10 Dangerous Exotic Pets


Most countries have laws against them.  In most places around the globe it is illegal to capture, breed, or sell them.  Yet world wide there is a fascination with owning wild, bizarre, exotic, and most of the time dangerous pets.  What are this fascination with being different and the need to own something illegal and dangerous?  Who owns these animals?  And, what are these animals that are owned, sold, and traded worldwide regardless of the consequences?

The United With Animal Protection Institute issued a report of incidents involving captive held animals, which provided an interesting background report to base the list upon.  There are also stories like this in papers around the world concerning the practice of keeping dangerous and exotic pets.

10. Turtles

A turtle may seem harmless enough, but did you know that they actually carry salmonella?  It seems that the main concern is the baby turtles.  It is not that the little guys have more cases of salmonella, it’s that the smaller they are the more attracted little kids are to them.  And we all know how little kids can be; they will stick just about anything in their mouth – including their fingers after touching the turtles and the turtles themselves.

9. Constrictors

This is pretty much an obvious one.  Sure that red tailed boa at the pet store seems harmless and kind of cute.  But they grow quite rapidly; can get up to several feet in length, and speaking from a neighborhood experience, they have been known to escape.  Lets just say if you feed them rabbits, they would have no problem with getting themselves around a dog or a cat even.  One of the main concerns with owning constrictors is that once they start to get large, some people actually just let them go and return them to the wild.  Watch out for Fido!

8. Scorpions

Did you know that there is a guy that as a performance and a world record chaser, he actually puts live Scorpions in his mouth?  If you ask me, that’s not one of the best ideas I have heard of.  Seeing the little ones when I lived in the southern US was enough for me.  These little guys can pack quite a punch with their venomous sting!

7. Camels

Camels are known to be pretty temperamental guys.  According to a report on Fox News when a local TV news crew was out filming exotic animal farms, an 1800 lb camel named Polo must have decided that they were not shooting his best side.  When Polo became agitated he attacked his owner, kicking her and sitting on her.  Ouch.  Oh, and if you didn’t know, camels like to spit too.  And it’s pretty gross.

6. Ostriches

Sure they seem cute and awkward looking.  They hide their heads in the ground right.  But apparently these guys will also chase you and they run pretty darn fast.  Getting in the middle of an ostrich stampede just doesn’t sound like my idea of a really good time.

5. Chimps and Monkeys

They are adorable.  The human resemblance is amazing.  They are also known to bite and attack humans and animals alike.  I once saw the damage that a monkey caused when it attacked a dog in India and let’s just say those puncture wounds weren’t pretty.  The dog also lost an ear and an eye in the process.  Sometimes cute is pretty deceptive.

4. Venomous Snakes

Again I go back to my comments about the scorpions.  They are snakes.  They are poisonous.  They bite.  None of this is a good combination.  In Cincinnati a man was bitten by his rhinoceros viper snake, which is one of the world’s deadliest snakes.  He did receive anti-venom and survived.  But who really wants to take that risk?

3. Crocodiles and Alligators

Often people get crocs and alligators when they are little and cute and look like happy little lizards.  Have you seen the jaws on those things?  They didn’t make an entire TV show around hunting them out if there wasn’t some sort of risk and danger there.  So keeping one in a kiddie pool in the back yard may not be the best idea.  Just ask anyone who has lived in Florida and found one under their car.

2. Big Cats

Again it’s these cute ones that you have to worry about.  When these guys are babies, who could resist?  But no matter how young they are or how well trained they are, they can turn on you in a second.  They feed them raw steak for goodness sake, shouldn’t that be a sign?

1. Kinkajou

Ok, so I had no Idea what a Kinkajou even was.  But when I looked it up I couldn’t resist its adorable little furry bodies and those big buggy eyes.  A kinkajou, also known as a sugar bear, looks like a cross between a squirrel, a hamster, and a chinchilla.  They are pretty darn cute.  But again it’s the cute ones.  Paris Hilton has a pet kinkajou named Baby Luv.  In 2005 she took it shopping with her and was attacked by the thing and it clawed up her face.  The brilliance of this is that again in 2006 Baby Luv sent Hilton to the emergency room after she was bitten by that cute Baby Luv on the arm. And that is why this guy is number one on my list of dangerous pets….   Come on, cute rainforest animal that attacks Paris Hilton numerous times.  You got to put that one at the top of the list just because.

Written by Rene Edde

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  1. I find it simply incredible that you have internet access, state that you, in fact DID use the internet to “learn” about these animals…and yet managed to remain completely ignorant of any of these animals you “learned” about. You may be the dumbest human alive! In one ear and out the other. God help us, you are definitely a product of American “education”…

  2. I somehow missed this gem “Sure they seem cute and awkward looking. They hide their heads in the ground right. But apparently these guys will also chase you and they run pretty darn fast. Getting in the middle of an ostrich stampede just doesn’t sound like my idea of a really good time.”

    Good god, why are you bothering to blog this? You are clearly NOT an expert in any way, shape or form, and clearly have never owned or probably even SEEN any of these animals. I’d love to see one ostriche turn into a stampede, maybe it/they will come find you.

    Ostriches do NOT hide their heads underground…its a cartoon representation! I FOUND THIS AFTER 10 SECONDS OF GOOGLING YOU MORON

    Ostriches do NOT bury their heads in the sand. This tale originates from the fact that the male ostrich will dig a large hole (up to 6 to 8 feet wide and 2-3 feet deep) in the sand for the nest / eggs. Predators cannot see the eggs across the countryside which gives the nest a bit of protection.

