AARC Blog #4 – Wildlife as pets
Dr. Teresa Bousquet
Exotic Animal Veterinarian and AARC Board Member

As much as possible, we recommend adopting only captive-bred reptiles and amphibians. Wild-caught individuals tend to do very poorly in captivity. They often come with heavy burdens of parasites, some of which are very difficult to treat, let alone cure. They usually suffer extremes of stress during capture, holding and transport, and many do not survive this process. By the time a wild-caught individual reaches you, their health status is often very precarious. Many of these animals also come from populations that are already under ecological stress, and the added stress of collecting for sale can push their species towards the brink of extinction. It is not always easy to determine which animals are wild caught, and which are not. Pet store employees do not always know where their supplier got the animals they are offering for sale. Do your research to determine whether the species you are considering is commonly bred in captivity. If it is not commonly bred, expect to have to go on a waiting list, and pay a lot of money for a captive-bred baby. If someone is selling an adult animal cheaply, it is likely a wild-caught animal, and should be avoided. Visit reptile shows, read reptile magazines, and get in contact with your local reptile club (such as the Edmonton Reptile and Amphibian Society here) to find a reputable breeder for your chosen species.

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