Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Wild animals deserve to live in their natural habitat, and trying to keep them as pets usually ends in disaster for the animal or owner. The most recent example is an alligator that was found dead in my town's local lake. This is an area where alligators are not normally found, and is also an area that people tend to dump their unwanted pets. This alligator had no chance for survival in this area, and it died needlessly due to human cruelty. The following article explains why it's not a good idea to try to keep alligators as pets.
Keeping an alligator as a pet is a very bad idea, my friend.
Keeping an alligator as a pet may seem like an exotic and exciting thing to do, but the fact is that alligators just don't make good pets. They require a large wet habitat to live in and live prey to eat. They can be aggressive and dangerous at times. They can grow to 12 feet long and more. All these factors can make alligators hard to maintain as captive animals, especially away from their natural habitat.
EcoFlorida has received several e-mail messages from people protesting this advice. All of them seem to be from people who have baby alligators telling us what a wonderful pet they have. But interestingly enough, they don't mention what they're going to do with the alligator once it grows to 4 feet or more.
Because we love wildlife (emphasis on the wild) and because we believe in the ethical treatment of all pets, we don't advise keeping an animal captive that you will later have to release. Releasing an alligator that has been held captive puts other people in jeopardy as the alligator comes into contact with people it happens upon -- because the alligator has become too used to people and lost its natural fear, increasing the chance of attack. Unless you are prepared to care for a non-domesticated animal for the rest of its life, then do a favor for the animal, yourself and the potential wild lands it would be released into -- and just don't do it. One person even indicated keeping an alligator in his/her house during the cold winter in a central state. This is a far cry from the subtropical wetland that alligators are intended to live in. We don't think living in a house is the best life for an alligator. Wildlife live the best life when they are allowed to live wild.
Before you think about taking an alligator from the wild, you should be aware that's regulated, too. Removing alligators from their natural habitat is against state law. In fact, there are also state laws against harassing and feeding alligators.
If you are truly interested in reptiles, why not learn about them and then purchase a lizard at your local pet store? You can always visit alligators in the wild at various natural areas throughout the southeastern states.