WILD ANIMAL PETS
But it’s so cute – I want to take care of it – it will make a great pet
NO NO NO and NO
First please think of the animal. It deserves to lead a natural life. Not a life in a cage as a show toy. It deserves to be respected. Leave it in the wild. If you are not willing to transport it to a licensed rehabber then walk away and let nature take its course.
A frightened hurt animal is not a photo op. Use your cell phone to call a rehabber or the conservation officer. Don't subject the animal to a selfie with you. This often leads to death from stress.
In Kentucky we have laws against keeping wildlife. K.A.R Title 301 governs laws concerning wildlife. You can be heavily fined with possible jail time.
“301 KAR 2:081 prohibits holding native wildlife as a pet. If an injured or "abandoned" animal is picked up, it must either be put back where the person found it or taken to a KDFWR permitted rehabilitator. Once again, wildlife do not make good pets and should be left where people find them.” From the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife website
Wild animals make bad pets.
In our wildlife rehabilitation center we get lots of calls from people who have kept wildlife as pets and are now having behavior issues.
Take raccoons for example. They are very cute as kits and they are so smart and so amusing. But guess what? HORMONES! When raccoons reach puberty they are cranky. They bite, they poop everywhere and they become very destructive. If they are living in your house it’s a bad scene. (We have taken in pet surrenders and confiscations and these animals need lots of help to discover their inner wild).
Often what happens is that their “family” suddenly hates them because they have been “bad” and kicks them out of the house. That raccoon has no idea how to survive. No one has taught him to fish for food or climb trees to get to safety. These are things a mother raccoon does – or a trained rehabber. That pet will soon die of starvation or become a neighborhood menace and are of victims of human abuse and get shot. It’s not worth it!
wild ANIMALS carry diseases
Have you had your rabies shots? The truth is that wild animals often carry diseases and parasites. Some of those diseases and parasites can be fatal to humans. You do not want to risk your health or that of your family. Wildlife Rehabilitators are trained in zoonoses (animal to person diseases) and how to treat the animal safely. Not to mention we ourselves get rabies and tetanus shots - ouch!!
Again. Wild animals do not make good pets. Would you like to see my scars? I get bitten a lot. Even when wearing protective leather gloves. Wild animals have not had thousands of years of domestication. They will not grow up and act like your dog.
Are you interested in becoming a wildlife rehabilitator? Check out my article.
Did you find a baby animal? Check out this page for steps on what to do.