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Is it acceptable to keep native animals as pets?

Article ID: 132
Last updated: 16 Apr, 2013
Revision: 2
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RSPCA Australia is opposed to the keeping of wild, native or introduced animals as pets or companions. Native animals require equally high standards of care as do any domestic pet, however it is much more difficult to adequately provide for them. In many cases they require specialised husbandry and facilities to mimic their natural environment and meet their physiological and ecological requirements. Most people do not have the skills, experience and facilities to do this (something evidenced by the difficulty many people have in providing adequate care for traditional types of companion animals).

Domestic animals have been selectively bred for hundreds or even thousands of years to ensure they have behavioural and physiological qualities that make them appropriate companions.  In contrast, wild animals are adapted to the wild, rarely enjoy human company or handling and are predominantly nocturnal in their habits.

The RSPCA believes that wild (non-domesticated) animals should only be kept as pets if:

  • The animals are clearly identified as being suitable for this purpose
  • The animals are relatively easy to look after, and can adapt to living and breeding in captivity
  • They pose no health or public safety risks to humans or other animals

All pet animals not intended for breeding should be desexed.

RSPCA Australia does not support proposals for keeping native animals as pets as a means of promoting their conservation - conservation programs are far better served by keeping animals in specialist captive breeding centres and in conditions as close as possble to their natural environment to increase the potential for future reintroduction.

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folder Is it legal to keep wildlife as pets?
folder Can I keep a native turtle as a pet?
folder Is it legal to sell exotic animals such as monkeys or tigers as pets in Australia?
folder What is the illegal wildlife trade and why is it inhumane?

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