The truth about lorises

The latest celebrity fad is getting pet lorises. They’re adorable! They have such big eyes and a funny face! And look, they like to get tickled!

tickling-slow-loris-o

Aww, so cute. I want one. At least, that seems to be the typical response in followers of pop culture. Anna Nekaris, a professor of primate conservation at Oxford Brookes University, has been documenting the loris fad and doing her best to expose the reality of the loris trade.

They created a Wikipedia page on loris conservation, and Nekaris appeared in a powerful BBC documentary, Jungle Gremlins of Java. The film paints a decidedly less cute picture of loris daily life. In addition to habitat loss, the bushmeat industry, and being used in traditional (read: unscientific) Chinese medicine, the pet trade claims countless lorises each year. Traffickers rip the animals out of their environment—often killing mothers to take their babies—and then isolate the animals in abysmal conditions. Because lorises have formidable canines, dealers pull their fangs or cut them out with nail clippers (and no, they don’t use Novocain on the streets of Java). Many lorises die before they can even be sold as pets.

But back to the case of Sonya, that beloved little tickle monster. Even if she was stolen from a jungle, even if her teeth had been snipped, didn’t she still look like she was enjoying her new home and loving the attention from her owners? Well, I’ll leave you with one last bummer: no, she wasn’t. A loris with its arms up is in a defensive position. The little fireface gets its venomous bite from patches of skin on its inner elbows that secrete an oily toxin. With elbows akimbo, the loris mixes the venom with its saliva and then delivers the powerful concoction with tiny, specially curved teeth on its lower jaw. The bite is extremely painful and takes a long time to heal. And in rare cases, the venom (which some say smells like sweaty socks) can bring on anaphylactic shock and death in humans.

Not so cute anymore, is it? That’s a pissed off loris that wants to bite you and poison you and see you dead.

Comments

  1. gussnarp says

    I’ve modified my stance slightly on this after being savaged by rodent and weasel loving horde members, but I still say we have plenty of domesticated animals. If you want a pet, adopt a domesticated animal in need of a home. Wild animals are not pets and there really ought to be a law against the keeping of wild animals and the import of wild animals except by zoos.

  2. says

    This is why simply anthropomophing animals is a Bad. Thing.
    You understand that your dog doesn’t smile when it shows its teeth, right? Right? So, don’t think any other animal looks “happy” or “sad” unless you read up on their body language.

  3. says

    Interesting tidbit: some dogs learn how to do a human smile by curving the ends of their mouths upwards, sometimes exposing the teeth in the process. They do this purely because it makes their people happy. A natural dog smile, that communicates happiness/pleasure to other dogs, is a dog hanging its jaw open. And of course, showing lots of teeth means fear/aggression.

    I just find it interesting how animals learn body language that’s different from their species’ body language, specifically to communicate with us.

    Giliell is right: if dogs can do it, so can you.

  4. embertine says

    GF and I watched this docu, because we adore lorises and were aware of the terrible pet trade in them. If you are having a bad day I fundamentally do NOT recommend it. We were in floods, but glad we had seen it because, what, not watching the sad programme is going to help somehow? Of course not. I just hope it reached some people who didn’t know.

    I cannot tell you how many arguments I have had with people about Sonya, where they have sent me the video and said, “Aw, look at the cute beastie having tickle times” and I have replied “THAT ANIMAL IS FUCKING TERRIFIED YOU FESTERING LACKWIT”.

  5. Rey Fox says

    Here I was thinking that you were going to expose that lorises aren’t really so slow.

    But yeah: No, people, you can’t “have” that cute wild animal you see in pictures. They’re wild animals. Unless you’re a licensed and trained wildlife rehabilitator, leave them alone.

  6. borax says

    @3 Kevin, I agree completely. The one particular animal that stands out for me is chimpanzees. I cannot understand why anyone would want to keep an animal that can them at will. See also; great cats and poisonous snakes.

  7. David Marjanović says

    What.

    I didn’t even know there was a pet trade in lorises. And now I learn it not only exists, it does lots of damage.

    [a minute later]

    Out of words.

  8. gussnarp says

    @borax – Yes, here’s a wild animal that is incredibly intelligent, is known for settling disputes with extreme violence in the wild, has opposable thumbs and enormous canine teeth, and is entirely capable of tearing your arms out of the sockets. Let’s make it a pet because it looks so funny in a tutu!

  9. Doug Little says

    Wild animals are not pets and there really ought to be a law against the keeping of wild animals and the import of wild animals except by zoos.

