Other Animal Companions

A remarkable number of other species are kept as pets, providing companionship and pleasure. Some are relatively large, such as llamas and pot-bellied pigs. Others are small, such as ferrets, gerbils, guinea pigs, hamsters, mice, rabbits, and rats. Angelfish, barbs, catfish, cichlids, danios, eels, goldfish, gouramis, koi, loaches, mollies, oscars, pacus, sharks, swordtails, tetras, and zebra fish are found in personal aquariums. Reptile and amphibian pets include anoles, basilisk and bearded dragons, chameleons, chuckwallas, frogs, geckos, iguanas, other lizards, newts, skinks, snakes, toads, tortoises, treefrogs, and turtles. Over 12 million feathered pets are found in the United States, including canaries, cockatiels, cockatoos, conures, doves, fancy poultry, finches, lories, lovebirds, macaws, parakeets, parrots, and pigeons.[12] Despite public health concerns about zoonotic diseases and advice that wild animals should not be chosen as pets,[13] nondomestic animals such as prairie dogs have been sold by pet stores and at swap meets. In June of 2003, humans became infected with monkeypox after handling sick prairie dogs that apparently contracted this orthopox virus from Gambian giant rats, rope squirrels, dormice, or other small wild mammals imported from Africa.[14]

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