Animals That Make the Worst Pets
There are thousands of beautiful, unusual and exotic animals all over the planet, but that doesn’t mean that each of them would make great pets. Choosing a pet takes thought, and even if you can own a pet zebra or tiger, it doesn’t mean that you should.
Many animals don’t do well in captivity, so the very act of forcing them into the role of a pet means you’re endangering them. Some animals are untamable, non-domesticated and frankly dangerous to have around.
In these cases, the best decision you can make is to leave an animal alone in its natural habitat and appreciate them from afar. These animals make the worst pets of all time.
Height: 11.2 feet (males), 8.2 feet (females)
Weight: 790 -990 pounds
Longevity: 30-50 years
Bottom Line: Alligator
You’re asking for trouble when you decide to keep an alligator as a pet. Think they’re going to fit right in with the family and sleep on your bed at night? Think again.
These animals weren’t created to be pets. Alligators like to trick people into thinking they’re not that fast or that their behavior is predictable, but neither is true. Never assume you can tell what an alligator is going to do or that you can outrun them.
Height: 5.9-9.8 inches
Weight: 5.5-14 pounds
Longevity: 12- 15 years
Bottom Line: Armadillo
Armadillos tend to have problems with parasites and pests, and they’re prone to certain diseases such as leprosy and malaria. You’ll have trouble finding a veterinarian to treat an armadillo, let alone an armadillo with a disease.
Armadillos aren’t social either. They get into fights with other armadillos and need space to roam and dig. Don’t forget about their super-sharp claws that damage almost everything they come into contact with, and that includes your patio furniture.
Height: 9.8-12 inches
Weight: 7-21 pounds (male); 3-7 pounds (female)
Longevity: 3-6 years
Bottom Line: Arctic Fox
Arctic foxes are extremely pretty animals, and they are tamable. However, no matter how much you work with them, you’ll never make them completely domesticated. They can be trained to coexist with people but will continue to be a threat.
They’ll always be wild animals, and you’ll never know when they might snap at you, bite you or worse. And you can’t have other small pets, as the Arctic fox will only look at them as dinner.
Height: Up to 7 inches
Weight: 1 ounce-3.3 pounds
Longevity: 5-30 years
Bottom Line: Bat
You’re not doing the bat any favors by keeping them as a pet. They don’t thrive in captivity at all. They need to fly far distances to stay happy and healthy.
If they’re kept locked up in any kind of cage or pen, it will be torture for them. A bat in captivity will be scared, lonely and won’t eat a healthy bat diet. Bats like being around other bats, not people. Bats don’t exist to act as spooky pets or live Halloween decorations.
Height: 13-16 inches
Weight: 8-15 pounds
Longevity: 9-15 years
Bottom Line: Bengal Cats
Bengal cats are beautiful, but they can be challenging to have as a pet. Bengals have many health and behavioral issues. It’s not unheard of for them to ignore the litter box, especially when acting out, and to pee all over the house. Plus, they often have chronic diarrhea.
They’re into scratching and will scratch up your couch or anything within claw distance. They’re extremely vocal and are constantly meowing. They don’t do well being left alone for too long, and you never want them bored because that’s when they’ll misbehave.
Height: 2.5 feet
Weight: 8.8 -13.2 pounds
Longevity: 2 years
Bottom Line: Black-Eared Opossum
Opossums look sad, and it’s easy to imagine that they have a hard life, so why make it even harder by capturing them? They don’t do well in captivity, and they’re known to develop metabolic bone disease from not having the right foods in their diet.
They’re solitary creatures, and if two are in a cage together, they’re not going to be friends and will probably kill each other. There’s also the strong possibility that owning an opossum is illegal where you live.
Height: 2 feet
Weight: 170 pounds
Longevity: 8-10 years
Bottom Line: Capybara
These extra-large rodents are generally pleasant enough to humans. However, if they feel threatened or aggravated, they’ll use their massive, rat-like choppers to defend themselves. They thrive in groups and must always be with other capybaras. Care must be made so that both male and female capybaras live together in an enclosure, or there will be some territory battles.