    Actually can we do away with zoos as well. There is no need to rip wild animals from their natural habitat for any reason.

  10. borax says

    @10 gussnarp, For fun, google “hairless chimp”. Juiced to the gills body builders would look upon those guys and give up in a second.

  11. F [is for failure to emerge] says

    it seems the original video has been pulled. maybe someone had a realization or grew their conscience a bit?

  12. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    maybe someone had a realization or grew their conscience a bit?

    Maybe the person who put the video up just got back out of the hospital.

  13. moarscienceplz says

    Thousands (millions?) of dogs and cats get euthanized every year and these puddinheads want to rip a wild animal infant out of the jungle and out of it’s mother’s care.

    *spits*

  14. JAL: Snark, Sarcasm & Bitterness says

    11
    Doug Little

    Wild animals are not pets and there really ought to be a law against the keeping of wild animals and the import of wild animals except by zoos.

    Actually can we do away with zoos as well. There is no need to rip wild animals from their natural habitat for any reason.

    Way to over look the good a lot of zoos do.

  15. anchor says

    @moarscienceplz #16

    “Thousands (millions?) of dogs and cats get euthanized every year and these puddinheads want to rip a wild animal infant out of the jungle and out of it’s mother’s care.”

    Yes: *spits* seconded.

  16. Holms says

    Actually can we do away with zoos as well. There is no need to rip wild animals from their natural habitat for any reason.

    I disagree, a zoo provides more than mere ‘gawk at the zany animals’ photo opportunities. They are not only educational, they can inspire many an urchin to take more interest in the natural world and many take part in breeding / repopulation programs.

    Probably more stuff too, but those are the benefits that occurred to me with about 30 seconds of thought.

  17. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    We have this joke about city kids believing cows are violet (Milka chocolate ). Yeah, we need zoos that take proper care of animals, providing them with best environment possible considering, and that are oriented towards education.

  18. burgundy says

    Has anyone seen Blackfish? Do you know if it’s possible to watch both it and the loris documentary and not hate people forever?

    I have very mixed feelings about zoos. Yes, they do serve useful purposes. But I don’t know how it can be ethical to, for example, take a social animal that wanders across large territories and keep just a couple of them in an enclosure (e.g. elephants.) Or take solitary animals with large territories and keep a couple of them in an enclosure (e.g. tigers.) I’m not a zoologist; I’d be happy to be corrected by someone with more knowledge than I have.

  19. embraceyourinnercrone says

    moarscienceplz @16
    Yes , according to the Humane Society web site approximately 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters each year. FYI October is Adopt a Shelter Dog month in the U.S. But as with anything you should research what breed/siz animal is a good match if you are thinking about adopting an animal:

    Adopt a Shelter Dog

    At my local animal shelter they also have to deal with abandoned “backyard farm” animals. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong(from my point of view) with raising your own chickens/rabbits/goats, too many people go into it with no idea of the needs or temperament of the animals they intend to care for and they end up abandoned or abused.

  20. Doug Little says

    I understand that zoos do some good but the traditional function of a zoo (A collection of exotic animals for people to ohhh and ahhh over for a fee) is obsolete. I’m sure there are ways that the same research could be done with better conditions for the animals and without displacing and moving them to completely different environments. Elephants in Detroit (well before the city went broke), is fucking ridiculous.

  21. A. Noyd says

    @Doug Little (#24)
    The reality is, a lot of species have little left of their natural habitats. And many have to contend with poachers and farmers and the like killing them. You think people who work at zoos wouldn’t do better for the animals if they could? All the keepers I’ve met and worked with are extremely concerned for the health and psychological wellbeing of their charges. The money just isn’t there to provide more than the basics. But simply getting rid of zoos wouldn’t fix anything, especially not for big animals that need a lot of territory.

  22. Doug Little says

    All the keepers I’ve met and worked with are extremely concerned for the health and psychological wellbeing of their charges.

    Oh absolutely, I’m not arguing that the people who work at the zoos don’t do their jobs to the utmost of their ability or don’t care deeply for the animals that are in their care, but how much can you really do? Is an animal confined in a zoo better off than being in the wild or in a sanctuary?

    The money just isn’t there to provide more than the basics. But simply getting rid of zoos wouldn’t fix anything, especially not for big animals that need a lot of territory.

    Well the big animals can be shipped to sanctuaries that do have an appropriate amount of territory for them to roam in once the zoo has been closed down.

