The slow loris may be one of the cutest animals in the world, and they have the social media presence to prove it.
This does not mean that they make good pets. My general principle is that if an animal is not a dog (Canis lupus familiaris) or a cat (Felis silvestris catus), then you should probably think very hard before keeping it as a pet. (Other animals that have become fully-domesticated companion animals include rabbits, hamsters, gerbils, guinea pigs, parakeets, and, I grudgingly acknowledge, ferrets. Goldfish too, I guess.) An animal born into captivity might, in an individual case, get on well with humans, but that still doesn’t make it a good idea as a general rule. Not only is it not safe for humans, it is often unspeakably cruel to the animals.
The slow loris is but one example, but it’s a doozy. I’m citing Wikipedia here for the sole purpose of saving time. Click through to the article to see all of the citations.
Slow lorises are sold locally at street markets, but are also sold internationally over the Internet and in pet stores. They are especially popular or trendy in Japan, particularly among women. The reasons for their popularity, according to the Japan Wildlife Conservation Society, are that “they’re easy to keep, they don’t cry, they’re small, and just very cute.” Because of their “cuteness”, videos of pet slow lorises are some of the mostly frequently watched animal-related viral videos on YouTube. In March 2011, a newly posted video of a slow loris holding a cocktail umbrella had been viewed more than two million times, while an older video of a slow loris being tickled had been viewed more than six million times. According to Nekaris, these videos are misunderstood by most people who watch them, since most do not realize that it is illegal in most countries to own them as pets and that the slow lorises in the videos are only docile because that is their passive defensive reaction to threatening situations. Despite frequent advertisements by pet shops in Japan, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre reported only a few dozen slow lorises were imported in 2006, suggesting frequent smuggling. Slow lorises are also smuggled to China, Taiwan, Europe, Russia, the United States, and Saudi Arabia for use as pets. Continue reading