6 Pets from Around the World
Cats and dogs a little too tame for your tastes? How about bird-eating spiders and 200-pound pigs? Go for the exotic, and check out these 6 unusual pets from around the world.
1. Pets From Around the World: Cobras
Yes, cobras are common pets from around the world.These extremely deadly animals measure up to 19-feet in length, with some species capable of spraying their venom up to 6-feet away with remarkable accuracy. It can take mere minutes to die from a cobra bite, yet this hasn’t dissuaded some from taking cobras as pets. In 2007 a Toronto man was sentenced to one year in jail and fined $17,000 when his pet cobra escaped, forcing the other tenants in the building to evacuate their homes for five months. In 2009 a German teen was fined $134,000 when his cobra escaped and authorities had to tear apart his apartment’s walls and floorboards. By now you’re probably wondering just what kind of a person would own a pet cobra: Well, actor Nicolas Cage was rumoured to have owned not one, but two!
2. Pets From Around the World: Skunks
Before making a stink over pet skunks, check out the facts. Skunks as pets from around the world, although uncommon, can be found across North America. At around four-weeks of age, domesticated skunks (typically sold through private breeders) have their anal-scent glands removed, preventing them from spraying. “They’re extremely intelligent, loving, quiet and they don’t shed,” says Vivianne Chernoff of Skunks as Pets Canada. Chernoff says skunks are trainable in much the same way as cats, and are perfect for allergy-prone pet owners. She estimates there are thousands of pet skunks in the U.S. alone.
3. Pets From Around the World: Tarantulas
If the thought of owning a hairy tarantula sends chills down your spine, you aren’t alone. Arachnophobia (the fear of spiders) consistently ranks as one of the most common fears among both women and men. They are uncommon pets from around the world. Yet contrary to popular belief tarantulas can make quite pleasant pets, says Amanda Gollaway, owner and operator of Tarantula Canada. “There are some species that are very gentle,” Gollaway says. “The Mexican Red Knee, the Pink Toed Tarantula, those are well known for being pretty docile, so if somebody did want to take them in their hands they could.” Gollaway, who compares owning a tarantula to keeping pet fish, adds that they only require periodic feeding, can survive in a very modest terrarium and leave very little mess to clean up.
So, which species is among the most popular? Nicknamed the “bird-eating” spider, the Goliath, with its 8 to 10-inch leg-span and one-inch fangs, is a popular pick for arachnid lovers. “They can be a little defensive. It’s not a species I would recommend for handling,” she says. “Even though the venom is not medically significant, that would be one heck of a puncture wound.”
4. Pets From Around the World: Pigs
Pot-bellied pigs were a fad pet in the ’90s, when the adorable, pint-sized piglets proved irresistible to pet owners. Unfortunately, many who bought pot-bellied pigs didn’t realize they can quickly grow to upwards of 200-pounds!
Pigs are uncommon pets from around the globe, but what do pigs have that dogs or cats don’t? Smarts, for one thing. Pigs are among the smartest animals in the world, and capable of performing complex tricks and recognizing their own name. Recent evidence has shown pigs can quickly learn how mirrors work, putting them in the same intelligence category as apes and dolphins, making them the smartest domesticated animals in the world. Best of all, pigs have a Hollywood fan: George Clooney! The award winning actor once said his pet pig Max (who died in 2006) was the longest relationship he ever had.
5. Exotic Pets: Primates
Primates are pets in some parts of the world, even Canada. But there is no monkeying around: although primates make for adorable babies, they are highly uncontrollable pets. All you have to do is check the classifieds online to find hundreds of Canadians offering monkeys as pets, yet the facts suggest nobody should consider owning a primate. Most experts say raising a monkey without proper exposure to other primates will lead to serious mental development issues, and that once a monkey reaches full maturity their behaviour can be extremely dangerous to their human owner. Monkeys can also easily pass deadly diseases to humans, such as Hepatitis B, simply through scratching and biting. Worst of all, many owners have their monkey’s teeth or claws removed to make them safer for humans – causing great pain and stress to the animal. Do yourself a favour, leave monkeys where they belong: in the wild!
6. Uncommon Pets: Pigeons
While most Canadians would consider these birds the avian equivalent of a flying trash bag, many love pigeons for their remarkable talents. Making the pigeon our sixth uncommon pet from around the globe. Capable of flying upwards of 80 kilometres per hour, pigeons are often bred for their racing abilities. Surprisingly enough, pigeons are also incredibly intelligent birds. If well fed, pigeons will quickly learn to return to their masters and develop an affectionate bond with humans. Many pigeon-lovers will raise the birds from birth, sometimes feeding them by hand.
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