A show that condemns alternative pet ownership
I make an attempt with anything I write about pet ownership to emphasize that not all animals make 'good' pets for the majority of people. The same concept applies to human children. Animals have different requirements and care levels, and perhaps a few are just not suitable for captivity outside of the most well-funded, professional zoos.
However, private pet ownership, animal captivity, whatever you want to call it, is continually under assault from various ‘news’ articles, televised reports and sensationalistic media. It is a deadly combination; these shows are aimed toward ignorant people who are interested in viewing a freak show and not in learning about how some pet owners responsibly live a unique life with a challenging captive animal.
If the premise of Animal Planet’s popular show Fatal Attractions intrigues you more than makes you wonder about the implications it will have on the lives of others, you are likely its target audience, and are learning for the first time the 'surprising' truth that large exotic carnivores, giant snakes, and venomous reptiles can be purchased without much restriction in some states in the US (now approximately 6 states). The issue however, is not as black and white as the one-sided reports will have you easily believe.
- Animal Planet's "Tanked" Controversy
Tanked is a show that gives Animal Planet good ratings, but what message is it sending? I will review the show as well as its potential negative impacts on the aquarium hobby.
- Zoo Misconceptions
Animal planet's popular show is obvious exploitation, shamefully pegging individuals as mentally unstable or of having some other socially undesirable personality disorder when they have no ability to defend themselves. With no help from a recent event in Ohio, in which a private owner allegedly released his private menagerie of large carnivores onto the public, ‘exotic’ pet owners of all kinds, zoos and other forms of animal captivity are being castigated by the public. The sentiment is even reflected in movies and shows directed toward the earliest of youth, and continue to flourish among adults both environmentally focused and those who plod along with traditional conventions.
This Animal Planet series begins with a title sequence in which a background appears that looks as though it was lifted from a disturbing R-rated horror flick, to get you in the mood to view the demented individuals who like unusual pets. There is creepy, spine-chilling music to match the atmosphere. Clearly, it is apparent that no informative tone will exist here; the show has already made up your mind on how to react to the scenarios and the pets being kept.
The typical format of an episode starts with a female-narrated sequence of reenactments mixed with real footage of exotic animals and quick cuts to close ups of teeth and the animal devouring its prey in the wild. Sometimes fake blood is tackily thrown in front of the camera in the portrayals, whether or not the story being spoken about contains a death or severe injury.
The aesthetics often resemble a cheap advertisement for a Sci-fi original movie, however the show tries to remain their own version of level-headed and fill time gaps by giving the featured re-enacted to-be-victims a back-story, similar to other current exploitation-oriented TV series that feature hoarders. Sometimes interviews are held with people that haven't been in a conflict, to provide 'insight' into the mentality of a wild animal owner. When current animal owners are interviewed, the eerie atmosphere and the tone of voice from the narrator depict them as dancing with an impending death. The expected reaction of the viewer is to be shocked and appalled that, after having witnessed a tragic story, these other owners of the same animals continue to own their animals.
The stories of Fatal Attractions
Each hour long episode tries to center around a theme of similar-type animals. It's almost guaranteed that you will have heard of at least some of the stories presented among the episodes. Some of the most famous (and those that have inspired the most oppressive bans) are those of Travis the chimp who gruesomely mauled his owner’s friend, Ming the tiger found in a New York City apartment by a naïve zoo owner aspire-e, and stranglings by large pythons. It can probably be assumed that the dead horse beating will continue with a future new episode about the Ohio incident. It never fails at getting the viewer into the mood to despise animal owners.
The show is also now beginning to deviate from pet ownership to occupations such as circuses, which is expanding the shows' territory to animals used for business purposes. There are plenty of lesser known, and sometimes sketchy stories featured on the show, such as a man supposedly ‘eaten’ by his free-roaming monitor lizards, which were more than likely just starving, and feasting on the body of their deceased owner who died from a bacterial infection (this episode is notable for its potential to cross over to pets that are more common, such as reptiles), and a man who was killed by his pet bull (it should be noted that a bull is a domesticated animal). Burmese pythons are large snakes, but they are actually commonly kept by reptile keepers, and deaths by them are very rare, even when compared to domesticated dogs.
Are pit bull owners next?
- How to Respond to People Who Are Against Wild or Exotic Pet Ownership
A comprehensive guide on how to respond to the tired and repetitive 'arguments' that people use against caring for animals other than dogs and cats.
