Celebrities Who Owned Dangerous Pets
With fame comes money, and with money comes the ability to buy things that no one else can. Things like dangerous, exotic animals that should not be kept as pets.
This hasn't stopped famous people from buying those types of animals as pets. Not by a long shot. And sometimes those pets have become famous, just like their owners, and not always for the best of reasons.
These celebrities have kept the most dangerous animals as pets.
Melanie Griffith and Tippie Hedren
Known for: Body Double (1984), Something Wild (1986), Working Girl (1988), The Birds (1963), Marnie (1964)
Pets: 60-70 lions and tigers
Bottom Line: Melanie Griffith and Tippie Hedren
Tippie Hedren gained worldwide fame by starring in Alfred Hitchock's classic film "The Birds," so it was an interesting bit of irony when she gained notoriety later in life for letting lions and tigers roam free in her home.
Hedren's daughter, Melanie Griffith, also became a famous actress and lived in the home with her mom, stepfather and the animals. Griffith once was attacked by one of the big cats and required reconstructive surgery.
Hedren and Griffith now run a big cat sanctuary in California.
Known for: Rhyme Pays (1987), Home Invasion (1993), New Jack City (1991), Surviving the Game (1994), Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (2000-present)
Bottom Line: Ice-T
Just like many of the gangster rappers from the 1990s, Ice-T has understandably softened over the years, and you can see evidence of that in his pet collection.
Visitors to Ice-T's home back in the day were welcomed into his recording studio with a gigantic tank full of baby sharks.
But that's since been replaced with a gigantic, modern-looking "living coral" tank full of aquatic creatures you're more likely to see diving in shallow water off the coast of Hawaii.
Known for: The Twilight Saga (2008-12), Panic Room (2002), Into the Wild (2007), Snow White and the Huntsman (2012), Clouds of Sils Maria (2014), Charlie's Angels (2019)
Pets: Wolf hybrids
Bottom Line: Kristen Stewart
"Twilight" saga star Kristen Stewart wasn't raised by wolves. She just was around a lot of them. Her mother, Jules, raised wolf-dog hybrids around Kristen while she was growing up.
Kristen Stewart, who is the only American actress to win a prestigious Cesare Award, has kept up her love of the wolf-dog hybrids as an adult.
She famously went on "The David Letterman Show" and explained that while her neighbors had complained about her wolf-dog hybrids, they were actually legal to keep and she enjoyed making home-cooked meals for them.
Known for: Heartbreak Hotel (1956), Love Me Tender (1956), Elvis: The Comeback Special (1968), Aloha from Hawaii (1973)
Pets: Chimpanzees, kangaroos
Bottom Line: Elvis Presley
Elvis Presley's love of animals has been well-documented, and he always had a myriad of horses, dogs and birds on his massive Graceland estate.
What wasn't as well-documented was Elvis kept more than just your run-of-the-mill animals on his estate. He had a kangaroo he eventually gifted to the Memphis Zoo and had a chimpanzee, Scatter, who was essentially part of his entourage.
Elvis and his crew allowed Scatter to drink alcohol, which led to the chimp crashing a neighbor's dinner party in Beverly Hills and eventually his death. The chimp reportedly died from cirrhosis of the liver.
Known for: Rack City (2011), Hotel California (2013), Fan of a Fan (2015), Legendary (2019)
Pets: Tiger (duh)
Bottom Line: Tyga
"Rack City" rapper Tyga's relationship with reality star Kylie Jenner eclipsed his music career at one point, and in the cliche of all cliches, he was busted with an actual tiger living at his house at one point.
In 2014, someone dropped a dime on Tyga after he began posting pictures of his 7-month-old Tiger, Maverick, on Instagram, earning him a visit from a California Wildlife warden.
Tyga agreed to place Maverick in a wildlife sanctuary and avoided legal charges.
Known for: Shuffle Along (1921), Siren of the Tropics (1927), NAACP Woman of the Year (1951)
Bottom Line: Josephine Baker
Dancer, singer and actress Josephine Baker ruled the 1920s with her distinctive style, talent and personality. This included a pet cheetah named Chiquita, who traveled the world with Baker and also slept in bed with her.
Like a true artist, Baker wasn't always great at drawing the line between her life and her work. After she became a French citizen, she would often let Chiquita on stage with her during performances.
The cheetah was known to escape into the orchestra pit and cause chaos on occasion.
Known for: Appetite for Destruction (1987), GN'R Lies (1988), Use Your Illusion I and II (1991)
Pets: Boa constrictors, pythons
Bottom Line: Slash
Considered one of the greatest guitarists to ever live from his time with Guns 'N Roses and his solo career, Slash is also one of the most conscientious pet owners on this list.
Slash has a long history of keeping reptiles in his home — notably boa constrictors and pythons — and has looked out for the care of reptiles outside of his home as well.
Slash has been a longtime board member of the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, but he was forced to re-home most of his collection of snakes after the birth of his first son in 2002.
