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What makes a species a good "pet"

  1. #1

    What makes a species a good "pet"


    Although I realize that this is gonna differ by person and by how each person defines "pet" but this is a fun philosophical question for everyone.
    In my opinion an animal can only make a good "pet" if it enjoys human prescence. This can be through domestication or taming

    To me animals should not just tolerate us, such as with snakes, but should also seek us out. My big ol' tegu and baby beardie will seek me out when I am in the room with them. My hamster and ball python;They'd prefer if I left them alone as much as possible. My dogs and cats will go as far as to follow me around all day. To me the hamster and ball python, although I love them feel more like house decorations than pets. Whereas my tegu and beardie feel like pets welcome in my home, and my dogs and cats feel like real and true family.

    If we could actually discuss this with an open mind would be nice, as I am doing my own studying and research on it. All opinions welcome, but lets avoid the lame catch alls like "any pet can be a good pet to the right person" which although true, doesn't encourage discussion.

  2. #2
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    speaking for myself I feal only domesticated animals should be kept as pets. cats, dogs, horses ect. Wild animals should be left in the wild. I don't like to see anything caged, what kind of a life does a snake have in a cage? Snakes have no loyalty, they tolerate you because you feed them, if there is no food, you'll do. A pet has loyalty to its owner, they want to be with you and do things with you.
    Last edited by linda2147; 07-20-2017 at 05:18 PM.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  3. #3
    I can understand and agree with that Linda. But what about tegus, sugar gliders, and some birds like macaws and cockatiels which there are some cases where; yeah they are just caged animals. But others, for example Macgyver the lizard; where the animal seems to really love and enjoy its life, perhaps being even more happy than its wild counterpart.

    We can't be sure whether an animal enjoys or hates its life in captivity or if it would prefer to be wild. We can only guess based on the clues they give us

    Just being devils advocate. Im not sure where I stand right now

  4. #4
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    tegus are aggressive, sugar gliders are dirty, and birds belong flying outside like they were meant to do. I have a friend that has parrots for the most part they live in cages and I keep telling her its no life for an animal to live in a cage. I don't understand the attraction in having an animal that is born in the wild being forced to live with humans. The wild animals are never truly tamed, they can turn on you in a heartbeat. Those big parrots can bite and will if given the chance. So no matter how tame you think your tegu or snake is don't be surprised if someday its "wild side" comes out and it bites you
    Last edited by linda2147; 07-20-2017 at 05:20 PM.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  5. #5
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    I'm with Linda, only domesticated animals make good pets and likely really appreciate being around people. Wild animals should not be taken out of the wild just because someone wants them for a pet, to me that's not natural and it's cruel.

  6. #6
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    Hold your horses (pun intended). Animals that are born in the wild include feral cats and dogs. Some can be fully tamed and become happy pets in homes; others are not trainable. What category do they fit in? I know a lady who tamed a feral kitten after having her spayed, but is unable to get another feral cat neutered because he won't go in a trap. Of course when discussing species that truly belong in the wild I completely agree with Linda. Keep birds, reptiles, etc. outside where they won't be treated like zoo animals.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

  7. #7
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    I would consider a good 'pet' animal to be an animal born within captivity and one which possesses the tolerances for a captive lifestyle, i.e. those that are not stressed by humans or captive housing, and can be provided adequate nutrition, appropriate environmental influences and natural behavioural repertoires can be fully expressed.

    Although some may be anti-snakes as pets, for instance, many captive populations possess both phenotypic and genotypic variations from their wild counterparts, meaning they are different on a genetic level, not just in appearance but behaviour too. These genetic variations give captive populations an advantage to captivity, and often a disadvantage for wild living. Corn snakes are considered the most domesticated snake species (domestication being a genetic alteration to a population which gives the animals an advantage for living in captivity). Although Corn snakes may not be as domesticated as dogs, for example, this does not mean that domestication on some level has not taken place.

    Carrying on with snakes, they are indeed capable of recognising individual people and their owners, and you can certainly build a rapport with the animal on some level. The goal is to have an animal that is not stressed by your presence. My snakes are energised by my presence because they know I'm the provider, I mean something positive to them, whether it's an opportunity to explore the room, or dinner time. The other goal is to be able to provide an appropriate environment that supports their physiology and allows them to express full natural behavioural repertoires, another achievable goal for snakes as a large vivarium can provide a contained climate of appropriate temperature and humidity and can be furnished with many hiding places and things to climb. They can also be taken out of their homes for further enrichment. Quite often my snakes will take themselves back into their own enclosures when they've had enough time exploring the bedroom as they recognise their enclosures as home.

    A further consideration for an appropriate pet is whether you can support the cost, not just of the animals maintenance but any veterinary costs too. Education about the species itself is another massively important factor.

    That's my opinion anyway.

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    To each his own, but I am not a snake or rodent person. Snakes have a brain the size of a walnut, so how intelligent can they be? They tolerate you because you represent food, but if there is no food available and they are hungry you'll do. They have no loyalty to you and no matter how nice their cage is they'd be happier out in the wild hunting and taking care of themselves.
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  9. #9
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    That's conjecture. Snakes are most closely related to the Varanid lizards, which are considered to be the most intelligent of the reptiles and have demonstrated a level of intelligence that rivals some birds and even mammals. Studies on the species Varanus albigularis have demonstrated the animals ability to count up to six, while studies conducted in the wild have also revealed that varanids are capable of hunting co-operatively to gain access to a difficult food source. Advanced cognition is required to coordinate a cooperative hunting strategy.

