Do exotic animals make good pets?
There is significant debate as to whether exotic animals make good pets. However, the answer partially hinges on what classifies as an exotic pet. The term 'exotic' defines anything that is foreign to the environment. So while this does encompass reptiles and birds it can also cover species many people would consider non-exotic. For example the gerbil (Meriones unguiculatus) was discovered by Father Armand David who also discovered the Giant panda. He sent some gerbils to Europe in 1867 but they didn't really become a household pet until they were imported into the UK again in 1964. A gerbil is not considered to be an exotic pet by the general public as they are relatively common in the UK and are bred in the country, however they do fall into the exotic pet bracket.
It is estimated that over 70% of the reptiles in the pet trade are captive bred. These captive-bred pets continue to rise in popularity as environmental awareness grows and hobbyists develop more attractive colour morphs. With freshwater ornamental fish, a huge 90% of them are captive bred.
Taking into account the ever expanding wealth of knowledge and expertise available to a potential owner, captive bred exotic pets can flourish if their needs are handled correctly. The same can be said of rabbits, guinea pigs, dogs and cats. Provided the animal is cared for in the correct way and the owner has access to veterinary and expert advice, most exotic pets will lead long and happy lives.