Known for: To The Extreme (1990), Cool as Ice (1991), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (1991), That's My Boy (2012)
Bottom Line: Vanilla Ice
Few people in the music industry have shot to fame as fast as Vanilla Ice did in the early 1990s. His song "Ice Ice Baby" was the first hip-hop song to go to No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
While his fame may have come crashing down shortly after his song went No. 1, Vanilla Ice still had money, and with that money, he chose to buy some pretty exotic, sort-of dangerous animals.
Most notably, he had a wallaroo (a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo) named Bucky, who escaped his home and caused havoc, including doing damage to a car.
Known for: Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Valley Girl (1983), Adaptation (2002), Raising Arizona (1987), Moonstruck (1987), The Rock (1996), Face/Off (1997), Con Air (1997), National Treasure (2004), Kick-Ass (2010), Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018)
Pets: Octopus, cobras, crocodiles
Bottom Line: Nicolas Cage
Oscar-winning actor Nicolas Cage has long been known for his eccentricities when it comes to what he spends his money on — including dangerous pets.
Cage once bought a pair of albino cobras to have in his home and kept anti-venom around in case someone was accidentally bitten. That wasn't the end of Cage's animal purchases. He also reportedly bought sharks, a crocodile and an octopus for his home collection.
Cage also had a thing for animal fossils. He bought a dinosaur skull that was 70 million years old and eventually had to be returned to the Mongolian government.
Known for: Off the Wall (1979), Thriller (1982), Bad (1987), Dangerous (1991)
Bottom Line: Michael Jackson
Anyone who knew about Michael Jackson's career also knew about his love of animals. One of his constant companions throughout the late 1980s was a chimpanzee named Bubbles, who often went on tour with the pop superstar.
There was nothing about Jackson that wasn't as extreme and strange as humanly possible and showing up in places carrying a full-grown chimpanzee fell directly in line with that.
When Jackson died in 2009, Bubbles had reportedly moved to a chimpanzee sanctuary in Florida.
Known for: Playboy Magazine
Pets: Literally had a zoo at his house
Bottom Line: Hugh Hefner
Is it a surprise to anyone that Hugh Hefner kept what amounted to almost an entire zoo at the Playboy Mansion?
Hefner, who died in 2017, was notable for his love of exotic animals — most notably flamingos — and spent decades cultivating his collection, which included monkeys, cockatoos and pelicans, among other things.
Hefner may have not had a lot of dangerous animals as pets, but at the point where you've got almost a whole zoo at your home in the middle of Los Angeles, there's probably some level of concern there.
Known for: President of the United States (1901-09), governor of New York (1899-1900)
Pets: Bears, lions, hyenas, snakes
Bottom Line: Teddy Roosevelt
Teddy Roosevelt is one of the more outsized personalities in U.S. history, so is it any surprise that he once kept a bear as a pet?
Roosevelt and his children were known to keep a variety of dangerous animals as pets both before and after his time as 26th president of the United States, including lions, bears, hyenas and snakes.
Most notable among those were bears. Roosevelt was once sent a baby bear from some constituents in West Virginia and had to eventually give the bear to the Bronx Zoo, but the family had five different bears over the years.
Known for: Heavyweight boxing champion (1987-90), The Hangover (2008)
Pets: White tigers
Bottom Line: Mike Tyson
At the height of his boxing career, Mike Tyson purchased three white Bengal tiger cubs for a reported $150,000. It was one of the more bizarre and well-publicized celebrity pet purchases of all time.
Tyson was also notoriously rough with the tigers, who were also incredibly expensive to keep in his home. The tigers ran through a reported $30,000 in food per month, and after one year of owning them, Tyson had to give them up to a sanctuary.
He famously spoofed his tiger ownership in the 2008 comedy "The Hangover," which grossed almost $500 million at the box office.
Known for: Super Bowl champion (2012), BCS national champion (2010), two-time AP All-American (2008, 2009)
Bottom Line: Terrence Cody
Defensive tackle Terrence Cody won championships at almost every level. In succession he won a national junior college championship at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, a BCS national championship at the University of Alabama and a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.
But his decision-making off the field wasn't as sharp, because Cody not only kept an illegal, dangerous pet in his possession. He also mistreated it.
In 2015, Cody was found guilty of illegally possessing an alligator and neglecting the alligator. He was sentenced to nine months in jail for that and other charges, including dog neglect and drugs.
Known for: The Persistence of Memory (1931)
Pets: Ocelot, anteater, bats
Bottom Line: Salvador Dali
Salvador Dali was one of the most well-known surrealist artists of all time and known for his bizarre personality traits, including his love of exotic, dangerous animals from a young age.
As a youth, Dali reportedly kept bats as pets, and as he grew older and his fame grew, he was known for taking his pet anteaters for walks in public.
Dali's most well-known pet was his ocelot, Babou, which essentially looked like a miniature cheetah and accompanied him almost everywhere he went.
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