Fatal Attractions presents negligent animal owners
In the episode titled "Pet Hyena: No Laughing Matter", included is a story of a wild attack from a non-pet hyena. This is common in the show, likely due to the fact that there are no other existing stories of deaths from pet hyenas for the show to report on, so it serves as filler that pumps the viewer up for the main story which, despite the title, does not contain a fatality.
What it does contain is a perfect example of the real problem with exotic pet ownership: selfish and irresponsible owners. In the episode, male model Bryan Hawn obtains many exotic pets, such as even lemurs, to live in his Florida apartment. Continuing on this, he illegally adds a hyena to his collection, purchasing the animal from the extremely unprofessional and unethical Animal Kingdom Zoo in Bordentown, NJ (this ‘zoo’ also sells puppies that some believe come from puppy mills), despite barely having the purchase price of the animal alone. While keeping even a dog in a small apartment would be unethical, he deludes himself into thinking he can keep such a large carnivore locked in his apartment. All too commonly, even with domestic pets, reality sets in once his new pet becomes an adult. An opportunity surfaced allowing him to turn his animal in without penalty (an exotic animal 'amnesty day'), and that persuaded him to part with the animal. The animal currently resides at the Zoological Wildlife Foundation.
Another example of bizarre human behavior is that of Antoine Yates, the owner of the tiger Ming, who was discovered in Antoine's Harlem apartment. Antoine was not so lucky as Hawn and was convicted to a 6-month prison term for his non-compliance with the law. Hawn, despite his unethical decisions, continues to advertise his experience as ‘inspirational’ and is allowed to visit his ex-pet at its new home. This provides insight into the values of that facility.
Televised Misconceptions about Exotic Pets
Claims made by some animal ‘sanctuaries’ and seemingly well-intentioned organizations such as the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) will lead you to believe that the exotic pet trade is a thriving and expanding industry. They will present statistics on exotic pets that happen to include everything from tigers to ferrets. What is an exotic pet? It is important for the distinctions to be made. The word exotic pet is not synonymous with large dangerous wild carnivore, yet all owners of exotic pets have the potential to be affected by laws prompted by ignorance. The claims of these organizations are supplemented with shows like Fatal Attractions, where it would seem that ownership of wild animals is out of control in the United States.
However, and quite obviously, truly private-owned animals such as tigers, bears, and chimpanzees are uncommon. That would explain why attacks/conflicts involving such animals are also uncommon in comparison to the non-stigmatized domesticated dogs. While large exotic animals are far more challenging to maintain in captivity and require an owner who lives in a dedicated lifestyle not required of those who care for domestic cats and some dogs, such un-average people with the proper financial requirements do exist. Have you ever heard of Big Cat Rescue? These 'were' exotic pet owners. How about Tippi Hedren's Shambala Wildlife Preserve? She was certainly an exotic pet owner, purchasing and breeding hundreds of big cats for a single film appearance and as household pets. These animals resided on her property, and often inside of her house, as they did with Carole Baskin (the bobcats and servals), Big Cat Rescue's founder.
The difference between these big cat owners and those presented on Fatal Attractions is socioeconomic status.
These individuals have now turned their pet owning situations into "sanctuaries" as have many others, so that it is more acceptable to the public. In fact, not only does declaring your property a sanctuary allow you to continue keeping exotics, but it yields public donations and buckets of undeserved praise. In turn, individuals like this often support bans so no one else can ever do what they do, with such new laws making it difficult or impossible for a newcomer to start their own 'sanctuary', and thus losing more potential homes for unwanted wildlife. Other animal owners also have their lifestyles, dreams, and possibly their ability to care for their current animals dashed due to public perception.
The fact remains that unethical people who shouldn't own these animals will always ignore the law and do so anyway, like Hawn. Many states, counties and cities have already enacted several laws against harmless ‘exotics’, sometimes to such extremes as ferrets, sugar gliders and gerbils. It is an unjustified reaction partly due to the isolated incidents that Fatal Attractions presents as the norm.
If these attacks and incidences of pure irresponsibility were normal, why, whenever so rarely that these animals do end up as the top news stories, are they sensationalized? While dog attacks can practically be heard about daily, attacks by big cats and other similar animals are uncommon and become big news when they are reported on. The Ohio incident, that is inspiring several laws around the country, reached international notoriety.