  3. “Ok, so I had no Idea what a Kinkajou even was. But when I looked it up”….. you decided that made you an expert? Seriously? This entire article is written from a place of complete ignorance and anecdotal information that just perpetuates your ignorance. You clearly shouldn’t have any of these animals, but the people who actually bother to do their research and know the truth about these animals are getting pretty sick of people like you spreading lies about them.

  4. wow. FIrst of all, where’d you get your information? PETA? Wikipedia? Animal Planet?

    Dogs and cats kill more people than all snakes put together every year. Also, “constrictors” aren’t a species. That is like saying a gorilla is dangerous because its a mammal. Does this make mice dangerous?

    Contrictor type snake refers to the method in which they kill their food. There are some species that use this method that top out at 17 inches (SEVENTEEN INCHES) AS ADULTS!!!!!! So, no danger.

    You really need to think about what you post, because nearly all of it is pure misinformation and ignorance. The sad thing is, some people will see your re-vomited misinformation and think it true. Take this down if you care at all about animals.

  5. I’m sorry but constrictors and turtles have not business being on this kind of list. If people would supervise their kids and make sure they wash their hands before AND after there wouldn’t be issues of salmonella or whatever other bacteria maybe present. Constrictors come in many sizes and I own several species in this family. I have never been attacked or bitten out of aggression. Any occasional bites I’ve received as a snake owner have been my own fault not the snake. DOGS are more dangerous and more likely to attack. It’s misinformed stupidity like this that is why U.S. snake owners and breeders are having to deal with The Lacey Act. Serious research is lacking here for this list.

  6. Wow, this is the most ridiculous list. You list Kinkajou’s but fail to list dogs? Dogs have far more cases of mauling and even fatalities over a Kinkajou! You list Kinkajous over big cats? “Anything with teeth can bite”. If you’re a ignorant socialite such as aforementioned Hilton and are more concerned with your image rather than an animals well being, then sure, it’s going to end in tears. ‘Let’s take a fairly wild animal shopping in the mall!’. Great idea. Its instincts will put it on edge every-time. Ever seen my wife stressed? Yeah, you’d want to stay away from that too but damn, she didn’t make the list either.

    What’s more laughable is that you list the Kinkajou over a big cat. I’ve never been in anywhere near a big cat and never will be. IMO they are one of the most majestic beautiful animals on this great earth. Their power and ability to dominate its prey only compares to the puniness Kinkajou. I’d walk into a room with a Kinkajou any day, risking a scratch or two but I’d never risk my life due to ignorance with any animal that could dominate me in the blink of an eye.

    I have two constrictors (amongst 4 other animals, one, a red tailed boa like the one pictured above) which honestly I don’t believe belong in any household. Given the proper care they can make for amazing, rewarding and fascinating pets but unfortunately our society allows anyone to ‘own’ these animals. It’s not the people I worry about it’s the animal. When it gets too big or aggressive due to neglect it’s discarded along with any morals the owner once had. That’s assuming they had any in the first place.

    I wish we had a ‘stupid test’. Unfortunately we don’t. In the case of owners being killed by big cats there is a sly grin on my face because I know our gene pool just got that little bit smarter via darwinism. Unfortunately it gets turned upside down when I think of what happens to the wild animal that only did what is instilled in them via DNA.

      • He is not saying dogs are exotic, he is saying that they can be much more dangerous than many of the things on this list

        He didn’t put ax wielding murder on here, yet, obviously, more dangerous than a kinkajou or a turtle

      • True, I should have put wolves, venomous snakes, large lizards (Komodo or even Monitor), bears… I am sure the list is endless that trumps a Kinkajou for position #1.

  7. Oh, and I’m not sure where you’re getting that these animals are illegal (aside from some state, county, and city laws regarding specific exotic animals). Doesn’t sound familiar to me!!!

  8. This list just made me shake my head. I have worked with and/or owned most of the animals on this list, and I can’t begin to express how wrong it is.

    10) Turtles: Any reptile can carry salmonella. *CAN* being the key word. AQUATIC turtles are more of a risk than tortoises, but here’s the skinny: Aquatic turtles live in water. They defecate in their water. The salmonella, if it’s there, is in their feces. Unless you lick your aquatic turtle, or don’t bother to wash your hands after handling, or are prone to biting your nails while handling your turtle, your risk of getting salmonella is quite low. I mean, would you stick your hand in a toilet you just crapped in then lick it? No. So wash your dang hands after you handle your aquatic turtle.

    9) Constrictors: I have owned and worked with many, many different species of constrictors. If you don’t have a brain in your head and just get a constrictor because you think it will make you look cool and tough, but you have no idea what you’re doing, then you’re asking for disaster. Sometimes. Maybe. Check it out: The most common constrictors kept as pets are ball pythons. They couldn’t *eat* your cat or dog if they tried. Other common constrictors are rosy boas and sand boas. They get about 3 feet max. They can’t eat your dog or cat, and they certainly can’t kill YOU. “They’re snakes. They bite.” Um… when’s the last time you heard about someone being killed or critically injured by a constrictor? Now, let’s compare that to the last time you heard about a dog flipping out at a person. Statistically, your dog is more dangerous than a constrictor. I’ve owned many LARGE constrictors. In fact, my pet RETICULATED PYTHON was the most gentle, dependable, and predictable of them all! Never once did she try to bite me, and I could have her out around ANY of my pets–even her own food items (rats, rabbits)–Because I started her on pre-killed food from the start. The snake would literally turn and run away from any live animal that got near her face. My cats could lay with her, and she greatly enjoyed curling up against their furry stomachs for a cuddle. –With most constrictors, or most snakes or reptiles in general, their behavior is greatly dependent upon how their owner handles, conditions, and feeds.

