Wild and exotic pets are the new thrill of Nigerian pet lovers

The most common pets in Nigerian homes used to be animals like cats, dogs, birds and monkeys. And it used to be the local breeds, until when Nigerian pet lovers started going after the exotic breeds of most of these pet animals.

But a different trend is setting in again. The least expected wild and exotic animals are finding their way into the homes of pet lovers.

One would definitely wonder what is the reason behind these growing interest in wild pets.

Last month, a Lagos socialite known by the name Pretty Mike became the topic of discussion after posting pictures of him and his pet taking a bath together, a recent report notes. The pet was a python which he later named ‘Toke Makinwa’.

Apart from Pretty Mike, Sesan Ogunro, a popular Nigerian music video director also boasts of a Tiger.

Femi Adeleke, a huge fan of rare and wild animals, and a geologist who is based in Abeokuta had lost his three-year relationship when he got an alligator as a pet in 2014.

In a chat with the reporters who gathered the story, Adeleke said:

‘As a young boy, I owned dogs, cats, parrots, monkeys and other animals more familiar with humans as pets but during the early days of my youth, I began to yearn for more, something different. That was where I picked up interest in wild animals.

Before I bought the alligator in 2014, I used to have a baby deer but later sold it because it was falling ill often. My ex and I started having problems from the first day I acquired the alligator and told her I was bringing it home as pet. She quarrelled with me a lot but eventually left me after failing to persuade me to drop the idea. She told me that if I was not careful, the animal was going to kill and eat me if I continued to keep it as pet.

I am happy to say that ‘Jay’ has been with me since that period and has not attacked me for once. Instead, the two of us have become very good friends. Whenever it needs my attention, it scratches on the door and window; I come out to attend to it if I’m around.

The truth is that once you feed animals well, whether wild or not, they’ll like and treat you as a friend. I don’t joke with Jay at all and that is why the two of us are still friends. The woman in my life accepted the two of us and that is why we are still together. She is also a pet lover.’

This new love for wild pets is also causing the pet industry to boom. On some online markets in Nigeria, exotic and wild pets like pythons, alligators, tigers and terrestial tortoises.

Shedrack, one dealer of such pets that spoke to the same reporters this week, said there was no week that he did not get at least four requests for adult pythons. ‘Presently, I have only one adult python and it costs ₦50,000. It is a little over two years old,’ he said.

Adewunmi Shiyanbade, another seller of such animals, said that the growing number of lovers of wild pets in the country guaranteed that they never run out of clients.

Owners of these exotic and wild pets are also said to spend a huge sum of money taking care of their pets.

Prebo Georgewill, a 45-year old auto dealer in Port Harcourt, explains that he spends a minimum of around ₦150,000 on food and vaccine every month for his two tigers which had cost him ₦2.1 million to purchase.

Apart from suggesting bravery, courage and a strong love for animals, the pleasure of owning a wild pet appears to also give pet lovers some sense of luxury life.

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