Responsible animal owners rarely, if ever, end up in the news. Yet they will be the first ones to lose their right of pursuing happiness and the life they want to live. I’m not directly supporting the ownership of such demanding animals; however, I feel that if the qualifications can be met, financially and education-wise, then someone should not be barred from the opportunity to obtain the animal of their choice.
For many activities, there is a degree of danger that the person doing the activity accepts to live the life of their choosing. The degree of danger that captive exotics present to the public is also exaggerated. There are proper ways to house larger exotics, and in my opinion, I prefer it to be ‘hands off’ after the animal matures.
- How to Care for a Pet Tiger
It may sound ridiculous to many, but there are actually proper ways to privately own large cats. With the proper financial status, land rights, and common sense, tiger care is feasible, and opens up homes for the unwanted animals.
I’m certainly not supportive of zero regulations for obtaining and keeping such animals, and I’m not supportive of unethical breeding of such animals for captivity outside of acknowledgement of the limited amount of homes that may be available for them. I am supportive of laws that prevent people like Bryan Hawn from obtaining wildlife. It all boils down to common sense and assessing the facts. Many believe that no wild animal can ever be happy in captivity, but it is impossible to support this position without considering that more captive domesticated animals and common exotics are also at risk for mistreatment. Either way, romanticized views of where wildlife 'belongs' and unproven claims should not dictate the lifestyles and choices of others, and certainly not spontaneous decisions enacted by televised misinformation.
More of my Hubs on Exotic Pets
Rochelle Williams from Knoxville on January 13, 2020:
Well, on one hand, no one should want to be alarmist in ways that are harmful to animals or in ways that prevent people from being able to seek happiness in the ways they feel best suit them. But on the other hand, it isn't unfair to provide people with true, accurate information about the risks involved in pet ownership of any kind. People really are sometimes killed by their pets, and people should consider that in the research they do before purchasing a potentially dangerous animal. While it is unlikely that one will find themselves eaten by a companion animal, some of them do present a greater probability than others. Maybe the presentation of the series is objectionable. But personally I'd rather people make educated decisions based on true accounts of things that have happened to others than have someone make a decision to keep an animal without complete knowledge and then have that person end up harmed. It's probably best for the sake of the animals that owners aren't purchasing them before really grappling with the reality of a pet monitor lizard or tiger.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 21, 2015:
Yes, the attitude that you can decide how much danger someone can subject themselves to. The state might decide that non-fatal mutilation is also too much to allow. Plus, young children are pretty much able to be killed by anything bigger than a cat. You might want to check out my recent article to see how common it is for people to die at the hands of privately owned big cats (and more importantly, from escaped big cats, haven't done bears, hyenas, ect. yet). There are ways to maintain them without ever touching them. I'm not close-minded, I've thought about this extensively. I have listed how I feel animals should be regulated in another post.
Also, it is truly crazy if toucans are class 3, given that they are literally harmless.
Jess M on March 21, 2015:
Attitudes like mine? Yes, kinkajous has sharp teeth and claws. Yes they can do some damage. But there is absolutely no way one can break your neck with a paw. In Florida, we have 3 classes of animal licenses. Kinkajous fall under class 3 which are all the smaller and less dangerous species like raccoons, toucans, lemurs, marmosets, etc.
There is absolutely no way you can compare my kinkajou to a hyena or a rattlesnake or a bear. If my state wanted to outlaw the ownership of class 3 animals I would fight against it. She isn't a threat to me and my family nor to anyone else. If she escapes, there is no possibility she will eat someone's dog. Hell, she will probably be the one eaten. I think you shouldn't be so closed minded. There a the two extremes: one side wants zoos outlawed and all the animals release and the other wants all zoos legal and wild pet laws to be lenient. Everyone should be somewhere in the middle. Then we wouldn't have this problem of these insane people getting in a cage with a pack of wolves thinking they love her then they end up eating her.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 20, 2015:
Attitudes like yours are the reason you won't be able to get a new kinkajou once your current one dies of old age Jess M. I have no desire to get a tiger and was even nervous about the idea of getting a kinkajou being that it's as large as a racoon with matching teeth that might attack. Someone might decide this has no business in your house. Depressing to see that even an exotic pet owner doesn't get it.
