Many people choose to own exotic pets. The definition of exotic pets is any non-native species which would include many reptiles and birds, but it also includes small mammals like guinea pigs and hamsters. Tropical fish are also exotics.
Exotic animals often require special habitats and care thus it is important to have a veterinarian who is trained in the special needs of their pet.
Some people buy exotic pets without realizing how much care they require, and then decide later on that it’s too much work.
Animal shelters like the ASPCA and Humane Society are having their resources taxed by abandoned exotic pets.
Some shelters do not accept exotics thus owners feel compelled to just let the pet go. This is not only inhumane, but it can present a serious threat to the environment as well.
The problem is serious enough that on April 23, 2009, the US Congress is considering a resolution that would severely limit the importation and ownership of non-native species.
Unlike past legislation, this resolution would specify the type of pets that could be imported, bought, sold and owned in the United States. Pets not specifically mentioned in the resolution would be banned.
It is unfortunate that the irresponsible behavior of a few people has made an action like this necessary.
Those who are responsible exotic pet owners may want to contact their representatives in congress to make sure their pets are specified, or that some provision is made for those people who already own and love exotic pets.