There have been several stories in the news lately about hundreds of Harry Potter fans becoming “bored” with the pet owls that the popular movie series inspired their parents to purchase as pets for them.
Really? Purchasing an owl for your child because it looked cute in a movie? I have to wonder what thought process is involved with the purchase of an owl as a pet. What did parents think would happen?
Unfortunately, instead of the owls coming with a wand that you wave at them after purchase rendering them “magical” and providing a super cool and efficient system for supernatural mail delivery (and who wouldn’t want a nocturnal animal that poops pellets of rat bones), owls are expensive, extremely high maintenance (duh), require a lot of care and responsibility and can live for decades.
To top it off, most have at least a five-foot wing span and need to flap their wings continuously to avoid chest infections.
So, naughty pet-parents are illegally releasing the previously captive pet owls into the wild, where the owls are starving to death or proceeding to kill other smaller owls, thus causing mayhem in the natural order of the universe. Unfortunately this happens with many wild animals that are not good candidates for pets, with tragic results.
Case-in-point: How many people do you know that have purchased cute little bunnies for their children as Easter gifts?
Remember the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film in the 1990s? That movie inspired a craze of pet turtles that ended up dumped in rivers, canals and lakes. Why? Because they apparently weren’t as cool, mutant and ninja as they were in the movie AND they posed a huge risk for salmonella poisoning in children!
A Japanese cartoon called “Rascal the Raccoon” aired in 1977 about an American boy befriending a raccoon. The outcome? The entire raccoon population of Japan, that’s what. The Japan Times reported in 2004: “Owners, fed up with trying to tame the wild species to be cute little critters like the one in the cartoon, dumped them in the wild – where, lacking a natural predator – they have proliferated and are now perceived as pests, occasionally damaging crops and bothering people.”
Will we never learn? Do not adopt a “pet” because it’s cute or you saw it in a movie, etc. Pet-flings almost always go wrong and always end BADLY for the animal.