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An exotic pet is a rare or unusual animal pet, or an animal kept within human households which is generally thought of as a wild species not typically kept as a pet.
Commonly, the definition is an evolving one; some rodents, reptiles, and amphibians have become firmly enough established in the world of animal fancy to no longer be considered exotic. Sometimes any unique or wild-looking pet (including common domestic animals such as the ferret and the fancy rat) is called an exotic pet.
"Exotic" generally refers to a species which is not native or indigenous to the owner's locale; and "pet" is a companion animal living with people.American College of Zoological Medicine has defined the group as "zoological companion animals".Therefore, the
Legally, the definition is subject to local jurisdiction, but is defined federally in the US, in part: "[An animal] ...that is native to a foreign country or of foreign origin or character, is not native to the United States, or was introduced from abroad." However, "[The term pet] ...excludes exotic animals and wild animals."
It has been estimated that as many as 15,000 non-human primates are kept by private individuals as pets in the United States. Nine states ban the keeping of non-human primates, but no federal law regulates ownership. In 1975, the Center for Disease Control prohibited their import into the US for use as pets. The breeding industry uses descendants of animals imported before 1975. Non-human primates of various species, including those listed as endangered, such as cottontop tamarins, baboons, chimpanzees, Diana monkeys, lemurs and gibbons are still available for purchase in the US, although due to captive breeding, this does not affect wild populations. For example, chimpanzees are popular in some areas despite their strength, aggression, and wild nature. Even in areas where keeping non-human primates as pets are illegal, the exotic pet trade continues to prosper and some people keep chimpanzees as pets mistakenly believing that they will bond with them for life. As they grow, so do their strength and aggression; some owners and others interacting with the animals have lost fingers and suffered severe facial damage among other injuries sustained in attacks.
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