that?
1) Black-tailed prairie dog
This is the fourth prairie dog species on this list. I guess you don’t need to be told a fourth time that they do not make great pets.
These are the 25 worse mammals to have as pets. Do not say we didn’t warn you. Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.