  23. antigone10 says

    Seriously folks, stick with companion animals. Dogs and cats have been breed for many, many generations to thrive in a human environment. They actually like it. It is the environment they have been adapted to (or in the case of cats, possibly adapted us to. They were a little more proactive in their domestication than dogs were). Wild animals do not flourish as companion animals, nor are they good for us. Yeah, I think lories are cute. I think that Fennec Foxes are adorable. But my 7,000 square foot town home is not going to be enough for an animal that is used to ACRES to live in.

  24. Doug Little says

    But my 7,000 square foot town home

    That’s quite a home you have there. You meant 700 right?

  25. says

    Jesus, this is terrible. I remember looking up pygmy loris ages ago, because of our long term regular with that nym, and came upon a couple of people who specialized in them, lived in the jungle, and were doing everything right. Cute as they are, they aren’t pets and aren’t meant to be pets.

    Is it not enough that so many animals on this planet, in every single fucking town (in the U.S. at least) are awaiting rescue? There’s something that can give you a thrill in exchange for a good home and environment, all you have to do is look. Adopt a rat! Adopt 10 rats! Adopt a ferret or four. Take that older dog or cat home. Adopt a beautiful lizard or snake! Whatever floats your boat. Just don’t deal in the sort of sleazy horrible trade that ends up with a miserable wild animal in your house.

  26. says

    Doug:

    That’s quite a home you have there. You meant 700 right?

    Not necessarily. Some people do inhabit a McMansion. Geez, my little house in the middle of nowhere is 3,000 square feet.

  27. says

    They actually like it. It is the environment they have been adapted to (or in the case of cats, possibly adapted us to. They were a little more proactive in their domestication than dogs were)

    …wait what? Are you saying that all those jokes about cats choosing humans to be their owners have a basis in fact? XD

  28. says

    Rutee Katreya #31
    AFAIK, wild cats noticed that granaries were chock-full of rodents, and started living in them to get a constant food supply. The unnatural density of rodents led to a high population density of cats, and the ones who stayed started to get more social, and exhibit other signs of domestication. Human noticed that their grain wasn’t getting eaten anymore, figured out quickly that th cats were responsible, and started trying to encourage them to stay, and the rest is history. Literally.

  29. A. Noyd says

    @Doug Little (#26)

    Is an animal confined in a zoo better off than being in the wild…?

    Given the state and safety of available natural habitat for most critters, yes. (I’m talking about zoos that make a decent effort at humane treatment.) That’s what I’m trying to say. Not to mention, a good percentage of animals currently in zoos could not survive in the wild. Some because they were born in the zoo, some because of debilitating injuries, some because they’re rescued exotic pets, etc.

    Well the big animals can be shipped to sanctuaries that do have an appropriate amount of territory for them to roam in once the zoo has been closed down.

    Because sanctuaries are magical and don’t have the same funding issues as zoos? Nope, try again. You’re suggesting fantasyland solutions to real world problems. Also, the more territory an animal has to roam, the easier it is for by poachers to get at it. Beefing up security takes even more money.

  30. Ichthyic says

    I understand that zoos do some good but the traditional function of a zoo (A collection of exotic animals for people to ohhh and ahhh over for a fee) is obsolete.

    One, the “traditional” function of zoos as merely display museums has indeed not been the sole function of them for hundreds of years.

    In addition to providing breeding programs for rare and endangered animals, research on habitat and feeding requirements, social interactions, and MANY MANY other aspects of animal biology and behavior that literally could NEVER be studied in as much depth or with as easy access in the “wild”. Moreover, don’t discount the value of people being able to ooh and ahh over seeing an animal for the first time that they had only heard about from stories.

    It engenders many people to learn more about the animals, which in turn leads to support for conservation measures, as well as people deciding to go into being biologists to begin with. I wouldn’t have gone into biology myself but for having met a captive dolphin when I was five years old.

    Many of the advances in animal husbandry that we now take for granted were hard won by many years of animals being kept in zoos.

    All it takes is going to google scholar and typing keywords like “research zoos” to see the huge amount of data that has been collected by research done in zoos, that would never exist if the zoos didn’t.

    sorry, but underlying the attitude that we no longer need zoos is the same reasoning underlying we no longer need animal research in general.

    It’s a myth.

  31. Ichthyic says

    So you are saying that Wanda and Winky were better of in the zoo rather than the sanctuary?

    are you sure you want to use specific examples to make a general point?

    be sure now.