Jess M on March 20, 2015:
I understand what you're trying to say but some species just shouldn't be owned privately. I've owned exotic pets before from snakes to rats to kinkajous. I know they aren't all bad. I love my kinkajou to death and she eats a balanced diet and has a large enclosure. She's very friendly and curious and behaves similar to a ferret. Unfortunately, my snake passed away last year from old age. She was 22 years old.
That being said, big cats and other large wild animals should never be kept as pets. They are dangerous and unpredictable. If someones pet raccoon were to bite them it would mean a few puncture wounds and maybe a stitch or two, no big deal. If someones pet tiger were to bite someone it could mean death for both beings. I say we should leave the zoos and wildlife sanctuaries take care of them. If someone wants to care for one they can volunteer. These animals belong in the wild. If not in the wild then a large enclosure at a zoo. They definitely don't belong in someones backyard.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on February 02, 2015:
Nick, I'm sure if you died from a pet exotic animal they can spin any your interests and hobbies in some way to make you look like a deranged freak. The show only puts the magnifying glass on those who are dead, that tells you NOTHING about the millions of people who are happy and alive with their exotics. So stop using it as an excuse to comfort yourself that your ignorant views are grounded in truth.
Nick on February 02, 2015:
I know what this show is really based on and not those of animal planet or zoos but these episode takes a look at what type of people are out there.After watching this show,I came up with a possibility of why people do this and it simple.Take those who love guns.what type of people are they and the same with animals.It all about obsession,hoarding,cruelty and psychological mental problems that make some people fear the world and the society and so focus on being around animals and not people.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on September 16, 2014:
I'm trying to figure out why you are so angry, there is obviously some kind of agenda hidden behind your words. You claim to agree with my viewpoint "I have zero problem with people who own, or want to own, an exotic animal so long as they do it in an informed manner." which IS what I believe, but now who's "lying"? You clearly have a problem with it, as you are taking on the same hysterical tone that anti-exotic pet people use with me, and you claim I am trying to "making my viewpoint seem like the right one to have".
Maybe you just hate people with exotic pets that are larger than your racoon that you allege you have. Why not cut the crap and tell me what your real stance is?
"That's the real story behind it."
I don't see a single word in that article that is different from what I said. Or are you just naïve enough to fall for Hedren's editorializing, using words like "rescue"? Why don't you hear it from the horse's mouth, before you accuse me of 'not researching' because you found some nonsense on a random blog: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0L5Pk7dFg0Q
Here, I'll write it out for you just in case you are too prideful to learn the truth and look like a fool:
"Well when we first started they were excess animal park animals, excess zoo animals, excess circus animals you know that kind of thing but, I think half of them were born right here".
You see, people use the word "RESCUE" all the time. Buying animals is not rescue. Or is it that you think that because in that little blog it is said that 'Hollywood suggested to acquire the animals' that you feel my assertion that she purchased exotic pets on her own volition is invalid? I can't decide which one of these stances is more stupid.
" I noticed that you conveniently left out the parts where they interviewed actual family members and friends of the people who kept these dangerous (yes, DANGEROUS) animals."
And what's your point? Why is this important? Are you accusing me of saying Animal Planet LIED that these situations happened? Why not actually read my article, so-called racoon owner?
"Another FYI: illegal exotic ownership IS rampant in the US. Don't kid yourself or anyone else."
Oh beyond a DOUBT. Considering it's illegal to own a ferret in California it is very easy to be in violation of asinine pet laws. I don't recall ever saying illegal pet ownership is not common.
"P.S. Before you make snide remarks about someone else's grammar...check your own."
I'm not worried about a person's assessment of my grammar when they lack basic reading comprehension ability. That is far more embarrassing than a few typos.
tkbarrera on September 16, 2014:
Why are you lying and making up crap? To make your viewpiont seem like it is the right one to have? What you said about Ms. Hendren's sanctuary is complete crap. Do some research before you spout off next time.
That's the real story behind it.
As for the show Fatal Attractions: I noticed that you conveniently left out the parts where they interviewed actual family members and friends of the people who kept these dangerous (yes, DANGEROUS) animals. Do you honestly think Animal Planet is going to risk slander or libel lawsuits? Get real. And FYI: they never said those lizards ate him while he was living. Furthermore: you tossed in the man with the pet bull to add weight to your lies....you also left out the part where that bull had free reign in his house. So don't pretend he was grazing out in some grassy field.
