Friday, February 20, 2009

The most exotic animal I've ever owned was a guinea pig

Curiosity got the better of me and I listened to the 911 tape from the Stamford, CT chimp attack. I don't recommend it.

Most of it is the owner of the chimp telling the dispatcher to please hurry, but the first 30 seconds when you hear the chimp screaming in the background are absolutely bone chilling.

I'm not going to insert the YouTube clip here, but if you're curious too, you can visit Discovery News Jennifer Viegas' blog post about it. Viegas makes an interesting point about why keeping wild animals as pets in your home creates a completely different situation than keeping them in a zoo.

"The big difference there is that zoos are much better equipped to handle problems when they arise, and to prevent them from happening in the first place."

Scientific American had an interesting story on why a chimpanzee, an animal whose DNA is 98 percent identical to ours, would attack a human. One of the reasons they gave for this particular chimp attack was not natural. The chimp was on Xanax for an anxiety disorder. HUGE red flag? I think so.

Animals have instincts that are not the same as human instincts and it's unfair to assume that they do or can be trained to, especially if they're not bred for generations to be in our daily lives. Even animals born in captivity may only be first or second generation and still carry naturally wild tendencies, and even domesticated dogs and cats attack us. We should think twice about what we claim as a "pet" and what are actually captive wild animals. They might retaliate and it's stupid to take the risk.

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