    I suggest you retract your argument.

  32. says

    Dalillama:

    The unnatural density of rodents led to a high population density of cats, and the ones who stayed started to get more social, and exhibit other signs of domestication.

    Heh. Haven’t been around barn cats much, eh?

  33. busterggi says

    “That’s a pissed off loris that wants to bite you and poison you and see you dead.”

    So, essentially they’re cats?

    No wonder the feral kitten I caught last week growled at me last night as it took my chicken off my plate.

  34. A. Noyd says

    Doug Little (#34)

    So you are saying that Wanda and Winky were better of in the zoo rather than the sanctuary?

    Whatever Wanda and Winky’s particular circumstances are, that you’d ask that shows you’re not paying attention to what I’m saying. (Note, for instance, that my first paragraph of #33 addresses returning animals to the wild and the second addresses sanctuaries.)

  35. Doug Little says

    are you sure you want to use specific examples to make a general point?

    be sure now.

    I suggest you retract your argument.

    I was responding to the comment that moving zoo animals to sanctuaries was fantasy.

  36. Doug Little says

    Moreover, don’t discount the value of people being able to ooh and ahh over seeing an animal for the first time that they had only heard about from stories.

    Jesus Christ there’s this thing called the internet?

  37. Doug Little says

    A Noid,

    Because sanctuaries are magical and don’t have the same funding issues as zoos? Nope, try again. You’re suggesting fantasyland solutions to real world problems. Also, the more territory an animal has to roam, the easier it is for by poachers to get at it. Beefing up security takes even more money.

    You accused me a suggesting fantasyland solutions to real world problems. I gave you an example of one of the most prominent zoo animals there is and testimony by the experts at the zoo that a sanctuary is better for the animals. Not sure how many poachers there are in California?

  38. says

    Caine
    Heh. Haven’t been around barn cats much, eh?
    Compared to bobcats, that is signs of domestication. Less flippantly, they do show significant degrees of neoteny, incresased intraspecific and interspecific sociability, increased color variation, and other characteristics of domestication relative to African and European wildcats, their nearest wild cousins.

  39. Rey Fox says

    Jesus Christ there’s this thing called the internet?

    Yes, because fuzzy Youtube videos are a perfect substitute for actual real-time viewing of animals with nearby experts to answer questions. Could you please at least stop trying to miss the point?

  40. Ichthyic says

    Jesus Christ there’s this thing called the internet?

    …and there were these things called photographs before that.

    just as irrelevant.

  41. Ichthyic says

    I was responding to the comment that moving zoo animals to sanctuaries was fantasy.

    …by using a specific example to try to refute a general argument.

    like I said…

    I’m rapidly losing any desire to continue this discussion, since you apparently are unaware of why your reasoning is failing.

  42. says

    I’m sorry, did you just say that lorises secrete toxin from their elbows, then collect it in their mouths with special teeth to inject when they bite something? Am I the only one who thinks that’s amazingly preposterously wacky? I can’t believe ya’ll are sniping about the philosophical ramifications of domesticated animals and ignoring such incredible biology.

    [...]we no longer need zoos[...]

    “Need” is such a relative term, don’t you think?

  43. Ichthyic says

    Not sure how many poachers there are in California?

    tens of thousands.

    oh… you mean for the SPECIFIC ANIMALS you were mentioning?

    right…

    I suggested you retract your argument, because it was stupid.

    I was doing you a favor.

    you apparently don’t care if anyone thinks you an idiot.

  44. unclefrogy says

    keeping wild animals that show no “natural instinct” to hang around humans as pets is being ignorant about the animal.
    I’m thinking that there are some animals other than cats and dogs that might be willing to be tamed.
    If the studies I have heard about how dogs came to be domesticated are true I would suspect that most of the animals that have been domesticated would share a similar history. They are the result of individual animals that showed less fear of us than the others.
    the reason I bring this up is last year I discovered a ferral cat had made a nest for her kittens under a lumber pile in my yard one of the kittens let me pet it 2 days before I ever fed them the rest not so friendly. I picked one of the others and had a time getting him off of my hand his teeth and claws were extremely sharp and his jaw was very strong.
    I kept the one I could pet the rest went away some where.

    there is another thing about us and animals that I think relates to the attraction to animals like the Loris it is the structure of the face it has a suggestion of a human baby in its proportions hence its cuteness.
    Hamsters are kept as pets but not naked mole rats or for that matter western pocket gophers .
    squirrels are cute even though they are also very destructive and can carry rabies but rats when seen wild are generally not looked at in the same way. One has big eyes and runs around in the day time the other has smaller eyes and is nocturnal but given the chance are equally destructive and disease carrying .
    uncle frogy

  45. Doug Little says

    OK Here we go according to Wikipedia a good zoo does the following.