    8) Scorpions: The most common scorpion in the pet trade is the Emperor Scorpion, whose venom has very low potency. Typically, if you’re stung by an Emperor, the worst of it will be the actual sting, NOT the venom. I’m more hesitant to handle Rose Haired Tarantulas, as they throw their small, fiberglass-like hairs when they feel threatened or just don’t feel like being messed with. After a face full of tiny invisible fiberglass hair splinters and the pain and irritation that followed over the next few days as they worked their way out of my skin, I tend to want to wear a face guard if I have to handle those things. Oddly enough, I’ve been able to handle all but one wild Texas brown tarantulas that I’ve encountered with ease and no splinters. Arachnids are, once again, animals that deserve respect and understanding. There are less common scorpions in the pet trade–rule of thumb is “the smaller the pincers, the more potent the venom.” These potent scorpions are not for the casual hobbyist, but the avid and knowledgeable collector/keeper… But to put them on a top ten list of dangerous pets? That’s just ludicrous.

    7) Camels: Another animal that requires experience, knowledge, understanding, and patience. So a woman was attacked by her camel… Have you even bothered to look up the statistics of horse-related critical injuries and deaths per year? Now, compare that number to the same statistics for camels, relatively. Tell me camels are oh-so-dangerous now.

    6) Ostriches: Why the hell would anyone have a massive flock of ostriches as pets? I’ve pondered keeping ostriches before… And being quite experienced with exotic and domesticated animals and livestock, I don’t WANT a huge flock of ostriches as pets. I don’t want enough ostriches to be able to call their running a “stampede”. How on earth would I treat each as the pet they are purchased to be? One or two will suffice. Also, if you knew anything about the dynamics of ostrich hierarchy and general flock dynamics, you’d realize that it’s not quite smart to put so many ostriches together, anyway, when there is no guarantee you won’t have a bird fight on your hands. Seriously? Oh, and did I mention that babies cost $100 a pop, and adults go for about $800-$1300 per head. Who is going to pay that much for a flock of ostriches to keep as pets? Oi. Deserved of a facepalm on that one.

    5) Chimps and monkeys: As an exotic animal enthusiast and keeper, I have the experience and understanding to justify when I say, “APES SHOULD NOT BE KEPT AS PETS. EVER.” Apes, including Chimps, Orangutans, Bonobos, Gorillas, etc. Some monkeys are simply unintelligent primates that are difficult to establish communication and understanding with. Not impossible, but a bit iffy and not a plight for the inexperienced. Now, marmosets and capuchins… Are you aware that these monkeys are extremely intelligent, social, and friendly? Yes, they have big, sharp teeth and could pack quite a bite. But check this nifty factoid out: Capuchins and marmosets are commonly trained as service animals for physically handicapped persons. These monkeys tend to be submissive and cooperative, but they MUST be mentally stimulated. Any animal left unstimulated could easily pose a risk to people… Especially exceptionally intelligent animals. C’mon now. Once again, an animal NOT for the inexperienced handler/keeper.

    4) Venomous snakes: Sure, they can be dangerous. A bite from a venomous snake can be life-threatening or end in loss of digits or limbs. An unfortunate bite to the face could result in blindness or even partial paralysis. I could rattle off a huge list of venomous snakes that simply should not be kept by anyone but extremely experienced, responsible individuals who always have their head about them. Many states support this and enforce strict permitting requirements for dangerous hots. But, did you know that hognose snakes and even garter snakes are venomous? They are not typically classified as venomous requiring permits, as their venom has very little effect, if any, on humans. Not ALL venomous snakes are dangerous, and the unknowledgeable, inexperienced hobbyist is simply an idiot to take on rattlesnakes, cobras, boomslangs, vipers, or any other dangerously venomous snakes. Darwin’s theory of natural selection at work, I say.

    3) Crocodiles and Alligators: The most common crocodilian in the pet trade, the American Alligator, can be a monstrously large predator. However, it is also probably the calmest and most tolerant of the crocodilians. If handled and conditioned properly from a very young age, these crocodilians can make interesting pets for patient, right-minded individuals. The purchase of such a pet should never be taken lightly: One should always plan to be keeping the animal at its largest and should be prepared to make appropriate living quarters for the animal. Contrary to popular belief, reptile size is NOT limited by the size of the enclosure. You keep feeding, they keep growing. There are ways to drastically slow growth, especially of crocodilians. Dwarf Caimen are also popular crocodilians, however they are a bit more tricky. They take plenty of constant patience, handling, and conditioning to ever become even a halfway good pet… But they will never grow even close to the size of an alligator. Now, any individual who would take on a crocodile… God help your soul. Darwin, again!

    2) Big cats: I agree with this one. Big cats are like apes, and I do not believe they should ever be in private ownership. Leave their care to zoos and sanctuaries, please. There are some smaller species of wild cats that do make lovely, interesting pets. If you must walk on the “wild side”, please do your research and opt for a small wild cat species… And by damn, be prepared for it. Even small wild cats are NOT your common house cat.

    1) Kinkajou: Oh, dear. Are you ever wrong here. I’ve worked with plenty of kinkajous. They are AMAZING exotic animals. Kinkajous are an arboreal cousin of the raccoon. Therefore, they are clever, require stimulation, and require proper handling and habitat from the start. You cannot put a kinkajou in a small cage with nothing to play with and expect to have a good, loving pet. You can also not keep a male and female together (even if they are loving pets) and expect to ever have your loving pet back again. Breeders are breeders, and handling them is NOT advisable. They can be ferocious. However, single kinkajous, when bottle-raised and handled, cuddled, and loved on constantly and with proper mental stimulation make one of the most amazing pets I’ve ever had the honor of working with. You can’t take an exotic animal into a crowded place with people hovering all around it and expect it to not have a little mental meltdown. You can’t poke and prod at an exotic animal and expect it to tolerate it much. Exotic animals are WILD animals, although most are captive bred. These animals are NOT domesticated and should never be treated as though they are. You must have a certain amount of respect and understanding of the specific exotic animal that you are keeping to ensure your animal’s health and well-being, and your safety. So a kinkajou bit Paris Hilton and her manager. She’s a damned idiot for having one. How could that girl have the time to dedicate to an exotic animal? And if she took it out in densely crowded public, she was just asking for it.

