In ordinary neighborhoods across the United States, people share their homes with wild animals kept as pets. The laws around privately owning exotic animals vary by state, with essentially no restrictions in some places. So while you need a license to own a dog, you can purchase a monkey, tiger, or boa constrictor and keep it as a pet.
Despite concerns about species conservation, animal welfare, and human health, and the potential dangers of owning a wild animal, exotic pets continue to appeal to many people. What makes a person feel the need to own a bear or a baboon as a pet?
Read my latest piece for Muse, an arts and science magazine for kids ages 9-14, here: Wild Ones.