Metro Pets

By Amanda Vasilikos

It’s perfectly normal to have leopard, cheetah and zebra hanging in your closet. It isn’t normal, however, to have live ones living in your Manhattan apartment.

To some it may seem glamorous to own an exotic pet, I mean, who doesn’t want a baby alligator living in their bathtub? Unfortunately these wild animals, such as snakes, ducks and alligators are not glamorous, they’re not even legal.


So here it is folks, the top ten illegal pets in New York City:

1. Pigs and all other even-toed ungulates. Sure, the adorable Wilbur blew up the screen with 2006′s feature film, Charlotte’s Web. On the other hand, if you want to keep your apartment from smelling like the Catskill’s Petting Zoo, forget pigs as pets.

2. Hyenas and all other undomesticated dogs. They are known for a bark that resembles the sound of hysterical human laughter. Why one might turn to a wild dog for this, I’m really not sure. If you need a laughing partner go to your local comedy club. This way, you’re guaranteed the sound of laughter without the occasional mauling.


3. All bears, including Polar, Grizzly, Brown and Black Bear. If you really need something to cuddle with there is always that teddy bear you got from your ex. It may bring up bad memories, but at least it won’t cause severe injuries and/or death.

4. All bats. Christian Bale as Batman, hot. Bats hanging from your Pottery Barn chandelier, not hot.

5. All non-human primates, including, but not limited to, monkeys, apes, chimpanzees, gorillas and lemurs. Alas, this does not include your roommate’s boyfriend — he is a chump, not a chimp.

6. All squirrels. The only “cute” squirrels I can recall were in Disney’s 1963 animated movie, “The Sword in the Stone.” Besides that, they’re exactly as Carrie Bradshaw once described: “A squirrel is just a rat in a cuter outfit.”

7. Reptiles, such as all front-fanged venomous snakes, anacondas, alligators and crocodiles. It’s wise to keep all reptilian things in your apartment in the form of pocketbooks and shoes.


8. Birds and Fowl: All predatory or large birds, including, but not limited to eagle, hawk, owl, ducks and roosters. Joey and Chandler may have had them as pets, but if you want to keep from loosing your great apartment, again, pass on the birds.

9. All venomous insects including bees, hornets and wasps. Does the sound of summertime insects help put you to sleep? I suggest investing in a sound machine with nature sounds. You get the hum of the bees minus the bites.


10. All marsupials, including: Tasmanian devils, bandicoots, kangaroos and koala bears. The late comedian Mitch Hedburg once joked that an apartment infested with koala bears would be the cutest infestation ever, “Way better than cockroaches.” While this may be true, it’s also illegal, after all, where are we going to find eucalyptus leaves to keep them full?

If this list has deterred you from illegally purchasing an exotic animal, then my job here is done. If you are still gung-ho about having wild creatures in your residence, may I suggest inviting some local fraternity brothers over to your apartment for a night? After this visit I guarantee the end of any desire of exotic pets in your dwelling.

Originally published February 2007
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