    Long story short: Your list is invalid. Your list is based on opinion, not credible knowledge . You know of incidents, and you know what you fear, and you know what the media has told you, but you have obviously never interacted closely with any of the animals you’ve listed. The ONLY point you had spot-on was your opinion on big cats. I shake my head in disappointment at anyone who reads your list and accepts it as fact, for it is NOT fact. It is far from it.

    Let me tell you a little story: Dog bites and attacks account for MUCH more injury and death annually than the animals on your list… combined. Horseback riding accidents account for MUCH more injury and death annually than the animals on your list… combined . And need I get started on automobiles? —“Save your life, ride a camel, wear a scorpion, snuggle a python, train a marmoset to bring you a beer, wash your turtle with soap, and then kiss it, test your luck and pester a hognose snake with your big toe, eat ostrich eggs, and open wide and say AHHH to share your see-food with your kinkajou!”

    • Dear Amelia,
      I am having trouble finding people with actual expertise and real world experience with exotics.
      I am considering my first exotic (other than what you can buy at petco) and I’d really like some advice

      Please email me at [email protected]

      Thank you I really appreciate it

  9. Red Tail Boas only get 7 feet long at max. They cannot eat a full grown cat, dog, or even a rabbit for that matter. They can only eat kits [baby rabbits], kittens, and puppies [maybe even a full grown chihuahua, but really who will care about them]. If your snake gets out and she/he kills another pet of yours, then you were not responsible. i’ve been keeping snakes for a little over a year now and I have not had one single accident. I’ve kept ball pythons, corn snakes, and a reticulated python.

    While it IS true that turtles CAN carry salmonella, it should be a parent’s responsibility to have their kids practice hand washing after handling any animal , not just a turtle. It’s common sense. The media ALWAYS lists reptiles as being dangerous and the government tries its hardest to outlaw them. However, it’s the animal’s guardian’s fault.

  10. This is a bit silly. Any animal is dangerous if not kept or cared for correctly — most of these animals just have needs people are not prepared to meet. It’s the owners who are the danger. Dogs and domestic livestock, of course, cause far more injuries and deaths than all exotics combined yet no one demonizes them so broadly. People can and do keep exotics safely and happily — ever heard of a zoo? It’s not like they have some magic status that makes them able to do what ordinary mortals cannot — they simply have access to adequate funds, space and know-how to create healthy, secure homes for various exotic creatures, and there’s no reason a plain citizen can’t have those as well (though most do not.)

  11. i very much disagree for you placing the kinkajou at number one Paris Hilton was not treating that animal how it should be treated they are not supposed to be up and about during the day they can get rather cranky im pretty sure you’d be a little snappy if someone stuffed you in a bad while you’re supposed to be asleep and no you cant “train” them to change there sleeping schedule, they are very very loving animals and also can be frightened easily so everything that happened to her is completely her fault not the animals and they shouldn’t be given a bad wrap because some blonde idiot thought she could turn an exotic pet into a shopping buddy.

  12. i hope you do realize that it’s just a matter of domestication? You can add dogs and cats to this list too, a cat can easily wound you and some do, same with dogs.

  13. Uh! Guys I got 2 Turtles, and i badly want to know how to prevent their Disease to spread… Plz do consider it! 😉 and btw, what are the names of these turtles?

    • The way to prevent illness (provided they even have the strains of bacteria in question) is to wash your hands after handling them or their environs and make sure you do not put your hand to your mouth or eyes until they are well washed. And supervise children for the same reason. BTW, this also is generally good practice for reptiles, amphibians and also aquariums, all of which may have the bacteria. But even if you don’t (which I especially don’t recommend with children), particularly if your immune system is normal, your chance of getting seriously ill is small. Here is some good info. http://www.anapsid.org/salm3.html


  15. Others have commented on Terrapins and Tortoises, salmonella isn’t sufficient reason (very uncommon), one can get salmonella from dogs, chickens and other pets if you don’t wash your hands.

    Dogs related deaths average between 17-20 each year which is more than all the recorded deaths from Turtles, only one in 2007 a four-week old baby! (The salmonella DNA matched the turtles but this could have been coincidental).

    The most dangerous pet in the US are horses:

    Animal Type/Per Year

    Horses, 219

    Then Dogs (varies by the year)

    Reticulated pythons less than 1 (averaged over several years) 0.3

    You correctly omitted venomous tropical fish such as the Stone Fish and the Lion Fish as these deaths from these creatures are unreported as pets. Only one death (a dog) from a poison dart frog

  16. Ticked off Student on

    ok. wtf? I was doing some research for a paper, curiously googling popular large exotic pets, like big cats and whatnot. I was just looking for specific large animals. Then I read this.
    These animals are unfairly stereotyped. Most of them require dedication and particular handling to make sure they are properly cared for. Of course when I saw the baby ostrich I could not hold back the AAAAAAWWWWWWWW.
    I personally have two leopard geckos and one bearded dragon, and I have full intentions on expanding my reptile family. But so far, the most dangerous pets I have are my dog and cat.

    Ok. You cannot base your opinon on how dangerous an animal is on the fact some dumb, spoiled, empty headed floozy got nipped. That is NOT the animals fault. IT IS NEVER THE ANIMALS FAULT. It is always the mistake a person makes. Dur. Of course the poor thing freaked out, their natural environment isn’t the mall!!

    oi…Exotic pets are animals that ARE NOT DOMESTICATED.

