Why You Should Not Bring Home A Wild Animal
Especially as we get to the warmer parts of the year, you will start to see many wild reptiles and amphibians coming out to enjoy the sunshine. Some will be emerging from hibernation or brumation and may be looking to lay their eggs, re-establishing the best sources of food and just generally exploring the world around them.
Especially for the reptile and amphibian enthusiasts, this can be exciting as we get to see much more wildlife in its natural habitat. Although it could be tempting to think we could offer these critters home with us, you must resist the temptation to take wild animals home with us.
There are a lot of reasons why you should not bring a wild animal home, here are some of them:
Wild animals do best in their natural habitat.
There is no doubt that you would love your new wild-caught friend and do your best to give it a healthy, happy life, but you cannot change the fact that they are wild. When animals have been kept and bred in captivity for a long time, they become better suited to life in captivity. Also, when you decide on getting a new pet, you would usually do research and preparation before bringing them home. Even though you may be reasonably certain you know what they need, there are things that you probably weren’t aware of pertaining to their care, and you could end up giving them a lower quality of life with you than they would have had in their natural habitat.
Wild animals are likely to be stressed out around you.
Since they have grown up in the wild, they will not be used to your presence, and they will view you as a predator and will be very stressed out by your presence. Even if you were to meet their needs with regards to care, your presence would remain a source of anxiety and stress. Both reptiles/amphibians do not react to stress well; having that constant source of anxiety for them can cause serious health problems.
Reptiles who have been bred in captivity are more used to humans in general, the sight and smell of humans does not cause them stress like it would to a wild animal.
State Laws That Protect Reptiles
Each state has an individual DNR or Department Of Natural Resources that has laws regarding the collection and possession of different animals. This particularly applies to species that are threatened or endangered. Unless you research your state’s laws before you went outside, then that animal you just picked up could be a threatened species, and taking it from its home could be illegal. Removing the reptile from their home could not only be harmful to them but could also get you into trouble.
Local Reptile and Amphibian Population
Before removing an animal from it’s home, the impact that it can have on the local environment and ecosystem needs to be considered. You have no idea if that lizard you picked up happens to be pregnant, and you now have a bunch of babies that require a certain habitat to survive. Taking this animal home has now had a direct effect on the local population. Not to mention, you will also be preventing your new friend from finding a mate and contributing to the gene pool. If you want the best for the local wildlife and ecosystem, it is best to leave it alone and just observe and enjoy it’s beauty that way.
Wild Animals Are More Likely To Carry Disease
Chances are, if you’re interested in picking up a wild reptile or amphibian, you’re already a reptile enthusiast and have at least one of these at home already. Even if you don’t, you still need to consider the fact that nature is not as clean as a captive environment, and all sorts of nasty parasites and diseases could infect your pets should you not be careful enough. They will also undoubtedly need to be seen by a vet, which can be extremely costly. The stress alone from being taken from their natural habitat is enough to lower their immune system and cause them to become sick from something that was otherwise not having such an effect before. It’s just best to play it safe and not take the risk.
What If The Wild Reptile Needs My Help?
Generally, reptiles are not given enough credit concerning how well they can handle everything. If you see a baby reptile outside on its own, you may assume that it needs your help, but the fact is that these reptiles have all grown up this way and made their way in the world without help from their parents. You’re more likely to do more harm to a baby reptile by attempting to help it than if you just left it alone and let it figure things out for itself.
Even when crossing the road, most reptiles are capable of doing so without assistance and can move quite fast. Even turtles, despite their reputation, are capable of crossing without getting into too much trouble. Still, if you see one struggling with a busy street and feel that you must help, you should handle them very carefully. Grip them by the rear part of the shell that joins the top and bottom portion together and move them to a safer spot that isn’t far away. Only ever try and help if the road is safe for you to enter.
You may see a snake in the road; you should never use your hands as even though you are only trying to help, the snake is not aware of that and will try and defend itself. Instead, use a stick or other sort of long object to gently move them to safety.
What To Do If I See A Reptile Outside?
Watch and appreciate, there is nothing wrong with simply observing them in their natural habitat. Pull up a chair, take a picture, maybe one will even come and say hello! Just don’t take them home, they will appreciate you more for letting them be.