Methodology assesses “companion” suitability of exotic pets

If you’ve got any clients with unusual exotic pets, how do you—and they—know if such animals are suitable to be companion animals? A recent study may help determine that.

Researchers from the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands, responding to the growing trend in keeping exotic animals as pets, have developed a methodology to assess the suitability of mammals to be kept domestically.

The top five animals in the Netherlands were: the Sika Deer, Agile Wallaby, Tamar Wallaby, Llama, and Asian Palm Civet.

The study was published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science on May 20.

The goal of the study was to develop a list of animals that can be kept as pets in the Netherlands without any special knowledge or skills. The first step was to conduct a web-based survey to discover which animals were most frequently kept as pets in the Netherlands. Other mammals were then added to the list based on data from veterinarians and rescue centers. Mammals were rated based on behavioral needs and health, welfare and human relationship risks to identify the top five candidates.

“A team is now completing the full list, analyzing the other 270 mammals,” said Paul Koene, PhD. “They are also looking at how to determine the suitability of birds and reptiles in the future. So, the impact of the study is that there is a framework and shared database that could be further developed in a more widely used context, for instance across the EU, the US or even worldwide.”

Photo credit: © iStock/&#169 Valerie Crafter

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