The Mainichi Shimbun/Aflo


Wild Pets

Are you thinking about a new pet? At some shops and websites, you might see more than just dogs and cats. A growing number of pet sellers are offering wild creatures, like hedgehogs, otters, and even tigers!

A pet that’s wild and not used to people is known as an exotic pet. Having one may seem like fun. But experts say it can spell trouble—for both you and the animal.

Are you thinking about a new pet? You might see more than just dogs and cats for sale. Many pet sellers are offering wild creatures, like hedgehogs, otters, and even tigers!

A pet that’s wild is known as an exotic pet. Having one may seem like fun. But experts say it can be a bad idea.

VINCENT J. MUSI/National Geographic Creative

Baby otters and bears are examples of exotic pets.

Playing It Safe

One concern with exotic pets is safety. In 2017, a kid in Iowa was injured after her family’s pet wolf attacked her. It was one of about 100 reported attacks by exotic pets in the past decade. While there are many attacks by regular pets, experts say that exotic pets can be especially unpredictable.

Even cute creatures like hedgehogs can be a danger.

“Don’t let their tiny size fool you,” says Angela Grimes, the head of an animal rights organization. “Hedgehogs can bite and they can carry diseases.”

One concern is safety. In 2017, a kid in Iowa was injured after her family’s pet wolf attacked her. It was one of about 100 reported attacks by exotic pets in the past decade. There are many attacks by regular pets too. But experts say that exotic pets can be especially unpredictable.

Even cute creatures like hedgehogs can be a danger.

“Don’t let their tiny size fool you. Hedgehogs can bite and they can carry diseases,” says Angela Grimes. She’s the head of an animal rights organization

The Wild Side

Being a pet can be bad for a wild animal too. Many of these creatures are taken from their natural habitat. Baby otters, for example, often live in groups in rivers. But as pets, they might live alone in a cage. They might swim in a bathtub once in a while.

Today, the internet makes it easy to buy some wild animals. But Grimes asks people to think twice. “Even if you take the best care of an exotic animal, that animal isn’t living in the wild where it belongs,” she says.

Being a pet can be bad for a wild animal too. Many of these creatures are taken from their natural habitat. For example, baby otters often live in groups in rivers. But as pets, they might live alone in a cage. They might swim in a bathtub once in a while.

Today, the internet makes it easy to buy some wild animals. But Grimes asks people to think twice. “Even if you take the best care of an exotic animal, that animal isn’t living in the wild where it belongs,” she says.

Martin Harvey/Getty Images (tiger cub); Shutterstock.com (kitten, blue feathers, cheetah background)

1. Why do you think the author chose the subheading “Playing It Safe”?

2. Explain how Angela Grimes feels about people owning wild animals as pets.

3. What is the purpose of the sidebar, “A Tale of Two Kitties”?

1. Why do you think the author chose the subheading “Playing It Safe”?

2. Explain how Angela Grimes feels about people owning wild animals as pets.

3. What is the purpose of the sidebar, “A Tale of Two Kitties”?

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