    On Oct. 18 a man released 56 exotic animals. 49 lions and tigers were shot and killed. Guess what conditions they had lived in? Guess what the guy did after releasing the animals? he killed himself. Its people like him that give such animals a bad rep.
    Well gotta finish my paper. Educate yourselves people.

  17. Cute Exotic Pets on

    There are two types of pets. Hugable and non hugable. These fall into category number 2.

    Of course, some of the cutest exotic pets around will still rip your face off.

  18. I think that this List has it all wrong i have a american alligator named “rex and he never attakcs aanyone did i mention he is 8.4 ft.? anyway i think this is a better way to claasifiy this

    10. Very large parrots ie. hyacinth macaws and green wing macaws becuse of there abitlity to bite




    6. large primates

    5. bears

    4. armadillo ( even if they are captive bred they carry a VERY deadly disease)

    3.Big cats

    2.bulls and cows


    all of these can make wonderful pets however if you meet theire needs and treat them with love and affection

  19. I want to thank the author of this site and list out of respect for them as a person. However, I would also like to express my opinion on the animals included in this list of “dangerous pets”. Like others who have commented, I humbly disagree with red tail boas as a dangerous pet. They can be an excellent pet indeed. These snakes are very easily tamed if one has the education and patience to go through this amazing process with them! They tend to even have personalities of their own and have good days and bad days just like we all do! Sometimes they want some alone time and they express this by hissing in coiled posture to let you know “please let me be today.” Other days they are happy to greet you at the opening of there enclosure with and enthusiastic flickering tongue to let you know “I missed you and I am excited to come see you.” Some suggestions to those who are considering owning one of these amazing creatures, yes it is true that they do get big…reaching sometimes over 15 feet or more so it is a big comittment owning and caring for a Red Tail Boa. Your new boa will take some time getting to know your smell and your temperature, this is by in large how your are recognized by your we friend. Your new boa can also see very well and can recognize your shape and features after some time with you but this only happens after some one on one time handling your new friend and creating this bond with them. Feeding a boa constrictor is a bit unnerving at first as they are after all a snake! And snakes stalk, catch, and kill live prey as their only source of nutrition. They are not known to eat anything else such as plants or liquids, just other animals. This being said, your new friend may be a little finicky when it comes to feeding time. Some snakes will eat frozen “pre-killed” feeder prey such as mice, rats, and rabbits. But by instinct, your boa is a hunter and more than likely prefers to stalk his prey live. This is the part of owning a snake that can be difficult for some new owners. Please be aware of your new pets instincts and needs!
    Also, during feeding time, some experienced owners have actually removed their pet from the enclosure and put them in a “feeding box” (cardboard box with high sides and newspaper lining the bottom) to allow “the hunt” to take place. This is for a few reasons. One main reason is to allow your new friend to hunt his prey away from where he lives. When we do this for him, he learns to understand your hand is not a threat or prey when you reach in enclosure when he is hungry, but rather he knows you are retrieving him to go hunting and will be more welcoming to the gesture. Another reason we provide a feeding box is for easier cleanup after the hunt is over and your friend has finished his meal.
    Boas, like all snakes, shed their skin as they grow. This includes a thin layer over top of the eyes. When this process begins, your pets eyes will look abit milky, almost as if cataracts have formed. This is not the case! It is during this process that we must be extremely sensitive to our new friends needs for some alone time! They can not see your shape anymore and may not be able to distinguish you from friend or foe. Be cautious as this is most likely when your new pet may strike at you and possibly even bite you. Rest assured, he is only warning you that he doesn’t recognize you and needs you to back off until he is done shedding his skin so he can apologize for his cranky behavior! This is natural for him to behave this way and if he is given the time he needs he will return to his normal self.
    I hope this sheds a little light into the world of Red Tail Boas and other species of constrictor snakes as well…
    All in all, the Red Tail and other Boa Constrictor Species actually make wonderful, easy to care for pets and truly are amazing and beautiful creatures! With proper knowledge of these wonderful beings, and consiststant love and handling, you just may find yourself owning and snake that actually loves you back…! Good luck and have fun! 😉

  20. You seemed to be focus on uncommon pets though… Yep most are right which gators and big cats aren’t a good pet, but do you know that MOST turtle or even reptiles don’t carry Salmonella which cause illness? And MOST pet scorpion’s poison can’t even be compared with honey bees. Yep poisonous snake shouldn’t be kept by beginners… but most captive pet boas don’t get longer then 1.5 meters….,

  21. i dont think a turtle is dangerous at all…having a dog or a cat is more dangerous then a turtle sorry…just my opinion…

    • I had turtles my ENTIRE childhood, nobody told me to wash my hands after touching them so I never did. I now recommend washing your hands but I never once got sick and I handled both a land turtle and an aquatic turtle every day. The author of this list was misinformed.

  22. Stacked Stone Bloke on

    Why keep venomous snakes or dangerous animals as pets. Especially if you have kids. Go to the zoo if you want to see them.

  23. I agree with mpence about the not so dangerous part except big cats (except maybe jaguars, and cougars and cheetahs aren't big cats), crocodilians, some venomous snakes, and maybe chimps. the rest aren't really dangerous if you know how to handle them. and yeah, where's the bears? and elephants? and wolves (you could argue that it's not really exotic since the domestic dog is technically a wolf, but still dangerous)? I actually found a list of 10 animals that can't be tamed (and yes, it's been tried.) it went like this:



    8.Orca or Killer Whale

    7.Wild Boar


    5.American Bison



    2.Scottish Wild Cat


    • You are quite right… I’m pretty sure the creator of this list is… ummm… as dumb as a box of hair, for lack of a better description. I have had a Red Tailed Boa for years and in addition to her being very easy to care for, she is very friendly, loves being held, and has never been aggresive towards a person in her life, and red tailed boas are notorious for being far more wild than pythons.

