Keeping an animal (who is basically wild in nature) as a ‘Pet’

This ‘animal ( a Bear, a Lion, A Tiger…)’ has become a pet of my house-
Lately I’ve been noticing that the internet has been flooded with such videos. I don’t know whether these videos are original or fake, but many of them seem to be real. Such videos show how they love the Animal/cub by doing several affectionate acts, which we may show to our children. They get almost (if not 100%) 100% likes.
But does this kind of love do the animal that is kept as a pet any good?
Living a life without a proper mate, in an unnatural habitat, gaining weight day by day and thus becoming infirm from an early age…

Would you like to say something about this?

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Yeah, I’ve been seeing a lot of these videos. I think because I am a nature nut “the algorithm” just assumes that I want to see videos of some buff man play-wrestling with his pet lions/tigers/panthers.

I certainly have concerns over the animals’ welfare. The wild can be a harsh place, and well-kept captive animals often have lifespans that greatly exceed their wild counterparts. But I can’t help but feel like they aren’t where they are “meant to be”.

However, what I find even more concerning is that these videos promote this concept that wild animals are cuddly pets. While camping in the Smokies, I saw a Women standing right in front of an elk, patting her leg like you would if you were calling a dog, trying to get the elk to cross the road. She meant well; she wanted it to cross safely. But by standing in front of it and making noise and motion, she was actually preventing it from crossing, and putting herself at risk (both from the animal and for a ticket from park rangers).

I often also see videos of people interacting with wild deer (petting, hand-feeding, carrying young deer to “safety”). These are incredibly alarming, because far more people have the opportunity to interact with deer than with large cats.


Push back against the algorithm by telling it - NO - I do NOT want to see this.

We have practical fallout from that with wild seals. Cute and cuddly, till they bite someone who gets too close!


True, when they’re kept as Captive specimens in a right Place under expert keepers for some right reason. Nothing to say about that…
But I know you got the point what I am talking about. Millions of viewers are taking these videos very passionately and accepting that these ‘animal lovers’ are doing a great job for the Animals. Is it true?


Thanks a lot for sharing the article. Feeling very sad for the Seals. I was relieved to know that at least this change in their behavior was not because of any human act (or is it?) and wonder why the street dogs don’t bite anyone everyday despite being tortured so much by few person everyday.

However, I’ll like to quote the last lines of the article verbatim with few additional words (within brackets):
These animals are wild and should be respected for the risk they pose to people. If in doubt regarding a seal’s (animal/bird’s ) behaviour, it is always best to contact any of the seal rescue groups (Proper Competent Authority) to assess the animal.

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After the film “My Octopus Teacher” came out, a lot of snorkeling/freediving channels started posting videos with octopuses. Often, the swimmer (always pretty and bikini-clad, of course) actively placed the octopus on herself. There was one which used the word “emotional” in the title. Well, I felt emotional after seeing it, but not the emotion the vlogger intended – I was furious that she had harassed and harried the octopus until it squirted ink!

I would say no because the animal is probably being denied its natural behavior. Most wild animal behaviors are incompatible with human homes – the capybara wants its mud wallow, the wolf wants to dig a den, the prairie dog wants to live in a big group of other prairie dogs. The lion, tiger, or bear that you mentioned will never lose its instinct to hunt. A lot of the “love” people have for wild “pets” is really narcissism, thinking that the animal desires to be with them or exists to please them.

The allure of the exotic can be strong – I know, because it is the reason that I travel whenever I can. Having an “exotic” pet can boost a person’s self-esteem; that is, having a margay or caracal for a pet feels more special or sophisticated than picking up a plain old cat from the animal shelter. The fact that such exotic pets are far more expensive only augments these feelings.

Similarly, “play-wrestling with his pet lions/tigers/panthers” can boost the buff man’s self-esteem by making him feel big, strong, and brave – or dominant.

Are not these reasons as much about exploiting nature as hunting them for their fur or horns?


If someone tried this with a blue-ringed octopus, they would be courting a quick death.

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The problem is such Emotion/machoism (actually narcissism as rightly said) are spreading an utterly wrong message of being a Hero/Nature/Wildlife Lover to a greater portion (if not most) of the audience. The more people are impressed by such cheap unnatural acts, the more the normalcy of the environment will be damaged.
I have noticed, to gather the sentiments of viewers, often such vids start with some sequences like. ‘ When I saw this animal beside….he was trembling with cold/about to die etc’ showing that visually. I don’t know if we find any sick child anywhere, whether we should film him/her first before showing my greatness.

Removed some portion which may be too sensitive for somebody like the Tiger issue.

Yes, well-kept but for some other’s wellness.

Blue-ringed Octopus? Even a Stingray has shown how tragic an incident can be.

You might remember Elsa the lioness raised by the Adamsons. A fairly exceptional story, but probably not necessarily a model to be widely emulated. Considering another big cat story, The Sabi Sand lions, I would imagine that releasing a lion like Elsa into their territory would likely result in severe consequences. Mr T and Kinky tail weren’t all that socialable to put it mildly. You can read more here.


