Comment: Exotic pets turn heads, but should you have one?

SINGAPORE: Videos of a gray crowned crane escaping from a house made the rounds on social media in April, sparking public interest in this majestic endangered bird.

While the owner says the bird is allowed, it brings to mind other viral clips of otters, hedgehogs, slow lorises and more kept as pets. These images and videos have grown in popularity in recent years, with Instagram accounts and YouTube videos dedicated to showcasing the domestic lives of these exotic animals.

While most people are content with the company of a dog, cat, hamster or rabbit, some prefer the idea of ​​keeping an exotic animal because of the the perceived novelty and challenges of breeding a rare animal.

In Singapore, government regulations prohibit keeping many species of wild animals as pets. However, the Wildlife Act authorizes the keeping of certain exotic animals when the risks to public safety and health are considerably lower.

These include red-eared sliders, American bullfrogs and birds (excluding crows, pigeons, mynahs and protected wildlife). Ownership of these animals is regulated and must be accompanied by a CITES permit (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora).

Regulations aside, one question remains – even if it were legal to own an exotic pet, does that mean you should?

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