      This list is mostly just one person’s fear mongering. In reality, I’d rather have a house full of any of these animals than a house full of cats. All it takes is time, patience, and propper education and care.

    • any animal you get as a pet can become dangerous all animals require respect and without respect bad things happen.

  24. I have a Gaboon Viper that likes to eat pinkies and fuzzies. I have not been bitten and I feel i have actually tamed him!

    • You are wrong.

      I am a strong proponent of exotic pets and even I think venomous snakes are a bad Idea unless you are a zoo or a registered facility that milks them for anti venom purposes.

      You cannot “tame” a reptile, they do not have the mental faculties to understand emotions, he doesn’t “love you” he just at the moment doesn’t see you as food or a threat, that could change very quickly.

  25. Um yeah all your info is misconstrued. You should do research before posting false info on the internet and looking like an flake. Kinkajou's are not a cross breed they are a naturally evolved creature.

  26. Lolz . Project on

    Oh! And where do you get an alligator? I want a small adult to put in a pond when I grow up!!

  27. Lolz . Project on

    Lolz! I wanted a pet kinkajou of my own! But the joke kinda put me off a little bit…

    Oh, and you should've put hyena's on the list, apparently, they are legal in Nigeria =)

  28. in the past 70 years, out of a control sample of 280 something otriches, there was not one case of them sticking their heads in the ground XD

  29. Of course dogs are far more dangerous than most of these, but they're not exotic, so I won't complain about the list. (Except to reiterate what Eric said that most of the constrictors raised as pets aren't dangerous at all) House cats are also far more likely to give you an infection than reptiles, but again, not exotic, so…

    • and how are dogs more dangerous than most of these? just because something kills more people, doesn’t make it more dangerous.

      • Things on this list MORE dangerous than a dog:
        Tiger, Alligator, Venomous Snake, LARGE CONSTRICTORS (NOT SMALL). A red tailed boa is not particularly dangerous to humans, and as for to dogs I own small dogs and a red tailed hawk is more of a danger to them than my neighbor having a red tailed boa, doncha think?

        And does your logic make sense? “just because it kills more people doesn’t make it more dangerous” is like saying “Just because it does more dangerous things doesn’t make it more dangerous”

        seriously, get your facts straight, don’t just base your posts on opinion

        • That’s nearly half the list. I would also add chimpanzees, which brings it to half.

          As far as my logic, way, way, WAY more people encounter dogs than any of the creatures on this list, so obviously dogs will kill more people. But much more people survive encountering a dog than, say, a tiger. So no, just because it kills more people doesn’t make it more dangerous, unless you want to claim being bit by a mosquito is more dangerous than jumping into a volcano full of man-eating sharks that are shooting lasers at me simply because nobody’s ever died from the latter.

          Also, right, because the person above backed up his argument with tons of facts… sure.

  30. What I want to know is, how were these animals chosen to be on this "top ten list"? Is this just someone experessing their personal phobias of animals they don't understand?

    First of all, with regards to the scorpions, most of the species that are commonly kept (i.e emperor scorpions) may appear frightening but have a mild venom that is unlikely to give most people problems. It would essentially be no worse than a bee sting.

    Secondly, constrictors should be much more narrowly defined here. Did you know corn snakes are constrictors? Or that the ball python are? Yet I have not heard of a single case of either killing and consuming a pet dog or cat. Some of the larger snakes such as Burms and Retics can get large and have been involved in incidents, but these are very rare. There are statistically more people who are killed or injured by dogs, and other domestic animals annually than by any reptiles. Yes, they sometimes escape, but so do dogs, cats, and even my neighbor's pot bellied pig.

    • You seem to be one of the few intelligent people who will actually say something about this stupid post. This author is getting people nervous about animals that are less likely to do something bad than most household pets.

  31. C Dubbs – This link to the CDC says otherwise. Read more here: http://www.cdc.gov/Features/SalmonellaFrogTurtle/. But I still wouldn't trust any of this and I own the site. 😉 After all, these list are purely for fun.

    But back to the turtle discussion, I thought this was interesting from the CDC site. Who knew this was illegal?:

    Since 1975, it has been illegal in the United States to sell or distribute turtles with shells that measure less than 4 inches in length. This size was chosen because small children are more likely to treat smaller turtles as toys and put them in their mouths. The ban by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prevented an estimated 100,000 cases of salmonellosis each year in children. Despite this ban, such turtles are available from pet stores, flea markets, street vendors, and online stores. In addition, children still catch wild turtles and lizards and bring them home to keep as pets. Whether store-bought or caught in a friend's backyard, a turtle can carry Salmonella and might not be the best choice of a pet for your family, especially if there are young children or immunocompromised persons in the household.

    So, really any turtle can carry salmonella. Be careful.

    • Peter Boucher on

      @ TopTenz Master. That is an interesting and compelling point about turtles being illegal to sell if they are less than 4 inches in length and the thought of an infant or baby putting one into his/her mouth is very thought provoking and scary to think about. However, My simple solution is this in the case of Salmonella (I earned my college degree in Culinary Arts and know all about food and water borne illnesses). You handle them and set them down onto wherever inside of your home (assuming that a halfway intelligent person were to keep them in an aquarium of about 20 gallon size). You know they will not go far unless you leave to do something and comeback an hour later and there gone. I would say just afterward with these harmless creatures is to put them back into their aquarium (Of Course) disinfect the area in which one would put them (Lysol Spray would work fine) and never ever forget to wash your hands with a disinfected soap like Dial or any anti-fungal cleaning lotion. I do not own one, but I think they would make marvelous pets plus they have a lifespan almost as long as a human if not longer. As far as this entire list is concerned, I won’t say its stupid (that’s just being blatant) but I would certainly define this list as being overly anti-climactic or easy to figure out.

