Local Wildlife as Pets

  • Because local wildlife may cause injury or spread disease to humans and domesticated animals, they should not be kept as pets.
  • Many wild animals, like raccoons, can carry rabies – a harmful disease that may spread to humans or their pets when bitten by an infected animal. Symptoms of rabies in animals include erratic behavior and foaming at the mouth.
  • Wild cats (i.e. cougars, bobcats) are predators that make dangerous pets. Many cases of pet wild cats mauling or killing their owners have been reported. Children are the most frequent targets of wild cat attacks.
  • Bears can grow to weigh 200- to 1200-pounds. Some bears have demonstrated behavior such as hyper-aggression and self-mutilation when held in captivity. Even bears that have been muzzled and declawed have still been able to harm their owners.
  • Wild animals require special care and dietary needs that are often difficult to provide. During the first two years held in captivity, 90% of wild animals will die.
  • In most states, it is illegal to take animals from the wild without specific government issued permits.


Sources: Born Free USA; CWAPC- Captive Wild Animal Protection Campaign; Arizona Game and Fish Department; Centers for Disease Control; KYTX: The Eye of East Texas News; Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge


EcoHealth Alliance works at the intersection of ecosystem, animal and human health through local conservation programs and develops global health solutions to emerging diseases.
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