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Thread: Banning all exotic pets?

  1. #1
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    Banning all exotic pets?

    Mainstream and exotic sounds really arbitrary; chinchillas, sugar gliders, fancy rats and mice, ferrets, hedgehogs are all mammals, but they still sound a little exotic for many people. I decide to leave out guinea pigs and hamsters; they are all too common to be called exotic.
    There are millions of ball pythons and corn snakes being kept, but they are still called "exotic" 'cause they are reptiles.
    Due to certain accidents with giant constrictors, a few communities ban constrictors outright; then again, don't they realize the size and temperament difference between an anthill python and an anaconda?
    Gambian pouched rats certainly save countless lives by detecting mines and tuberculosis, but they aren't necessarily good companion animals, and their accidental releases have led to certain issues.
    Coatimundis, fennec foxes and raccoons are cute for sure, but are they good companions?
    “Good pets" usually involve several conditions:
    1)Docility: We don't want aggressive pets/companions anyway.
    2)Health: risk of infections and injuries aren't that pleasant; the story of a mother losing three limbs due to her dog is extremely rare, but is remarkably tragic (Although I keep calling limb regrowth a medical priority, apparently someone wants to maintain the status quo; I don't want to deny the difficulty, but we put too much resources into non-constructive ends.)
    3)Domestication: Several reptile species are captive-bred (and this is called "half-domesticated for the moment), but wild species are still captured for pet trade. This is extremely harmful to the environment and the animals.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    There are millions of ball pythons and corn snakes being kept, but they are still called "exotic" 'cause they are reptiles.
    I have doubts about that entire sentence. I'm not sure there are "millions" of ball pythons and corn snakes being kept. I also don't recall anyone classifying them as "exotic" just because they are reptiles. I suspect they might be classified as exotic because they are uncommon; I also suspect they are not classified as exotic. At least in the US, there are legal definitions of exotic - I know Ohio has such regulations: here is a blog entry about the Ohio law (I'll ignore the blogger's opinion about what animals are actually threats) - it lists the reptile species and neither ball pythons nor corn snakes are listed.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    (Although I keep calling limb regrowth a medical priority, apparently someone wants to maintain the status quo; I don't want to deny the difficulty, but we put too much resources into non-constructive ends.)
    I know this was just a side comment, but you seem to be implying a deliberate effort to not develop the means to regrow limbs and I think that is nonsense.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift
    I know this was just a side comment, but you seem to be implying a deliberate effort to not develop the means to regrow limbs and I think that is nonsense.
    I understand it is extremely difficult to do the process with current technologies, but I believe progresses are being made.
    Thank you for the site anyway! The banned list sounds fairly reasonable, although some people still argue for keeping big constrictors (the same way goes for the arguments for aggressive and large canines.)

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    Hahaha, my vet student "friend" called a domestic ferret a small animal exotic.

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    I have flounders.

    And Indian pea puffers.

    An African bullfrog.

    Cape sundews.

    A ball python named Tubey.

    I've HAD, at one time or another;

    California newts.

    Tiger salamanders.

    Fire bellied toads.

    Bichers.

    Reedfish

    Green spot puffers. (One of my favorites.)

    South American bullfrogs AKA pyxie frogs. Including an absolutely gorgeous xanthic morph that I traded a Nile monitor for, straight across. (That lizard was the single worst pet decision I ever made.)

    Nile monitor.

    Five different species of terrestrial crabs and two aquatic ones. (Remember! If your crabs are shedding entire limbs with their exoskeletons when they molt that means their diet is deficient in molybdenum! Several types of "algae wafers" for bottom feeding fish have supplemental molybdenum and are good sources of same.)

    I generally don't do well with reptiles that require a lot of basking.

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    BigDon, you have so many animals! Are they all with you? Children often love frogs.
    Green spot puffers are pretty cute!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Mainstream and exotic sounds really arbitrary; chinchillas, sugar gliders, fancy rats and mice, ferrets, hedgehogs are all mammals, but they still sound a little exotic for many people. I decide to leave out guinea pigs and hamsters; they are all too common to be called exotic.
    There are millions of ball pythons and corn snakes being kept, but they are still called "exotic" 'cause they are reptiles.
    Yes, there really is no accounting for the strange and inconvenient way people have of using words. "Exotic" originally meant "not from here", but has evolved to mean something a bit different in the minds of most people.

    My 7-year old daughter decided to keep cabbage white caterpillars as pets. Most of them have parasitic wasp eggs laid inside them, and suddenly erupt into a writhing mass of tiny worms. So I don't think we are offering much assistance to the destruction of our own vegetable patch. All good education. However my wife and daughter are ganging up on me to get a cat.

