Exotic pets require another level of responsibility from owners

Exotic pets equal responsibility
Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 11:13 PM CDT
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Zoo takes calls daily, but not from people asking about admission prices.

Hattiesburg Zoo animal curator Kristen Moore said the calls frequently come from people trying to get rid of exotic pets, rangi9ng from snakes to lizards and even monkeys.

“So, a lot of people have exotic animals as pets,” Moore said. “It’s not something we encourage here at all. They take a lot of specialized care from diet to the type of enclosure they need to the type of socialization that they need.

“They just require really lot of specialized care.”

Russ Walsh, chief of staff at the Mississippi Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, said the department deals regularly with unwanted exotic pets.

Walsh said those considering ownership should understand one thing.

“These animals are wild by nature and so you need to understand that these animals can be dangerous, especially when they become human habituated.” Walsh said.

In Mississippi, it is legal to own some exotic animals with the proper permits

But before getting an exotic pet, Moore said to consider that the animals can cost thousands of dollars in up-front costs as well as for their long-term care.

”Do your research, and be prepared to spend a lot of money because these animals take such specialized care,” Moore said. “ It’s really expensive.”

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