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6 Wild Animals Who Have Become Famous on Social Media (and Why It’s a Problem)

Social media is fuelling the demand for wild animals!

Besides being informative, social media can make us laugh, cry, and get to know other people that touch our emotions. But who are the true stars of sites like Instagram and Facebook? Animals, of course!

Many of the animals on social media are famous for their incredible abilities or adorable faces. But unfortunately, viral trends, often heightened by influencers or celebrities, have led to widespread miseducation about how we can keep wild animals as pets.

Often misunderstood as harmless, online content also risks creating more demand for wildlife being bred, seized, and sold for the pet trade.  According to National Geographic, some animals have special needs, and human engagement may adversely affect their welfare.

So let’s take a look at 6 wild animals whose social media presence has put them in danger!

…Continue reading to find out which wild animals are suffering for “likes!”

Wild Animal
Photo by Ondrej Prosicky at Shutterstock


Capybaras are the biggest rodent on the planet, and they also happen to be extremely friendly. But does this mean we should keep them as pets?

Well, we must remember that this is a species that’s used to living in groups and would certainly not be comfortable living alone in a domestic environment. Depending on the region where you live, it might be illegal to own this wild animal.

Some areas require a health certificate or permit. For instance, you can’t keep capybaras as pets in Georgia and California. But they’re legal in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New York. And even if a state might allow it, some cities do not.

These animals are considered illegal to own in the five boroughs of New York City, for example. Now, logistics aside, owning a capybara or two is a massive expense and an even more significant responsibility.

Adult Capybaras grow to about 3 and a half to 4 and a half feet in length, and they typically weigh about 77 to 146 pounds. So they should really be kept in the type of environment provided by professional zoos or sanctuaries.


The Axolotl, originally from Mexico, has become extremely popular on TikTok nowadays, with over three billion views.

And even though many people have it in their homes, this wild animal doesn’t like to be coddled like other pets and has unique needs that MUST be met for survival. The Axolotl is an unusual pet, a type of salamander that’s entirely aquatic.

But unlike most salamanders, they don’t undergo metamorphosis from larval to adult form, where the breathing process changes from gills to lungs. Instead, they stay aquatic their entire lives. So, they’re not pets you can actually handle but can be entertaining.

They’re relatively easy to care for, and their dietary needs are relatively straightforward. However, while Axolotls are relatively tolerant to slight environmental fluctuations, they also have delicate, soft bodies with permeable skin.

Most of their body is made up of cartilage, not bone. This means they should only be handled if ABSOLUTELY necessary. Therefore, these wild animals don’t really make for the most practical pets.

Bearded Dragon

The bearded dragon is very well-known on social media, with over two billion views on TikTok. And even though it’s true that the bearded dragon can perfectly adapt to domestic life, it can also be said that it needs extra special care, including UVB light and calcium supplements.

This wild animal is a moderately sized lizard native to Australia. It ranges in color, but it’s usually a light tan to brown with a long, dense tail and a spiky, beard-like collar around its neck.

And while they CAN be considered good pets, they have relatively complex nutritional and environmental needs, even for expert reptile owners. Special equipment and a reasonable amount of time are needed to care for this wild animal.

However, they are generally social and enjoyable to watch. So if you really love them, we recommend visiting a zoo rather than taking on the burden of having them as a pet.

Wild Animal
Photo by Jay Ondreicka at Shutterstock

Black Widow

You may find this hard to believe, but the black widow has generated over 6.5 billion views on social media in recent years. And if anyone is thinking of catching one after watching all those videos posted by other users, they might want to think again!

This wild animal needs a suitable environment and should be handled with extra special care. In case of a bite, a doctor should be contacted ASAP. Notorious for the cruel treatment of her mate, the black widow is likely the most well-known spider species out there.

A critical piece of information everyone should know is that they have NOT been domesticated in any way. And even though they may not always be deadly, they ARE venomous creatures and should never be kept as pets.

Royal Python

Apparently, the royal python has been gaining a lot of traction as well on social media, especially among the very young generation.

But, this wild animal, which many people have in their homes, has special needs, including an appropriate environment in which to live and optimal humidity levels. There are many reasons why ball pythons are horrible pets to have.

Most importantly, they’re wild animals that shouldn’t be kept in captivity. They often suffer from stress and anxiety in captivity, leading to health issues. Also, they can be very aggressive and even dangerous to humans.

They’ve been known to bite and constrict their owners, which can cause severe injury or even prove to be fatal. And finally, they demand a lot of care and attention, and most people don’t have the time or patience to provide them with vital care.

Here’s what people should consider before getting a wild animal like this:

  • Ball pythons are native to Africa and can grow up to 5 feet long!
  • They can live for a long time, up to 30 years! So be prepared for a long-term commitment.
  • If something happens and you can’t take care of it anymore, it might be challenging to find someone who’s willing and able to take them in.
  • They’re typically docile snakes. But they can still lash out and bite if they feel threatened.
Wild Animal
Photo by Thinker360 at Shutterstock


Who wouldn’t want to have a tiger as a pet, right? After all, the internet is full of people with baby tigers in diapers playing around! Well, let’s break this down. While it IS technically possible, several requirements must be met for it to be legal.

In some states, it’s outright illegal to own a tiger. In others, you may need some type of special permit. If you want to keep a tiger as a pet, several rules must also be followed. These wild animals are related to cats and have some of the same characteristics.

They CAN be trained, and they can form bonds with their keepers. But while all this is true, they’re also wild animals requiring a lot of space. They also need a diet different from what most people are used to feeding their pets.

Tigers are not a type of species you can simply take home and cuddle with. They are wild animals requiring a lot of space to roam around in. So if you’re interested in them, it would be best to see them from a zoo or sanctuary where they have plenty of room to roam around.

The bottom line is that as much as we love the animal kingdom, it would be best to let wild animals roam free in their natural habitat, and we should stick to our own!

Just because we may see a few of them online in adorable circumstances, it doesn’t mean we should immediately run out to adopt a furry new friend who can ultimately harm us because of their nature.

We also need to think about what’s best for them and their living conditions. If you really love wild animals and nature, why not help out an adorable furry beast that already lives in your backyard?

You’ll get a kick out of this Squirrel Feeder while at the same time feeding some bushy-tailed sweethearts!

If you found this article interesting, we also recommend reading: 14 Secrets Your Veterinarian Won’t Tell You

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