    Studies on Bearded Dragons, conducted at the university of Lincoln have also shown for the first time a reptiles ability to learn from imitation. Learning through true imitation is thought to be the pinnacle of social learning and long considered a distinctive characteristic of humans, and to a lesser extent, the great apes. Snakes themselves have directly demonstrated an ability to recognise different humans as well as their kin. Rattlesnakes in particular can recognise their kin after years of separation. They demonstrate social preferences unique to the individual (selecting the company of specific individuals while habitually avoiding others), conspecific alarm signals to warn each other of predatory threat and demonstrate parental care of their young (as does the African Rock Python). Another research study revealed that Australian black rock skinks exhibited long-term monogamy, stable social grouping, and evidence of “nuclear family” systems, attesting to the fact that the social organisation of some reptiles may be more complex than previously suspected.

    Both snakes and lizards are squamates and all share a common ancestor. The most recent studies on reptilian intelligence (which is bias towards lizards) indicates a common theme of advanced cognition previously unrecognised. I don't think it a stretch to consider that the squamates stem ancestor was sufficiently cognitively advanced, passing this trait on to the modern lizards and snakes we see today. This would account for the fact that various species of lizard are demonstrating advanced cognition independently of each other. Research is severely lacking in this field and there simply isn't enough research out there to know the full extent of reptilian intelligence, but the lack of knowledge from man does not mean a lack of ability from the animal.

    Furthermore, I think it unfair to judge an animal because it's behaviour is different to that of a mammal. Some of the forces which encourage social grouping in mammals (and what we consider to be shows of mutual trust) does not apply to reptiles. For example, it is an advantage for mammals to form social groups for thermoregulatory reasons as they are warm blooded and would benefit from the heat of others, social grooming also lowers the level of parasite infestation. The offspring of mammals are also comparatively less developed and unable to fend for themselves whereas reptilian offspring are largely self sufficient, furthering an advantage to social groupings for mammals. This does not mean that reptiles are cognitively underdeveloped, but rather they demonstrate a different approach to socialisation. Nor does this mean that reptiles are a-social, but rather the mechanisms for social groupings are different and from our point of view, more subtle.

  10. #10
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    snakes have the instinct to survive, any social interactions are for their own safety and protection, that doesn't mean they are smart, just adaptive
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  11. #11
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    Honestly, it's not as simple as that. I wouldn't be fascinated by them (and by extension reptiles in general), if it was, nor would there be any scientific literature stating otherwise, nor would my bookshelf be so full of reptile textbooks if that were the case, nor would I have gotten my degree in Zoo Biology if they were that simplistic.

  12. #12
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    if you want and like snakes thats entirely up to you. Far as I'm concerned the only good snake is a dead snake
    he is your friend and protector, he will love you unconditionally, you owe it to him to be worthy of such devotion

  13. #13
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    Wow, that's pretty harsh. I understand people being afraid of certain species, that's perfectly fine and I'm not criticising you for not liking them as a group, I wouldn't dream of it. Our prejudices shouldn't blind us from the facts, it is not opinion that snakes, like all other animals, feel pain as acutely as mammals (they posses the same number of nerves responsible for pain transmission as mammals), that they have developed an emotional aversion to anything that could harm them (a sense of fear, dread, apprehension, nervousness) and apposing emotional state (calmness, excitement, curiosity). They are not opinions but biological certainties. As are their unique personalities (yes, reptiles do develop their own personality and preferences). Snakes are only legless due to a fossorial ancestry and furless because of a biological need for energy conservation (cold bloodedness means an insulating coat isn't required), apart from that I can only see them as another animal on this planet, unique and fascinating.

    I understand peoples aversion because of the threat certain species can bring, out of 3000 known species of snake, only 200 are known to be dangerous to humans, but that danger is still present in the minds of people. Because their behaviour is not mammalian based it's harder for a casual observer to predict the animals behaviour, and it's this uncertainty that can make snakes scary, and understandably so. But snakes are not bitey, aggressive animals, and we also need to consider variation within a species rather than making sweeping aspersions about an entire phylogenetic clade. 15 years of owning snakes, I had only been bitten when I forgot to wash my hands after giving my pet rabbits, Lucy and Chester, some love and affection. Even when JD had surgery and I was cleaning her wounds daily and giving her baths she really didn't want, she never once considered biting, and the treatment would have been very uncomfortable for her. Benny is an incredibly fussy eater and is even picky about the colour of his food, they are not mindless eaters but have a sense of appropriate food recognition.

    These snakes were about a month old in the video below, they had learnt that they would get some exploration time if they came to me directly (Sebastian, Gabrielle, Speedy, Ralph are their names).



    My JD had learnt to pop the vents out from the back of her enclosure and get out, after doing it the first time she remember the technique so I had to glue them into place in the end. This had happened in a separate enclosure with another pair of snakes when one taught the other to pull the vent out of place. They also know where to push to open the door if it had not been closed properly. They learn like any other animal, but intelligence, cognition and behavioural evolution is another incredibly expansive topic that I'd recommend anyone to look in to, it's such an interesting topic! (well it is for me anyway :P).

    As an end note, much of what I write is out of pure love of the topic and your perfectly in your right to dislike snakes.

  14. #14
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    For the purpose of this thread, I am against having predators and prey in the same house. If you have a cat or dog, don't get a rodent. If you want a snake, it better be happy confined in one room so any visitors who hate snakes don't get freaked out.For that to happen, the snake must be born in captivity, not just a certain non-venomous species. And no, no, no for any kind of lizard. They have sticky feet that allow them to climb up walls, windows, and doors. I see this all the time. They are very good at running away if a person tries to capture one, but my neighbor's cat managed to put two in his mouth.
    Rescued is my favorite breed. Don't shop, adopt!

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