By Kaela • 30 September 2020 • 11:46
Do exotic pet trends risk new pandemics? Many exotic animals have always been desired to have as pets. This goes back to many years ago when movie stars wanted monkeys, bears and tigers.
These exotic animals are being taken out of their natural habitat which has caused the animals to become ill or aggressive. However, with all of the dangers of having a pet like this there are still millions of wild animals being imported and exported around the world. Many of these animals are coming from countries with a higher probability of disease development.
Owning a hedgehog as a pet has become a very popular trend as of the last five years along with some reptiles. Pygmy hedgehogs are a miniature species of hedgehog and is the most common exotic pet, they can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa. Along with hedgehogs; snakes, lizards and spotted geckos were also largely imported in the last five years.
There were over eighty bats that were also imported to different countries even though the animals have been linked to zoonotic diseases. If the people that are selling the animals have licenses to sell them as pets, it remains legal. Over two million exotic animals were imported into the United Kingdom in under five years.
Due to the animals being taken out of their natural habitat and being out in captivity it causes major stress to the animals. The transportation process can weaken the animal’s immune system.
The virus that caused the pandemic, COVID-19 originated in Wuhan, China. It has been disclosed that the virus came from a wildlife market, where the virus came from bats. Not only is the importing of exotic animals affecting the animals but also humans.
Nevertheless, with the animals being taken out of their natural habitat it causes stress, dehydration, and weakening of their immune systems. It also effects humans as we are being put at risk because the exotic animals could be carrying certain diseases.
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