The truth is ANY animal can have momentary lapses in affection. I have had my share of scratches from playing with my pets...especially my raccoon when he was a baby and he was hungrily grabbing my fingers as I held his bottle.
I have zero problem with people who own, or want to own, an exotic animal so long as they do it in an informed manner...not being mislead by some one varnishing the truth by trying to make herself out to be some expert.
Another FYI: illegal exotic ownership IS rampant in the US. Don't kid yourself or anyone else.
P.S. Before you make snide remarks about someone else's grammar...check your own.
reality on June 18, 2014:
You need a serious reality check.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 06, 2014:
Too bad that you disagree Becky, some of us don't and it's our lives.
Becky on March 06, 2014:
It really bothers me that the only commentor's to defend the animals, couldn't form a proper sentence. I found the article interesting, and have had exotics (mostly reptiles/amphibians) my whole life. However, I disagree that you should be able to keep them in captivity. A tiger doesn't deserve to reside in your backyard. The fact that you dismissed it as "just some captive animals" is wrong. I'm not radical, or ultra religious but I don't subscribe to the notion that I am more deserving of my life than another living, breathing creature.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 13, 2013:
Alphadogg16 --I watched it too, it's an interesting concept, but of course it is one of those shows that needs to place a 'why' on the incidences so they come up with a lot of nonsense to satisfy the viewer. There are terrible exotic animal owners out there but that is the case with all animals. Glad you are having success with your python, they are banned here.
Kevin W from Texas on December 13, 2013:
Great article Melissa. I have to admit I do watch the show, & it does appear that they target ingnorant (in some cases but not all), inexperienced & people that do not seem knowledgeable or have the proper resources to care for their exotic pets. I personally have a large Burmese Python, which I've had for 14 years & never had any incidents, even when my kids were small. You mentioned 6 states that allow purchases of large exotics, do you know which states?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 13, 2013:
Hi Matt, I agree. Not everyone should have any kind of pet.
matt on December 13, 2013:
Good article, Melissa.
You make some excellent points. People watch these shows and make blanket judgements about anyone and everyone who keeps exotic pets. And then there are those like Miss Texas that are just out of their goofy minds with or without watching propaganda.
Exotic pets, like say, guns, should really be kept out of the hands of some people. There ought to be a licensing program where people show they can care for a specific animal properly before being licensed to own one. This is another situation where a little bit of common sense regulation can go a long way.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 17, 2013:
Please punctuate your sentences, it serves a purpose. You're right about animals not knowing or caring, so why would anyone put 'emotional crap' on them?
kim, texas on October 17, 2013:
fine to each his or her own its just a shame that humans always try to control the uncontrolable i betcha the animals would rather hunt for their food than lay in your bed which it was neither born nor bred for real don't you think that these animals know they shouldn't be there?also wht would anyone try to put human emotinal crap on an animal that doesn't know and quite frankly doesn't care or want to know seriously why would anyone try to reduce a 500 pound tiger into a freakin 10 pound house cat, that's outrageous and where does the best interst of the animal come into play? anyway depending on what kind animals you have caged because other than a dog cat and small household pets you can't really believe that these so called pets actually love you right? i feel really bad for these animals and quite frankly for you to please seek serious mental health outlets. goodluck texas
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 17, 2013:
I do not 'deserve' to be hurt for keeping pets. I cannot 'disrespect' how things are supposed to be because there are no such laws. You are radical.
kim on October 17, 2013:
well that's your opinion my beliefs are not radical any fool knows that its the law of nature itself and when you try to take away from it you blantantly and outrite disrespect how things are supposed to be. if your not helping them then your hurting them theres obviously no educational value to what your saying. so i believe those captive animals will somedayl make a believer out of you and every other fool who thinks they can tame nature in some bad way shape or form because you do deserve exactly what you get so how in the hell can you argue with that?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on October 17, 2013:
I don't know what you're talking about as I don't follow your radical religious beliefs. Nor do I think I have any respect for your wishes of harm against me over some captive animals. So really, keep ranting like an idiot and see what impact you'll end up making on my beliefs.
