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Why You Should Never Release Pets into the Wild

If you find yourself in a position where you are no longer able to care for your pets, it is tempting to console yourself with the fact that they would be happier in the wild. Many pets are released into the wild every year, but this can have disastrous consequences for the animals and the eco system.



Domesticated ferrets should never be confused with wild ferrets. They are different species and pet ferrets are not equipped to survive in the wild. Abandoned ferrets rarely survive for more than a few days. If you can no longer cope with your ferrets, they should be taken to a rescue centre for re-homing.


Aquarium Fish


Many people think that aquarium and pond fish will do just fine in the wild. Fish are regularly released into the wild, especially goldfish and koi. But these fish are non-native species and can devastate native populations in ponds and streams by causing outbreaks of disease and disrupting the natural balance of the environment. It is a much better idea to approach pet shops and hobbyists to see if they can take your fish off your hands.




Parrots are extremely demanding and noisy pets. This means that many people who have been attracted to the idea of keeping them quickly discover that they cannot cope. But pet parrots have usually been bred in captivity and know nothing of living wild. Without the necessary survival skills, released birds often starve to death or fall prey to extreme weather. In the UK, the environment is unsuitable for these birds and does not provide sufficient sources of appropriate foods. If you cannot cope with your parrot, contact specialist rescue organisations and sanctuaries for help.


Rats and Mice


Pet rodents have been bred in captivity and for life in captivity. They do not possess the genetic traits necessary for survival. Fancy rats and mice are often white and this makes them highly visible to predators. White rats often have poor vision and so are ill-equipped for survival. These animals should be taken to a rescue centre.




Domesticated rabbits simply become prey animals when they are abandoned in the wild. Cats, dogs, foxes and birds of prey are all threats. Released rabbits often quickly contract diseases and die. Rabbits should be taken to animal rescue centres for rehoming and not left to fend for themselves.




Exotic snakes will not be able to survive cold weather. However, as constrictors don’t need to eat very often they can survive for several weeks if released in the summer months and may represent a threat to other people’s pets and can easily scare anyone who happens to stumble across them. They are also capable of inflicting serious injury to people. If you need to find a new home for your snake, contact reptile dealers and specialist organisations for assistance.


It is all too easy to be attracted to the idea of keeping a pet only to find that you cannot cope with them or don’t enjoy keeping them. Investigate the implications of keeping your chosen pet before you act and research the animal thoroughly to ensure that you know how to properly care for them.


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