Capybaras aren’t the quietest animal to have a pet, as they make a lot of noise and must have another capybara to talk to, or they’ll get anxious, unhappy and stressed.
Height: 3-4 feet
Weight: 60-150 pounds
Longevity: 50+ years
Bottom Line: Chimpanzee
Chimpanzees are super cute, but they make terrible pets. For a chimpanzee to become suitable as a pet, they need to be taken from their mothers early. During this inhumane process, the mother usually dies.
Mature chimpanzees need to have constant care, or they’ll become aggressive. They’re extremely strong and have no problem biting people to show their displeasure. Chimpanzee owners have reported losing fingers and having parts of their faces bitten off by their angry chimpanzees. Yikes!
Height: 9-12 inches
Weight: 6-11 ounces
Longevity: 6-8 years
Bottom Line: Common Degu
Degu live their best life in large degu communities, so unless you’re willing to start a degu commune, they may not be the best choice of pet. They’re social animals, and if they don’t get enough interaction, they can become aggressive and distraught.
Communication is important for degus, and they’ll attempt to have a conversation with you using chitter-chatter sounds. However, if they feel like their life is in danger, they’re stressed or discover some other degu stealing their food, they’ll emit some very upsetting high-pitched screeches.
Length: 4-5.5 inches (male), 6-9 inches (female)
Weight: 0.5 pounds (male), 1.5 pounds (female)
Longevity: 25-40 years
Bottom Line: Diamondback Terrapin
Diamondback turtles adapt to their living situation when it’s a group setting and there’s enough room for everybody. If their enclosure is overcrowded, it will cause a lot of tension between them and have them sniping at each other.
Diamondback terrapins aren’t only picky eaters, but they’re also deliberately messy and often overturn their bowls. If you come upon one in the wild, do not adopt it. Leave it be, as wild turtles become very stressed and anxious in captivity and may end up with major health problems.
Height: 1.7-2 feet
Weight: 22-33 pounds
Longevity: 10 years
Bottom Line: Dingo
Dingoes are a wild dog breed — emphasis on the wild part. If they’re taken from their litter before six weeks of age and put through an intensive training program, maybe they’ll be partially domesticated.
But the owner of a dingo must never let down their guard, no matter how well trained their pet is because their behavior will always be unpredictable. Let’s just say dingoes will never become the loving companions that domesticated dogs have become.
Height: 6-8 inches
Weight: 1 ounce
Longevity: 6-8 years
Bottom Line: Emperor Scorpion
Emperor scorpions are the most popular scorpion to have for a pet, but they’re not recommended for households with children and other pets. They don’t have much personality, they’re not friendly and you can’t hold them, or they’ll get stressed out.
Their sting is likened to a bee or a wasp’s sting, and while it’s not super painful, people may have an anaphylactic or severe allergic reaction to it. Plus, they’ll spend most of their time hiding from you.
Length: 8-16 inches
Weight: 1.5-3.5 pounds
Longevity: Up to 15 years
Bottom Line: Fennec Fox
One of the first things you need to know before committing to a fennec fox as a pet is that they stink. They secrete a natural oil from their skin and fur that smells so bad that it repels predators.
They’re social animals and need constant attention from their person and will cry if they don’t get it. Don’t touch them after they’ve eaten, or they’ll bite you hard — so hard that it can be deadly to children. Fennec foxes are aggressive with other pets and aren’t good for most families.
Length: 4-6 feet
Weight: 20 pounds
Longevity: 20+ years
Bottom Line: Green Iguana
Many reptiles have loving, friendly personalities and make great pets, but iguanas aren’t one of them. They detest being touched and, if they feel threatened in any way, will whip you with their tail, which can cause damage.
They’re almost impossible to train and are a huge commitment as pets. Green iguanas are expensive to keep because of their specific diet and habitat requirements. They’re not a reptile you can stick in an enclosure and forget about.
Height: 1-4 inches
Weight: 0.08-11 pounds
Longevity: 15 years
Bottom Line: Hermit Crab
Having a hermit crab as a pet may be super fun for you; however, it will be a life of endless suffering for them. Their name may indicate a loner personality, but they’re actually extremely social creatures. They live their best life in large communities, so sticking them in a tank alone is a death sentence.
