Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Information for pet lovers -

A pet is an animal that is kept by humans for companionship and enjoyment, as opposed to livestock, which are kept for economic reasons. The most popular are noted for their loyal or playful characteristics or their attractive appearance or song.

The term "pet" may also be applied to humans, usually in an endearing way by a lover, significant other, or partner. Calling another person a pet, though, can just as easily be considered an insult (see "plaything").

While in theory one could keep any animal as a pet, in practice a small number of species of mammals, especially dogs and cats, and other animals such as birds have dominated the pet scene for a very long time. Fish have joined them more recently. Many of these are domesticated while others, often considered novelty pets, are not. With the exception of iguanas and non-venomous snakes, few reptiles and amphibians make good pets.

The glofish, a genetically modified zebrafish with a bright red fluorescent color is the first genetically modified (GM) animal to be engineered as a pet.

Pets can provide their owners with many health benefits. The keeping of pets has been proven to help remove stress. Walking a dog can also provide its owner (as well as the dog!) with exercise, fresh air, and the opportunity for social interaction.

A pet can be acquired from a pet store, an animal shelter, a breeder, and sometimes from people who have too many due to births. See also Dog adoption.

Sometimes people treat their pets like humans, especially when the people do not have kids or their children are grown up.

An exotic pet or novelty pet is an unusual wild animal kept as a pet, sometimes for the express purpose of having a unique pet. The definition is an evolving one; some rodents, reptiles, and amphibians have become firmly enough established in the world of animal fancy to no longer be considered exotic. Sometimes any unique- or wild-looking pet (including common domestic animals such as ferrets and domestic rats) is called an exotic. However, this article discusses the keeping of wild or semi-wild animal species.

Alligators, wolves and wolf/dog hybrids, wild cat cubs (lions, tigers, ocelots, etc.), snakes, tortoises, spiders, scorpions and rare birds are among the species kept (sometimes illegally) as exotic pets. Some exotics are less "wild" than others; dingos have been in relationship with humans for generations, and the Bengal cat descends from a hybrid of wild and domestic species. Llamas and pot-bellied pigs, though still present in the wild, have been raised in captivity for centuries and are usually quite tame.
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