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    I don't know about banning all exotic pets, but I do believe *most* of them should be. I think that if they're not native to the U.S. (or at least North America), and if they are potentially dangerous to either the environment (snakeheads) or people (tigers), then they should not be allowed as pets. Of course, domestic cats aren't native to the U.S., and many exotic invasions are the result of accidental hitchers (fireants, zebra mussels), but it's a start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff
    Yes, there really is no accounting for the strange and inconvenient way people have of using words. "Exotic" originally meant "not from here", but has evolved to mean something a bit different in the minds of most people.
    Are cats exotic to North America? We have indigenous dogs in North America, but most breeds are exotic.
    White-tailed jackrabbits are common in North America, and often are urban dwellers, but it has never been domesticated.
    I keep wondering why certain animals (horses, rabbits) can eat raw, spiky thistles? I've seen jackrabbits eating whatever greens are available; that's exactly why most people avoid eating urban rabbits (not house rabbits, but rabbits that loiter around urban area.)

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Inclusa View Post
    Are cats exotic to North America?
    Felis domesticus, the species that is domesticated cats, is not indigenous to North America; its parent species evolved in the Middle East. Actually, one might argue that no domesticated species is native to anywhere, unless that are identical genetically to the non-domesticated species.

    However, there are native cat species to North America. The Bobcat (Lynx rufus) is one, and it is in the same Family as domesticated cats and it is fairly closely related.

    The problem with domestic cats and dogs in America (and elsewhere in the world) is not their exotic nature as much as their numbers, particularly if they are allowed to prey on native wildlife. There is somewhere around 100 million domestic cats in the US. This is many times over the natural carrying capacity of the ecosystems in the US; in a natural situation you would just not have that many predators. They only reason there can be that many is that we feed them. But if we allow them to go outside, they will still kill prey, even if well fed. It is estimated that around a billion birds and small mammals are killed by domestic cats each year. I don't know what the numbers are for dogs, but it is also significant.
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  12. #12
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    In addition to domestic dogs (imported by the ancestral Native Americans when they came from Asia), horses (by Europeans) and cats (also by Europeans), "exotic" pets would have to include goldfish (Asia), canaries (?), guinea pigs (South America), and a horde of others. In fact, I can't think of any commonly owned pet in the USA that's a native species.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    It is estimated that around a billion birds and small mammals are killed by domestic cats each year. I don't know what the numbers are for dogs, but it is also significant.
    To what extent is this different from the level of predation that wuold have existed from natural predators in a no-human ecosystem, given that doubtless humans have made many of those predators, the small ones as well as the big ones, less common than they used to be?

    I ask this in in a spirit of enquiry, not knowing whether the answer is "more" or "less".

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    To what extent is this different from the level of predation that wuold have existed from natural predators in a no-human ecosystem, given that doubtless humans have made many of those predators, the small ones as well as the big ones, less common than they used to be?

    I ask this in in a spirit of enquiry, not knowing whether the answer is "more" or "less".
    I don't "know" (I don't have referenced data that I can link to that directly shows this), but from what I understand, it is much higher than the natural level of predation. One piece of evidence for that:
    two-thirds of the bird species found in the U.S. have declined over the last half-century, many precipitously.
    (link)
    And yes, I understand that there are other causes for bird population decline.

    But there is another aspect to it: even if it is an equal level of predation, it has a detrimental impact on native predator species, by taking away their food supply. If my pet cat doesn't get a kill for a couple of days (assuming I let my cats out), it will survive quite well on what I feed it; a native predator doesn't have that option.

    I found this PDF from the American Bird Conservancy that gives summaries of a bunch of studies. For example:
    East Bay Regional Park District, CA: A two-year study was conducted in two parks with grassland habitat. One park had no cats, but more than 25 cats were being fed daily in the other park. There were almost twice as many birds seen in the park with no cats as in the park with cats. California Thrasher and California Quail, both ground-nesting birds, were seen during surveys in the no-cat area, whereas they were never seen in the cat area.
    Last edited by Swift; 2013-Oct-03 at 04:57 PM. Reason: addtion
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    Swift, just think, with the westward migration of the temperate climate adapted northern Nile monitor, (Varanus ouchthathurts!), "outside cats" may soon be a thing of the past!

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    Mr. Inclusa,

    At the present time my collection is small due to health reasons. I'm down to just my African bullfrog and the occupants of two fish tanks now.

    Since the last time I posted my cape sundew collection was destroyed by possums, which seem to have an odd attraction to them. (Muddy foot prints gave them away.)

    I was most distressed.