Warning: If you mismanage their temperature settings, it will cause them to suffocate. Leave them be in the wild, and they’ll live twice as long as they would in captivity.
Height: 17- 22 inches
Weight: 3.1-10.2 pounds
Longevity: 23-40 years
Bottom Line: Kinkajou
Kinkajous get extremely upset when they experience a change in habitat and become belligerent and aggressive. They’ll bite, scratch and cause serious injuries to humans. Their bites are intense, and they’ll attach their jaw to your body, clamp down, and their sharp teeth will penetrate skin, muscle and bone.
If that doesn’t scare you, they also carry deadly bacteria, which they can transfer to you through their biting. They’re nocturnal and hyperactive, so forget about sleeping if you have one in your house.
Height: 9-15 inches
Weight: 1.1-1.8 pounds
Longevity: 10 years
Bottom Line: Long-Tailed Chinchilla
Chinchillas are small and adorable animals but a huge responsibility for pet owners. They’re highly social, and living alone doesn’t suit them very well, as they need a lot of attention and stimulation. Chinchillas not only require a large cage, but they also need a lot of supervised outdoor time.
They’re messy, especially due to the dust baths they regularly take, which means you have to bring dust into your home for the chinchilla. Chinchillas and kids don’t mix because a chinchilla will bite when feeling scared.
Height: 7 inches
Weight: 1.1-1.4 ounces
Longevity: 10-12 years
Bottom Line: Parakeet
Who doesn’t love having a parakeet in their home? Anyone who values quiet, that’s who. These birds are one of the most annoying and noisy birds out there with their constant squawking and screeching.
Parakeets aren’t the healthiest of birds either and can get ill at the slightest temperature change. They require a lot of time outside their cage to stretch their wings and get some exercise. The real challenge is getting them back into the cage once they’re let out.
Height: 5 feet
Weight: 770-990 pounds
Longevity: 20-40 years
Bottom Line: Plains Zebra
Zebras are too wild to be tamed. They have entirely different needs than horses and shouldn’t be kept in stalls. They’re not rideable, and even if they were, they have a ducking reflex, so if you try to put something around their head like reins, you’ll get frustrated.
Not only do they have a deadly bite, but their kicking skills are also no joke. The force of a zebra’s kick can break your jaw easily. Word to the wise: Don’t get on a zebra’s bad side.
Length: 11-13 inches
Weight: 1-3 pounds
Longevity: 8-10 years
Bottom Line: Prairie Dog
Prairie dogs carry many diseases, including Monkeypox, and they’re susceptible to the plague. If they contract something dangerous, they put any close-by human population at risk.
If that doesn’t put you off, know that when they’re kept as pets, if they don’t get enough attention, social interaction and space, they’ll get depressed and sick. If you don’t have a spare six hours every day to devote to your Prairie dog, then you’re going to need to get a whole colony of them.
Height: 9-12 inches
Weight: 7-20 pounds
Longevity: Up to 20 years
Bottom Line: Raccoon
Raccoons are cool-looking, but they can be scary brats to live with. They’re high-maintenance and unpredictable, which isn’t a good combo. When they’re alarmed or unhappy, their go-to moves are biting or causing destruction.
Raccoons can be extremely mischievous and will act out by flipping over water bowls, repotting plants, dumping bookcases, tearing the trash apart, peeing on your stuff and stripping the bedsheets. Let’s not forget, they’re predators, so any other pets in your home will also be in danger.
Length: 1.5-3 feet
Weight: 4.9-31 pounds
Longevity: 3-14 years
Bottom Line: Red Fox
The good news is that red foxes are tamable. The bad news? That won’t stop them from being dangerous, destructive and hard to live with. They’re extremely smart, curious and have a strong digging impulse — but put those together, and you have a recipe for destruction.
Fox urine is a huge problem, as it has a long-lasting stench. Even foxes who’ve been litter-box trained still like to mark their territory on occasion, and if their pee gets on your carpet or easy chair, you’ll never get it out.
