Do exotics make good pets?
There is significant debate as to whether exotics 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 found the Giant panda. He sent some to Europe in 1867 but they didn't catch on and really took off in the UK since they were imported again in 1964.
Similarly, the Syrian hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) is a relative newcomer, in theory at least all hamsters in labs and the pet trrade stem from one brother-sister mating of wild caught hamsters in 1930.
Neither of these animals are considered 'exotic' by the general public as they are relatively common pets in the UK and are bred in the country. Similarly, it is estimated that over 70% of the reptiles in the pet trade are captive bred. These 'captive-breds' continue to rise in polpularity as environmental awareness grows and hobbyists develop more attractive colour morphs etc. Even better, freshwater ornamental fish are 90% 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.