Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet – 5 REASONS Why You Shouldn’t

Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Even Consider it

Raising a wild animal as a pet can sound like a pretty fun thing to do. But I’m here to tell you why you shouldn’t.

Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet - 5 REASONS Why You Shouldn't

This is a case of, “Do as I say, not as I have done.”  You see, I have a raised quite a number of sick,

dying, and/or orphaned wild (and domestic) animals.  While living in rural areas and in the woods, I’ve had many opportunities to do this.  Being a huge lover of animals, as many of you already know, I simply cannot resist a chance to do some good if I find one in need.  I’ve had people drop animals off at my doorstep on occasion as well, due to my reputation as “animal healer.”

I speak from experience and research when I tell you that raising a wild animal as a pet is not a good idea.  A wild animal is just that – a wild animal.  Not a pet.

Raising Wild Animals as Pets

Here are 5 solid reasons why you should not consider raising a wild animal as a pet:

1. It is illegal. It is against the law to try to raise any type of wild animal in captivity. Any wild animal – baby birds, bunnies, squirrels, raccoons, and the like.  It may be that in some States or Provinces, you may be given a temporary permit to allow you to do this.  You would have to check this out for yourself where you live.  But in general, it’s illegal, so be careful.

2.  Wild animals carry diseases.  Many wild animals can be carriers of rabies without showing any
symptoms at all.  Skunks, raccoons, and possums are examples of this.  Wild amphibian and reptiles can infect you with salmonella poisoning.  There are reports of tens of thousands of people being infected each year.  By bringing a wild animal into your home you expose your whole family and your pets to potentially fatal diseases.

Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet

3. Wild animals are labeled “wild” for a reason.  Domestication does not come easily to a wild animal.  It can take centuries for an animal species to domesticate.  Consider stories you have heard of raccoons attacking babies, monkeys attacking their owners, wild cats killing theirs.  A wild animal will stay wild.  And so they should. Please respect that.

4. They don’t stay little forever. Baby animals, by their very nature, are hard to resist. They are incredibly cute and appear dependent upon others for their very survival. But those little cuties grow up and their natural instincts kick in. They may bite, scratch, tear up the furniture, or worse. (See point #3 above.)  This is when they end up being released back into the wild because they are no longer wanted as “pets”.  But the problem is that the baby animal may not have developed the critical skills necessary — like hunting for food or evading predators — to survive in the wild.  This is highly unfair to the animal.

Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet

5. They may not need rescuing.  You can’t tell for sure.  The animal you find may not actually need your help.  They may not be lost or abandoned.  It may be a case of the mother gone off to find food for her young. Some animal mothers intentionally stay away from their babies’ nesting place to avoid attracting attention to them, only checking up on them when it is necessary.  And we’ve all heard stories of people coming across cute and cuddly baby bears, only to realize too late the mother is watching nearby!

So, please, think twice or three times before thinking about raising a wild animal as a pet.  If you really think the animal needs help, call your local wildlife center.  They’ll now what to do.
Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet

Thank you for listening.  Stay tuned for my own stories about rescuing wild animals.  The difference is that I had guidance from Wildlife Rescue Personnel.

Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet – 5 REASONS Why You Shouldn’t Do It


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MY QUESTION FOR YOU TODAY  Have you ever raised a wild animal?  (I won’t tell.)  But I’d love it if you would share your story with us in the comment section below.  Or it would be fun if you wanted to write something up for me to share it here on my blog!  Oh yes!  Please do!

*** Please leave a comment below and remember to share. ***

It’s just sexy!

Jeanne Melanson, Founder of Animal Bliss, a very cool blog about animals - wildlife and domestic too

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Jeanne Melanson

Owner at Animal Bliss
Born in Nova Scotia, I moved to the United States 20+ years ago.I am a dedicated lover of animals and fight for their rights and protection.I love people too, of course, and enjoy meeting folks from all walks of life.I enjoy philosophical discussion, laughing, and really odd ball stuff.I hope you enjoy my site.Leave me a comment to let me know you were here!Peace out.
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44 thoughts on “Raising a Wild Animal as a Pet – 5 REASONS Why You Shouldn’t”

  1. Hi. I liked your post and I know the dangers of keeping wild animals. I would probably take them to an animal hospital if I found one now. For my career, I want to own an animal reservation where we nurse sick or injured animals back to health and then release them into the wild. It has been my dream since I was little; I remember watching Dora and I always loved the episodes with Diego because he was my favorite(he rescued injured animals). I just want to learn all I can about every kind of animal so I know how to care for them all. I want to go to college to be a zoological veterinarian.

  2. When we were kids our dad was able to get a couple baby raccoons over the years. We thought they were so cute and would even walk them around the yard on a leash.

    That was all well and fine until the female got a little older and suddenly turned mean.

    How true it is that wild animals were meant to be left in the wild. I loved the other reasons/tips you gave as well.

    • Thank you for your comment, Jeanne. (I like your name!) I know, but raccoons are so much fun, aren’t they? The two I raised were males but I’d heard that females can get mean when they become ‘of age’. I’m glad you had that experience though. That’s cool! Come again!

