While the idea of having a wild animal as a pet may seem exciting and exotic, there are numerous reasons it is not a good idea. From their natural instincts to their specific dietary and habitat requirements, wild animals simply do not thrive in domestic settings. Today, our Los Angeles vets will delve deeper into why wild animals should not be kept as pets.

Should wild animals be kept as pets?

Wild animals should not be kept as pets for several reasons. First, these animals have specific dietary, environmental, and social needs that are difficult to meet in a domestic setting. Additionally, wild animals’ unpredictable behavior and natural instincts can pose a danger to humans. 

Keeping wild animals as pets also contributes to the illegal wildlife trade, which has devastating effects on populations in the wild. Overall, it is best to admire wild animals from a distance and support conservation efforts to protect their natural habitats

Common Wild Animals Kept as Pets

Below, we'll list some of the most common wild animals kept as pets and discuss why it's not a good idea.


Raccoons may seem cute and playful, but they are wild animals with strong instincts that are difficult to tame. Their sharp claws and teeth can cause serious injury, especially when they feel threatened or scared. Additionally, raccoons are known carriers of diseases such as rabies and roundworm, both of which pose a health risk to humans.

Raccoons also have a natural tendency to be destructive and curious, often getting into mischief around the house. They are skilled climbers and can easily escape from enclosures or cages, making them difficult to contain.


Opossums are wild animals that have not been domesticated, so they have natural instincts that can make them difficult to handle. They are known to be aggressive when they feel threatened, which can result in bites or scratches. Additionally, opossums have a strong odor that can be off-putting to many people.

Another reason opossums make bad pets is that they have specific dietary and environmental needs that can be challenging to meet in a home setting. Opossums require a varied diet that includes insects, fruits, and vegetables, as well as plenty of space to roam and explore. Without proper care and attention, opossums can become stressed and develop health issues.


Foxes make bad pets for several reasons. First, they have a strong natural instinct to hunt and roam, which can lead to destructive behavior in a domestic setting. This can include digging up gardens, chewing on furniture, and attempting to escape from enclosures.

Additionally, foxes have specific dietary needs that can be difficult to meet in a home environment. They require a diet high in protein and fat, similar to what they would eat in the wild. Providing this type of diet can be expensive and time-consuming, as it often involves sourcing specialized food items and supplements. Overall, the combination of their wild instincts and dietary requirements make foxes unsuitable pets.


Porcupines make bad pets because they have sharp quills that can easily injure their owners. These injuries are not only painful but can also cause infections if not properly treated. Additionally, porcupines require a specialized diet and habitat that can be difficult to provide in a home setting, making them unsuitable for most people looking for a pet. Overall, the risks and challenges of owning a porcupine outweigh any potential benefits, making them better suited to living in their natural habitat.


Bobcats are wild animals with natural instincts that cannot be domesticated. They have sharp claws and teeth, making them potentially dangerous to humans. Additionally, bobcats require a large amount of space to roam and hunt, which is difficult to provide in a domestic setting.

Furthermore, bobcats have specific dietary needs that are challenging to meet in captivity. Their diet consists mainly of small mammals such as rabbits and birds. In addition, bobcats have a strong prey drive and may exhibit aggressive behavior towards other pets or even their owners if they feel threatened or stressed.

Other Reasons You Shouldn't Keep Wild Animals as Pets

There are many other reasons, not just a lack of domestication and potentially dangerous behavior, why you should not keep a wild animal as a pet. For example, there are some ethical concerns.

One of the main ethical concerns of keeping wild animals as pets is the deprivation of their natural habitats and social structures. Wild animals have evolved to thrive in specific environments and social groups, and removing them from these settings can lead to stress, depression, and even physical health issues. 

Additionally, by keeping wild animals as pets, we are contributing to the illegal wildlife trade and perpetuating the cycle of exploitation and abuse of these animals. It is important to consider the well-being and rights of wild animals when deciding whether or not they should be kept as pets.

There is also the issue of zoonotic diseases. Zoonotic diseases, such as salmonellosis, can be transmitted from wild animals to humans through bites, scratches, or even indirect contact with contaminated feces. These diseases can pose serious health risks to both the animal and the owner, requiring expensive medical treatment and potentially leading to long-term health complications.

Alternatives to Keeping Wild Animals as Pets

One alternative to keeping wild animals as pets is to support conservation efforts and visit wildlife sanctuaries or rehabilitation centers instead. These facilities provide opportunities to observe and learn about wild animals in a more natural setting, while also supporting their well-being and protection.

Another alternative is to volunteer or donate to organizations that work to protect wildlife habitats and promote responsible stewardship of the environment. By supporting these initiatives, you can contribute to the preservation of wild animal populations and their natural ecosystems, without the need to keep them as pets. Ultimately, choosing these alternatives can help promote a more sustainable and ethical approach.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Rancho Park Veterinary Clinic believes in advocating for the protection and conservation of wildlife by spreading awareness and supporting reputable animal sanctuaries. But if you have a domesticated pet, such as a dog or cat, that needs a veterinary appointment, don't hesitate to contact our Los Angeles veterinarians today.