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12 Animals That Are Becoming Domesticated as Pets (With Pictures)

Quincy Miller

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned from James Bond films, it’s this: Every cool animal in the world, no matter how dangerous, will someday be owned as a pet by some rich jerk.

The problem only seems to be getting worse, as many wild species are slowly becoming domesticated by people with too much time on their hands and not enough sense in their heads. In the list that follows, we look at a few of the more egregious examples happening today.

To be clear, we’re not advocating keeping any of these animals as pets. Far from it — wild animals are meant to stay wild, and you shouldn’t mess with Mother Nature in this way. Just leave them in their natural habitats where they belong.

1. Foxes

fox on grass
Image Credit: Nadine Herbst, Pixabay

This one makes some sort of sense, as foxes are dog-like and absolutely adorable, so it was only a matter of time before someone tried to turn them into pets. Scientists at the Siberian Institute of Cytology and Genetics are domesticating foxes so rich people can own them.

The current asking price for a fox is $8,000, and you have to be approved by the higher-ups at the institute. At the end of the day, though, you’ll basically just have a fancy dog.


2. Wallabies

wallabies
Image Credit: Pixabay

These big marsupials are friendly and curious by nature, so it’s no surprise that they’d be turned into pets sooner or later. They’re fairly easy to keep, which is partly why they’re becoming increasingly popular in Australia.

They need to be kept in large backyards with extremely secure fencing, and they spend most of their time salivating, licking their paws, and regurgitating food.


3. Genets

This animal is kind of like a cat crossed with a mongoose mixed with a ferret. These long little carnivores have bushy tails and spots like leopards, and they’re found in various parts of Africa.

They can live as long as 35 years in captivity, and they eat plants, fruit, fish, and small insects. They’ve also developed a reputation for hitchhiking, as cameras set up in nature preserves have caught genets riding on the backs of water buffaloes and rhinoceroses.


4. Fennec Foxes

fennec fox standing on a rock
Image Credit: Stevie Lee, Pixabay

The smallest fox species, fennec foxes are known for their gigantic ears, giving them a completely adorable appearance. This makes them popular as pets, but they’re almost completely unsuitable for life in captivity.

They’re extremely high-maintenance because they need regular playtime, socialization, grooming, and feeding. They also like to make a great deal of noise at night.


5. Capybara

Capybaras
Image credit: Pixabay

These giant rodents are quite affectionate, but they’re also high-maintenance because they’ll require a swimming pool, plenty of food, and dedicated shelter.

Unlike children, they have strong survival instincts. That means they’ll bite when threatened, and getting bit by a giant rodent is no joke.


6. Skunks

skunk in grass
Image Credit: Geoffrey Kuchera, Shutterstock

Popular among people who have never watched “Looney Tunes,” skunks are legal to own in many states. When raised in captivity, they’ll often have their scent glands removed, so at least you won’t have to worry about stocking up on tomato juice.

Skunks are actually great pets because they’re affectionate, curious, and adorable. They’re like a cross between a cat and a dog, but in captivity, they lack many of the survival skills that those animals have developed, so they should never be allowed to roam around outside.


7. Axolotls

Leucistic Axolotl
Image Credit: ArnPas, Shutterstock

The axolotl looks like a tiny cartoon dragon, but these salamanders are becoming increasingly common in home aquariums across the globe. They’re meant to be stared at rather than played with, and they need large tanks all to themselves. They can live up to 15 years in captivity and are renowned for their ability to heal themselves (they can even regrow lost limbs).

That doesn’t mean they’re invincible, though, and the species is actually listed as critically endangered. That’s because their habitats are being destroyed by pollution, not to mention overrun by invasive species like tilapia and perch.


8. Mongoose

mongoose
Image Credit: Pixabay

Mongooses are notorious for being fearless hunters, so it would make sense that you’d want to bring one into your home (especially if you have a problem with cobras). However, they’re extremely high-maintenance and can absolutely devastate local animal populations if they get out.

They’ve also been described as “temperamentally unpredictable” and are extremely prone to rabies. Then again, having a rabid mongoose patrolling your house may be preferable to finding a king cobra inside your toilet bowl.


9. Serval Cats

Serval Cat side view
Image credit: Pixabay

Savannah cats are large breeds that have been almost completely domesticated, so it was only a matter of time before exotic animal enthusiasts moved on to an even bigger species. Serval cats are native to the grasslands of Africa, and they’ll behave like they’re still there, even if they’re living in your backyard.

They need a ton of space, and they’re prone to spraying and hunting, neither of which is something that you want to be on the wrong end of. Keep in mind that they’re still wild, so they don’t see you as their owner — you’re just a large piece of meat to them.


10. Degus

degu rat
Image Credit: dianakuehn30010, Pixabay

The degu is a small rodent that looks something like a cross between a hamster and a guinea pig. They’re often kept as pets in their native Chile, but there are quite a few restrictions on their ownership.

They are social creatures, so if you’re going to own one, you might as well own several. They eat seeds, leaves, and grasses, and they’re extremely prone to diabetes if fed any sugar at all. Given that sugar is a staple in many foods, it’s probably a good idea to just leave these guys in their natural habitats.


11. Moose

moose
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Kostroma Moose Farm in Russia tames moose for use as pets, but they’re also kept for their milk or sold for use as an animal attraction.


12. Tigers

tiger on the grass
Image Credit: Pixabay

There are actually quite a few people who keep tigers as pets (and we also know what type of person keeps tigers as pets). By some estimates, there are as many as 7,000 pet tigers in the world, which is more than the number of tigers in the wild.

Tigers are in no way domesticated, though, and keeping one near your home is a great way to turn yourself or a loved one into a tiger treat. Don’t think that your tiger would love and respect you either — if Siegfried and Roy couldn’t figure out how to tame tigers, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to crack the code.

leaves divider leaf

Stick to Regular Pets

While it may be tempting to be the only person on your block with a capybara, mongoose, or even a tiger, wild animals should be left alone. There are plenty of fantastic animals that have been domesticated already, and millions of them need homes — don’t waste a spot with an animal that would rather stay in their natural habitat.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Quincy Miller

Quincy has been around mutts his entire life and has been writing about them for the past nine years and now consists of sharing a house with three spoiled pups who couldn’t hold down a job to save their lives. Quincy never intended to be a cat person. When his wife brought home a kitten one day, he told her she had one week to find it a new home. That week turned into 10 years (his wife moves very slowly), and that kitten turned into three (they got two more, the kitten didn't self-replicate). After a decade of sharing his home with the dogs and three cats, one horrifying realization finally set in: oh God, he's a cat person now too, isn't he???