Which mammal species are suitable to be kept as pet?

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Plazma Inferno!, Jul 13, 2016.

  1. Plazma Inferno! Ding Ding Ding Ding Administrator

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    For answering this question many factors have to be considered. Animals have many adaptations to their natural environment in which they have evolved that may cause adaptation problems and/or risks in captivity. Problems may be visible in behavior, welfare, health, and/or human–animal interaction, resulting, for example, in stereotypies, disease, and fear. A framework is developed in which bibliographic information of mammal species from the wild and captive environment is collected and assessed by three teams of animal scientists.
    Results of the recent study investigating pet suitability of 90 mammal species, show the sika deer is most suitable while the screaming hairy armadillo is the least suitable to be kept as pet.

    http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fvets.2016.00035/full
     
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  3. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    The way I read it, the screaming hairy armadillo is the 25th best pet, not the 90th (it was last on the list of the best 25).
     
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  5. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    "I don’t want to belong to any club that would have me as a member."
    -- Groucho Marx

    "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
    -- Jesus

    I wouldn't want to be a pet - and I wouldn't want an animal for a pet that was willing to be a pet.
     
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  7. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    you are anthropomorphizing.

    Animals don't have pride in freedom. That is a human trait.
     
  8. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    How do you know that?

    But in any case, it doesn't matter. What I do to them matters.
     
  9. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Because they come back when they're hungry.

    An animal that is fed, housed and given room to follow its instincts (such as forage and mate) will return to where it gets those things. It adopts its human as group leader.

    Ah. Well that's a very different kettle of fish. It has nothing to do with what the animal experiences.

    Mostly what it experiences is euthanasia.
    Ask any animal in a pound whether they'd rather come home with you or stay in the pound.
    Ask an animal set free and starving if it would rather come in your house and get fed.
     
  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    What about spaying and neutering?

    Ask a prisoner on death row if he'd like to come and live with you. It probably wouldn't be his first choice (or the animal's).

    Bring a homeless person home to live with you. It probably wouldn't be his first choice.
     
  11. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    How about this secnerio:::

    On you'r personal morality scale... say from 1 to 10... 10 bein the most moral... how woud you rate the examples below:::

    A human buyin a healthy "happy" dog for a pet an takin good care of it ---

    A human buyin a healthy "happy" Orangitan for a pet an takin good care of it ---

    A highly advanced alian takin a healthy happy human for a pet an takin good care of 'em ---
     
  12. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    True. A necessary consequence.

    As pointed out, animals are not human. Analogy doesn't hold.

    Why do you think the animals would choose to stay in the pound (doomed for euthanasia, though it doesn't know it) over coming home with a family?

    Have you ever seen an animal in a pound refuse the attention of prospective adopters?

    As pointed out, animals are not human. Analogy doesn't hold.
     
  13. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    Wallabies apparently score high on the "good pet" scale.

    I wan', I wanna have a wallaby, - - - -
     
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Several species of animal have been kept in captivity for so many generations that they have evolved the necessary psychology and physiology to be better adapted to domestication than to a feral life.

    The dog is the poster child for this phenomenon. It's generally assumed that their evolution began when some lazy, adventurous wolves slowly approached a human camp and began eating the perfectly good food the humans discarded, calling it "garbage." The humans appreciated their presence, since with their much stronger sense of smell, their night vision, and their fighting skills, they allowed the humans to sleep longer without worrying about predators. This was a milestone in our own evolution, because longer periods of sleep allow our brain to do a much better job of organizing the information gathered during the day.

    With humans ultimately in charge, the dogs didn't need to be quite as intelligent as their ancestors. As their brains slowly shrank, they became more adapted to a lower-protein diet--with discarded vegetable matter now as their primary food source.

    Unnatural selection continued to reshape their psychology. Baby wolves enjoy barking, playing with sticks and roughhousing with each other, but as they reach adulthood these activities are forgotten. But humans find these things "charming," and after a few millennia the phenomena of neoteny resulted in dogs behaving like puppies until the day they die.

    Dogs were clearly the first domesticated animal, but other species that have been domesticated have also developed behaviors that humans find charming and entertaining.

    The cat is an interesting example. When the Agricultural Revolution launched the Neolithic Era, with people living in much larger communities and building permanent structures, one of the first types of buildings they learned to build were granaries. In no time, rodents of various species began to regard these buildings as their own private cafeteria. At this time cats were completely feral, but when the humans noticed the cats reducing the rodent population, increasing the volume (and cleanliness!) of their own food, they started looking for ways to keep the cats around 24/7. Simply letting them live inside their own homes, where they could stay warm and their babies were safe from predators while they were out hunting, was a marriage made in heaven.