  3. I partially agree with you but some of your reasoning is not sound. You talk of salmonella from amphibians/reptiles and that thousands are infected every year. The truth to that is domestic cats that hunt and domestic dogs that scavange posess a far greater health risk because they still do what wild cats and dogs do. Wolf attacks in a domestic habitat usually occur if the wolf has been cross bred with domestic dogs.
    As I do not agree with wc (wild caught) exotic pets, I do no oppose to cb (captive bred) exotic pets. I keep turtles, bearded dragons and gecko, they all appear more active, content and vibrant than animals in a zoo.
    Not disagreeing with your concerns and I support you but disagree with some points you have risen as they don’t seem to have to much foundation.

    • I do hear you and accept your comments, Ryan. I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog and read the article through. I too have a Bearded Dragon. Aren’t they fun? I’m new to the reptile world, but I already sense that it could easily turn into an addiction. 😉 Take care!

  4. I raised a baby raccoon when a jerk (and that’s putting it mildly) shot her mother. Her litter mate died because they were left to die on the beach and it was only by chance that the babies were found. The children next door were allowed to treat it as a toy and were feeding it whole cow milk and it was slowly dying from diarrhea. They would leave it in some little playhouse all night and it would call and call, it was heartbreaking.

    So, I offered to buy her from them and they gave her to me. I volunteered at the local petting zoo and so knew what to feed her. So I would make up a formula of goat’s milk, goat’s yogurt and an egg yolk (my idea) and she thrived. She thought of me as her mother and she was my baby. She would scream if I shut a door between her and I and she would decide when it was bedtime by calling me into the bedroom.

    I tried sneaking away after she fell asleep (on her back with all her limbs splayed), but she always knew. So I started reading and staying in my room early. My, son who was 15 at the time, loved her too and she protected the two of us from others. We would always warn them not to touch her or get too close. We would take her for walks in the wild and she was happy as can be.

    Sure, she went through puberty and tore up a chair I specifically gave her as hers and she only tore that one up, nothing else. She nipped my nose and would try to stick her fingers up my nose and in my mouth and ears as they are so curious. She got along fine with my cats playing a barking game with them and they would just look at her and walk away.

    I miss her every time I think of her and could cry I love her so much. That was a long time ago and she is passed on now.

    • I LOVE that story, Carole. I can relate. I raised two – two separate years. One, Bandit, stayed with me for 13 months, and then he went off into the woods to go find a girlfriend and make a family. The other one, Carter, stayed for 11 months. They were always free to go and chose to stay with me that long on their own. They were the best experiences I ever had with wild animals. Bandit would nap with me in the afternoons. I’d lay on the couch, tap my shoulder and he would climb up on my arm and we’d nap. I have so many stories I could tell. Thank you for taking such good care of your. I can tell you loved her very much. I miss mine too. I went through a mourning period when they left. If you see this and you want to share your story or pics in blog form, I’d be happy to publish it on my blog for you. Peace and love to you. 🙂

  5. That is very good advice Jeanne,and a beautifully written post 🙂
    I did once keep a mouse that was visiting our kitchen when I was a child – I already had pet mice, but kept them in separate cages. I think he was quite young and I called him Monty, although I don’t know if he was a boy or girl mouse! He lived for ages and I cared for him very well – I don’t think he would have survived if my dad had caught him first!!
    A few months ago I found an injured bird in the garden, but now I know better – so I drove it to a bird sanctuary to be looked after!!
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    • Marielle, I’m referring to ‘baby’ wild animals who become orphaned or injured. You right, it would be a bad idea to try to raise an animal that has been wild for some time. It would be asking for trouble for sure. Thanks for your comment!

    • I always wanted a monkey too! In fact, when I was a child, I pretended to have one but told my friends that my uncle was taking care of it for me. That’s why they never got to see it. lol Thanks for stopping by!

  6. The only animals I had as pets are dogs and aquarium fish. I would never (not in my wildest dreams) even think of raising a wild animal. I totally agree with you that some of these animals carry diseases. I would not want to be the one to start a plague.
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    • Hello, Shruti~ Thanks for visiting my blog today! It’s your first time? Yes, I think about their freedom as well. They need to be where it’s natural for them. Just like you and me. 🙂 I hope you’ll come back for another visit soon! Cheers.

    • Thank you for fostering animals in your home, Misty. I’ve often thought of doing that, but I can’t do that to my cat. She really wouldn’t get along with that idea, and she’s old. It must be difficult for you when it gets time to give them up. It would be for me. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. I rescued an opossum from the side of the road when I was young. Turned him over to the wildlife center nearby. We also had a flying squirrel land in our fireplace when our flew was open. We released him into the wild too. Heck, I’m even attached to my two snails. LOL
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    • Meredith, thank you for taking care of the opossum and the flying squirrel. You’re awesome! You have two snails? That’s fun. I had a friend that had a couple of hermit crabs and they were pretty fascinating. Thanks for stopping by!

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