    To breed endangered species
    To co-operate in conservation breeding programmes with other zoos
    To educate visitors about animals and conservation issues
    To maintain high standards of animal welfare
    To carry out scientific research
    To support the conservation of animals and their habitats in the wild

    Not much to argue with there. My main beef is with point 4 and animals that require more space than the zoo can offer. Detroit thought it was better for their elephants to move them to a sanctuary both for physical and physiological reasons, incidentally their enclosure was 10 times bigger than recommended. I wonder how many zoos that fall into the good category still keep elephants? And then there are zoos that are for profit and entertainment, that don’t do any of the above mentioned things.

  46. Doug Little says

    Yes, because fuzzy Youtube videos are a perfect substitute for actual real-time viewing of animals with nearby experts to answer questions. Could you please at least stop trying to miss the point?

    Yes because seeing an animal in an enclosure lying down in between feedings is so much better and representative of what the animal actually is and does. Last time I checked a good documentary is shot in high def showing the animal in its natural habitat doing what it does, and you get an expert narrating the whole thing. If you have questions, go online and find the answers.

  47. Ichthyic says

    Here we go according to Wikipedia

    that the best you can do then?

    you’ve never even considered the real question before, that is rather obvious.

    why don’t you go and spend a few days looking at the real issues involved, read a few of the research papers that have come out of zoos, and then maybe I might take you seriously on this.

    seems like right now, you’re just talking out of your ass.

  48. Ichthyic says

    btw, FWIW, since the OP was about keeping wild animals as pets…

    animal in zoo ≠ pet

  49. Doug Little says

    I still standby this.

    I understand that zoos do some good but the traditional function of a zoo (A collection of exotic animals for people to ohhh and ahhh over for a fee) is obsolete. I’m sure there are ways that the same research could be done with better conditions for the animals and without displacing and moving them to completely different environments.

    I think that animals that need more room that a zoo can offer for their well being should not be there. I believe that with all the technology we have you can get a richer more in depth experience without actually having to see the real live animal in an enclosure, I just find it obsolete.

  50. A. Noyd says

    Doug Little (#43)

    You accused me a suggesting fantasyland solutions to real world problems. I gave you an example of one of the most prominent zoo animals there is and testimony by the experts at the zoo that a sanctuary is better for the animals.

    You’re still completely missing the problem. It’s nothing at all to do with whether sanctuaries are better for the animals.* It’s that sanctuaries, like zoos, cost a fuckton of money to run. And if the money isn’t there for zoos, it’s sure as hell not there for sanctuaries. The fantasy (which I thought was clear form my sarcastic question) is thinking that moving all zoo animals to sanctuaries is anywhere close to economically feasible.

    And your, “but it worked for these two elephants” argument doesn’t prove anything. Something that works in a limited context doesn’t necessarily work beyond that. For instance, I could buy every homeless person in Seattle a nice breakfast for one day, but I couldn’t possibly sustain that. So “A. Noyd buys breakfast” is not a real-world solution to feeding homeless people.

    As for poachers, I’m not sure why you’re asking about California other than you’re stuck on your single example. I was making a more global point. (Though, poachers are a huge problem in California for marine species, apparently.)

    …….
    *Given what I know of animal rescue, that’s certainly arguable. Depending on who’s running it, a sanctuary might have more space, but nothing else going for it. Zoos, on the other hand, have a lot of support staff (like nutritionists and plumbers) and support facilities (like on-site veterinary hospitals).

  51. says

    Ichthyic

    animal in zoo ≠ pet

    I second this. Whilst the zoo topic is clearly related, folks might want to step back a little and not let it dominate the thread.

  52. Doug Little says

    why don’t you go and spend a few days looking at the real issues involved, read a few of the research papers that have come out of zoos, and then maybe I might take you seriously on this.

    Like I said, I don’t dispute that zoos do research it’s in the bloody list I posted. I posted an article with the zoo’s director saying this.

    “People’s traditional expectation of zoos is that they see lions and tigers and elephants,” zoo director Ron Kagan told the Detroit Free Press for a story published Thursday. “But it’s also their expectation that an animal has a good life.”