Length: 8-19 inches long
Weight: 7 ounces-14 pounds
Longevity: 3-15 years
Bottom Line: Skunk
If you’re considering a skunk as a pet, your only choice is a domesticated skunk. Domesticated skunks are descented, which is good for their owner but terrible for them, as their scent is the only way they have to defend themselves. If your skunk escapes, for instance, they will be in very serious danger.
Skunks require a lot of diligent care and can’t be left alone all day, or they’ll get up to mischief such as opening everything they can get their paws on.
Height: 7-10 inches
Weight: 3-13 ounces
Longevity: Up to 25 years
Bottom Line: Slow Loris
Owning a slow loris shouldn’t even be up for consideration as a pet since they’re an endangered species and illegal. However, they’re very cute, and everybody wants one.
These wild animals aren’t fun to have around, and they’re the only venomous primate, so they have that going for them. Their bites can be extremely painful and have been known to cause illness, loss of body parts or death. By the way, there’s no slow loris anti-venom, and at best, it can take weeks to heal from an attack.
South American Coati
Height: 12 inches
Weight: 4.4-17.6 pounds
Longevity: 7 years
Bottom Line: South American Coati
If you think caring for a permanent toddler with super-sharp teeth, claws and a destructive streak is fun, then a coati is for you. Coatis are widely regarded as not a good fit for most households. When male coatis become sexually mature, they get extremely aggressive, as do the female ones when they’re in heat.
Coatis are impulsive, and they will bite if they want to stop you from doing whatever it is you’re doing. Children are often the target of a coati’s hostility.
Length: 6.2 inches
Weight: 4-6 ounces
Longevity: 10-12 years
Bottom Line: Sugar Glider
Sugar Gliders may look adorable and friendly, but it’s not a good idea to get too close to them. They’re wild animals that live in large family groups, are very territorial and will violently defend their nests and food. Keeping one alone in a cage is a sure way for them to become depressed and vulnerable to self-harm.
They make a lot of noise, and when they’re anxious and afraid, they’ll let out a cry known as “crabbing,” which sounds like metal caught in a paper shredder.
Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel
Length: 6-12 inches
Weight: 4-9.5 ounces
Longevity: 7-9 years
Bottom Line: Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel
Squirrels aren’t made to be pets. They’re not tame, they’re very unhappy in cages, and they’re hard to handle. They’re a bad choice as a pet for a child since they need to be handled with care.
When agitated, they’ll bite, kick, and some have been known to jump on their owner’s shoulders and pull their hair out. They make a lot of noise, including a growling noise when angry. It’s best to leave these animals in nature where they belong.
Length: 11 feet
Weight: 600+ pounds
Longevity: Up to 20 years
Bottom Line: Tiger
Tigers are wild animals, and you’re risking your life by bringing a tiger into your home. How many people have to be mauled or killed before tigers aren’t considered suitable pets?
Remember tigers aren’t cuddly kitty cats, and you’re going to have to hold yourself back from touching them, as there’s always the chance that they’ll snap and maul or kill you. You’ll have to hire some qualified caretakers, but even with them, you’ll need to be around in case of crisis.
Length: 4 inches-30 feet
Weight: 4.5-99 pounds
Longevity: 9 years
Bottom Line: Venomous Snakes
If something is venomous, that’s enough of a reason not to want them as a pet. But many people think that having dangerous snakes impresses others and makes them seem cool. Some people have snakes to breed them and make money.
But snakes will bite you if they feel threatened or if you’ve overstepped into their territory. One of the problems of having venomous snakes in your house is if they escape, as they often seem to do, everyone in the household is put at serious risk of being bitten.
Height: 4-6 feet
Weight: 40-175 pounds
Longevity: 14-16 pounds
Bottom Line: Wolf
You won’t find anyone recommending wolves as pets. While there are dogs with some wolf in them, they’ve evolved. On the other hand, wolves are undomesticated and continue to do what they’ve always done — hunt and kill without any thought of joining up with humans.
Both dogs and wolves mark their territory, but wolves take it up a notch by doing it all the time. You don’t want to come into contact with the smell of freshly marked wolf territory, as it’s extremely strong and disgusting.
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