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    Oops, my bad.

    I forgot about the ball python Tubey. Easy to do as I only feed him every two weeks or so. He eats a half a dozen live mice at a time.

    Though the last time I fed him I got careless and he bit the living bejesus out of my hand. Left a full dental imprint, including the vomers, and 7 teeth in me.

    Because of the split lower jaw it looked like I was bitten by a tiny hydralisk from the game Starcraft.

    And even though the bite has healed it still seems to be getting "funny" in spots. (Isn't "clean as a serpent's tooth" a saying somewhere? Or am I mixing my metaphors?)

    I'm starting to wonder if I got all the teeth.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDon
    Oops, my bad.

    I forgot about the ball python Tubey. Easy to do as I only feed him every two weeks or so. He eats a half a dozen live mice at a time.

    Though the last time I fed him I got careless and he bit the living bejesus out of my hand. Left a full dental imprint, including the vomers, and 7 teeth in me.

    Because of the split lower jaw it looked like I was bitten by a tiny hydralisk from the game Starcraft.

    And even though the bite has healed it still seems to be getting "funny" in spots. (Isn't "clean as a serpent's tooth" a saying somewhere? Or am I mixing my metaphors?)

    I'm starting to wonder if I got all the teeth.
    I hope it doesn't hurt too much, but ball pythons live way longer than dogs or cats, so they mean longer commitments as well. Is it true that Tubey is big in the middle and has relatively small heads and tails?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swift View Post
    I don't "know" (I don't have referenced data that I can link to that directly shows this), but from what I understand, it is much higher than the natural level of predation. One piece of evidence for that:
    (link)
    And yes, I understand that there are other causes for bird population decline.
    But there is another aspect to it: even if it is an equal level of predation, it has a detrimental impact on native predator species, by taking away their food supply. If my pet cat doesn't get a kill for a couple of days (assuming I let my cats out), it will survive quite well on what I feed it; a native predator doesn't have that option.
    I found this PDF from the American Bird Conservancy that gives summaries of a bunch of studies. For example:
    I don't think its that simple. If birds have a choice of nesting in an area with more predators and one with fewer, where will they go? If you have a conservancy without cats, will it attain a level of natural predators that existed before humans caused present extreme levels of habitat change?

    For example, wildcats F. silvestris were once present throughout the UK, with similar hunting habits to domestic cats, but are now confined to a small part of Scotland and may be extinct within a few years - they don't move back in just because you have a conservancy. The remaniing common UK predators, weasels, stoats, foxes, badgers, don't take many birds, though fox presence certainly militates against ground-nesting birds. If in some areas electric fox fences are being put up to protect ground-nesting birds from their natural predator, then this is probably because we have destroyed so many of the habitats for ground-nesting birds that we feel the need to artificially protect some areas for them. Pine martens take birds when they can, but they are today rare and local because of human disturbance.

    I think a major cause of bird population decline in recent times is habitat destruction and increasing agricultural efficiency (removing the weed and pest species that previously fed the birds).

    My prejudice is to suppose that cats are a problem - every argument I can find to discourage my wife from getting a cat.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivan Viehoff View Post
    I don't think its that simple. If birds have a choice of nesting in an area with more predators and one with fewer, where will they go? If you have a conservancy without cats, will it attain a level of natural predators that existed before humans caused present extreme levels of habitat change?

    For example, wildcats F. silvestris were once present throughout the UK, with similar hunting habits to domestic cats, but are now confined to a small part of Scotland and may be extinct within a few years - they don't move back in just because you have a conservancy. The remaniing common UK predators, weasels, stoats, foxes, badgers, don't take many birds, though fox presence certainly militates against ground-nesting birds. If in some areas electric fox fences are being put up to protect ground-nesting birds from their natural predator, then this is probably because we have destroyed so many of the habitats for ground-nesting birds that we feel the need to artificially protect some areas for them. Pine martens take birds when they can, but they are today rare and local because of human disturbance.

    I think a major cause of bird population decline in recent times is habitat destruction and increasing agricultural efficiency (removing the weed and pest species that previously fed the birds).

    My prejudice is to suppose that cats are a problem - every argument I can find to discourage my wife from getting a cat.
    Of course it is not that simple; most problems in ecology are not. From what I've read habitat destruction is a huge part of the problem, for many species the biggest. Predation by domestic cats and dogs is only one factor - even the references I linked to say that. But it is a factor that the average pet owner can do something about. It is mostly a discussion as to whether one should allow one's pet to roam outside; I'll leave the debate about whether you should get a cat to you and your wife.
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  21. #21
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    Fortunately, many cat owners keep their pets inside.

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