      • I have owned a turtle until three years ago (my older brother moved and as george is a family pet, took him with him.) I spent my entire childhood handling him, and I’ll admit, I didn’t wash my hands once after playing with him.

        I have a week immune system and at no point did I ever have any sort of infection caused by salmonella.

        I probably should have washed my hands I’ll be the first to admit,

        But you were right about turtles being marvelous pets. They are interesting to watch as you grow up, and relatively low maintenance.

        Oh, George is a box turtle, which is different than an aquatic turtle. Aquatic turtles require a lot more work. I also had a rescued red eared slider for a while.

  32. Okay number 1, there is only one type of turtle that can give you salmonella and it is illegal to sell them so I do not trust any of thiss

  33. that's dumb a kinkajou? just becuse it attacked paris hilton. shes retarded of course she would be the one to get hospitalized by a freaking rodent. in no way do i believe that is the most dangerous pet. there are way more dangerous pets out there then a kinkajou

    • Nearly all animals can be kept safely as pets as long as the conditions are right and they are cared for properly. Snakes are surprisingly easy to take care of and even venomous snakes can make good pets as long as the person looking after them knows what they are doing.

      • I agree with you Freddie.. I have been around NUMEROUS venomous snakes… this list is such a media scare. A dog or a trail horse contribute to more fatalities than the ownership of the animals on this list… that is NOT saying that in Siberia people are killed by Tigers, what I am saying is that the animals that are living in captivity have far less statistics than other pets…. and a door knob has more bacteria cultures (including salmonella ) than any turtle… get your facts right…education people… it is what keeps the world advancing… Oh and not all countries nor “most” countries “BAN” the ownership of exotics.. they may Ban the ownership of NATIVE animals.. due to population control, habitat loss.. etc… ignorance is bliss… do not be bliss..

  34. I'm going to have to disagree with you on the scorpion fact. I will agree that a number of species appropriately puts them on the list, but the most popular of pet scorpion, the empire scorpion, is reliably harmless. It's "venom" is no more potent than a mosquito bite, and is more for show than actual use. Same goes for it's pinsers, large and flashy, but don't really use except for catching prey.

  35. Would like to know how to obtain a license to
    own exotic pets such as monkeys, penquins, kangaroos etc?

  36. Would like to know how to obtain a license to

    own exotic pets such as monkeys, kangaroos and penquins?

  37. I think the alligator should be #1. Not the cute little kinkajoa shouldhave attackParis Hilton. She probably abused it.I heard on th e radio that her made found 10 dead cats shoved in her closet.That sounds like animal crulty to me.

  38. I'd like to point out that those who release constrictors such as boas, aren't returning them to the wild, unless the people live in the snake's native habitat.

    Also, the reason that ostriches are so dangerous is because their kick is so powerful, it can kill a grown man. Being chased doesn't kill a person, unless they die from fright or exertion.

    • I agree with you about the boas (and obviously the ostriches because there is absolutely no opinion in there, it is just fact)

      Red tailed boas are mildly dangerous to own I admit, mainly if you have a chihuahua or a rabbit. I wouldn’t recommend one for a first time snake owner, but if you’ve had a ball python that has reached maturity, a red tailed boa isn’t that much of a step up, and with the experience of the ball pythons the are not too much to handle

  39. JP,
    This comment absolutely cracked me up, but it’s very true! “It’s just that if your housecat turns on you or plays a bit too rough, all you get is a bit of a scratch. When a tiger plays a bit too rough, you’re dead.”

  40. Yeah, I agree with Petey.

    A cat will do the same thing.

    At home they're perfectly nice pets, but try carrying one down the street and you'll get scratched up pretty badly because it's out of it's own territory and feels threatened. Of course there's the cat who will follow it's owner for miles too. My neighbours cat was discovered entering McDonalds with him, which is quite a few blocks from their home.

  41. I can think of ten animals off the top of my head that are more dangerous to own, like a grizzly or a moose.

    • Yeah, but people don’t try to keep a bear or a moose as pets. At least as long as they’re not completely stupid.

  42. The kinkajou is clearly meant to be funny, guys, and anybody who calls their animal 'baby luv' deserves to be scratched. Ick, poor fella.

  43. Not a bad list, but with some of the pets a bit of education and maturity is all that is needed. For example, turtles are safe as long as you wash your hands after handling them. PROPERLY handle a scorpion, and they can't sting you. I work at a zoo, and we handle them all the time.

    I really liked the part about the cats. We tell the visitors at our zoo that almost all cat species act a lot alike the others when in captivity. It's just that if your housecat turns on you or plays a bit too rough, all you get is a bit of a scratch. When a tiger plays a bit too rough, you're dead.

  44. Poisonous scorpions have a very large buffed up looking tail and very small delicate needle like claws. Scorpions show a preference toward subduing prey with either their stingers or their claws so there is an inverse relationship between the claws and the stinger. The smaller the claws, the larger the tail and therefore the more potent the venom is.

    Emperor Scorps are the ones you will see at the pet store most commonly. If you look closely you will see that this species has enormous shield like claws. Not only is the Emperor scorpion's sting very weak this species is not likely to even attempt to sting you.

  45. I think the sugar bear is getting a bad rap. first of all your only proof of it being dangerous, is based on a irresponsible little girl trying to look cute with her exotic pet in a mall. im not saying you have to take in off your list but at least not the number one. if you kept it a natural surrounding at home im sure that there would be no problem. you didnt list any diseases it carries, you only base it on a one girl that took "Baby Luv" into a highly stimulating mall and got what she deserved. im not hating on Paris… you just have to educate yourself about what you will be taking care of. It just seems like a personal opinion of your fears, use more facts!