    Pigs are scavengers like dogs, but unlike dogs they're rather large and carry a lot of meat. Our ancestors domesticated them, but as food rather than pets. (And of course it must be noted that dogs have been used as food in several different cultures.)

    Every domesticated species has a story to go with it. To dismiss domestication as a travesty for the poor animals is overly simplified and flies in the face of both prehistory and modern history.

    Take the capybara, the largest species of rodent that can reach close to 200 lb. In the wild, they're prey for every predator in South America, from alligators to cougars. They're lucky to see their third birthday. But in captivity, they have a wonderful time playing with our dogs and other pets, and often live to be ten years old. All you need to make a capybara happy is a swimming pool, since in the wild they spend much of their time in the water. The internet is bursting with amusing photos of domesticated capybaras playing with people and their other pets.
     
  15. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    The ones who don't like humans have already been euthanized.

    That's a convenient copout.
     
  16. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    You were effectively a "pet" for the first 10-16 years of your life. That sort of experience works for most people.
     
  17. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    It is possible to both respect and treat with affectionate cooperation a being that does not fear you, and wants to spend time in your company.

    It is even possible to respect, and have gratitude for, a being you intend to kill and eat.

    And mutual cooperation associations are so common as to be basic ecological structures, with names: symbiosis, commensalism, etc. With people, such structures are going to be highly social - that's how we roll. Biggest packs in the known universe.

    It's a matter of how one deals with a world to which human beings belong. How much of it do you want to despise?
     
  18. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    Many species of animals that we keep as pets have been bred in captivity for so many generations that it is now their "natural" habitat. For example, dogs were once wolves, but when they joined our communities they began to eat more vegetables than meat. Since brain tissue requires an enormous amount of protein for maintenance, their brains began to shrink, and now they are considerable smaller than the wolf brain. The result of this is that dogs in the wild are more likely to look for garbage to eat than to hunt live prey.

    Cats haven't changed very much physically, but like dogs, their psychology has shifted. The result is that they are much more gregarious than their ancestors, which allows them to congregate in large packs to keep rodents out of our homes and granaries. They are also quite happy to go out and do their jobs, while humans take care of their babies.

    The newest member of the "pet" community is the capybara, the world's largest rodent, some of which reach 200lb/90kg. In the wild, they're lucky to see their third birthday, because every predator in South America hunts them. But in captivity many of them live to be ten. They're quite good-natured, happy to play with other animals and snuggle with humans. The only thing you need to keep them happy is a swimming pool, because in the wild they spend more than half of their time in the water--probably because they're very good swimmers and have a good chance of getting away from an aquatic predator.

    Many of the more intelligent animals find domestication to be an easy life. Rodents, in particular. Hamsters, guinea pigs and even rats make good pets and are happy to play with their humans. The same is true of ferrets, which are weasels, not rodents. They have even been trained to assist in our projects, such as hauling wires through long conduits.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  19. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    The very core of my stance is that you are anthropomorphizing how animals feel - i.e. equating it with how humans feel. (post 4)

    To continue with examples of how humans feel is, indeed, continued anthropomorphizing.

    Your examples of human behavior have no bearing on the discussion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016
  20. cluelusshusbund + Public Dilemma + Valued Senior Member

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    Well the botom line is... humans are at the top of the peckin order an we can choose to alter a species (wit-out ther permision of course) in order to make 'em into beter pets for our pleasure.!!!
     
  21. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Well, no. The reason that they have evolved to scavenge rather than hunt live prey is that they have been fed scraps for a few thousand years by humans. Evolution keeps working - and thus the dogs that do well with scraps thrive and reproduce, and the dogs that can't live without hunting live prey all die off.
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    But first they'll try to live like their ancestors and revert to hunting. Of course they'll be competing with the wolves and the coyotes, so only the largest, strongest and fiercest will survive.
     
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    And vice versa, quite probably: immune systems that can handle these new diseases of proximity, lactose tolerance and other metabolic adjustments, and not least

    root level - possibly even genetic - human behavioral adjustments to what is apparently a form of symbiosis. It's probably not just the pets that have adjusted to the people, in other words. There was a very long time - not long ago - when the ability to bond with a dog or a horse was at least as critical to prosperity and reproduction as the ability to do arithmetic.
     

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