kim, boston on October 17, 2013:
and another thing people also need 2 realize that these animals have walked , swam and flew and slithered on this planet long b4 any human , they have always gotten along without us from the beginning of time and they always will so no u asshole they do not want 2 live in your houses or cages or any other confinment these aminals don't owe u anything like u think ergo go against gods plan and u will surely suffer especially white people you are not any closer 2 god than any1else like u think leave these beautiful own natural habitat if u really cared
kim on October 17, 2013:
i think these assholes who need to dominate these animals get exactly what they deserve whether it be a mauling, stomping or poisoning u need to realize that god did not put these animals here for your sickass obsession trying 2 be more than an ordinary human that doesn't have any respect or care 4 these poor creatures. get another life or suffrer
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 13, 2013:
Dj, most of the cases are not illegal, and a large majority of them, if not all of them did not result in injury to people who were uninvolved with the situation. I didn't see every episode so I might have missed single incidents. People put themselves in plenty of other of other proven hazardous situations with dog ownership, driving, and alcoholic consumption. Exotic animal-caused injuries are extremely rare.
Dj Washington on July 13, 2013:
I must absolutely disagree with your defending of this behaviour! Not only are many of these cases ILLEGAL (and should be frowned upon for merit), they may be hazardous to others in the immediate environment! Shame on you
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 25, 2013:
Well, I can't say that The Elephant in the Living Room was any less propagandist than Fatal Attractions..perhaps it was even more. The main feature was of course a person who was of a low socioeconomic status...and it is very common to find animals of any species suffering from neglect in these situations (even if the owner is trying). The owner clearly had no business with lions, and it was negligent to acquire them from the start. Then he failed to prevent their breeding. All typical with dogs and cats as well. Presentations like those want to suggest every exotic pet keeping situation is like this. They also demonized reptile shows. I don't think too many people will finish the film with a positive image of exotic pet keepers. Responsible keepers don't exist within them.
Jess on May 25, 2013:
No they don't live long, about 6-12 months on average IIRC. And they're incredibly high maintenance, require a specialized environment, very good filtration, frequent water changed, etc. They can be kept quite successfully however most of those who are successful in their endeavors are very experienced in salt water aquaria. I'll stick with my big 'ole goldies for now and maybe some puffers again someday :) Although I have to say my dwarf puffers were deceptively high maintenance, which just goes to show that you have to be ready for surprises with any species with special needs.
I come from a long line of critter lovers, everything from horses to house bunnies, so I keep a pretty open mind when it comes to exotic pets. I think it comes down the fact that many people can't meet the needs of these animals adequately. My niche, if it wasn't obvious, is aquaria and this is often the case in that hobby as well but it's not considered problematic to the public at large because the humans don't get hurt. Personally, I'm just as saddened when I see a betta in a cup or a goldfish in a bowl as when I see 'exotics' in similarly subpar conditions.
Have you seen "The Elephant In The Living Room"? It's a very well done documentary with a far more nuanced presentation of this topic than "Fatal Attractions".
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 25, 2013:
That is another way of looking at it Jess. I'd love to have an octopus, but they don't live long.
jess on May 25, 2013:
This show is a sometimes guilty pleasure of mine. In many cases the pet owner was taken irresponsible risks and that led to the incident, for example the venomous snake owner who free handled her snakes, and in those instances they pointed that out. In other stories the pets weren't properly cared for, which was also highlighted, the starving & underweight python comes to mind as well as 2 of the episodes featuring big cats who were living in squalor. I think some people could indeed get the wrong idea from this show. For me, the takeaway is that these animals are difficult to keep & owners who do not have adequate resources or knowledge are putting themselves and their animals in danger. You should only ever keep pets that you have the resources to properly care for. I have a 130 gal aquarium. I love octopus, it would be amazing to keep one & I certainly have a large enough aquarium. Will I ever? Probably not because I know that their requirements surpass my experience and ability. People need to think about these things before they acquire any animal whether it's 'exotic' or not.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 10, 2013:
Leelu, trust me, I would love to be wrong about this. You and the 'people you know' do not represent the majority. I think it is very narrow-minded to speak for everyone else. I am a person who must deal with the fallout of backlash that shows like this cause daily. Go on any forum about this show and view the comments.
leelu on March 10, 2013:
I think your opinion on how this show make the viewer feel about these animals is so far off the truth its ridiculous.I like the show and it does not make me nor anyone else I know who watches hate these animals or their owners.I think your narrow minded viewpoint needs to take a step further into reality.
Brandon Smith on October 02, 2012:
This was very well written!
Animal Planet is all about ratings nowadays.