    • I definitely agree, Paris Hilton as the source is just really…well not a good solid example. I doubt she knew what she was doing, saw it as a cute little toy with no sense of responsibility, and heck I would’ve scratched her up to!

    • Kinkajou (Sugar Bears, Honey Bears, etc) are actually dangerous and there is proof beyond the escapades of Paris Hilton. Up in Tennessee, a girl was bitten by a Kinkajou and was sent to the hospital seriously ill within 24 hours. The Kinkajou actually are not poisonous however, much like Komodo Dragons, they have a bacteria in their mouth that is very dangerous. (So really, the bacteria is more so dangerous than the animal… but it’s a package deal)

      • So you have two cases where a kinkajou bit somebody? Yet rottweilers didn’t make the list? Nothing against rottweilers, I love them, but a higher percentage of dogs have hurt people than kinkajous.

        Find me a fatal kinkajou attack, or hell an attack not involving a complete idiot (I count children as complete idiots and should not be allowed to handle exotics anyways). And I will pretend our opinion is valid.

        Also: do you know whose mouth is less sanitary than a kinkajou’s? YOURS! Human mouths are filled with more bacteria than any animal other than the komoto dragon.

        • Yeah, but most humans are largely immune to the bacteria in our mouths, or it’s not life threatening. You don’t go around frenching a kinkajou do you? And apparently, kamodo dragon bites aren’t as often as you would think. Found a zoological report that said that they are actually shyer than you would think and avoid humans. Of course if you try to mess with their nest or their food, you’ll get yourself bitten faster than you can say oops, and because of the increased number of tourists they are more comfortable around us, which is a problem. But it all comes down to education and respect for the animals. Of course, we humans don’t really show much respect for other spiecies, or take the time to learn about them.

  46. I wouldn't call an animal that bites Paris Hilton "dangerous". I actually applaud Baby Luv. She probably deserved getting bit and scratched up.

  47. Actually, the breeds of scorpions sold as pets are hardly dangerous. The most common I've seen are the emperor scorps, which, despite their huge size, have a very mild sting. They're not lethal by any means, unless you happen to be allergic to scorpion stings for whatever reason, I guess.

    Of course it's not really supposed to be a pet you cuddle and play with anyway.

  48. A great list! Realistically, not so much dangerous if you know how to raise and handle these animals. Education is the key, and with posts like these, it'll certainly help.

    I hope you don't mind, but I found a myth within your article I'd like to point out:

    "They hide their heads in the ground right."

    Ostriches don't actually bury their head in the sand at all. It's a mistaken perception from female behavior. The Canadian Museum informs us:

    "If threatened while sitting on the nest, which is simply a cavity scooped in the earth, the hen presses her long neck flat along the ground, blending with the background. Ostriches, contrary to popular belief, do not bury their heads in the sand."

  49. The information about turtles is wrong.

    Coming from a turtle breeder,

    Not ALL turtles carry samonella.

    It's actually an extremely small percentage of turtles who do.

    Their bite is probably more dangerous than their risk of salmonella.

    I dont know if you've ever been bitten by a tutle

    But it freakin hurts.

    Plus a tetnus shot after….

    Not pretty

    • Cathina Haynes on

      Not all turtles carry salmonella. Not all creepy hangin’-at-the-playground skeevy men are child molesters, but do you want to take the chance?

    • You love being lied too? You love when someone gives you their ignorant opinion and try to pass it off as god given truth?

      Turtles carry salmonella and little kids like to put things in their mouth. This is why turtles are dangerous? If you ask me, those kids are dangerous… to themselves!

      Scorpions: The author says, “Seeing the little ones when I lived in the southern US was enough for me.” So, your telling me that because you suffer from arachnophobia, scorpions are dangerous? Give me a break. The largest scorpion, the Emperor Scorpion (Pandinus imperator) has a relatively harmless sting, and you know what. Inside a glass enclosure if one manages to sting you, its because YOU did something stupid!!!! I will admit that there are some very venomous scorpions in the pet trade, however pet stores are negligent in selling potentially hot scorps to anyone willy-nilly. And lets not forget to point the finger at people. You go and buy a scorp without respecting its abilities or without knowing anything about them (like the author) your gonna get in trouble, and for whatever reason everyone will point fingers at the animal for its owners mistake!

      Snakes: Snakes arent poisonous.

      I think the overall disinformation in this article is a good look into the world of exotic pet legislation. People form their opinions based on a lack of knowledge about these animals and fear. Its all wrong.

      • Martin Fierro on

        this was post a while back, but the list is bad i had to say that its a given hat there was no research.

      • “Snakes: Snakes arent poisonous.”

        uhm, in south africa we have a thing called a boomslang (a tree snake) it’s very green, very poisionous.

        we also have a thing called a pufadder, deadly.

    • I agree Steve, I’ve had scorpions and was very disappointed to see them on this list since very few have enough venom to be dangerous and in most cases of stings it is because the human did something stupid. People are always surprised to learn scorpions are capable of showing affection and that more people die every year from diseases caused by mosquito bites.

      As far as turtles go I believe it’s similar to that kid who died recently from rat bite fever and everyone is blaming the rat and the store (Even though he had another rat so there’s no proof the disease came from the Petco rat) I mostly blame the parents for not teaching their 10yo to wash his hands ALWAYS after playing with them, According to his cousin he was NOT bitten by the rat so he must’ve been infected another way. I also place a lot of blame on the doctor who couldn’t identify a simple infection and get the kid on antibiotics.