Why Can’t Every Animal Be a Pet?

Do you own a pet? If you are like many children worldwide, you probably have a type of creature at home that you enjoy spending time with. For some children, this may be a dog or a cat. Others may have a fish, a turtle, a guinea pig, or even a lizard.

However, unless you are a very unique person, it is unlikely that you have a giraffe, a bobcat, an alligator, a whale, or a polar bear as a pet. Why is that? Wouldn’t it be enjoyable to have some of those fascinating animals from the zoo as pets in your home?

Throughout history, humans have domesticated animals to be their companions, helpers, and sources of food. This process, known as “domestication,” began over 11,000 years ago. Certain animals, such as dogs, cats, pigs, horses, sheep, goats, chickens, and cows, have been able to form relationships with humans.

Experts believe that there are six requirements for an animal to be domesticated:

  • They need to have access to sufficient food. If an animal is too selective and only eats specific things, it may not be able to coexist well with humans.

  • They must mature quickly. People do not want to spend a significant amount of time feeding and caring for an animal that takes ten years or more to reach adulthood.

  • They need to be capable of reproducing while living in an environment such as a house or a farm. If an animal requires a specialized area or specific conditions to give birth, it may not be suitable as a pet.

  • They need to have a naturally gentle disposition. Cows and sheep are good examples of animals that are typically docile. On the other hand, wolves and zebras tend to be naturally aggressive and are not suitable candidates for living around humans.

  • They must not have strong instinctual tendencies to flee. For example, deer often panic and run away when frightened. Consequently, deer generally do not make good pets. Sheep, on the other hand, are easily frightened but have a flocking instinct that keeps them together in herds when they are nervous.

  • They need to recognize a clear leader. Most animals have a social structure and require a strong leader. With the exception of cats, most domesticated animals are content to accept a human in this role.

We typically select animals as pets that we are familiar with and that are well-suited for living with humans. Certain animals, like lions, porcupines, crocodiles, and kangaroos, are generally not suitable as pets because they may not be safe or happy living with humans.

Occasionally, people may have a pet that is not a common animal, such as a fox or a deer. These are referred to as “exotic pets,” and they are wild animals that have been trained to live with humans. Although some people have these types of pets, it is generally not advisable because they are not animals that can easily coexist with humans.

Although having exotic pets may appear enjoyable, they typically require more care and can be costly. Additionally, even if they are domesticated, these animals may still exhibit wild behaviors, posing a potential danger to humans.

While it may seem tempting to keep a polar bear as a pet, it would be impractical to maintain the freezing temperatures that they require. Furthermore, the constant smell of fish from their diet would likely become tiresome. Ultimately, it is better to stick with a dog or a cat as a pet.

Give It a Try

We hope you enjoyed learning more about the pets we keep! Remember to involve a friend or family member in the following activities:

  • Do you or anyone you know own pets? Create a list of all the pets you have encountered in your life. Can you recall their names? What is the most unique pet you have ever seen? If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be? Discuss with your parents to see if they would allow you to have such a pet. Use this as an opportunity to present your case for owning your dream pet! If you are unsuccessful, don’t worry. You can always dream of having that pet when you grow up!
  • Are you ready for a field trip? Request an adult friend or family member to take you to a local pet store. Explore the different animals and products available for sale. What types of animals do you find? What kinds of pet products are offered? Speak to a store employee about the reasons behind the selection of animals they sell. Feel free to ask any other questions you have always wondered about. Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about pets from the experts!
  • Considering a unique pet beyond the typical dog or cat? Before deciding, go online and check out the Top 10 Fascinating Pets. Which of the featured pets do you think would be interesting to have in your home?

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