Reintroducing lions - but to territory where the previous population was hunted out.

Now we have bigger issues around captive breeding for ‘tiger’ bones.


Stories of George Adamson (a competent Forest man) and obviouly Joy, Elsa ( trained to live in the wild and released in the wild), The Sabi Sand Lions, Regular territorial fights between the Tigers/Rhinos in all their habitats, Rescue, rehab, eventually releasing several baby Rhinos (separated from their mothers in the flooded Kaziranga National Park almost every year by the Forest Personnel) back into the wild etc should neither be mixed up by anybody nor stand as any Example/valid logic to keep any wild animals as House Pets.

Feeling Happy, nice to read such articles. I was horrified reading an article named ‘Blood Lions: Bred for the bullet’, The documentary Blood Lions- I couldn’t see till end.

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I volunteer at a wildlife clinic that is part of a nature center. The nature center also has a lot of ambassador animals. These animals are unable to be released into the wild due to an injury. I believe we had an owl with either wing or sight issues, and one of my favorite of our turtles, a Blanding’s turtle, also has sight issues that make it impossible for her to hunt in the wild.

The other way we get our ambassador animals is when the nature center rescues an animal that was kept as a pet, OR the owner realizes the mistake they made and surrenders it. We have a bobcat who was neutered and declawed as a kitten, and when the nature center rescued him, they had to put a lot of money towards housing and feeding an animal that will never be released.

I also see a lot of these videos and images on Youtube and Pinterest. I see a lot of ‘pet’ opossums and otters especially, and it is my belief that with the sheer amount of stray cats and dogs on this planet, it is silly to choose a wild animal to keep as a pet.

I am also a lizard owner, however. I have a 4 1/2 year old brown anole lizard. I chose this species because I knew what it needs to thrive and because it is a species that is not threatened in the wild. (A. sagrei, the brown anole, is an invasive in the United States and it is important to keep in mind that escaped pets or feeder animals of this species can contribute to the invasive population)


And that is the big gap between cats and dogs, which have been domesticated for so long that their needs are well understood, and wild “pets.” There is a whole infrastructure of the pet industry supplying the well-known needs of cats and dogs, with the same levels of ongoing research and development as that put into toys for children or other consumer products. Wild “pets” do not have that supporting infrastructure.


May I request everyone to read the following article once?

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I express my sincere respect and gratitude to you and everyone in this world who take care of injured animals/birds, who cannot be released back into the wild.

The following portion may be removed/requested for removal by anybody/Moderator, if considered as violation of any principle of iNAT

In this respect may I humbly request u to watch a very ordinary video of mine on an Extra-ordinary hero of our country. (obviously no compulsion, only if somebody wish to watch)
Errata: he was not the oldest living tiger of the World as may be written once in my vid erroneously.
he was the oldest living Tiger in Captivity of India.

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We have Cheetah outreach -

Also a team of good people who care about snakes. They will come to your house / garden and relocate your snake somewhere safe. The man I follow on FB also takes his own ‘working’ snakes on outreach - mostly to schools, but any group that invites him. Wonderful to see the few kids who are wreathed in big grins - I see their future in Nature Conservation.


We didn’t have Cheetah in India. Cheetah became extinct in the 1950s in India, primarily due to hunting. As a part of a long-term conservation plan to re-introduce the wild cat into the country, India has started translocation of African cheetahs from Namibia and South Africa since 2022. With the recent addition of five cubs born in India to South African Cheetah (named ‘Gamini’), the total population of cheetahs, including cubs, in India is now 26 which is a significant achievement for India’s Conservation project with further future success hopes, …


Uhf. I bring a group of educators to Badlands National Park every year. We have a rule of thumb about the bison. Extend your arm, stick out your thumb and if you can cover the bison you are far enough away. If any part of it sticks out, back up.

Bison are habituated to people so they wander through the campground which means there are opportunities to get too close. What drives me crazy are the people who feel they have a special “kinship” or connection to bison so they don’t need to follow safety measures.

Oh yes, you do.


Many “wild” species of herps are not “wild in nature”. For example, a Cope’s grey treefrog is perfectly happy to sit on your hand (they love to hide in my big bonsai watering can so I get to interact with them fairly often). One woke my mom up in the middle of the night landing on her face! (It came in when we moved the tropical plants inside) just imagine laying in bed and a big cold wet blob suddenly lands on your face… interesting feeling😂. But my point is that it had absolutely no fear of her. I will note she does like frogs but not like that😜.

There are many others I can think of but just as many that are afraid of humans. American toads are not, corn snakes are not, green frogs are, black racers are… it’s a range of temperaments.

But I do totally understand the deal with wild mammals. I have a hard time feeling sympathy for people who get bitten by something they provoked (although ignorance is occasionally a reasonable excuse) especially when their motives are getting to selfie with it! :man_facepalming: