Predator to Pet

“A dog is a man’s best friend”… for now. This universal quote highlights the loyal bond that exists between humans and the common companion species: dogs. This relationship shares a rich history with many cuddles, walks, and serotonin. On the other side of this history dogs were used as source for labor. As history continues to develop, humans find themselves appealing to new species, ones that could challenge my initial quote.

Only seen on television we have witnessed domesticated reptiles, parrots, and monkeys. 

Figure 1. Ravi from Jessie on Disney with his pet reptile. Credit: Disney
Figure 2. Ross from friends with his pet monkey. Photograph from Justin Van Voorhis
Figure 3. Jack Sparrow entertainer with Parrorts. Photograph from Parrorts for Parties

Many viewers considered these domesticated animals to be peculiar as we never considered nor viewed it possible to have these species as household “pets”. Well it is possible. Humans have begun to develop relationships with what we once considered wild and foreign animals altering the history of “companion species”. For example, foxes who thrive in various environments, have begun to enter the home of humans. Foxes once considered wild and dangerous are now being sold at a current asking price of $8,000 in Russia(Miller, 2023). Another potential new pet that may surprise readers is a skunk. This odorous creature actually makes great for a pet as skunks odor glands can actually be removed, extracting any potential for a stick bomb. Skunks are very curious creatures making them great for homeowners looking for a small buddy to bond with (Miller, 2023). Another recent pet phenomenon is the domestication of rats. This creature is relatively easy to care for as it does not require much attention and is rather independent. These examples provide evidence that as time continues household choices for a pet have strayed away from your typical dog to more foreign species like the ones we see on our television. 

The television can be dangerous. Human’s curious and naive minds sometimes can’t help but watch Tiger King, a show that has been viewed in 64 million households, and want a pet tiger (Reilly, 2020). This thought should go no further. 

Joe Exotic music videos Tiger King
Figure 4. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness’ is one of Netflix’s biggest 2020 hits. Credit: Netflix

As mentioned television has captivated humans’ minds on what species have the potential to be pets. Although we have seen the domestication of once-wild animals like foxes, skunks, and rats, not all animals have the potential to succeed in domestication. For example, Tigers have natural instincts, behaviors, and physical attributes that make them unsuitable for domestication. The large and immensely powerful animal poses various safety risks, social needs, and diet restrictions. Additionally, tigers are endangered in the wild so rather than focusing on domesticating the species concerns should be focused on the efforts to promote their natural population and habitats. Similar conversations can be had about the domestication of cheetahs and lions who require similar needs to tigers. Ultimately, when considering the domestication of animals into companion species, history has shown that new species can enter our homes. However, it is vital to acknowledge that not all species can be or should be domesticated, even if your television is showing something else. 


Miller, Quincy. “12 Animals That Are Becoming Domesticated as Pets (With Pictures).” 12 Animals That Are Becoming Domesticated as Pets (With Pictures) | Pet Keen Skunks As Pets: Where They’re Legal + How To Care For One (Wideopenspaces.Com)\. September 7, 2023.

Reilly, Nick. “Huge Viewing Figures for Netflix’s ‘Tiger King’ Have Been Revealed.” NME, 23 Apr. 2020, 

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1 thought on “Predator to Pet

  1. What archaeological discoveries have contributed to our understanding of animal domestication? Are these pieces of information still relevant today? Why/why not?

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