For pet we mean a species that has co-evolved with humans over thousands of years and that has an innate nature to interact with us. I'm pets pets, those with whom to share daily moments, within the walls of the house and not. Domesticated animals are those that do not exist free in wild Nature and that have evolved only thanks to relationship with Man.
We think of the dog, the cat, the hen, the cow. They are pets, (just from domus, home). To understand the difference, it is enough to understand that the dog is domestic and its cousin, the wolf is wild, think of the differences between the cow and the buffalo, the domestic rabbit and the wild rabbit, the domestic goat and the roe deer for example.
This should be specified because there are animals with whom it happens to share the space of the house, therefore literally "domestic", and others who are wild animals, unfortunately used as pets for human selfishness, but which are not domestic, but are domesticated individuals, but who have the same needs as their peers in Nature. Same pets they can then be divided into pets (dog, cat, bunny) and farm animals, which have a productive type of utility, be it milk, meat, wool, soma, especially referring to primordial activities. The main species of pets among the mammals are dogs, cats, hamsters, house mice and prairie dogs (guinea pig or guinea pig), rabbits, horses, ferrets, alpacas, pigs. Squirrels, weasels, hedgehogs, wolves, bears, marmots, beavers, roe deer, foxes, fawns, wild boars are wild animals, whose detention is illegal, being native (Italian) animals and the sale and capture of which is prohibited.
It is important to distinguish and understand an exotic animal from a wild one. The alpaca and the camel are for example exotic but domestic, while the roe deer and the wolf are wild but native (local-local).
The most popular pets they are undoubtedly cats and dogs, as far as mammals are concerned, followed by birds and fish. The latter, although not domestic, are however, unfortunately, very numerous because they are quite simple to keep and can be inserted in environments and diaries in which there is no space for a furry quadruped, but they are pets that require the purchase of specific equipment not entirely low-cost. Indeed, if you want to do things right, it's an investment. And we must ask ourselves, whether the choice to keep a fish in an aquarium or a bird in a cage is not a choice dictated by a selfish desire. Let us always remember that they are living beings, animals with complex ethological (behavioral) needs and that we cannot believe they are simple ornaments.
In addition to fish, always among the wild animals, unfortunately used as pets, we find reptiles, often exotic mammals, some types of amphibians and even arthropods such as spiders and scorpions. For birds, people keep birds such as parakeets, cockatoos, macaws and other species of parrots, canaries, doves, and even ducks indoors, in cages or aviaries. Among the reptiles, inside display cases, there are unfortunately lizards, iguanas, snakes, turtles and tortoises, small alligators, geckos and other exotic reptile species in the houses. The category amphibians it mainly includes newts, frogs, toads and salamanders. There are a lot of fish and are divided between freshwater aquarium fish and saltwater aquarium fish. More and more strange but unfortunately always kept at home, often by collectors, there are arthropods: ants, crickets, tarantulas and other spiders, scorpions and stick and leaf insects.
Let us remember that for none of these categories we can speak of domestic animals, as the species is a wild species that has not developed any innate nature to interact with humans. So let's talk, in the case of birds, reptiles, fish and amphibians of wild animals, in which, the single individual has been tamed through an imprinting process in which they are raised by hand and often taken from their natural mothers.
Wild and exotic animals kept as pets (to be avoided)
In the exotic, unfortunately the most popular wild animals are the meerkats (Timon of the Lion King), highly intelligent and social African mammals, often sold individually, which suffer greatly from captivity. An animal that should live in the savannah together with 15/20 of its conspecifics and finds itself alone in a small garden in Italy… imagine what abuse. Among the mammals, unfortunately very sold is the glider sugar, or the flying squirrel, a marsupial from Australia, Indonesia and New Guinea, which should stand out long gliding jumps among the trees thanks to an extensible membrane called patagio that connects all the limbs to each other. Imagine how much it suffers in a house or garden. Then there are the iguanas, a large slow lizard from South America with a typical crest on its back, more evident in males than females.
Also parrots they are exotic and are wild animals in great demand even if not always tractable. Precisely because of their intelligence and sociability they suffer a lot from captivity, as they should live in tropical forests, often in groups and not find themselves in contact with humans inside a house. Some species even live 80 years and are animals that behave like a 3-4 year old child. Many allow these poor birds used as pets to practice free flight, training them to fly and then return on the arm on call. Clearly in Nature a parrot would never land on the shoulder of a human being who calls it, so let's imagine when the keeping wild animals is unnatural and unhealthy for their well-being.
From bird to bird, among other tropical birds there is also the Indian Blackbird: his very elegant figure is not silent at all, on the contrary. These social animals repeat many words and over and over again, stay in a large cage and require a lot of company, they demand it, loudly. Clearly, even in this case, human companionship inside a cage is not what a bird that should fly free together with its conspecifics would need.
Small pets (recommended)
Now let's see some of the "strange" pets that over the course of thousands of years, they have co-evolved with the human being and whose interaction with us is normal and natural. They are small and treatable without too much difficulty and above all we are sure that our choice is ethical and respects animal welfare. Animals. As the Peruvian guinea pig, very sociable with humans, can live up to 10 years, does not bite everything it finds and can therefore be left free without problems, also ideal for children. Clearly, however, she is given a large cage (preferably a fence) with water and fresh food, to be kept clean.
Outgoing and sociable, i too ferrets they are small and easy to keep pets, although they do need a lot of attention and care. Ferrets are the domestic version of the skunk, they love to play and interact with everyone, and that's nice, but if you don't give them the time they want, they fall into depression. Better if taken in pairs. Similar as pets are also i Guinea pigs, a rodent native to South America. They are medium-sized rodents: they reach a weight of 1250 g and measure about 20 cm. They live on average between four and eight years. They give a lot of affection and need care and attention like any other pet.
Pets for children
Everyone agrees that the animals are positive and educational for the children: they increase self-esteem, teach respect, commitment, responsibility and win the distrust of diversity. However, it is important to make the child understand, before he has pets, that they are living beings and not toys.
And it's always better to adopt animals whose past has been difficult. There are associations where ferrets can be saved and adopted, in addition to many kennels and catteries in which it is possible to save from the street dogs and cats that need a family, even if not purebred.
Let's remember, that depending on the house we have, however, the dog must have one suitable size and above all, even if we live in an apartment and choose a small dog, this does not mean that the poor guy does not need to run in the meadows and smell the grass, do the needs at least 4 times a day, as well as clearly receive love, stimuli and attentions.
For the categories of small breeds we have Maltese, Cavalier King, Toy Poodle, Dachshund. If we have a house with a garden, we can range between Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Cockers and Border Collies. Among the large XXL sizes of dogs here are Terranova, Bernese Mountain Dog, Leonberger. In any case, avoid i brachycephalic dogs (with the flattened face) like Bulldogs, Bull Mastiffs, and Pugs: they suffer greatly and often die from respiratory problems.
In conclusion, it is best to avoid wild animals, as these are species that should live free in nature and not in contact with humans. Better to prefer pets who do not suffer from captivity. Let us always remember, that before adopting or buying a pet, we must be sure of the choice we are facing and that we must be more than certain that we can provide the animal with the necessary care, the attention it needs and above all be aware that it is not an ornament or a collector's item, but a life.
Written in collaboration with Chiara Grasso - Ethologist, President of the Association of Ethical Ethology ETHICOSCIENCE
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