Wildlife is one of the greatest joys of living on the planet that we do. We get to see it, enjoy it – but then we have to walk away. If you want to see badgers, foxes, hedgehogs and even deer, then it’s photographs or a huge amount of time spent waiting to see one.
It’s something that popular fiction tries to persuade us doesn’t have to be the case.
Owls act as both pets and messengers in the Harry Potter series; many a Disney film relies on a friendly wild animal sidekick. Yet in our hearts, we know it’s not a reality – that the “wild” is there for a reason.
But does it have to be?
It will probably come as no surprise to learn that the natural habitat of many forms of wildlife is under threat. Urbanization sprawls our cities outwards as an increasing human population seeks new land to call its own. The resulting impact on wildlife is cataclysmic, but there is no obvious solution.
If you have ever wanted to own a pet with a traditionally “wild” background, conservation is as good a reason as any to do it. It’s not dissimilar to the function of zoos. While we may balk at animals being kept for humans amusement, most zoos site conservation as their primary concern. Without them, species would go extinct.
If we domesticate more wildlife, then we can help lessen the stress of dwindling resources.
But Is It Possible?
In simple terms: yes.
Beneath that is the more realistic answer: yes, but it’s difficult.
You can’t go and grab the nearest badger and move it in with you – much as you might be tempted to do so. Instead, efforts have to be selective. In general, it is best to select from a reputable breeder who has experience with wild animals and can advise you further before taking the plunge.
The Experience Will Differ
Unfortunately, even with numerous hedgehogs and various types of foxes being brought into private hands – the result is not necessarily a common pet-owning experience. Dogs were once wild, and we now see them as man’s best friend, but that process took thousands of years and resulted in hundreds of different breeds. (Cats, on the other hand, largely domesticated themselves – choosing to be around humans for the abundance of food. They’re not stupid, cats.)
If you commit to owning a wild animal – even one bred in domestic settings – then you have to be aware of the problems it may present. Of course, there will be a huge amount of rewards to be also reaped, not least knowing that one part of the species is protected. You just have to recalibrate your expectations.
Should this put you off? Of course not! Some people are terrified of snakes; others happily share their lives with them as domestic pets. There is a pet out there for everyone. If you think you have got the time and dedication for a unique pet, then do a little research, and who knows where it may lead you?