Exotic animals make unique, yet expensive pets. For some people, it’s fun to have exotic animals on their land. In fact, it isn’t even illegal in some areas. People find ways around the rules to own exotic pets like tigers.
There are actually minimal federal laws about owning exotic animals. If you live in some states like Alabama or Nevada, you can go buy a tiger without a permit. If you live in some states, all you need to do to buy a baboon is to fill out paperwork and pay an additional fee.
In the states that do outlaw owning exotic animals, people find loopholes. The US Department of Agriculture just needs to issue you a license to display the animal. The USDA states that only “exhibitors” can own exotic animals, yet almost anyone can classify themselves as such. This makes it easy for someone to buy an exotic animal, get a license then let people browse their “exhibit” for education. Next to the animal’s cage they just have to print out a document of the breed of the animal. This makes it legal.
You might be surprised to know you don’t exactly have to be rich to buy an exotic animal. Sometimes people are even trying to give away their animals for free. Many times people buy cute baby animals not thinking about the fact they grow into huge, scary animals. Animal cubs usually sell for about $3,000.
There is a fee to get a USDA license. This fee is only up to about $300. You must also have the facilities required by them. The Association of Zoos and Aquariums actually has much stricter rules regarding the required facilities. After you get a license, the government is not usually very strict about enforcing these facilities. They might check once a year. Even when they do find someone in direct disregard for the laws, it’s hard to enforce. Many times the zoos and sanctuaries are already overrun with animals, so it’s tough to add more. If they confiscate an exotic animal for their new home, it’s hard to find somewhere for it to go.
There are many expenses to owning tigers and other exotic animals. Healthcare is one thing to consider. There aren’t many veterinarians willing to take over the care of exotic animals. You usually need to bring in an expensive specialist. Food is very expensive when caring for a tiger. If you want to feed an adult tiger, you need to think about 15 pounds of meat per day. Some people get around this amount of meat by feeding their animals road kill.
You will need a lot of land and space to house an exotic animal. A male tiger needs about 40 square miles of land. A female tiger needs about seven square miles of land. This might not even be enough as they like their space.
Exotic animals are never tamed. They may be calm for decades, yet snap in a second. It’s never safe to own a tiger or another exotic animal as a pet. Even if you’re “rich,” they could care less. They love meat. The laws are in place for a reason. There’s a reason exhibitors are the only ones that can legally put animals on display.