    The Detroit Zoo is widely recognized for its superior animal care. But Kagan said life in captivity nevertheless has caused physical and psychological problems for Winky, 51, and Wanda, who is in her mid-40s.”

  53. Ichthyic says

    it’s in the bloody list I posted

    …that you just now looked up, but were entirely unaware of before, which is why you initially claimed zoos were not needed.

    fuck off Doug, you’re being nothing but disingenuous now.

  54. Doug Little says

    It’s nothing at all to do with whether sanctuaries are better for the animals.* It’s that sanctuaries, like zoos, cost a fuckton of money to run. And if the money isn’t there for zoos, it’s sure as hell not there for sanctuaries.

    Well it has everything to do with it for me and sanctuaries fall under the same set of regulations as zoos, In essence they are zoos with more room for the animals and less gawking convenience for the general public.

  55. Doug Little says

    “People’s traditional expectation of zoos is that they see lions and tigers and elephants,” zoo director Ron Kagan told the Detroit Free Press

  56. A. Noyd says

    @Daz (#57)
    Yes, sorry, I’ll stop my part. I don’t think I’ve a hope of ever getting through, anyway.

    ~*~*~*~*~*~

    Speaking of videos and sanctuaries, though, I really have to wonder about how videos where a sanctuary’s staff member is interacting with the animals in a cuddly way (like this one or this one) affect people’s desire for exotic pets. Maybe loris keepers wouldn’t make loris-cuddling videos, but it seems pretty unwise to cuddle leopards and lions, so who the hell knows. And while the big cats in those links seem to enjoy the attention, I thought the same about the loris in that video till reading the OP.

  57. Doug Little says

    but it seems pretty unwise to cuddle leopards and lions

    I would say that’s a pretty accurate statement!

  58. marinerachel says

    Cetacean and primate captivity in particular make me very, very uncomfortable. Sure, some primates can be kept captive and receive stimulation comparable to what they’d get in the wild while being protected from natural threats. Lots are big and intelligent though. Animals should be treated in accordance with their characteristics. Animals as intelligent and emotionally complex as chimps or orcas shouldn’t be held captive. It denies them choice. Being born in captivity doesn’t make them any more suitable for life in a cage or sterile featureless tank.

    Now we’ve got the problem of captive-born or captured-long-ago animals that really shouldn’t be on display in bleak, artificial settings but can’t hack it in the wild. That’s why I’m a huge supported of The Elephant Sanctuary and The Center for Great Apes.

    Zoos have their place but they good they do is often assumed to be much greater than it actually is (seriously, SeaWorld is for-profit and less than 1% of what they make goes to rescue and rehab) and, even if a great deal of good is coming from them, it doesn’t mean animals don’t suffer in them, not due to poor caretaking, but because it isn’t possible to ethically keep every animal we want to gawk at in convenient place.

    I don’t know much about lorises other than they’re cute but, even if every pet loris in the world had been born in captivity, you’d still be hard pressed to convince me living in someone’s fucking house, being denied any choice in how they live, is in their best interests as thinking, feeling creatures.

  59. says

    Its sugar gliders all over again. I strongly believe in better *enforced* regulation of animal well fare in general and restrictions on exotic animals as pets specifically. Just because its fuzzy or has big eyes doesn’t mean it wants to be your friend.

  60. dustbunny says

    Years ago, in what seems like another life, I studied Anthropology at Oxford Brookes and took one of Anna Nekaris’ classes. She spoke here last year at TEDx Nashville about her current research and the pet trade problem. It was a very powerful presentation. Unless celebrities stop trying to be “edgy” and cool by having unusual pets, this problem is not going to go away, I think. And sadly, those same celebrities often have more money than sense…

    @Dutchgirl, #66 – a friend recently showed me a video of a sugar glider as a pet. He saw a cute little pet, I saw a scared, confused animal.

  61. Great American Satan says

    Dust- Ain’t just celebrities by a damn sight. FTB’s own Aron Ra loves having exotic pets (big lizards and snakes mostly), though I’m sure he knows and cares enough to do it as ethically as possible. I mention him to say it’s not a big stretch for any mildly eccentric person to feel like this is cool, and doesn’t take a prohibitive amount of money to go for it. I think drug dealers particularly have a rep for exotic pets, and most of those guys live with their moms.

    So… More education? Wish that wasn’t the answer to so many of life’s problems, because it’s mighty hard to achieve.